Going glamping with the family? Ditch the devices and go off-grid in Herefordshire

Disconnecting from the modern world and delving into the countryside is the perfect way to switch off with the troops. 

By Maria Pieri
Published 29 Oct 2019, 14:15 GMT, Updated 26 Jul 2021, 11:47 BST
Safari tent in the forest
For the chance to switch off and bond as a family, Quality Unearthed offer off-grid glamping in an ex-military safari tent.

Switching off
First off, a confession: we didn’t do a full-on digital detox — we still had access to data, although not having electricity on the campsite meant phones had to be charged
in the car or whenever we went out for dinner — perhaps not quite the ideal detox we had in mind. 

Hot stuff
Building, lighting and sustaining a fire developed into a daily bonding exercise. Every day at around 6pm we’d gather twigs for kindling. The local shop sold classic pink and white marshmallows, which were ideal for toasting. But take care — a stray ember caused a singed eyebrow and ruined a pair
of leggings.

Back to nature
At first, it took some persuading to lure the kids away from their phones, but eventually we did manage to get them walking, playing, climbing and discovering. Finding the optimum ‘fire poking stick' — a cherished item — was a challenge they relished, and dad managed to hone his whittling skills.

And so to bed
On the first night, the adults stayed in the tipi on two single beds as the kids were too scared to sleep in there on their own. But the tipi was a solid, snug den with a lockable door, so the kids overcame their anxiety. The following night, the adults reclaimed the safari tent (pictured above).

Dark matter
It was pitch black at night and beautifully void of city noise; we were lulled to sleep by the sound of falling acorns and cooing woodland birds. We all agreed it was the best sleep we’d had in years.

Wet, wet, wet
A glamping trip in the rain is rarely much fun. Thankfully, we were prepared for the worst — we’d brought waterproofs, a set of cards, board games and lots of books. 

The verdict
The feedback from the kids was mixed. According to them, it was simultaneously the worst (no electricity, limited wi-fi) and the best (fire-building and toasting marshmallows) trip ever.

How to do it: We booked The Officer’s Hideaway through Quality Unearthed. Our tent, tipi and bomb-shelter bathroom (with hot water) were all ex-military. The tent had a double bedroom, a chesterfield and a kitchen with two woodburning stoves. The tipi came with two single beds plus a woodburner. Outside was a barbecue, a fire pit and a dining area with a fridge and gas stove. From £105 per night, based on up to four sharing and a minimum stay of three nights. 

Best for: Older children who are happy to sleep in a separate tent from their parents. 

Published in the November 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK) 

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