Red Magazine, July 2017
Stretching awake in my king-size bed, I can hear tapping. Is it a giraffe? Maybe a zebra? No, it’s a woodpecker. Despite camping in the most luxurious safari lodge, which sleeps six in proper beds plus two dogs, we are in the wilds of Exmoor, not the plains of Africa.
The five lodges at Longlands are nestled into the hillside, all with a sundeck facing west, and a view of a sliver of sea. Proprietor Bella has nailed the details: a leather Chesterfield, board games, and a fully stocked kitchen including wine glasses. We dined on Ottolenghi chicken with sumac and roast potatoes cooked in the case iron wood-burning range.
Love Exploring – Back to Nature in Style: The Best Glamping Holidays in Britain
Long-gone are the days when you had to lug your own tent and all the paraphernalia to a sodden campsite in a farmer’s field. Check out these sites for a spectacular glamping holiday in the UK.
Faraway Lucy – 10 of the Most Unusual Places to Stay in the UK
It’s no secret that I am a complete sucker for unique and wacky accommodation. For me, where you lay your head for the night is such an integral part of travelling. Whenever I travel, I always make it a priority to stay somewhere that is an experience in itself, whether that means staying at a glamping site or a quirky hostel/hotel. It’s like going on holiday to two places at once: a cool accommodation and the actual destination itself. But you don’t need to travel abroad to stay somewhere unusual… In fact, some of the world’s best glamping sites can be found in the lil’ ol’ UK.
So to celebrate the fact that I have not one but TWO glamping trips lined up for May (which I am stupidly excited about, let me tell you), I thought I’d share with you 10 of the most unusual places to stay in the UK, from treehouses to converted double decker buses!
Danielle Reeder Photography
The first week in May we headed off for a midweek family holiday to the absolutely stunning Longlands in Devon. This is our third stay there now and we’re already excited for our fourth next year!
The view as you turn into the drive of Longlands is quite simply breathtaking, you are greeted by beautiful green valleys and the coast in the distance.
As this is was our third stay, it really was like being welcomed by old friends, before we were shown to one of the five luxurious safari tents to get unpacked. We are now typical regulars, so much so that we were staying in ‘our’ tent, Lundy for the third time!
Bella and her team really have thought of everything to make your stay as relaxing and enjoyable as possible.
Each tent comprises of a Living / Kitchen / Dining area, three bedrooms; one King, one Twin and one Double cabin bed, fully functioning bathroom and wood burner shower room. All this in a safari tent! Each tent also has a gorgeous decked seating area to the front which is fenced, giving extra peace of mind if you have children or dogs with you.
Dress it up all you like, glamping is still camping, right? Right? But what about when there’s a Chesterfield involved?
I knew this day would come. Camping; the very word usually fills me with utter dread. Gone are the days when I would frequently build myself up to giddy levels of excitement at the thought of going camping, only to realise – once again – the horror of the whole experience, 24 hours in. I’m much more savvy these days, having endured one spider-dwelling shower block too many. Oh no, nowadays I simply and politely decline all offers to sleep under canvas.
Until now. With Mudlet in tow and hearing that glamping is suddenly all the rage, I knew I’d eventually have to grit my teeth and bear it. And, I must admit, Longlands, based in North Devon gives it a pretty good shot at trying to lure you in with the promise that their safari tents are like boutique hotels with canvas sides. Unplug, reconnect, revive, it says. We’ll see, I thought.
Devon Life, July 2017
Fancy escaping it all? Sarah Howells visited the magical Longlands near Combe Martin to experience a touch of the wilderness – with some home comforts
Growing up, camping for me was an experience mainly summed up by a lot of rain, soggy sleeping bags, and beans cooked on a gas ring. Longlands luxury glamping, however, was quite the opposite: a comfortable bed, our own wood-burning stove, and hearty, home-cooked meals. As we turn off the main road on the edge of Exmoor, the valley below us opens to reveal five safari lodges nestled into the hillside.
Country Homes & Interiors (June 2017 Issue)
Situated in the heart of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and overlooking the spectacular North Devon coast, the luxury safari lodges at Longlands are perfect for your next countryside getaway.
