Family Glamping – a weekend in The Wagon at Puckshipton
Last month, as part of my 40th birthday celebrations, we travelled down to Wiltshire for the weekend to the fabulous Wagon at Puckshipton.
Isn’t it beautiful! When I looked into booking something, about 6 months before for my big celebration, it started off being a weekend for me and my hubby, in Paris, then after some thought, I realised I wanted a weekend with a difference with my family, and Otto. I thought I’d like to try glamping as we love our sleep so wanted comfy beds but equally wanted to go back to nature. I started off looking for a treehouse, and soon came across Canopy & Stars, which is an amazing company. Their website was so easy to use and I instantly had access to a wealth of glamping options both home and abroad.
I came across and decided on The Wagon in Puckshipton, near Pewsey, Wiltshire as it was just about the right amount of distance from Derbyshire (just under 3 hours) for us to get away from it all but a justifiable distance for a weekend. It also accommodated 2 adults 2 kids and a dog. PERFECT.
With a nod from the hubby and a moan from the kids – “What no electricity ALL weekend – no TV?” We don’t even watch that much TV! and it was booked!
I must admit on the run up to the weekend I thought lots about whether the kids would like it, would Otto be ok as he’s still quite young and would me and hubby get to relax. I didn’t need to worry. AT ALL!
It was mid September so the nights were still fairly light and we had a good drive down so it was still light when we arrived. Juliette, The owner met us there and she offered the perfect mix of showing us round but also leaving us to just get on with it too.
It was clear straight away that the perfect seclusion that we enjoyed at the Wagon allowed Otto to run free at all times. He’s still young at 18 months but he’s amazing at recall for his age and came back at a whistle. The Wagon was surrounded by trees so you could hear him ferreting about for sticks but he never ventured too far so he couldn’t see us. This was a real sign that he’s bonded with us and sees us as his family for life.
The Wagon itself was just beautiful – it was obvious that James Noble was a master craftsman as the attention to detail was stunning. The girls has a bunk bed one end of The Wagon and there was a comfy double for me and hubby the other end. The wood burning stove was fantastic and we all set about finding sticks to crank it up so we had hot water to wash up and for the (outside – more about that later) shower. The Wagon also has these amazing solar lamps that charge up during the day and gave us plenty of portable light when the sun went down. I read up on them when we got back and apparently they were invented in South Africa for when there were frequent power cuts. We have some in our house now too.
Not only were the solar lamps practical they looked equally as beautiful.
As the sun went down, I looked round at my family pottering around, the kids and hubby collecting kindling to start a fire, Otto sniffing about with dreams of running free already collecting in his head. This place was starting to infiltrate into our souls. Osmosis of the setting and serenity taking place before our eyes.
Before we knew it a fire had been made and the smell of toasted marshmallows was filling the air. It was still pretty balmy for September so we sat round the fire and before we knew it were talking about the science of the best size of marshmallow for toasting, not a mention of TV and phones had been switched off for the weeknd. Discarding them until we got home was amazingly therapeutic.
We flopped into bed that night feeling fully content, smokey hair, fresh air in our lungs and love for this place in our hearts. The only thing that could have woken us was Otto’s animated dreams. If he could speak I think he would have given us a thousand thankyous.
The next day was a fabulous mix of messing about in boats that came with the hire of The Wagon and exploring the local walks, in abundance from our doorstep. I thought I could handle the rowing boat and just managed to go round in circles so had to get rescued by the others in the canoe. We fell about laughing as I proved I wasn’t quite as ” Swallows and Amazons” as I first confessed to being.
There were plenty of walks from the Wagon and we loved the beauty of the surrounding countryside. We found an amazing horse chestnut tree nearby and the kids excitement for finding fresh conkers on the ground was lovely to see as they filled their boots with nature’s bounty. All this with regular glimpses of the famous white horses of the Wiltshire landscape.
Later in the afternoon we cranked up the wooden burner inside The Wagon again so we had hot water for the shower and to wash up. To be totally honest it took a bit of courage (and a beer at the local pub) to work up to the shower as it was outside in the trees just behind The Wagon. I don’t know why I was bothered though because as soon as I stepped in it was just amazing. The girls soon joined me and squeals of delight ensued as we looked up and felt the exhilaration of showering al fresco. It reminded me of travelling round the Yucatan Peninsula in my early 20’s and regularly showering with lizards for company.
That evening we fired up the pizza oven that’s just near The Wagon. We cheated and took pizzas from the supermarket ( and from a well know pizza chain at that – other brands are available) but oh my goodness – they tasted just amazing. Proper wood- fired pizza (washed down with a couple of glasses of Prosecco for the grown – ups – it would be rude not too) . We were in heaven.
Another evening of toasted marshmallows and chatting round the fire and modern life seemed a million miles away. The “risk’ had paid off. We all LOVED it. My littlest little loved the washing up outside and trying different food cooked in different ways. ” I love surviving”, she said.
My bookworm biggest little loved lying back in the hammock with her book. She’d never been in a hammock, or messed about in boats. I could almost see the memories filling up in her little head.
We had another amazing night’s sleep and then it was nearly time to leave which we were all really sad about. This weekend had been the perfect retreat from everyday life for ALL of us. The girls got chance to be in the middle of nature, Otto ran free and fill up his store of “best sniffs”. We as a couple got to appreciate and look at what really matters to us in full technicolour, without a theme park or sugar coated fabricated “day out” in sight. Most of all this weekend has been afforable and in all aspects more valuable then we could ever have imagined. If you can, please do something like this with your littles, your partner, your doggy or all three. You will not regret it.
The Wagon was the perfect choice for us, so much so we have booked again for next year. Perfect serenity in A World that can sometimes be challenging just by the nature of its speed and intensity. Memories are so important, make them, keep them and hold onto them. These guys are my World, and sometimes stripping back to the bare minimum just reinforces how important your World is and how important memories are to family life.
I’ll leave you with his image that sums up how I felt at the end of the weekend. I would definitely recommend a break with Canopy & Stars for the perfect Family Glamping Weekend! If in doubt just go for it!