Tom Dixon of Canopy & Stars reveals his predictions for the 2019 glamping season.
The Brexit effect
Canopy & Stars predicts a 15 per cent rise in bookings for UK breaks as Britain leaves the EU on 29 March 2019. Since the Brexit vote took place in June 2016. We have seen EU bookings fall, while UK bookings have risen. January to March 2019 are already up by 13 per cent for the same period in 2018.
Leading the charge for 2019 bookings is the perennially popular Sky Den, an outdoors-indoors treehouse in Northumberland’s Kielder Forest and Ditchling Cabin, one of Canopy & Stars recently added floating cabins on its own private lake in the South Downs National Park.
Devon’s where it’s at
For the first time, Devon has overtaken Cornwall as the UK’s most popular destination, with searches for the county beating those for Cornwall consistently since May 2018. Devon has also seen some of Canopy & Stars’ most exciting new treehouse additions, with more planned for early 2019.
Joining the two treehouses at Wolf Wood on Dartmoor is The Lookout, a woodland palace with outdoor jacuzzi. Head to Braunton, where the Loft and the Hideaway at Pickwell Manor bring treehouse style to the north coast. Guests can watch the sea from their woodland bed or head to Putsborough for beach days.
Wellness holidays for couples
We have been doing wellbeing holidays long before it became a trend, but we have recently seen an increase in people looking for breaks with wellness at the core, whether that’s nurturing a relationship or a way to improve mental health.
Research has proved how spending time outdoors and away from the stresses of daily life is good for your health. Canopy & Stars, along with relationship gurus Project Love, believe it also has huge positive effects on relationships, so have joined forces to encourage couples to rewild their relationship by producing a ‘how-to-guide’ to reconnecting in the outdoors and a collection of places to put the theory to the test.
Guests can follow in Project Love’s footsteps and learn a skill together in the Herefordshire countryside at Brook House Woods or reconnect in a tiny house compete with tin hot tub at The Nook in Essex.
The art of being bored
Millennials heading for ‘burnout’ are looking for ways to escape constantly being switched on, even Google is telling us that searches for ‘being bored’ have fallen dramatically over the last 10 years; it seems we’ve lost the art of just ‘being’. For those tired of cities, smartphones and work, Canopy & Stars predicts 2019 will be the year of the boring holiday. People will head out into nature, make no plans and contemplate life at a significantly slower place – they’ll feel better for it!
Studio Hoose provides one such opportunity, where the only company is the wild Scottish mountains. The Observatory on Cornwall’s furthest tip also allows guests to do just that – observe, with the Milky Way above and wild seas below.
The ‘experiences not things’ trend continues to grow, so does the appetite for occasion breaks, with over 50 per cent of all Canopy & Stars’ bookings in 2018 celebrating an occasion with birthdays, anniversaries and honeymoons topping the reasons for taking a trip. Canopy & Stars gift card sales are also predicted to rise in 2019 with club together gift cards where multiple people can contribute to one present.
Milestone anniversaries are often celebrated from the human sized beehive at Humble Bee in Devon and bobbing peacefully on the water at Amelie in Falmouth.
Sustainability back on the travel agenda
The news that tourism causes almost a tenth of global emissions has put sustainability firmly back on the travel agenda. The launch of Zerobnb is putting pressure on the big travel firms to recognise and categorise sustainable homes. By its nature, glamping is already ahead of the game but to further the cause Canopy & Stars has launched a collection of its most sustainable places, with over 50 at the last count.
Taking sustainability to new heights is Puckshipton Treehouse, a rope hung, off-grid, no-car escape deep in the Wiltshire countryside. As is Brockloch Bothy, an architect-designed eco-build with far-reaching views, surrounded by sheep.
Growth in affordable spaces
Although demand continues to rise for the more luxurious, creative and extreme, there is a steady demand for the more affordable, rustic and beautifully simple of spaces. To embrace this, we will focus on adding more budget-friendly options in 2019.
Examples are the The Gardener’s Shed, a homely cabin for two overlooking the Axe Valley, with free-range farm animals and cookery courses on site, and Joan’s Hut, a shepherd’s hut with roll top bath in a secluded damson orchard in Worcestershire.
Pets love glamping too
In 2018 12 per cent of all Canopy & Stars trips included a pet. The number of stays with pets has grown by nearly 60 per cent in the last two years and shows no signs of slowing.
Pets are in perfect company at Mill Valley’s collection of four dog-friendly cabins. The owners have 10 of their own, a huge garden they can play in and a free dog-sitting service. Free dog sleepover packs await pets that visit Boutique Farm Bothies in Aberdeenshire as well as dog-friendly beaches and advice on walks.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tom Dixon is managing director at Sawday’s Canopy & Stars, a collection of selected and inspected special places to stay and experience the great outdoors across Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Scandinavia. From humble beginnings in 2010, the agency has grown to more than 500 places; everything from treehouses, yurts, and converted horse trucks, to cabins, Gypsy caravans and Iron Age roundhouses. Championing the small and independent, and being an advocate of sustainable tourism, the team genuinely cares about what they do and how they do it. 0117 204 7802 / www.canopyandstars.co.uk