We all know I’m a huge fan of staycations and discovering more of what’s on your doorstep. But I’ve never gone on holiday in my own county before. I mean, what’s the point in paying for accommodation when you’ve already got your own bed for free at home? It seems a bit silly, doesn’t it? But after returning from our trip to Herefordshire Hideaways, only 50 minutes down the road, I’m already eager to return…
Herefordshire Hideaways offers quirky and unusual places to stay in the rural North Herefordshire countryside. It was founded by previous owners Felicity and Ben back in 2013 but has since been taken over by the ever so lovely Vic and Chris. They currently have just two properties spread across seven acres (with a new cabin coming in June!) so you can expect complete peace and tranquillity during your stay at Herefordshire Hideaways.
Aside from the three holiday properties, you are also welcome to have friends and family camp in the same field. This costs an additional charge of £10.00 per person, per night.
When deciding where we’d like to stay, the rustic and chic Stargazer’s Wagon immediately caught my eye. And it’s since become one of my favourite places to go glamping in Herefordshire. The 27-foot long wagon has a pretty cool history… It was originally part of a ghost train in Germany in the 1940s and was transported over from Sweden by Felicity and Ben in 2013, who renovated it to what you see today.
The Stargazer’s Wagon is definitely more on the camping than the glam side of things, compared to the two cabins. But don’t worry, Vic and Chris have filled the place with home comforts so you’ll never feel anything but cosy!
One of the best things about the Stargazer’s Wagon is that it truly has everything you could wish for. On many occasions throughout our stay, Gaz and I said to each other “man, I wish we had _____ here” and like magic, we’d realise that the wagon was already kitted out with said thing.
Just like the Tardis (oops is my inner nerd showing?), the interior was much bigger than we expected… We were pleasantly surprised when we entered the wagon and saw a two-seater leather sofa, wood-burning stove, a table and chairs, and a bespoke kitchen with 4 burner gas hob. And yet the wagon was still super spacious – it never once felt cramped or claustrophobic!
Through a hatch in the floor, you will find a cool box, and you also have access to a fridge freezer a two-minute walk away. There’s a kitchen sink with cold running water (you’ll need to boil water in the kettle if you want it hot) and all kitchen utensils and cooking essentials i.e. oils, herbs and spices, salt and pepper, are provided.
As always with glamping, the focus on sustainable technologies is prevalent. The lights inside the wagon and toilet are powered by solar panels on the roof, and the wagon is also decorated nicely with fairy lights. There’s a USB port to charge your phone but no plug sockets… This forced us to properly switch off and enjoy each other’s company which is definitely needed every now and then.
And now onto the bedroom… And what a cosy bedroom it is. No camping mats or blow up beds here, folks! This is glamping at its finest.
Vic and Chris have really thought through all the finer details, providing plenty of cushions and throws for extra comfort, as well as bathrobes, towels and hot water bottles. There really is no way you can go cold here, even in the height of winter!
The highlight of the Stargazer’s Wagon for many is the outdoor, wood-fired hot tub. And who could blame them? On our first night at Herefordshire Hideaways, we spent a good hour or two soaking in the tub, watching the sunset and the night draw in. Chris pre-heated the tub for when we got back from our pub dinner and it stayed hot for hours. A welcome tub will cost you £20 but you can also buy wood there or bring your own wood if you fancy more than one go in the hot tub.
Across the platform, you will find a composting toilet and a gas-powered shower. This is where you’re going to need to get down to nature a bit more… But if you’re used to festival “toilets” (if they can even be called that), like we are, then this one is bloody luxurious. It certainly is a loo with a view! The shower is warm, not hot, but it does the job. There isn’t a basin but you can use either the sink in the wagon or the hand sanitiser by the toilet to wash your hands.
There is also a campfire and BBQ outside the wagon which are perfect for long summer nights!
Mosaic Cabin and the Corner House
If you fancy staying somewhere a little more luxurious, Herefordshire Hideaways has not one but two separate holiday lets for you to stay at! Mosaic Cabin is a modern, open plan, airy cabin with wooden underheated floors, colourful textiles and a spacious deck with a wood-fired hot tub. It’s a little pricier (starting at £90 a night compared to the Stargazer’s Wagon’s price of £80 a night) but it’s worth it if you want some more luxury and space.
The Corner House is a very exciting new build which was actually being built whilst we were there. I can’t wait to see it complete now! The front side of the Corner House will be all glass to make the most of the views and the lodge will also boast a skylight at the back so you can stargaze from the comfort of your bed. Not too shabby, huh? Oh, and Vic and Chris said they want to take a Scandi approach with the interior decor. I am all about that life.
