Three glamping sites where sleeping under the stars won't keep you awake at night | The Sun

SLEEP under the stars without compromising on a good night’s kip with these outdoor wonders.

Fabulous magazine visit sites in Kent, Sussex and Hertfordshire.

Glamping in Elmley

A unique corner of Kent charms writer Emma Ledger with nature in abundance.

THE PAD Even if you’ve decided camping is not for you, don’t rule out a bell tent.

Big enough to walk around in, Elmley’s canvas structures sleep up to four and come with carpeted floor, a huge comfy bed, plush sofa and some even have that all-important electricity.

This is the UK’s only nature reserve where you can sleep over, and each tent has outdoor furniture to soak up the wildlife.

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There’s a fire pit for marshmallow toasting, and the communal, open-air kitchen is fully stocked with hot drinks, home-made pickles and everything you could need to make dinner.

Yes, you have to leave your tent for water or to have a wee or shower, but that’s all part of the fun (we promise!). Dogs are not allowed, butexpect chickens pecking around your tent.

EXPLORE This is the epitome of off the beaten track and, it takes 15 minutes to slowly drive from Elmley’s entrance to your parking spot.

A huge array of birdlife, cows and sheep roam 3,300 acres of wonderful wilderness.

Rent binoculars for £5 per day to take a closer look from one of Elmley’s hides.

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Here with kids? Nature guide Abbie Burrows runs great free children’s activities.

If the sun shines, drive 20 minutes to secluded Shellness Beach in Leysdown, brimming with seashells for little ones to marvel at.

Half an hour in the other direction is the pretty town of Faversham, home to Britain’s oldest brewery, Shepherd Neame.

Book a beer-tasting tour for £20 (Shepherdneame.co.uk/brewery).

REFUEL At Kingshill Barn, Elmley’s beautiful restaurant, local and seasonal might as well be enshrined as law.

We loved the delicious beetroot cured trout, £8.50, followed by the equally yummy minute steak with chimichurri sauce, £19.

Kids can feast on three courses for just £8, including ice cream for pudding.

Phone in the morning for breakfast to be delivered straight to your tent the next day – the doorstep bacon sarnie, £6, is perfection.

In nearby hamlet Harty don’t miss The Ferry House Inn, which serves up delights such as Kentish lamb rump and pan-fried partridge in a beautiful setting. Two courses cost £35 (Theferryhouse.co.uk).

BOOK IT Bell tents cost from £125 a night. There are also hotel rooms, shepherds huts and a farmhouse available on the reserve (Elmleynaturereserve.co.uk).

Cabining in Sedlescombe

Digitally detox in secluded log cabins in the Sussex countryside, says Fashion Director Tracey Lea Sayer.

THE PAD This family-run project was a labour of love for owners Steve and Ruth, who built everything from scratch using recycled materials.

Set in an Area Of Outstanding Natural beauty, the cabins are nestled in woodland and sleep up to four people.

We stayed in The Rabbit Warren, which has a kitchen, bijou shower room, comfy beds and reading nook.

Dogs are welcome on leads and can be let off in the woods for a two-hour walk around the reservoir.

Forest games designed by the couple’s 12-year-old son Harrison help make the most of the great outdoors.

Come nightfall, build a campfire in the old washing machine drum outside your cabin to warm the cockles.

EXPLORE Battle Abbey, built on the site of the Battle of Hastings, has atmospheric ruins and beautiful gardens, plus a free walking tour where you can see exactly where King Harold fell to his death in 1066.

Family tickets are £42.90 for two adults and up to three kids (English-heritage.org.uk).

At coastal gem Hastings – a 20-minute drive – you can rummage to your heart’s content in vintage and bric-a-brac shops before hitting the seafront for unbeatable ice cream from Di Pola’s, from £1.50 (Facebook.com/dipolas).

Nearby Bewl Water has a reservoir for an open water swim, £12 per person, plus adventure playground, soft play, aqua park course of inflatables and water sports, including stand up paddle boarding lessons, £30 for 90 minutes (Bewlwater.co.uk).

REFUEL Locally sourced breakfast boxes can be delivered to your door – choose from the continental, £22, or English, £25. Find good pub grub at The Great House in Hawkhurst, a 20-minute drive.

We loved chilli and coriander squid, £7.95, and pizza piled high with nduja, chicken, roquito peppers and mozzarella, £14 (Elitepubs.com).

If you fancy a night in, let your hosts know 24 hours in advance and they’ll provide a one-pot supper of chilli, curry or pie. It costs £25, feeds a family of four and comes with crusty bread.

BOOK IT A two-night stay in a log cabin sleeping four people costs from £280 (Sevenacrewoods.co.uk).

Glam Podding in Hertford

Get the run of an idyllic farm that will delight both children and big kids, says writer Sofia Zagzoule.

THE PAD Choose from two glamping pods or a safari tent complete with roll-top bath at Hertfordshire’s Foxholes Farm.

Each comes with a private outdoor hot tub with panoramic rural views.

The Chicken Coop, where we stayed, sleeps four, has a brilliantly equipped kitchen, beds so comfy that they are hard to leave and a barbecue on a veranda overlooking a lake.

As glampers, we gained after-hours access to the farm to treat the animals with generous bags of animal feed.

As well as always-eager goats, there are alpacas, pigs, cows, lambs, donkeys, ducks, chickens and a newly arrived horse named Annie.

EXPLORE The farm at Foxholes also has a huge covered sandpit, playground, toy tractors and trucks, and a lovely cafe.

Fancy a long walk? Nearby Hertford Heath runs free guided walks and workshops on its 28 hectares (Hertswildlifetrust.org.uk).

The grounds of Hertford Castle are freely open to the public and are ideal for a picnic alongside the River Lea (Hertfordcastle.co.uk).

Plus there are walking trails to enjoy, such as the Chadwell Way Sculpture Trail.

White lions, tigers and snow leopards live at the Paradise Wildlife Park close by in Broxbourne where you can feed the penguins and also see meerkats, wolves, monkeys, lemurs and in summer, take a dip in the Paradise Lagoon. Adult tickets cost from £24, children are £22 and under-twos go free (Pwpark.com).

REFUEL Locally sourced food boxes from the on-site farm shop can be delivered straight to the fridge in your pod (Foxholesfarm.com/shop).

The barbecue meat box for four, £30, was so generous we had heaps of leftovers. Or order a farmer’s stew or local artisan cheeseboard, £20 each.

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A beautiful garden and spacious pub awaits 20 minutes’ walk away at The College Arms. Enjoy Southern-fried king prawns, £9.50, crispy gnocchi, £5.50, or a tasty Sunday roast, from £15.50. The kids’ menu is full of favourites such as fish and chips with mushy peas, from £7 (Collegearms.co.uk).

BOOK IT One-night stays in a pod cost from £250 (Canvasandcabins.co.uk).

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