Last weekend we filled our car with pretty, warm bedding and off we drove, down the M40, onto the M25 and Kentward bound. And because we had filled our car beyond breaking point with pillows, duvets, gumboots and raincoats, we only had a tiny bit of room to fit a small box of food and cooking gear in – and not a patch of room for a tent!
Enter the brilliant Steve, from Surrey Bell Tents, who fully helped us out in the glamping bell tent department. I’ve always wanted to try out a bell tent before committing to buying one – and the rental option seemed like an obvious place to start.
The best thing about Steve’s outfit is they just charge a flat rate for tent rental and delivery within Surrey, Sussex and Kent. So you don’t have to write and ask them for a quote. You know right up front what the cost will be (from £150 to £230 for 2 nights). So we arranged a package – three single airbeds, tent, fairy lights. Simple! And we arranged a time – 3pm Saturday. Easy!
And down we drove, met Steve at the campsite at 3, the tent went up swiftly, airbeds pumped up – and I set about making the beds and arranging who would sleep where – it certainly was a big tent with plenty of room for beds, bags and food!
The tent was such a huge hit – we had loads of toddler tresspassers and preschool vandals who ransacked it! Some were even caught snuggling into the girls’ sleeping bags. But we had a huge laugh because they’d taken their shoes off and lined them up neatly on the persian carpet by the front door!!
Astrid then took it upon herself to guard the tent. Not before I’d made it pretty again and taken a few photos – when Edith came in and jumped on the beds and caused havoc! The tent was like a wonderful play tardis for the kids – it just invited them to come in and make a mess and most importantly, have a great time.
Meanwhile, parents gathered around the camp fire, gin and tonics in IKEA picnic cups. Some parents sipped red wine from plastic martini glasses, occasionally making sure none of the children were getting too close to the pond, or that none of them went too fast down the hill in the amazing go-kart one of the parents had made.
The kids had found a very dark woods just behind the camp with a steep traverse and off they went taking the torches with them for a huge adventure – the sight of an adult would cause them to scatter, whispering loudly, grown ups, quick, run!
James and Jez manned the camp grill, cooking sausages, baked potatoes and a warming chicken and barley stew.
And the kids all ran around like mad things until eleven o’clock! Eleven o’clock indeed.
The next morning kids all up at 6.30 – time for scrambled eggs and toast and coffee all made on the camp fire. More children in the tent. This time Astrid and Edith specially invited just their friends in to come and have a look. And play mums and dads or Kings and Queens. And be in each others’ gangs. While the parents sat around the fire, eating, laughing, drinking hot drinks – and just enjoying being outside in some rare English Summer sunshine.
We all had such a great time – many thanks to Steve at Surrey Bell Tents for sponsoring A&B with the fabulous bell tent.