Glamping at Gibside
- Debbie Schrieber
- Assistant Editor of the National Trust Magazine
- A very snowy Gibside campsite
How many people can say they‘ve slept in a yurt, in Gateshead, in December? Not many. Sounds slightly mad? Perhaps. But it turned out to be one of the most relaxing experiences I’ve had in a long time. As an uninitiated camper – my memories of pitching a tent date back to childhood sleepovers in the garden – I was slightly scared about sleeping outdoors, in the snow, but I needn’t have worried.
My husband and I arrived at the Gibside Estate, where we met tenant farmer Alistair Gibson and founder of West Wood Yurts. We loaded our luggage (not that you need much, the yurts are kitted out with all the essentials) into a 4x4 and Alistair drove us the short scenic distance into the woods and towards our secluded get-away.
The six Mongolian yurts are situated on the edge of a triple SSI (site of special scientific interest), which is great for wildlife enthusiasts, as deer, bats and red kite abound – there’s even a small population of red squirrels if you look hard enough. In the distance the lights of Newcastle and Gateshead create a warm and comforting glow but the only sounds you’ll hear are of the wind rushing through the trees and deer running through the woods.
Home from home
Inside, the yurt is warm, spacious and surprisingly cosy. It’s decked out with futons, lanterns, a gas hob and grill, clothing storage and a cool-box, while a wood-burning stove provides a generous amount of heat and the opportunity to toast marshmallows. This is for those who like to camp in style. Solar panels mean you can charge your phone and see-through panel at the very top of the yurt allows you to gaze at the stars from the comfort of your bed. Glamping is not cheating, it’s just camping without the discomfort. The yurt was so well insulated that the heat from the wood-burning stove didn’t melt the snow on the roof, making it our very own winter wonderland.
And with plans to introduce a pizza oven and hot tub, we’ll definitely be back in the summer!