Along with my friends Clare and Laura, I headed out of town towards a secluded part of Yorkshire. Nestled among the trees – where 4G isn’t a thing and no one cares about Instagram likes – is Jollydays.
I’d actually looked into Jollydays as a wedding venue in the very early days, so it’s been on my list of ‘top local attractions’ for quite a while. You see, while I love the Great Outdoors and everything nature has to offer (fresh air, sunlight, leaves – that kinda thing), I’m also quite fond of my home comforts. I like electricity. Showers are amazing. And there’s something to be said for artificial light at 9pm when your fancy lighter is out of gas and the matches keep breaking.
Jollydays is ‘luxury camping’, or ‘glamping’ – you’re at one with the world, surrounded by Mother Nature, but you can still charge your phone and blow dry your hair. I was invited along for a complimentary stay and as I trundled my Calvin Klein suitcase across the muddy, leaf-strewn paths I had to firmly remind myself this was not a 5* hotel, and packing my eyelash curlers was probably a bit excessive. Especially considering I had not brought a torch (that’s what iPhones are for, right?).
We stayed in a Deluxe Tent – there are no permanent structures at Jollydays, so it definitely still feels like camping. But camping on another level – as well as a four poster bed, a wardrobe, a corner sofa and a dining table, our Tent had a roll-top bath, shower, full kitchen with gas hob and fridge and wooden flooring. A million miles away from airbeds and folding chairs.
But there’s so much to see around the campsite, exploring is necessary. Jollydays works on an honesty system – there’s a tea tent with freshly baked goodies as well as essential supplies and power points for your phone. You jot down your name and what you’ve taken, be mindful of the limited electricty supply and settle up before you leave. It means the staff are free to do other things, like chop fire wood, stoke the communal campfire or help you cook a pizza in the clay oven. Told you this place was good.
After a delicious dinner of homemade chilli and plenty of wine on Friday night, we awoke bright and early and headed out for lunch. Jollydays is nestled right in the centre of some amazing places – York is just around the corner, there’s the Wolds and the North York Moors, and Scarborough’s not far either. We went east towards Beverley to visit a Michelin-starred pub, The Pipe and Glass.
After a truly delicious 3-course meal in beautiful surroundings (I absolutely adored the interior design of The Pipe and Glass), we drove back towards York and stopped at Piglets Adventure Farm Park. It’s clearly for children but with super cute animals, a corn maze and adult-sized go-carts, it was good enough for us.
Saturday night was spent around the picnic bench, cooking burgers on the BBQ and playing Scrabble by gas light. Armed with a bottle of Prosecco and a bag of marshmallows, we ventured down to the communal campfire and spent an enjoyable few hours making S’mores and chatting to lovely staff and friendly guests. There were all sorts of people staying over – hen parties, birthday groups, families and outdoor types, all willing to take part and get into the spirit.
We kicked off Sunday with a spot of pampering (forest lighting is the absolute BEST for makeup application) and then cooked up the Breakfast Basket left for us the previous evening. Jollydays can provide morning and evening meals at your request – after reading Lucy’s post about the dinners she had during her stay, I wish we’d gone for a Supper Basket too! But breakfast was delicious – fresh bread, locally-sourced meat and tasty eggs, the perfect way to start the day.
After a wander around the rest of the site (the forest is huge and there’s loads to explore), we reluctantly packed up and left our glamorous outdoor lives behind. But not without one last reminder that, despite the posh bath and full length mirror, we were still close to nature – a little mouse, who’d made herself comfy in my Calvin Klein suitcase. Seems I’m not the only one with a penchant for luxury!
Jollydays closes for the season at the end of October and reopens in the spring. I thoroughly recommend a visit, particularly when it’s a bit blustery and you can get all snuggled up in front of that fire. An amazing way to spend the weekend – can we go back next year, please?