In search of an easy getaway near Bristol, Angharad Paull and her Bristol Brood go glamping in Devon at Andrewshayes Holiday Park. The stay was gifted by Andrewshayes in return for a review, but as always views are my own.
Glamping in Devon at Andrewshayes Holiday Park
I’ll be honest, up until Andrewshayes I’d tended to shy away from camping or glamping with our two kids. As far as holiday options go, putting myself in a situation where I’m less comfortable, with a highly-increased possibility that I’ll lose even more daily sleep, has always put the fear in me.
But, camping is in my bones. I spent many summers being loaded up into a car, wedged in amongst French beer with my two brothers, every conceivable piece of camping equipment in tow. The freedom, the outdoor lifestyle and even the shower block etiquette are all ingrained somewhere in my soul.
Rose-tinted perhaps, because of course at that age, all you have to do is be transported, often pyjama-clad, to your camping destination. It’s a bit of a different story for the adults in charge, who have to create a home under canvas, but it’s something I am keen for my own children to experience (we’ve since done a mega camping road trip in France!)
Camping is also at the cheaper end of the school holiday price spectrum and how I envisage we may spend lots of our future holidays. And hunkering down under the stars in a campsite near Bristol, just makes life a little bit easier for this Bristol brood.
Andrewshayes Glamping Pods, Devon
So, when I was offered the chance for a free stay in one of Andrewshayes Glamping Pods in exchange for a review, I leapt at the chance. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to experience camping, with a bit of extra comfort and just enough rustic panache to get our heads around living in a confined space with our kiddos for a few days! No need to unpack, and set up a tent, blow up a lilo or dig out an extremely long extension cable, just rock up with bedding, a cooking stove and equipment (ok I failed on the pan front, but we managed!) and some food and drink and you’re away!
Plus, it looked like a totally idyllic spot – the site is in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the edge of the Blackdown Hills near Axminster in East Devon. For Bristolians, it’s within easy reach of the city (an hour and a half if you go via the M5, or just under two hours if you take the scenic back roads along the A37 to avoid potential holiday traffic), and therefore a really doable weekend away in the West Country.
We rolled into Andrewshayes Holiday Park around seven in the evening and got hold of a camp warden as reception was shut. He led us to the Glamping Pod that was to be our home for the early May Bank Holiday weekend. Being handed the keys to the Glamping Pod is like being made an honorary resident of Hobbiton – the wooden oval pod, with its miniature window, sits in a large patch of green, with its own garden path and outside decking area, complete with picnic table. There are three to choose from, each overlooking glorious rolling hills – a patchwork of varying shades of green and munching cows. Every pod has fenced-off sides to help provide enough privacy from your camping neighbours (although this slightly blocked out the evening sun on ours – remedied by sitting on the fence!)
Image – Glamping pods and glorious Devon countryside at Andrewshayes, campsite near Bristol
Two lockable glass doors open into a clean, snug space that uses nifty seating/storage to create extra space. The sitting area has a side table for the kettle and the bedroom had two single pull out beds which slide out from underneath the double above (I’d highly recommend pulling them out as far as they will go to avoid bumped noggins in the night). There’s also a plug socket, lights and several hooks dotted about to hang your stuff on, although I’d have loved a little bedside shelf to place my morning tea/evening Line-of-Duty-accompanying wine on. The Glamping Pod was surprisingly toasty on what was quite a chilly weekend and it came with a little electric heater to take the edge of the cold mornings.
Arriving back to our pod on the second night, we were pleasantly surprised with the delivery of a disposable BBQ on our deck. This was perfect timing for our sausage baps, gigantic marshmallows (I don’t recommend before bedtime, turns out they’re not a great sleep aid for kiddos) and evening wine on our private deck.
From the pods it’s just a short stroll, scoot or cycle to the shower, toilet and launderette block, with hot showers, a couple of spacious family rooms, fridge freezer and microwave (super handy for warming milk bottles for our fussy youngest).
Glamping in Devon: about Andrewshayes Holiday Park
Andrewshayes Holiday Park is a family business that has been going for 60 years. The grandparents of our lovely host Clare opened the site on their farm following the war to supplement their income and put signs out on the road to encourage campers. Today, lots of the family members live onsite and help out with the day-to-day running of the park. Located just 6 miles from Seaton and 8.5 miles from Lyme Regis, the campsite makes a great spot to explore Britain’s spectacular Jurassic coastline and Blackdown Hills.
The site is geared up for families with a large, heated indoor swimming pool, childrens’ playground (perfectly positioned next to tables in front of the bar for your evening sundowner while they play), toddler soft play area and arcade-style games room. There’s an onsite shop should you need to pick up any essentials, otherwise the restaurant serves pizzas, slushies, fish and chips and burgers which can be eaten in or taken away. It also does a booming bingo night – the Sunday we were there it was packed with bingo-loving campers keen to tick off their Legs Eleven!
For those with pooches in tow, you’ll find a dog-friendly walking area with sweeping countryside views, however animals are not allowed in the Glamping Pods. Not to worry though if you like the look of the site but want to bring a woofa, or if you’re after a bit more luxury during your stay, Andrewshayes has pitches for touring caravans, motorhomes, mobile homes (some with hot tub) and are currently in the process of adding some luxury static caravans to the site, which will hopefully be ready by this summer.
Glamping in Devon at Andrewshayes – final thoughts on this campsite near Bristol
Living in Bristol, I’m always hearing people asking for a family-friendly campsite near Bristol. Being under two hours away from the city, close to the coast with an onsite pool, playground and gorgeous countryside views, it’s the perfect weekend getaway for families with kids.
For those nervous to camp under canvas with their offspring, a Glamping Pod is a great way to have a go at camping, without fully committing to the less-popular side of it – e.g putting a tent up and down. The creature comforts that exist in the pod offer a little bit of luxury and our kids absolutely loved it – I heard from my youngest’s nursery that she’d initiated a glamping pod game to play with her friends, meaning the experience really struck a chord, which is exactly what I wanted to happen!
There’s so much to do in the area, I wouldn’t hesitate to go back. If you’re looking to go glamping in Devon, the West Country or close to the seaside, somewhere that’s easy to reach from Bristol – I can heartily recommend Andrewshayes.
Things to do at Andrewshayes Holiday Park
Dinner and drinks (they serve Salcombe Gin – big tick in my book) at the onsite restaurant while kids play in the park.
Evening: campsite chill-out
Swim in the campsite pool followed by BBQ at pod…
Community breakfast in Dalwood (once a month)
As we were tidying up, Clare invited us along to a community breakfast in the village of Dalwood. This lovely-sounding event takes place once a month and welcomes all for a fry-up.
- For ideas on ways to spend your time exploring the area, check out my weekend itinerary on Things to do in East Devon with kids.
- For tons of suggestions for things to do in the area, fabulous walks, family days out, travel ideas, festivals and more in the West Country check out flipflopsorwellies.co.uk
- If you like exploring Devon, you might also like my post on family-friendly things to do near Dartmouth.
- In need of a tent? We love our Berghaus Air 8 tent – read my review here.
- The best campsites near Bristol: recommended by families
Do you have a favourite campsite near Bristol – comment below, I’m going to try as many as I can!