A weekend in Blackpool? A typical British pastime. Yet for me, this was to be a first. In my younger years my parents would always take us south to places like Devon or Cornwall. If it wasn’t south then it was east to Norfolk or Skegness or once upon a time in the west at a place called Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire.
A holiday in the north of England has remained untouched for pretty much my whole lifetime (if you exclude the odd away day with Leicester City). We got in touch with a lovely man named Alex, owner of Stanley Villa Glamping, in order to put that right.
Neither of us had experienced glamping before but both of us loaded the car with excitement on the morning of departure. Previous camping trips in years gone by had been anything from clear skies and activities through to torrential rain and dangerous midnight trips to the toilet.
Glamping is a bit different though, essentially you have your home comforts and the odd luxury with all the thrill of the great outdoors. We made the hour and a half journey to Lancashire with the weather holding up bearing just the odd drizzle of rain.
Stanley Villa Farm is easy enough to find. We took a detour near FC Fylde’s impressive stadium to grab some essentials from the local Morrisons before heading back in the opposite direction to the site.
A friendly guy introduced himself as the site caretaker and gave us an explanation of all the amenities, site information and which pod we would be allocated. Easy enough so far as we headed over to the picturesque lakeside lodge to stash our food in the fridge.
The lodge, by the way, is superb. With the view looking out onto the lake it’s a stunning place to relax, take a shower and make yourself a complimentary hot drink. Comfortable sofas with plug sockets within reach are ideal for catching up on any work using the laptop or to charge phones.
Then there’s the vending machines providing chocolate and crisps, handily available 24 hours as the lodge never closes. We headed over to a small hut just beside the lake to grab a bag of firewood for £5 – do bring exact money as it has to be dropped into the safe via an envelope.
We were also kindly given a bag of charcoal briquettes that a previous glamper had left behind – result! As the evening was getting on thoughts were turning to lighting up the fire and getting some food on the go.
As we cracked open a bottle of red wine and sat toasting marshmallows having devoured our Pork Steaks with Mustard, Chive and Cider Cream sauce (click the link for the full recipe) we were treated to the most incredible sunset over the lake.
Alex, the site owner, stopped by to have a chat and welcome us. It’s always nice to see owners interact with customers especially as the site, for the majority of the time, is unmanned. Handily Alex is just a phone call away should you need anything.
As everyone relaxed outside their pods enjoying the sunset, it really came back to me how much i’ve missed this experience. Fair enough I stank of smoke and had washing up to do, but you get the picture.
So, what about the pods themselves? Well these are far better than a tent that’s for sure. The pod features two beds, a small light and a dustpan and brush. That’s pretty much it. Along with some furnishings such as blinds and coat hooks – that’s all you need. Simple. The pod was lovely and warm with the sunset outside having given way to a downpour. We slept very well.
Waking up in the morning to a view across the fields was pleasing. What wasn’t so pleasing was that the weather had let me down – drizzle! Trying foolishly to light a fire with even a hint of damp is never a good idea – the breakfast pancakes that I had planned got placed on hold.
Instead, we headed to the shower block. I had been a bit nervous at the site of a blue tap on the shower – I was expecting a cold rush. Appearances can be deceptive though as warm water came down from above making my morning a lot better than it had started!
With that, we checked out by simply leaving our key in the door of the pod and heading off to Blackpool for a day of fun and games. Glamping takes away everything that’s annoying about camping – the tent, the uncomfortable facilities, the storage for food to name a few.
A popular location such as Blackpool is notorious for high accomodation prices. Staying at Stanley Villa Farm will set you back a cool £49 per pod per night. Now if that’s not value, I don’t know what is. Enjoy the great outdoors in complete comfort – we can’t wait to head back to Blackpool, we know where we’ll be staying…
Nearest Train Station: Kirkham and Wesham