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12 Amazing Glamping Experiences in the South of Scotland

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Roulotte Retreat, Scottish Borders © Roulotte Retreat/Helen Abraham

Day and night, the south of Scotland lives and breathes adventure, with acres of incredible forest parks and enchanting coastlines to be discovered. Start off with mountain biking, surfing or woodland wanders, followed by stargazing beneath some of Europe’s darkest skies and drifting off to the sounds of the wilderness.

One of the most memorable ways to experience the breathtakingly beautiful southerly regions of Dumfries & Galloway and the Scottish Borders is to book a luxury camping experience and absorb the amazing surroundings in total style and comfort.

Dumfries & Galloway

1. Laggan Outdoor

Sleep inside… a ‘Sea View Snug’

Where? Gatehouse of Fleet

Each of the 10 snugs at Laggan Outdoor have their own individuality, with themed decor and a nickname. With incredible coastal views during the day and exceptionally dark skies to admire when night falls, grab your snuggle buddy and be as cosy as can be inside one of these!

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Nearest forest to visit… Kirroughtree Visitor Centre 20 minutes’ drive

This forest offers a mountain biking paradise as part of the 7stanes with green, blue and red trails and an extreme downhill section. It’s also a haven for dark skies, walking and wildlife.

2. Galloway Activity Centre

Sleep inside…yurts, safari tents or eco-bothies

Where? Loch Ken, Parton, Castle Douglas

Sleep on the shores of Loch Ken with several glamping options at the Galloway Activity Centre. The magical selection of properties includes an eco-friendly bothy powered by solar energy with wood-fired hot tub, or try a hand-crafted tent with cosy vibes and a log burning stove for cooking a delicious loch-side dinner.

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Nearest forest to visit… Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre 25 minutes’ drive

Wander along the Red Kite Trail and observe the magnificent birds soaring overhead, or if you prefer to cycle, join a very scenic section of the National Cycle Network Route 7.

3. Solway View Holidays

Sleep inside… a wonderful wigwam

Where? Borgue, Kirkcudbright

Be at home at Solway View inside a wigwam. Each are heated and furnished with comfortable mattresses, a toaster, mini fridge and en-suite bathrooms – all you need to bring is a sleeping bag. When the sun shines, it’s easy to see why this glorious coastline is known locally as the Costa Del Solway!

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Nearest forest to visit… Cally Woods 20 minutes’ drive

Go horse riding along the dedicated Cally Horse Route or take the scenic drive past the Cally Palace Hotel and all the way along to Sandgreen beach. In early spring, don’t miss the swathes of snowdrops.

4. Glenwhan Gardens

Sleep inside… a shepherd’s hut

Where? Dunragit, Stranraer

The gorgeous gardens at Glenwhan burst into bloom in the spring, as bright colours sweep across this little corner of Galloway. This wee hut in the gardens is dog-friendly and can be booked all year round, with a patio and BBQ to enjoy, as well as views across to the Mull of Galloway.

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Nearest forest to visit… Glentrool Visitor Centre 40 minutes’ drive

Scale Merrick, the highest peak in South Scotland at 843 m or take a gentler walk to the Bruce’s Stone which overlooks Loch Trool. There is another 7stanes mountain biking trail here as well as a lovely café.

5. Barnsoul Caravan Park

Sleep inside… cosy camping pods

Where? Shawhead, Dumfries

Sometimes a standard tent doesn’t quite do the trick. There’s a range of weatherproof apex pods, bothies and lodges available at Barnsoul, the ideal base for anyone exploring beautiful Dumfries & Galloway.

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Nearest forest to visit… Mabie Forest 25 minutes’ drive

See if you can spot ospreys at the Lochaber Loch wildlife hide, tear down Mabie’s 7stanes mountain biking route, and kids will love the adventure playground.

6. Brockloch Eco Retreat

Sleep inside… an enchanting treehouse

Where? Kirkpatrick Durham, near Castle Douglas

Make your childhood dreams come true by spending a night or two living like a forest dweller up in the trees, with just red squirrels for company. The Brockloch Eco Retreat features an eco bothy which appeared on Channel 4’s Amazing Spaces and a treehouse nestled deep in a bluebell wood with a skylight for star-spotting.

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Nearest forest to visit… Dalbeattie Forest 25 minutes’ drive

Watch for dragonflies and damselflies at the Plantain Loch. Follow the Birch Trail to see the wonderful granite sculptures along the way.

