Reviewed by Ann Durrell
My last experience of camping was in the early 90’s; in more recent years I am definitely someone who would go for a self-catering apartment or hotel. Saying that I was not adverse to giving it a go and was looking forward to my first ever glamping experience.
As per the instructions we were emailed at booking, we called the site manager at Lantern & Larks when we were on route to let them know what time to expect us. The site is located on the Estate of Bleasdale on the edge of the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire. Despite only being an hour’s drive from home, we had never been to the area before and on the drive down we were already being seduced by the scenery. Lantern & Larks is situated on a private road and is very secluded, a stay here is truly getting away from it all.
We arrived on site around 5.30 and were met by the site Manager, Jennifer. There are only three tents, our neighbours were both families and their children seemed to be having a whale of a time playing in the grass. We were allocated Plover, at the top of the field and our first impressions as Jennifer showed us round were simply WOW. The tents are pitched on raised decking area and to the front is a private veranda with a canopy and rattan furniture. Into the living area there is a huge corner sofa, leather director’s chairs, a dining table with seating for six and a stove. The kitchen is fully equipped with cutlery, crockery, every utensil I could imagine, a two ring gas burner and hot running water. I was really impressed that there were carbon monoxide detectors in the tent, it was very reassuring.
There were three bedrooms, a double, twin and one with bunk beds, all with proper beds, drawers and hanging space, finally there was a shower room and separate WC. As we were walking round mouths open wide catching flies, Jennifer explained how to use everything, the stove, gas oven and shower (did I mention this too had instant hot water!). She also showed us the cool box which is kept cool with frozen hot water bottles. We had a breakfast pack which Jennifer had stocked with local produce, fresh eggs, butchers bacon and sausages, butter, milk, fresh bread, orange juice and marmalade. Jennifer also let us know that if we needed anything else that there is an honesty box located at a farm down the road which had a selection of goodies, games and even books to borrow. Left on the table was a guide to Lantern and Larks containing lots of useful information and we had also been left leaflets for local attractions and a magazine for the Forest of Bowland. We were also left a digital camera which if we wanted we could capture photos of our stay and have the chance to enter a competition. Any photos would be posted to us on a disk.
After Jennifer had left, we settled on the veranda and started to get a BBQ going in the fire pit outside the front of the tent using firewood that had been supplied. Our BBQ technique is not the best but fortunately with the gas hob we were able to eat! We then spent the evening watching the wildlife, admiring the view and taking in the pure feeling of tranquillity and relaxation of being away from the city. When it got too cold and we had run out of marshmallows to toast, we retired to bed. Although it was a warm day, we had taken a hot water bottle to warm the bed as was suggested in the guide we were emailed as it can still get nippy at night. The bed was so comfy that my other half actually checked what make the mattress was with the intention of buying one (part memory foam BTW!).
The next morning we had intended to have breakfast and go on a day trip but the view from our tent was just too beautiful to leave. We had a hearty breakfast cooked on the gas hob (we didn’t try the stove after our poor BBQ effort of the previous evening) and spent the morning sat on the deckchairs which were provided, watching the world go by. Our neighbours were also out and the children playing in the field (scaring pheasants!). After lunch we took a wander down to the honesty box for supplies and met Joanne the second site manager. We spent a while chatting to Joanne about the local area and she was able to answer our questions about the birds we had been unable to identify, Oyster Catchers BTW. We had a little walk down the lanes and then headed back to the site for our last couple of hours before VERY reluctantly heading home.
It is safe to say that we really, really enjoyed our stay at Lantern & Larks, the setting is so peaceful , you could say idyllic. If you prefer there are plenty of places to visit close by such as Heysham, Lancaster and Blackpool, we popped into Martin Mere Wetland Centre on the way up. The tents are pure luxury and it felt like everything had been thought of to make our stay really special. Jennifer and Joanne the site managers obviously both really enjoy their work and have excellent knowledge of the area, we could have sat and chatted for much longer. I would recommend Lantern & Larks to people of all ages, couples and families.
For more information or to make a booking for your own canvas-wrapped retreat at Lantern & Larks visit www.lanternandlarks.co.uk or give them a call on 01638 563 478.
Lanterns & Larks have locations in Bleasdale, Forest of Bowland, Lancashire and Sweffling Hall, Saxmundham, Suffolk.
Lantern & Larks Camp Site, Brooks Farm, Bleasdale, Garstang, Lancs, PR3 1UY