Have you ever met someone and realised they're living their dream?
That’s what Tom and Lou, the owner’s of Banbury Meadow, are doing. We were driving through Somerset on our way back from a family holiday in Cornwall and the weather was just too goddamn beautiful to miss. We decided we would use the one night we had left before going back to work and stay the night. We googled places nearby and found Banbury Meadow Glamping. We called, doubtful that they would have space at such short notice, but thankfully for us they did and were thrilled to have us.
We pulled into a gate off a narrow country lane, parked up, and took in the meadow; tall swaying grass, heavy with pollen and yellow flowers. Two yurts, a comfortable distance away from one another, sat in the middle of the meadow. On the left was a rectangular marquee and to the right a fantastic view across the valley and out towards Glastonbury.
We were greeted by Tom and Lou, both with the healthy pink cheeks and tanned arms of people who spend all their time outdoors. They showed us into the marquee which turned out the be a kitchen, dining room and lounge...and I mean actually! There were two twee Laura Ashley sofas at one end and a dining table set for 8 at the other. They had fitted a kitchen sideboard, stocked with everything you’d need to cook up a feast, including basic ingredients that we were welcome to use, and the dresser included everything from crockery to cocktail glasses.
They then took us round to two small wooden structures. One was the shower, rigged up to a hot water boiler and with perfect pressure. The other was the compost loo. Although the first time using it the feeling of a light breeze wafting up your unmentionables is a little unnerving, you quickly get used to it and it was incredibly clean and odourless.
Finally they showed us to our yurt. Set up outside with its own table and chairs and fire pit, you go through the hobbit sized green door and into a boudoir fit for Arabian royalty! I think the first words out of my mouth were...
“Bloody hell! This is not what i expected!”
...But with hindsight I’m not sure why. Every detail of the glamping set up at Banbury Meadow has been chosen with the utmost care by Tom and Lou.
The kitchen cabinets that were custom made and fully stocked, their former family dining table that had been cleaned up, and the fluffiest of white towels that lay on the bed. Lou herself has researched and sourced every unique piece in the yurt and curated the look she calls ‘Colonial’. Tom and Lou’s respect for the meadow, and the outdoors in general, is evident throughout. They use Ecover hand soap and washing up liquid, and Oxfam's ‘Faith in Nature’ shower products, all to minimise the effect of chemicals washing down the drain.
As hosts Tom and Lou were the perfect balance of friendly and inquisitive, and absent. Their enthusiasm for this business venture shone through during our welcome tour and our comfort as guest was of the utmost importance to them. We loved talking to them about how they had created every detail and enjoyed telling them about our upcoming trip.
Tom and Lou themselves live on-site (although subtly out of sight) in the cabin home they built for themselves and their teenage daughters. Their existence is self-contained, sustainable and welcoming. Even the quote on the cushions on the bed seem to communicate their family motto “Non magni pendis quia contigit”...
“One does not know the value of things easily attained”