Glamping is quite obviously more popular than ever this year, the year of the staycation, but it’s popularity was on the rise anyway as an alternative UK break. Along with some friends we decided to do a Glamping trip for a joint birthday celebration, and were quite surprised that with only a months notice we managed to find availability for Hill Top Huts Glamping in Teesdale.
At just £120 (roughly, I can’t remember exactly) it seemed quite a bargain for a full weekend, 2 night stay. Considering how many places like this have really increased prices this year we thought this was more than reasonable, and paid the £25 deposit initially, then the remaining a couple of weeks before we went.
For this you get your Hill top glamping pod, each of which sleeps either 2 or 4 people, and for extra costs you can add on bedding and cutlery.
I have to be honest this trip kind of crept up on us, after a week in the Lakes, and a busy weekend that followed I didn’t feel as prepared as I usually do which isn’t like me at all. I was scouring the website on the day we were going while I waited for Kieran to finish work to see what was provided and what we needed to take.
We arrived in the evening on the Friday night, which was about an hours drive from us in Newcastle, and a bit longer for our friends coming from Amble. The pods are on site of the Moorcock Inn in Teesdale, so you pick up your key from the bar. You can then drive up to the loading/unloading bay to carry your stuff into the pod.
I have done glamping before, but in shepherd huts that had an en suite bathroom, and these pods aren’t quite that luxurious, but they aren’t meant to be and they are exactly what we were after for this trip.
Ours had a static double bed that was sectioned off from the rest of the pod, two seating and table areas that folded down to make two single beds, a shelving unit, and a mini kitchen area which had a small fridge, toaster and a kettle.
It was perfect and had everything we needed. I didn’t realise at first but we actually booked the accessible pod, which is why it had quite a bit of space and a ramp up to it. Our friends were in a different pod and their bed was a double, but it wasn’t static like ours so they had to fold it up and out again each day.
The bedding was in the pod for us to make up, Covid and all that, and we hadn’t gone for cutlery as I have a full picnic basket (that I FORGOT), but if you do it comes in a basket with everything you need included.
The outside area of the pods is lovely, with a small sheltered cover in the entranceway of the double doors, and two block seats that also act as storage. Each pod has a concrete slab for barbecuing, and a picnic bench, and each semi circle of 6 has a drinking water station and bin.
There are I think 12 pods in total, in two semi circles of 6, with an adjacent car park all of which sprawls up the hill out the back of the pub. The facilities block is a very short walk away by the car park and has male and female showers, toilets, a big mirror, and a washing up station too. I was a bit nervous what these would be like but have to say they were really clean, and warm thankfully as they were pumping heat in.
Our first night I was so so tired after a busy few days, that after a quick trip to Morrisons which was just 10 minutes away in Barnard Castle – cute little town by the way – where we also picked up a Chinese takeaway, I took myself to bed for a nap before Hannah and Dale arrived. The mattress was quite hard, and you get one pillow each so if you need more than this you’re best to take it yourself, however I was flat out.
I felt like a new woman the next day and it was lovely to have our coffee outside with a view of the sunset coming up over the hills behind us. Once we were all up we made breakfast, bacon and sausage sarnies over the camp stove.
We had such good weather on the Saturday, we took ourselves off to High Force waterfall for a walk along to it, which costs £2 to the local council to maintain the paths, and then a longer free walk by the river over the top of it. It’s pretty impressive, and only about a ten minute drive from Hill Top Huts so easily done in half a day or less depending how far you want to walk. I will do a full blog post on this another time, as it’s a great walk for with dogs.
Back at the huts we went into the pub for a few drinks. It was reasonably priced and the staff took our booking for dinner that night in the restaurant. There is usually an on site shop that sells everything you might need, including disposable BBQ’s, but due to COVID it’s currently closed.
Good job Dale was prepared and brought a few, as after some drinks in the bar we went back to the hut and got one lit to make lunch. The sun was shining and although it was a bit windy up high, the cover provided by the huts meant we were sheltered and it was glorious sitting in the sun for a few hours eating and drinking.
Some of the people in the huts around us started to come back from days out or walks, and a good few of them had dogs with them. You can take dogs to the huts but you need to say when you’re booking. We decided to leave Arthur at home for this weekend but I would definitely take him next time. Aside from the sheep jumping over the wall from the field at one point, it was very secure.
Dinner in the pub that evening was very nice, there are tables in the bar but another side room with more in to allow for social distancing. The menu is quite big and includes their famous steaks which we all had with a bottle of red.
We woke up on our last day to rain, but we still made breakfast outside on the camp stove. I think with anything like this you have to expect and accept the weather, but I’m glad we got a really sunny day on the Saturday.
What I forgot to mention before is that all the Hill Top Huts glamping pods have a proper heater in them, so they were so cosy and warm even if it was cold and windy outside. This again made it significantly better than I thought they would be and it definitely made a difference when the temperature cooled off, for which I was very grateful.
Check out is easy, you just pack your car up, strip the bedding and put it all into a pillowcase, before locking up and handing the key in back at the pub. It was as simple as that.
I’m so glad we did it as a simple getaway weekend like that was a lot of fun, and very reasonable. I think we all said since then we would go back and take the dogs with us, as it was very dog friendly. My biggest worry, the toilets, shouldn’t have been a worry at all and even when it was cold outside the block was heated so it was totally fine.
Overall I would definitely recommend Hill Top Huts Glamping pods for a trip not too far from Newcastle. If I can do it without an en suite which I know is some people biggest worry, then you can. It really was a lot of fun. You can have a browse of the individual pods directly on their website here.
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