Inside each of the five lodges in this stunning Exmoor spot, there’s a host of home comforts, from woodburning stoves and vintage Chesterfield sofas to kingsize beds and well-stocked kitchen cupboards.
The Gluten Free Blogger
Being a journalist (that’s my day job, for those that don’t know) I get some pretty cool experiences – and one of the most recent examples was staying at the incredible Longlands Devon luxury glamping site near Combe Martin in North Devon. I’ve made a video of our amazing stay there, or scroll down for the full review, including of their incredible gluten free cheesecake!
BBC Radio Devon
BBC Radio Devon’s Matt Woodly and Pippa Quelch spoke to Bella Given about Longlands and their nomination for a Tourism Oscar: VisitEngland’s Awards for Excellence.
Longlands: one of the Top 3 Glamping sites in the country
The Oscars of the Tourism Industry took place on Monday 24th April at the Waldorf Hilton in London: VisitEngland’s Excellence in Tourism Awards.
This is the very first year that there has been a Glamping category and we were one of just three sites selected for the honour of being a finalist. The other two sites were the Dandelion Hideaway, Osbaston, Leicestershire and Secret Meadows, Woodbridge, Suffolk.
Whilst we didn’t win the top prize, that honour went to The Dandelion Hideaway, we are extremely proud to have been recognised as one of the three best Glamping sites in the country. And we were thrilled with what the judges had to say about us:
“Unplug, Reconnect, Revive is the promise on the website. Longlands, nestled in its own little Devon valley offers the peace and serenity to achieve this, but it is Bella’s planning, drive and commitment to quality and really makes it happen.”
“Everywhere on-site, the attention to detail is excellent. Be it flower containers outside the shop, wetsuits hanging rails or simple bike racks below each tent. Bella appears to have a relentless drive towards perfection.”
We wish The Dandelion Hideaway in Leicestershire, many congratulations along with the other finalist, Secret Meadows in Suffolk.
Longlands wins Visit Devon’s first Glamping Business of the Year award
Longlands luxury safari lodges in North Devon, has been named as Glamping Business of the Year at the Devon Tourism Awards 2016. Glamping is a new category for the 2016 awards which are run by Visit Devon, and the ceremony took place at The University of Exeter on Thursday 10th November 2016.
The Visit Devon report concluded “This is glamping excellence in every respect. The location is beautiful, overlooking the coast of Exmoor and surrounded by immense wild natural beauty the safari tents look appropriate on the side of the hill. The owners have thought of every detail possible to give the most luxurious experience to every guest – whilst sleeping under canvas. The continued repeat and advance bookings are a great testament to the experience had by all.”
“We are so delighted that our hard work over the past five years has been recognised,” says Bella Given, owner of Longlands which lies in the North Devon AONB and overlooks the coast. “The entire Longlands team has put their hearts and souls into making it a success, so it is wonderful to celebrate with them tonight. This accolade is all the more special because it is the first competition we have ever entered. It’s brilliant that glamping is a standalone category for the first time because it is a totally different experience to staying in self-catering accommodation, and one that is increasing in popularity every year.”
Longlands offers five six-person luxury safari lodges that are available for weekend, mid-week or full week stays from mid-March to the end of October. Bella has seen a big increase in demand for glamping holidays since opening in 2011 “It’s wonderful that more people are choosing to holiday closer to home and make the most of beautiful places right here on our doorstep in the Westcountry. Some of our guests come from as close as just ten minutes down the road whilst others have journeyed all the way from New Zealand!”
As Devon winner of the glamping category, Longlands has been nominated to represent Devon in the Visit England awards in April 2017
Visit England – Glamping Accreditation and a Gold Accolade
It is hardly surprising that the future bookings are Longlands are so strong, as the quality and attention to detail in every area of the business is excellent. Safari tent businesses are now more common around the country and it is about standing out. I think Longlands achieves this.
The site offers natural beauty and the facilities provided allow guests to make best use of it with access to the lake, private BBQ areas with great views and playing areas for children.
