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Glamping holidays with children are possible!! For young families the Dome Garden is a glamping paradise: a secure, enclosed compound with a village atmosphere and lots of simple but effective things to entertain the kids, all within easy reach and in plain sight of your dome.
It’s mostly basic stuff; rope swings hanging from the trees, a short zip wire and even a wobbly tyre frame with a rope bridge – and then a lot of running around in between! Oh and no wifi! It all adds up to a simple but effective remedy to unplug your children from the virtual world so many inhabit.
Sometimes we catch sight of them, peering intently at the bark chippings that line the paths around the site. They squat on their haunches like so many old Turks sitting around discussing politics, and the state of the economy, and the tactics of Tavla.
No, it’s not.
It’s just a stone.
It’s a beetle.
Nope, its definitely a stone!!
Look. It moved
Etc etc etc…
It may seem small, but this stuff matters. It’s as as important to them as the bigger things are to us, like debating the football scores, or how business is doing, or where we send our kids to school.
And the fact that these children have only just met, no longer surprises us.
In two domes there are hanging beds – the kids’ favourite. Canvas cocoons that swing from the roof of the dome – there’s even one for babies. However, arguably the highlight is the twice weekly pizza night where they roll out and assemble their own pizzas!
But we haven’t forgotten the older kids. No, not an electronic games arcade, but a blistering set of bike tracks that will leave any kid on two wheels squealing for more and grinning from ear to ear. The final descent of the blue rated ‘Verderers Trail’ is enough to put a smile on the face of any child – be they 6 or 60!
But it’s not just about the kids. It’s about the mums with babies. So, yes, we have cots and highchairs, baby monitors and baby baths. But that’s not all…
When ours were tiny we went on holiday to Florida and the hotel we stayed in had a little Mum’s room – mostly occupied by dads, it has to be said. It was a refuge in moments of crisis and made our entire holiday so much more enjoyable. So for 2017 we will have our own version, the ‘babyshack’ we call it – a small shed equipped with the six things you wish you hadn’t left at home. .
If you want the full-on child experience, come in the half terms or holidays when it’s an amazing childfest with strings of tiny kids dash from one end of the site to the other. At the end of the day they slump exhausted in a heap, as the parents relax on the decks, sipping wine and chatting by the fires.
But if you want proper family time, try the lower seasons. Sometimes you may be lucky enough to have The Garden to yourselves and that’s when the birds come back from the forest to sit in the trees at the edge of the site, hooting and singing at dusk and at dawn.
A recent guest writing a piece for National Geographic Traveller magazine said, “This has been incredible. It’s the best family holiday we’ve ever had. We’ve come here as a family but felt like we are part of a village. We’ve met some lovely people and the children have spent hours playing with their new friends. Yet for all that, we’ve had more intense and intimate family time than we’ve ever had, anywhere we’ve ever been before. And all this has happened in just over two days. I don’t understand it at all.”