This Easter we booked a 3-night stay in a ‘Mega Camping Pod’ at Deer’s Glade Caravan and Camping Park in Hanworth, Norfolk. What, I hear you ask, is a Camping Pod, let alone a ‘Mega’ version? In short, it is a hybrid between camping (canvas, no luxuries, fend for yourself, etc) and glamping (permanent or semi-permanent structure that’s probably better fitted out than your own home, boutique but outdoors-y). You benefit from protection from the elements in a well-insulated wooden cabin that also features TV, electricity, lights and heating. The Mega version goes further, being furnished (bed, futon, table, chairs) and featuring an en-suite toilet and kitchen-ette. For those that shun complete comfort and, perhaps, laziness, you still provide your own cooking and eating utensils, bedding, towels and cooking equipment. The hardship.
Deer’s Glade itself is a 5 star Touring & Camping Park (according to enjoyEngland) about 30 minutes drive away from Norwich and about 10 minutes from Cromer. It is very well maintained, quiet (with a quiet rule between 11pm and 7am – no late night guitar-round-the-open-fire sessions here I’m afraid) and spacious pitches. If Pods sound too wussy for you, you can also camp with a conventional tent, caravan or motor home. The facilities are very good.
We turned up after lunch on a sunny Saturday, picked up our keys and proceeded to unload the car, using the little pull-along carts provided, into Beech Pod.
Immaculate inside and out, first impressions were encouraging. The Pods are situated in a woodland glade, flanked by a crystal clear stream. There’s something very Scandinavian about the setting and to be honest it couldn’t have been more idyllic had young ‘Bambi’ deer been skipping past.
Outside the Pod is a picnic bench with parasol, a porch of decking, a chimnea and a stone plinth for your camping stove/disposable BBQ, etc.
The location is very quiet, very secluded and very pretty, with wild flowers dotted all over the place that will only get more lovely as the year goes on.
Boardwalks link the Pods to the main campsite, each other and a communal ‘Washing Pod’, which houses a very impressive, family-sized shower, a sink and toilet.
Despite it being fairly chilly, both the Pod and the Washing Pods were toasty warm.
Inside, the Pods are compact. I’d say that we were pushing their capacity being a family of 4, of which one was a baby who does not travel light. We’d brought a travel cot, which did fit, but only just and not leaving much room to manouver around it. Littlest Man (1) couldn’t easily romp about, and thus had to be tethered in the travel cot or his pushchair for most of the time, which he did not like. At all. When we did release him he had a wail of a time exploring the area outside the Pod. He also tried a few of the stones for flavour. Not good.
I think for 2 people, the Pod would be just right, with the perfect amount of space for everything including space to relax. For a young family of 4, the lack of space gave us the perfect excuse not to hang around inside the Pod too much, but instead to get out and enjoy North Norfolk (see what I did there).
Since it was almost dinnertime once we’d unpacked, our first venture out took us to The Fish Shop in Roughton (pre-bookable, with highchair – pre-book this too as it is in demand and the restaurant gets busy). 2 lots of Fish’n’Chips, 1 Veggie Burger & Chips later (about £22) and a quick play in the local play area and we were ready for our first night in the Glade.
The first night did not exactly go to plan, mostly due to the fact that we thought the children would go to sleep co-cooperatively so we could sit outside beside the fire and drink wine. Obviously we are very naive. After much mucking about, largely owing to the whole novelty thing (geez, get over it kids) and being in the same room (all of us), the children finally did fall asleep. We lit the chimnea, wrapped up and sat drinking coffee and a glass of wine beneath the clearest, and therefore starriest, sky I’ve seen in a while. Perfect.
*We paid exactly £159 for our stay in a Mega Camping Pod at Deer’s Glade.
**All images taken on an iPhone.
To be continued…