The exterior of the tents are maintained in excellent order and first impressions of the accommodation are excellent with the furnished verandas.
Internally, the tents are attractive and well equipped. It is the attention to detail that is most impressive. For example, excellent beds, great thought given to the lighting, well equipped kitchens and great shower rooms etc.
It is not just the accommodation and grounds that guests will enjoy. The communal meeting room with its excellent kitchen make the site a great place for extended families and groups. The honesty shop with its additional services also offers an excellent facility for guests.
It is difficult to offer advice and recommendations to a business that is this well organised and managed.
Longlands: the best for Glamping in the South West
Longlands in North Devon has been named as the best Glamping Business in the South West.
Receiving her Gold Award at the South West Tourism Awards, held in Bristol on Thursday 2nd February, Longlands’ owner Bella Given said “We are thrilled and honoured to have won such a prestigious award, particularly in light of the high standards and quality of all the other finalists. We are particularly proud to be the very first Gold Winners of this brand new Glamping Category. Staying in luxurious surroundings under canvas, listening to the sounds of Mother Nature is a totally different experience to staying in a cottage or hotel. It is tremendously gratifying that Glamping is now recognised in its own right and is testament to the hard work of everyone in this new sector.”
Longlands’ five luxurious safari lodges nestle in a private secluded valley on the western border of Exmoor National Park and look out over the North Devon coast. The team at Longlands have thought of everything you could possibly need for your stay; from natural aromatherapy products in the bathroom to a detailed adventure book about the area. They even provide home cooked meals using the best West Country ingredients and an onsite shop stocked with delicious local produce.
Longlands now looks forward to the national Visit England awards which take place in London on the 24th April.
MANOR Spring 2017
This MANOR style shoot was in association with Next. Prompted by the utility and khaki trends so prevalent this season, our thoughts turned to matter safari. It so happens that a corner of North Devon boasts the award-winning glamping site Longlands, which, with its spacious and fabulously decked-out safari tents, made the perfect backdrop to transport us all to somewhere straight out of Africa.
Elle Magazine – Five of the Best Glamping Sites for Summer
On the edge of Exmoor National Park, Longlands’ five en-suite safari tents are each positioned for the best valley-side views. Poking from a wild grass bank, tents include a king bedroom, twin room and a cosy ‘cupboard bed’ in the main living space. The kitchen is like a country house – there’s a butcher’s block, wood burner and every utensil you need. A small boating lake onsite adds watery fun, though North Devon’s best beaches are just five minutes by car.
Visit Devon – Luxury Devon: 8 stunning places to eat, stay & visit
We all know that ‘glamping means ‘glam camping’ – but Gold-award-winning Longlands near Combe Martin takes it to another level.
This ’boutique hotel with canvas sides’, consists of five, six-person luxury safari lodges, set in the idyllic surroundings of a secret valley overlooking the North Devon coast, and bordering Exmoor.
Glamping Getaways – Second Edition
After spending a memorable day exploring North Devon and its many delights, Longlands is a comforting enclave to return to each night. Bella and Bugsie have done their hosting homework, pre-empting every need. The ‘Longlands Larder’ is testimony to that, with hard-to-resist, local produce (milk, jam, chutney and cheese) stocked 24-hours a day. Guests can also dine on their private BBQ, overlooking the sheltered valley and rolling hills all the way to the sea. Allow your days to float by effortlessly, whilst enjoying the simplicity of field living – albeit in a luxury canvas lodge
Luxury Travel Diary
If you long to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and want to take some time out to reconnect with your family and enjoy the simple pleasures in life, you would be hard pressed to find anywhere as enchanting as Longlands in Devon. Set on the beautiful Longlands Farm in Combe Martin, North Devon, this is Glamping with a difference. Situated in a Designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the North Devon coast, this glamping hideaway allows you to unplug from the daily rush, immerse yourself in nature and bond as a family over a camp fire, seaside walk or afternoon board game and you can even bring the dog!
