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Norfolk country park planning expansion amid glamping boom

PUBLISHED: 12:44 15 May 2019 | UPDATED: 12:44 15 May 2019

Kiera Goymour, at Applewood near Banham, which offers shepherd’s cabins and glamping pods. Picture: Simon Parkin

Kiera Goymour, at Applewood near Banham, which offers shepherd's cabins and glamping pods. Picture: Simon Parkin

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A holiday park in the South Norfolk countryside is planning to expand thanks to the boom in glamping that is drawing tourists into Norfolk.

Shepherd�s cabins at Banham that are appealing to families on glamping holidays. Picture: Applewood Countryside ParkShepherd�s cabins at Banham that are appealing to families on glamping holidays. Picture: Applewood Countryside Park

Camping purists may sneer but glamping, a luxury take on staying in the outdoors, has helped to revive dozens of campsites across Norfolk as they cash-in on more people holidaying in the UK.

Applewood Countryside Park, located next to Banham Zoo, has introduced its own take on traditional shepherd's cabins to add to its wooden glamping pods, which feature such luxuries as twin-beds, fully fitted kitchens and free wi-fi.

Families wanting a larger version of glamping pods was behind the Banham take on shepherd�s cabins. Picture: Applewood Countryside ParkFamilies wanting a larger version of glamping pods was behind the Banham take on shepherd�s cabins. Picture: Applewood Countryside Park

Kiera Goymour, Applewood's venue manager, said: "A lot of families said we really love the pods but they don't sleep four and we would really like a bathroom, so we came up with our version of a shepherd's cabins.

"We used a local firm, Daniels & Vincent in Harleston, who built the frame and then we have kitted them out. They are proving popular not just in the summer but all year around as they are fully heated. They are not just summer glamping."

Inside one of the glamping pods at Banham. Picture: Applewood Countryside ParkInside one of the glamping pods at Banham. Picture: Applewood Countryside Park

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The move into glamping has proved so popular the park, which also includes wedding venue Applewood Hall, has plans to further expand its appeal including pods allowing glampers to take in the dark night skies over the South Norfolk village.

The popularity of glamping and more people holidaying in the UK has been a success for sites in Norfolk. Picture: Applewood Countryside ParkThe popularity of glamping and more people holidaying in the UK has been a success for sites in Norfolk. Picture: Applewood Countryside Park

"We have a big meadow and the five year plan is to add more glamping out in Grove Meadow and to landscape that and really make it more a glamping vibe," she Ms Goymour. "We also have the farmland beyond and hope to make that into a countryside park with plans to open up a walk, run and ride, maybe kilometre, 5km and 10km routes, so that people can walk, run or ride their bikes."

In a recent tourism survey, one in three British families reported they would see their holiday budget shrink in 2019 and 50pc said they would consider staying in a local camp site or holiday park with a third saying they were interested in trying glamping.

Inside one of the recent shepherd�s cabins at Banham. Picture: Applewood Countryside ParkInside one of the recent shepherd�s cabins at Banham. Picture: Applewood Countryside Park

In Norfolk a plethora of glamping sites have sprung up including Tin Can Camping, also in South Norfolk, Oak Lodge Glamping in Thetford and Brambells Glamping on the Norfolk/Suffolk border.

Applewood, which has also just invested £120,000 in new showers facilities, has the added appeal of being next to the zoo.

Ms Goymour said: "Kids love it particularly if you are staying in a tent under canvas there is no soundproofing so it sounds you are actually in the zoo.

"You also get to see the bird flying displays and sometimes if the wind isn't quite right they come over. We have had a macaw land on a caravan which everyone thought was amazing."

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