Scottish Borders

7. Roulotte Retreat Caravans

© Helen Abraham/Roulotte Retreat

Roulotte Retreat, Scottish Borders © Helen Abraham/Roulotte Retreat

Sleep inside… a French-style roulotte caravan

Where? Eildon Hills, near Melrose

Here, you will find a selection of brightly-coloured, traditional roulotte caravans,  perfect for a truly magical couples retreat, 1800s style! Experience a stay in the charming Horseshoe cottage with the option to use the beautiful bowtop gypsy caravan, Ruby, at the same time – these two are set in their own private woodland garden.

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Nearest forest to visit… Thornielee Forest 25 minutes’ drive

Head out on one of the two walking trails. The Cairn Trail offers amazing views of the landscape and the Meadow Trail is perfect for spotting beautiful butterflies, such as the Small Copper or the Northern Brown Angus.

8. Glentress Forest Lodges

Glentress Forest Lodges

Sleep inside… a timber-frame forest lodge

Where? Glentress Forest, near Peebles

The Glentress Forest Lodges are handy, budget-friendly glamping options, ideal for catching 40 winks after an invigorating day exploring the forest. These can be found adjacent to the 7stanes mountain biking trails and not far from Go Ape!. They have everything you’ll need, including a drying room, bike storage, heating and a fridge.

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Nearest forest to visit… Glentress Forest 5 minutes’ walk

There’s also a Wildlife Room where you can spot rare birds and admire the bee hive, or why not just chill out in the fabulous café?

9. Ruberslaw Wild Woods Camping

Sleep inside… safari tents

Where? Denholm, Hawick

Deep in the forest, Ruberslaw’s secluded safari tents are made from canvas, and each have fire bowls and front verandahs (for those late-night life chats). It’s not exactly a full-on Bear Grylls survival experience though, with camping luxuries thrown in such as a fully-equipped camp kitchen, logs, cool box and gas hob. Listen carefully for badgers, owls and other forest friends scuttling around.

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Nearest forest to visit… Yair 35 minutes’ drive

Climb up to the Three Brethren, a trio of hilltop cairns dating back to the 16th century.

10. Ettrick Valley Yurts

Sleep inside… spacious Mongolian yurts

Where? Ettrick Valley, Selkirk

There’s plenty of space for you and the crew, or the family, inside one of the Ettrick Valley Yurts, each standing at 6 m tall and sleeping up to six people. Furnished with bright colours, twinkly lights and fluffy rugs, you’ll be warm and toasty all night long inside this magical space, surrounded by the beautiful Lammermuir hills.

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Nearest forest to visit… Craik Forest 40 minutes’ drive

Choose between three amazing walking trails – Burnside, Spruce and Aithouse Burn. Keep an eye out for red squirrels everywhere you go!

11. Upland Shepherd Huts

Sleep inside… a gardener’s hut or a woodman’s hut

Where? Abbey St Bathans

Go for a digital detox deep in the Borders countryside inside a choice of two lovingly decorated shepherd’s huts, built from recycled materials and powered by solar panels, with hot showers and wood burning stoves. With lovely walks nearby and the charming hamlet of Abbey Saint Bathans to explore, these huts are perfect off-the-grid escapes.

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Nearest forest to visit… Thornielee Forest 1 hour 15 minutes’ drive

Try one of this forest’s two walking routes, the Meadow Trail and the Cairn Trail. While you’re exploring, learn about Sir Walter Scott’s connection with the forest and see the ruins of Elibank Castle.

12. Borders Glamping

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Twinkly cabin in the woods.

A post shared by Sam Mulube (@smazero) on

Where? Newcastleton

Sleep inside… a cabin in the woods

Walk through this inviting wee door and find a peaceful cabin, perfect for two. Situated around the back of a working sheep farm, the countryside air, black-out curtains and super comfy bed will ensure a deep night’s sleep. Don’t forget to look up through the glass panels to gaze up at the stars, and wake up to the beautiful countryside with coffee and breakfast cooked on the gas hob.

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Nearest forest to visit… Newcastleton 20 minutes’ drive

You’ll find yet another wonderful 7stanes mountain biking centre and four scenic walking trails: Ponds, Hanging Tree, Priesthill and Viewpoint.

Still searching? Find more unusual places to stay and glamping locations across Scotland, or get more ideas for a break in South Scotland.

 

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