Tranquil, wholesome, creative: those are the words that sum up Marston Park, the campsite (or should that be glampsite?) situated around the edge of a Victorian lake in Somerset, two hours from London, opened just this year.
If you like your glamping extremely Instagrammable and with a few more comfortable measures in place than usual, Marston Park is the place. No need to pitch up here; spacious bell tents are perfectly positioned directly on the lake edge and are fully furnished with a double bed, ethnic rugs, bespoke lighting, a wood burning stove, outdoor fire pit and rustic finishing touches. There’s even fluffy towels, bath robes and complimentary Bramley toiletries (that you won’t be able to leave without purchasing a full-size bottle of), making it feel more boutique outdoor hotel than campsite.
The aim of Marston Park is to inspire creativity, so each tent is equipped with art materials and an easel – and when you see that view directly out of your tent door, you’ll be hard pushed not to be inspired to put paintbrush to canvas. There’s even an acoustic guitar if you feel compelled by a sing-song around the fire pit later on.
Let the creative juices continue to flow with the on-site workshops and classes, including yoga and meditation, sound baths, flower arranging, pottery making and plenty more.
If you’ve always been put off camping by the thought of heating up baked beans over a portable gas cooker every night, Marston Park has its own on-site restaurant and bar serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner every day – disco balls hang from the trees and you can enjoy live musical performances and DJ sets here, too. The dinner menu is hyper-seasonal and changes every day – we were treated to burgers and koftas during our stay – while the breakfast baps are worth every bite.
When you’re not painting the landscape (the sunsets truly are something to behold), walking around the grounds (say hi to the cows!) or chanting ‘om’ in a yoga class, there are pedalos to be taken out on the lake as well as a wood-fired hot tub and wild swimming pool to be dipped in.
If you’re looking for a totally unique experience, Marston Park is also home to one of 68 remaining Futuro Houses, the spaceship-looking holiday accommodation designed by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen in the 1960s. While this Futuro calls Marston Park home for a limited time, it is one of very few Futuro Houses in the entire world that you can actually spend a night in (most are owned privately or are in museums). This one was lovingly restored by artist Craig Barnes and, while pricey (stays start from £400 a night) a stay in the Futuro House is an experience you will not forget in a hurry (we can also promise you won’t be able to stop singing Sting’s ‘Englishman in New York’ the entire time… ‘I’m an alien, I’m a legal alien…’).
Overall, the vibe at Marston Park is laidback, friendly and relaxing. No need to get dolled up for dinner (although we were particularly fond of the lakeside vanity unit complete with mirrors and plug sockets), after a day in nature you’ll feel right at home here by the lake. As the website states, kids are welcome, but they aim to be a ‘fairly grown up place’ (dogs are also welcome).
TIP Make sure to venture into the charming nearby Frome during your stay, full of independent boutiques, stores and cafes. It’s also just 40 minutes from Somerset’s popular gems, Bath and Glastonbury.
You can visit Marston Park for the day for free all year round; accommodation is available May – October. Bell tents start from £120 a night; Futuro House from £400 a night. Book your stay at marstonpark.co.uk.
Review by Georgia Green