When one of my weekend jaunt buddies invited me along for a few days away to celebrate her birthday I immediately jumped at the chance. Especially when previous escapades have included Paris and Bruges. This trip, however, took a slightly different tangent.
It came in the guise of Vintage Vardos, a trio of gorgeously restored gypsy caravans and it would involve CAMPING! Now this word needs capitalisation. Anyone who knows me also knows that word usually wouldn’t feature in my vocabulary. I hate camping. I mean this is the girl who nearly had heart failure at the thought of not being able to plug a kettle in for a cup of tea. Instead I’d have to build a fire and wait for the cast iron kettle to boil. All whilst gasping for a brew. The situation started to give me palpitations. This thought thankfully only lasted a minute (a very long minute) before somebody discovered the two gas camp rings. A fine example of why I don’t do camping. Anyway I digress…
On arrival we parked the car outside the farmhouse and met the wonderful owners of Fisherton Farm, Gavin and Jemma. A short stroll down a little lane with your luggage following behind in a vintage tractor we entered our own private haven. Even with all my apprehensions there was no denying the dreamy location of the Gypsy caravans at the foot of a sloping meadow. It took me straight back to my childhood and reading Roald Dahl’s Danny, The Champion of the World.
A few steps away is a campsite complete with a fire, large wooden dining table, seating and cooking facilities.
Everything you could ever need to cook up a feast is provided in huge hampers – pans, crockery and utensils.
Further into the dell we discovered a rope swing over a brook. Obviously I had to give it a go. It quickly turned into a hysterical panic when I couldn’t step back onto the ledge to stop, but that’s another story. The giant day bed in the woods is a lovely touch. Somewhere you can lie down with sleeping bags and snooze staring at the stars if your heart desires.
The colourful caravans are fabulous with their beautiful interiors each with their own name – Big Ted, Red Rum and Little Gem. The tiny wood burners are a great addition in two of the caravans.
They can all sleep two adults and two small ones. The camp is rented out in its entirety, so there is no need to worry about sharing with strangers.
If the British weather decides to be typically British and rains there is also the Tippin’ shed. A converted farm tip up trailer now home to a communal area. A place to cosy up and play the stack load of board games.
At the top of the meadow is a wooden hut which houses the bathroom facilities. Compost toilets complete with library and a piping hot shower. The incredible views whilst dealing with your ablutions are pretty impressive. Endless rolling fields and being at one with nature makes for an unforgettable experience.
Jemma provides guests with a welcome goodie pack to start you off containing hot freshly baked bread, milk, tea, coffee and condiments. If required she will rustle up fresh home cooked meals to order, picnic, breakfast hampers and BBQ selections you can throw on the fire.
We took advantage of this on our first night and ordered meat and veggie chilli wraps. Simply heated up on the campfire they were delicious.
By the second night we upped our game and cooked our own jacket potatoes and halloumi, pepper and tomato skewers.
Next to the farmhouse is an honesty shop where you can buy fruit and vegetables grown on the farm, meat, eggs, cider, homemade jams and chutneys.
The shop most importantly also has plenty of power points to charge your devices and ice packs for your cool box. You can borrow wellies, waterproofs, warm jackets, deck chairs, boogie boards, beach bbq and buckets and spades. Basically you don’t have to bring a thing with you, it’s all here – Magic!
And if you fancy a break from relaxing on the hammock you can head on down to the games room for a spot of table tennis or table football in the converted barn at the farm.
Vintage Vardos is within easy reach of some great walks, Exmoor National Park and some of Britain’s best beaches.
Our Saturday started with an early morning yoga session with Marci.
After aligning our chakras and saluting our downward warriors in Gavin and Jemma’s garden we left feeling energised by our session in the open air, ready for the next part of our day.
After a short drive to Torrington we hired cycles for £12 a day and rode along the famous Tarka trail path.
Cycling past some amazing sights, eight miles in we stopped at Instow beach for lunch and indulged in pasty and prosecco on the beach. Keeping it real and classy!
By the time it came to riding back my aching thighs and bum were wishing Uber existed in North Devon. Wishful thinking aside, we all made it back in one exhausted piece and patted ourselves on the back. Just not that firmly since we were a bit tender.
Fisherton farm is a great place for a get-together in the open countryside and perfect for a family holiday too. Gavin and Jemma are the best hosts and make you feel so welcome in their little oasis.
Even though you’re going back to basics, you have everything you could possibly need at hand to make your stay comfortable and relaxing.
It just goes to show that it’s good to push yourself out of your comfort zone every now and again. Maybe glamping is the way forward, well for me anyway.
Fishermen Farm | Atherington | Umberleigh | Devon | EX37 9JA
Do you love camping? Have you been glamping? If not, have you I convinced you? I’d love to know in the comments below or at: