Ready Camp Glamping – It’s Camping But Not as We Know It!
Are you camper or a glamper? Or a bit of both? I’m definitely the former. For me camping is about convenience and affordability and I’ve never been convinced that adding a wood burner and fairy lights is worth the extra price tag of glamping. But I was willing to be open minded when the Camping and Caravanning club invited me to try Ready Camp and in this advertising feature I tell you about our experience at Ready Camp Tamworth…
A car full of quilts
The similarities with expedition camping begin and end at our front door. We have a car full of stuff but it’s nearly all quilts and pillows. In fact it’s so full of quilts and pillows that we can’t see out of the windows. We unpack some and replace them with sleeping bags. All the other gear that we normally pile into the living room pre-trip is still in the attic. Normally by this point in a camping weekend, we’ve argued about whether we really need a kettle and flask, we’ve accused each other of leaving the tent pegs at the last camp, and we’ve searched high and low for a sleeping bag liner that isn’t ripped.
But this isn’t camping as we know it. This is Ready Camp camping. I’m told it’s a kind of glamping. And it’s as alien to us as a sleepover on a marshmallow moon.
What is Ready Camp?
And yet it’s not glamping as I understand it either. Instead of luxury rugs and wood burning stoves our safari style tent is simply and practically furnished. Instead of a big glamping price tag, it’s off season low fee makes it almost a no brainer. To excuse the pun, it’s a bit of a blank canvas. In fact, the name pretty much explains what Ready Camp is. A tent that’s already up. A kitchen that’s ready for breakfast. A bed that’s ready for you to collapse into. Which for me is worth a thousand fairy lights.
Ready for bed
We arrive in the late hours and rock up to the Camping and Caravanning Club site near Tamworth. Like an episode of Scooby Doo the roller coaster at the local theme park looms silently in the dark. There’s no moon visible and we can’t see much. But hurrah…instead of having to haul the canvas out of the car and scrat around for poles and pegs, our tent for the weekend is already up. In fact with the patio lights on it’s like a beacon in the night. There’s even a heater in the lounge waiting to warm us up. We make toast and wonder why we haven’t tried this kind of camping before.
We throw the sleeping bags and quilts on the bed, send the kids to their room (yes, there are two bedrooms with blackout blinds) and draw the drapes closed so the sun doesn’t wake them at dawn. I lie in bed, waiting for sleep to fall, listening to an owl hooting in the distance. It’s a curious sensation being in a conventional bed and yet outdoors. I can feel the weather. I can breathe in fresh air. Later I can almost reach out and grab the dandelion clock that scatters through my dreams. But unlike normal camping, I don’t wake up every hour with a bad back.
Ready for breakfast
It’s not just the beds that gear you up for the day. The kitchen area with toaster, crockery and kettle makes breakfast cheap and easy. I read the paper on the sofa. Stuart has a coffee on the patio which comes with camping chairs. The only facilities we don’t have in the tent are a toilet or a sink. But then who wants to be chained to the kitchen sink when they are on holiday? Besides, there are toilets, showers and dish washing facilities on site. (Check out this video to see how we got on without a kitchen sink in our tent.)
Ready for cash strapped families
Unusually for us we hang around and stay for two nights. We play skipping and soft tennis in the field. We make a tipi out of canvas and glitter and glue. We make endless cups of tea. We take a walk in Tamworth and pay a brief visit to the castle. We enjoy not spending money. This is one real benefit of Ready Camp. Because you have cooking facilities you cook. Because you have a table and living room space (although the sofa is a little too small for a whole family) you can stay in and enjoy the evening. Normally I hate camp cooking and do anything to avoid it. Normally I stay in the pub until bedtime.
And this affordability extends to the price of a Ready Camp camping break. If you go off peak and mid week you can get a deal as low as £25 a night (minimum stay three nights), and as the tent sleeps six, it makes it better value than a Travelodge. Prices do vary with site and season though and there are 3, 4 and 7 night booking options. With a little research and careful choice of dates you could get a seven night stay in low season for around £200 but in peak season prices rise to £600-£700. Check out the late availability page for last minute offers.
Ready for everyone
The Ready Camp safari tents are owned and run by the Camping and Caravanning Club and you can find them on 39 sites as far spread as the Isle of Wight and the Lake District. You don’t need to be a member to stay in one, although June Glackin the Marketing Executive for Ready Camp says it was first launched as a way for members to get away from it without having to own or pitch a tent. It then quickly took off with glampers and people who don’t have time for conventional camping.
“It’s the whole hassle free thing. You can just rock up as a family. You’re not arguing over tent pegs or the packing while trying to get hold of the kids. You can get here and quickly unpack the car with bedding and towels. Some people come in and put sleeping bags out and they’re done.”
As we put the finishing touches to our decorated tipi, the small play tent reminds me of our normal expedition camping. A cramped tent in a field packed with random stuff from our attic. Maybe glamping is an option for our family after all.
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Disclosure note: We were compensated by Ready Camp for the time and effort involved in producing this review and the accompanying photography and videography. The opinions and experience were, as ever, all our own.