Manor Magazine – Winter 2016
All tents come equipped with towels, tea, coffee, and basic groceries and condiments, plus there is The Larder at Longlands where you can buy bakery goods, wine (they are licensed), and meat from the local quality butcher. Should you not wish to cook, The Larder can provide home-cooked family meals, too – in fact, have one waiting when you arrive. Each lodge is stocked with wood and fuel for the wood-fired boiler (hot showers) and stove, plus there’s a gas ring should you wish to have a quick cuppa without firing up the stove. There is, need you ask, a flushing toilet. Longlands offers the adventure and outdoor charm of camping with all the warmth and luxury of an alpine log cabin.
Women UK Online – October 2015
To say that Longlands is stunning just doesn’t do it justice. Longlands can be found on the edge of the Exmoor National Park which is in it’s own right an area of outstanding beauty however what a lot of visitors may not also realise before visiting Longlands is that The Exmoor National Park was designated the first International Dark Sky Reserve in Europe confirming Exmoor as one of the best places for star gazing in Europe.
Crumbs Magazine – Summer 2015
Say hello to Bella Given, the lady behind Longlands glamping haven near Combe Martin in North Devon. When it comes to her local patch, just on the outskirts of Exmoor, she’s the queen of gourmet go-tos. Here she shares her favourite coast and countryside spots to feast with family and friends
Interview by Anna Turns
Country Mummy Blog – July 2015
We recently returned from a fantastic visit to Longlands in Devon, and I have to say that Bella, the owner, is definitely the hostess with the mostest!
She is charming, considerate and her attention to detail leaves guests feeling like they have just become members of a super cool, yet still extraordinarily welcoming club.
I set up a Glamping business and moved to the country. Now I run courses on how to do it
When Bella Given’s family started finding life in London claustrophobic, their itchy feet took them to the West Country. Having fallen in love with the stunning expanse of beach at Woolacombe in North Devon, Bella, 43, and her husband, Richard, searched for a property nearby that she could transform into a luxury glamping destination…
Sainsbury’s Magazine – July 2014
Down a steep, winding track near Combe Martin, on the edge of Exmoor, the sea glinting beyond the hills, is Longlands, the ‘glampsite’ we called home for four days. Set up three years ago by friends Bella and Pam, it’s camping, but not as you know it.
We stayed in Lundy, one of five fabulous Safari lodges tucked into a hillside surrounded by wildflower meadows, ancient oaks and big open skies. Each lodge has a wooden deck (with herb and flower pots) and barbecue area. Inside is a large living space, beautifully furnished with Chesterfield sofas, dining table and kitchen area with wood-burning stove, and two bedrooms out back.
Dorset Women – May/June 2014
When you take a holiday – what does it mean to you? For many of us it is about embracing a break from normality to recharge and refresh. This can also mean foregoing the cooking for the week and indulging in fresh, gourmet local produce.
To enjoy the great outdoors in style and take a break from the cooking, look no further than Longlands in Devon. As if it didn’t already offer enough in terms of style and comfort with its five luxury safari lodges overlooking the North Devon coast, the owner Bella Given and her manager Pam are also happy to provide delicious food for their guests. They have a Larder Menu full of tempting meals for breakfast, lunch and suppers to enjoy as a family on the deck or by romantic candlelight in the lodge or even on a barbeque platform above the lodge.
The best exclusive-use campsites in Britain – June 2014
The cosy canvas abodes at Longlands are equally as picturesque as the site’s natural surroundings. Five safari tents come wonderfully furnished with vintage leather sofas, luxurious linen and a blanket box filled with family-friendly games. Longlands barn can play host to parties of up to 30, with its gorgeous green oak tables weighing half a ton each. Welcoming owners Bella and Bugsie can provide all your meals and you won’t have to worry about washing up, because cutlery, crockery and glassware are all taken care of.
