We recently went glamping in a luxury traditional Mongolian yurt in Dorset. Read our full Caalm Camp review and find out how our family enjoyed our yurt holiday in the South West.
10 years ago, while in the final stages of planning our wedding, my now-husband and I decided to forget about organising a honeymoon abroad and just go glamping instead. And we loved every second.
It was so easy, luxurious, cosy and fun. Instead of getting passports ready, catching flights and planning itineraries, we drove onto the ferry and headed for the Isle of Wight to stay in a yurt. It was the perfect staycation.
Caalm Camp (formerly Dorset Yurt Campsite) is located in a large field in Dorset, South West England, near Shaftesbury.
Entering past a beautiful thatched cottage, there's the Old Haybarn that houses facilities leading into the large field with the site's 6 yurts. It overlooks beautiful views of the Dorset countryside, with fields of cows and the resident goats.
We were immediately struck by the impressive traditional Mongolian yurts, the beauty of the immaculately-kept site, and the pretty vistas.
Arriving at the Yurt Campsite
Mark, the friendly owner, met us as we drove into the site. He showed us where to park, then took us on a little tour of the site.
First impressions were that the facilities were great. The building has a well-equipped kitchen that's there for the use of all the yurts. There's also a common room with lots of tables, as well as sofas, tv, board games, dvds etc... The toilets are also housed here and each yurt has it's own lockable shower room.
Mark showed us into the games room in the Old Haybarn, with darts, sofas, table tennis and pool. Outside of the barn is a sand pit, ride on toys and a Wendy House.
Then it was time for the main event - the yurt! We headed down the path to discover our round home for the weekend.
There's something so enchanting about seeing the yurts.
The round buildings with the woodburner pipe poking through it's crown; the beautifully painted wooden doors; the way they're wrapped up in a giant jumper...
Nestled between hedgerows, they're incredibly inviting.
We stayed in Daisy yurt. They're all named after flowers and the six yurts are spread out over the field. They each have a large grassy area, picnic table, fire pit, barbecue and water tap.
They're spaced apart and each have a hedgerow between them for privacy, the site is open enough that if you're in a group with multiple yurts, you'll still feel together.
Our yurt was immaculate with comfy iron beds, quality bedding, a little kitchenette (hotplate, kettle, crockery) and a woodburner. There were a few chairs, bedside tables, lamps, a fan and electricity!
There's such a wonderfully calm feeling inside a yurt. It must be something about the round shape, the thick insulation and the quietness of the farm.
We were enchanted by the hand painted beams and the kids listened in surprise when Mark told us that parts of it were made of camel hide and plaited horsehair.
Top tip: The dome has a clear roof which is lovely for light and star gazing on a clear night, but if you want a lie in be sure to bring an eye mask!
As a foodie, I always like to know what the cooking facilities are like when we're self catering. This is the kitchenette that's inside the yurt. It has a hotplate, kettle, crockery, cutlery and saucepan. It's perfect for making a morning cuppa, and we also heated hotdogs for the kids in the pan.
Since it's in the room, to avoid any smells or splatter, it's much easier to walk 1 minute to the Old Haybarn and cook properly in the full kitchen in there!
But it's a nice touch to be able to boil a kettle first thing in the morning right in our yurt.
For more involved cooking, the kitchen is very well equipped. Each side has a hob, oven, toaster, kettle and sink so there's plenty of space for multiple people to cook at once. Each yurt gets it's own fridge (with freezer compartment) and cupboard.
Everything you could possibly need is supplied, from cutting boards and knives, to cutlery, crockery, tongs, garlic press, coffee press etc...
What to bring (kitchen):
- Food and drink
- Tea towel
- Washing up liquid
- Charcoal, matches and firelighters for the barbecue
Playgrounds - At the bottom of the field, there's an adventure playground, trampoline and area for ball games. It's a lovely playground, surrounded by lovely views and a field of cows.
There's also a playhouse, ride on toys and sand pit closer to the Old Haybarn.
Games room - there's a games room in the Old Haybarn with sofas, darts, table tennis and pool. At night, they turn on disco lights, which my kids loved.
Common room - the common room has sofas, kids table, chairs and toys, TV, DVD player, DVDs and tables. We had great weather so didn't spend much time in here, but it's definitely useful for rainy days.
Private shower rooms - each yurt has it's own private, lockable shower room. It has all the usual stuff and is immaculately clean. The shower is nice and hot, too. We loved that we could just leave all of our toiletries in there and not have to carry it from the yurt. It's also nice to have a proper shower, loo and hot running water while glamping! There is also a laundry room with washing machine and iron.
Tips for glamping in Dorset at Caalm Camp
- If you like a lie in, bring eye masks. The pretty yurts have see through domes which are lovely for star gazing from bed, but do let light in at sunrise.
- Slippers are a nice cosy touch, whatever the time of year.
- Don't forget charcoal for the barbecue, and marshmallows for the fire pit. Also, firelighters and matches!
- Bring chairs for sitting on outside. There's a picnic bench, but comfy chairs for around the fire pit are a must.
Need to know
- Caalm Camp is open year-round (and I reckon it's lovely and cosy in the winter!)
- The yurts have electricity, a hot plate for boiling a kettle or pan as well as crockery and cutlery.
- There's a double bed and two day beds in each yurt, with hotel-style bedding, duvets, throws and pillows provided.
- There's a woodburning stove in each yurt and unlimited firewood is free.
- Drinking water tap, fire pit, BBQ and picnic bench is outside of every yurt.
- There is a full kitchen for use of all the yurts, with separate cupboards and fridges.
- Each yurt has a private lockable shower room, with towels provided.
- The site is car-free, but there is a wheelbarrow to take your belongings to your yurt.
- There's a washing machine and iron.
- There's wifi in the building, and you can get a bit of signal in Daisy, the closest yurt.
- Check in from 2:30pm-7pm. Check out is 10am Mon-Sat. Sunday checkout is any time.
- This is a dog-free site.
- The Kings Arms serves food and is just minutes from the site.
- The Udder Farm Shop is just 1.5 miles away and we picked up loads of lovely local foods for a barbecue.
- Duncliffe Wood is very nearby, which is famous for bluebells in the springtime. It's a 92 hectare ancient woodland with free car parking and marked trails.
- Shaftesbury, an historic market town, is just 10 minutes drive away. Be sure to visit Gold Hill - a picturesque street in the centre of town, made famous from Ridley Scott's Hovis advert.
- If you want to venture a little further away, the beaches of Dorset's Jurassic Coast are about an hour away. Head the other direction to see Stonehenge.
Each yurt sleeps up to 6 (one double bed, two single beds and zed beds can be hired for the 5th and 6th person).
Prices start from £299 for a weekend break for up to 6 people, to £510.
Find out more about Caalm Camp.
Disclosure: We were guests of Caalm Camp. All opinions are our own.