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Katrina Willis

Katrina Willis

Katrina founded Beautiful Bells in 2013.
She left the corporate world behind and now spends her
summers wielding a lump hammer in a field.
She spends her winters working in her PJ's or travelling.
Lover of twinkly lights, flowers and design.

Glamping: Try before you buy

Glamping: The urban dictionary describes it as: ‘a form of camping involving accommodation and facilities more luxurious than those associated with traditional camping: glamping is likely to satisfy any city slicker seeking a little refuge in nature - without foregoing any of life’s luxuries’ Explore how we can help you test out a bell tent before you commit to purchasing one.

I love camping. I love sitting around a camp fire in the evening talking rubbish. Playing games and yes, drinking too much. I love the smell of campfire on my clothes, the amazing dinners we manage to cook and looking at the stars..
But these days when I camp I want to glamp. And it’s not that I’m posh, worried about breaking a nail, scared of spiders, in need of my hair straighteners or that I dislike ‘normal’ camping.

It’s not all about the pretty lights and the bunting either. Although I’ll freely admit to a love of twinkly lights.

Roll back 6 years and I’d have sworn my beaten old VW was just as much glamping as a bell tent. The camper was serious luxury after the trailer tent AND you could just about manage to make a cup of tea without getting out of bed.
So where the trailer tent had gained initial appeal over an old style 4 man tent with the head height, the van won me over for ease of having your home with you. Magical mystery tours, impromptu camp outs and the passing wave from a fellow VW driver.

But then came the labour of love keeping it on the road, the National Breakdown recovery we daren’t leave home without and yes, the jump starts at the end of the weekend because everyone had the music on for far too long. Giddy Up Go, as our camper is called, has probably cost the equivalent of a new kidney in the last 15 years. She’s also shockingly bad at going up hills.

 

These days I want to glamp because I want enough room to move about without having to shift ‘stuff’ from one spot to another all weekend, just to be able to put the bed down. I want to be able to lie on my bed with the sides of my bell tent rolled up and suffer my hangover in comfort. Things the camper didn’t offer.

BBT (before bell tents) we had a whole life of festivals, of our friends acquiring new campers, various vans, pop up caravans (yes and they are truly amazing), new tents, new lights, new heatproof window blinds or a new floor fitted.
What generally happened when they arrived, pitched up and made camp, was a queue of other dedicated campers, always looking for a way to make their life a little bit easier, waiting in the wings to ooh and ahh at the latest invention.

 

Glamping, my friends, is just evolution with a bit of show and shine thrown in for good measure.

 

The trouble all this camping ‘stuff ‘ has to live somewhere and for a lot of people it’s not practical.

Some people don’t have the space to store everything, or to dry a bell tent, OR they’ve never really camped before, so they aren’t sure if they’ll like it (yes I am about to insert a shameless business plug).
Space: If you haven’t got it, you haven’t got it. There’s not really much you can do about that, unless you have someone willing to store it for you.
Cost: If you’re new to camping, it’s a lot of money to find out you don’t enjoy something.

 

(Shameless plug approaching)

 

This is where we come in.

 

Not only do we cater for weddings, events, glamping, hen parties and so on, we also offer a self-collect service. So you can come and pick a tent up from us. You pitch it yourself, and then drop it back at the end of the weekend. Yes you can absolutely hire us to come out and set up the tent for you, but if you are seriously thinking about the investment of a new bell tent then you need the experience of setting it up.
Self collect also offers you the luxury of not needing to dry the tent if it’s a rainy weekend, you drop it back to us, and we deal with the wet canvas.

 

Try before you buy, or even try because you can’t be bothered to dig out your own tent. Any which reason is fine by us!

 

When you self collect we will give you some instructions, and some bunting (for the campsite show and shine). In return we will expect a post erection picture to see how you did and we will ask how long it took you to get it up – no puns intended!

 

We’ve been offering self collect for 2 full seasons now, and we’ve had multiple hirers go off and buy a tent afterwards, and some that have worked out they really don’t have a vehicle big enough for moving so much stiff on a regular basis, or that they just don’t want to have to put the tent up themselves.
Self collect starts from £135 for a 2 night hire period, and If you’d like to know more – just drop us an email.

 

Katrina

 

PS: Running a glamping business is awesome. The downside however is we don’t really get to camp much now as we’re a bit busy setting up tents for other people. These days if we camp, it’s in our back garden, and a back garden camp out should never be sniffed at!

 

Pictures of Giddy Up Go, me camping and the dog hiding in the van to go camping 🙂

 


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