What We Loved About Our Time Away
Because, no, “everything” is not a good answer…
Quality Time Together
When Gaz and I go travelling we are up early in the morning and back late at night, cramming in as much as possible. This means we don’t often have time to stop and just appreciate each other’s company. Either that or I’m too busy uploading a photo to Instagram using the Wi-Fi because #romanceisntdead.
However, at Herefordshire Hideaways everything is set up to make it feel as private and romantic as possible. Vic and Chris literally thought of every single detail, from the “love” bunting and robes hanging around the bed to the couples quiz games which we had way too much fun playing.
In the evenings we spent our time playing board and quiz games, singing/dancing along to the radio and snacking ridiculous amounts. You really could spend the whole weekend in the Stargazer’s Wagon and not have to leave! The wagon comes complete with board games, books, magazines, cards, a digital radio, a telescope for stargazing and a guitar, so it’s pretty hard to get bored there.
Early Mornings Enjoyed Slowly
We are not normally morning people. However, it’s not hard to enjoy the early morning air when it’s as fresh as it is at Herefordshire Hideaways. On both mornings there was no rush to get up so we just took it slow, fried up some bacon and had sausages sizzling away, and washed/cleaned up to the radio.
See, that’s the thing about staying in a place like this: there is nothing to rush for or stress about. And that’s the beauty of it… Although I was in my own county, I felt a million miles away from civilisation.
Sunsets and Stargazing from the Hot Tub (and Astrophotography!)
We were treated to a stunning sunset on our first night in North Herefordshire. I took this as the perfect opportunity to fly my drone and capture some awesome aerial photography of the wagon and its surrounding rapeseed fields.
And how could we stay in the Stargazer’s Wagon and not possibly stargaze? It’s practically against the law. Because I live in the countryside I’m used to clear, starry nights but I don’t always stop to appreciate them… The novelty of perfect starry nights soon wears off when you’re treated to them every night, so a change of surroundings forced me to sit back and appreciate our pretty awesome world. We made the most of the telescope that comes with the wagon and stargazed from the warmth of our hot tub.
While we were away I also thought it’d be fun to dip my toes into a bit of astrophotography. I mean it was about time… I was pretty chuffed with my first results and I can’t wait to try it out more in the future!
Okay, so our trip away wasn’t all serene and peaceful. There’s only so much relaxing I can do before I start getting itchy feet again. So where do I go if I start getting itchy feet? Up in the trees, that’s where.
On our first day away we drove up to Wyre Forest in Worcestershire for a fun-filled afternoon at Go Ape. Wyre Forest is a 50-minute drive away from Herefordshire Hideaways and we were booked into Go Ape for 2:30 pm. Ours was the last session of the day, and there was only one other couple in our group, so we had the whole course to ourselves and didn’t have to wait for anyone else. If you don’t know what Go Ape is, it’s essentially a high ropes course where you can climb, swing, scramble and zipline to your heart’s content. I am such an adrenaline junkie so this was so up my street!
Although you get a certificate at the end of the course to prove that you conquered the Tree Top Adventure, I didn’t quite master the art of landing gracefully at the end of each zip wire. In fact, I managed to get covered in mud and wood chip each time (which resulted in me being stupidly itchy for the rest of the day, but it was so worth it!).
Places to Visit
Since I’m a local Herefordshire gal, there was no stress for us to visit local attractions. Instead, we took our time away to just unwind and enjoy our surroundings. But, again since I’m a local Herefordshire gal, I have plenty of recommendations for places you should visit during your stay in the Stargazer’s Wagon…
Ludlow: Only a 25-minute drive away from Herefordshire Hideaways is Ludlow, a thriving medieval market town over the border in Shropshire offering an array of local markets and amazing food and drink.
Hay-on-Wye: Known for its famous literature festival, Hay is a gorgeous market town with loads to do. Think quaint book shops and cafes, and traditional British pubs!
Black and White Village Trail: I know I may be biased, but our county is pretty damn beautiful. The Black and White Village Trail takes you through the most pretty, historic villages Herefordshire has to offer.
Hampton Court Gardens, Croft Castle and Berrington Hall: If you’re a big fan of stately homes and National Trust properties, head to these three places.
Queenswood Country Park: Queenswood is the only designated country park in the county, and is home to a 67-acre tree collection with over 1,200 rare and exotic trees from all over the world and 103 acres of semi-natural ancient woodland.
Win a Holiday!
I am very excited to announce that I can now offer you lovely readers the chance to win a free two night midweek stay for two in the Stargazer’s Wagon with a complimentary hot tub!
All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is to fill in the Rafflecopter form below and follow the instructions. Bear in mind that if you don’t complete the entries when you say you did, you will be disqualified! The more ways you enter, the more likely you are to win! This competition is only open to UK residents aged 18+ only and ends at 12:00 AM (BST) on Friday 26th May. I’ll announce the winner later that day over on my Twitter. Good luck everyone!