Review: Crake Valley Park, Ulverston – a dose of luxury that will convert you to camping in the Lake District

I’m a seasoned camper, I have access to multiple tents, and have even traveled round Europe camping but is glamping the way forward?

I have a few go-to festivals that I rock up to each and every year but lately, I’ve seen more and more bell tents appearing – and I’ve always wondered what the craic is and if they’re actually worth the extra money. So, I bit the bullet and booked a couple of days away in a bell tent near Coniston to see what it’s all about.

We stayed at Crake Valley Park, which is between Ulveston and Coniston in the Lake District and after driving past it we eventually found where we needed to be – and the tent was just a stone’s throw from the water’s edge.

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Now, after the excitement of getting there and having the freedom to let my dog ​​off the lead to take full advantage of the open space, I really got down to business.

When we first arrived we were full of excitement after seeing the fire pit, I’m a bit of a fire starter, and the outdoor camping fire all set up. I had taken some wood with me but decided I needed more and it was a quick call and someone came down with a bag of wood which cost £6.

In the tent itself, there was a big double bed with bedding, I had taken some blankets just in case it got cold through the night.

I always check the weather before I go camping and pack wellies as standard and dear lord it is just as well, because that first night there was a torrential downpour. It was like the heavens had opened up and decided to empty Coniston water on top of us.



Crake Valley Park, which is between Ulveston and Coniston in the Lake District

Lucky for me I was out for the count after sipping one of two glasses of ‘grape’ juice. But I couldn’t say the same for my other half who was furious that he didn’t get a wink of sleep. Luckily, the ‘grape’ juice didn’t come back to bite me when I had to get up in the middle of the night and walk to the toilets.

While on the subject of toilets, I don’t think I have ever been camping and had access to better ones. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t a five star hotel bathroom, but they were beautifully clean and had everything you needed. They were warm which when you trundle over in the pouring rain with your wellies on is just what is needed.



Swimming baths style shower
Swimming baths style shower


The toilet facilities
The toilet facilities

From the bell tent it took me about a minute at most to reach them and they were well lit up however I had forgotten to take my torch so was a bit blind on the way back to my tent.

Even though it was bouncing down all night I was snug as a bug in a rug. The tent kept so much heat in it, but not too much that it was stuffy.

Outside we had a picnic bench to ourselves and there was a covered area to cook if it rained, but we managed to time it just right and cook before we got wet.



Open space at the glamping site near Coniston
Open space at the glamping site near Coniston

We were in a little secluded corner surrounded by trees and wildlife and even a couple of stray sheep invaded the campsite, it was the perfect place to disappear and take a break from the world.

I think my favorite discovery during our stay had to have the bean bag, It was huge well just enough space on it for me to starfish after stuffing my face with food.



Sam star fishing on the newly discovered outdoor beanbag
Sam star fishing on the newly discovered outdoor beanbag

When the morning arrived I jumped out of bed to check if I needed my good old wellies but the sun had his hat on, so off I went to test the posh showers. I grabbed my stuff and off I tootled, there was a cleaning product for you to clean up after your shower as the site owners continue to be Covid safe and ask people to clean down after themselves.

They had spare soap and plenty of toilet rolls but the important part is of course what was the shower actually like? Simply, it was like the old swimming bath showers where you have to keep pressing the button for the water to come out.

By Christ when it came out It almost buried me. I hadn’t expected it to be as powerful as it was, after my initial shock I lapped it up and pretended to be the herbal essence model in the advert.

From the tent, you can cross the main road and access the Lake Bank jetty where you can jump on the Coniston launch and Coniston Steam Gondola.

For a two-night stay it costs £120 and then £10 for my dog ​​to come along but a luxury night out ‘under’ the stars is just what the doctor called for and you can’t put a price on that.

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