Hampshire Women – Winter 2013
They say that the devil is in the detail but Longlands Devon has turned that saying on its head by revealing an angel in their detail. Glamping – once the preserve of hardened campers seeking a break from putting the tent up – is now being snapped up faster than you or I can say al fresco dining. The competition is stiff and the choice of glamping accommodation on the market varies from ultra basic – a tent and an airbed – to fully equipped lodges. However, Longlands has taken glamping to a whole new level where every conceivable detail has been thought of to make you feel truly five star
With five luxury lodges, each boasting their own wood-burning stove and wood burning boiler to generate hot water for the en suite (that’s right en suite – you read it correctly) shower and separate washroom, you’ll have no problem keeping toasty warm. You’ll even find a fully plumbed butler sink and vintage leather Chesterfield.
Devon Life – September 2013
Our beautifully styled six-person safari tent, ‘Lundy’, seems like one giant holiday adventure playhouse. Bella Given, owner of Longlands, discovered these ‘fairly permanent’ safari tents in South Africa. When she and her husband Richard sold up their home in Twickenham and moved to North Devon in September 2011, they wanted to find a way of replicating this style of glamorous camping. “I was very excited to discover a company called Albion canvas, based down the road in Wellington, Somerset,” explains Bella. “These are perfect for our high-end luxury camping experience – and it has been great to kit them out locally too.”
Bella knew she wanted to create the kind of place she wanted to stay herself, and this shows in the décor and contents – everything has been carefully thought out and created with love. “I wanted to fulfil my dream of watching the sun setting over countryside from a balcony with a glass of wine in my hand,” says Bella, whose strong vision became a reality when Longlands opened in July 2012. Bella previously worked in garden design, hence her strong design eye, and after designing other people’s outdoor spaces, she was keen to have her own project.
Exmoor Magazine – Summer 2013
To complete your safari experience, why not end the day under canvas rather than head home? True, Robert Redford is unlikely to be in tow ready to wash your hair as you sip wine and listen to the wind-up gramophone, but apart from that a spectacularly authentic experience is possible right here on Exmoor. Longlands, set amid 17 acres of secluded, rolling hills above Combe Martin, is lion-free but otherwise perfect Out of Africa material. Proprietor Bella Given explains her inspiration behind the creation of its three lodges, Lundy, Luscombe and Lee (and two more are on the way!)…
“The idea started with a weekend at the luxurious Button Quail campsite in South Africa seven years ago. There were proper beds, hot-water bottles, a loo and heated shower all in a beautiful safari tent: camping as I knew it did not compare! At last, I was forced to reconsider the unwavering anti-camping stance which I had held to ever since spending eight weeks under canvas on a glacier in arctic Sweden!
“When we found Longlands, in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it seemed the perfect location in which to offer a similar back-to-nature holiday to that which we had experienced in South Africa.”
Stay the Night: Longlands, Devon
Even the most committed urbanite cannot fail to be won over by Longlands. Opening on Friday in rural North Devon, right on the fringes of Exmoor National Park, this intimate retreat is the latest incarnation of the ever expanding “glamping” phenomenon.
Don’t be fooled by their canvas roofs; Longlands’ three sturdy lodges may look like tents but their stylish interiors and en-suite facilities will satisfy the softest of city dwellers. They combine all the romance of camping with the stay-at-home comforts of a country B&B.
Tucked into a sheltered valley with views across rolling hills to the sea, the lodges make a handy base for exploring the 17-acre property and the attractions on its doorstep, from Exmoor to Victorian resorts, cliff-top walks, and the wonderful beaches at Woolacombe and Croyde.
Self Catering Web Awards 2013
Whilst we didn’t win the Self Catering Awards it is lovely to have been chosen as one of the judges favourites. Here is what Lindsay from Rental Tonic had to say about us in her blog…
“As soon as I landed on the home page for Longlands Devon, and read the words “unplug, connect and revive” I almost felt my shoulders go down!
The copy is written in a really unique and personal style, and together with some fantastic imagery and branding it all helps to evoke a sense of rest and relaxation – exactly what a good holiday should be about.
I love the consistency of the branding, right through to the captions in the photo gallery, and each section of the website uses images to support the content – you almost know what the words say before you have even read them!
They also have a current blog to post their latest news, and encourage people to share the blog across their favourite networks as well as follow them on Facebook.
I would love to see more videos of this place, but more than anything I want to go Glamping in Devon!”