Last weekend we were invited to spend the weekend with Lantern & Larks at their wonderful site in Rutland, Leicestershire. Sat in what I think would have been the walled garden of Exton Park, it is a wonderfully secluded spot surrounded by trees.
On arrival we were greeted by June the host at this site, she was lovely and took us down to our tent for the weekend, she made sure we knew where everything was and how everything worked. We then set about bringing down our bags for the weekend, since cars aren’t allowed on site, you leave them in the car park and then use the wheelbarrows provided to bring your luggage and bags down. This means that with no cars you can spend your time free of the worry that they might run near traffic.
It is also really fun and the children spent many happy journeys back and fourth to the log shed, helping Daddy to pick the best logs for the firepit and fire in the tent itself.
With a double bed, bunk beds and twin room there was plenty of space for everyone, all kitted out with beautiful wood furniture. The comfy sofa made it the perfect place to relax whatever the weather.
The kitchen had a small hob and since there is no electricity, the fridge was instead two cool boxes which you kept cool with frozen ‘hot’ water bottles, it worked really well and we had no problems with our food being kept cool and fresh and we only had to change them a few times.
The kitchen was well stocked with utensils and crockery and had everything we needed to be able to cook proper meals. There is an oven which is part of the range that also acts as the heating for the tent, it is easy to get going and once all the doors are closed kept the tent nice an warm. There is an honesty shop stocking things such as cereal, drinks, marshmallows and just down the road is the fabulous Hambleton Bakery so great for fresh bread.
Outside is a fire pit which doubles as your bbq, it was a welcome spot in the evenings as well as allowing us to cook a hearty meal, there is plenty of outside space too with a picnic table and outdoor seating under the tent entrance which allowed for you to be outside come rain or shine. Two super bright deck chairs were the perfect spot for some reading and relaxing and when the sun shined it was a real sun trap.
The grass around the tents had been left long and it was great for the children to run around and play in, with a couple of mown areas for football they were soon playing with some of the other children on the site, although the other children were slightly younger, it was still sweet to see them so easily make friends. There is no park but they didn’t need one, it was so easy for them to kick a ball about, play Pokemon or lions in the grass.
We toasted marshmallows on the fire and the children both stayed up until late, you forget that once the sun has gone down there is no light other than from the many candles I had lit in the welcome hurricane lamps and lanterns that were dotted around the tent, it is strange how we become so used to putting on a light and is such a natural reaction to reach for the light switch, but it was lovely to be free from the confines of a normal house.
Over the course of the weekend we experienced every weather possible, but it didn’t dampen our spirits only made us appreciate spending time doing nothing. As the rain fell and the sun shone with a rainbow flying high above, us we sat in the window of the tent, it was so warm and was a lovely way to spend time with a book or just appreciating the swishing grass.
The Friday night we hadn’t really got the fire going and so it was cool but with our Mountain Warehouse base layers and some snuggly duvets we kept warm, so my top tip would be get the fire going inside so it keeps you warm once the doors are closed, with the sound of the tent gently flapping in the breeze and some owls made for a peaceful nights sleep.
Saturday was a little different but at no fault of Lantern and Larks, a wedding party for one of the girls from the local village meant loud music was being played until early morning. It was one of those things and very unfortunate it was whilst we were there. I spoke with Lantern and Larks and I was assured it was not from the Exton Park estate as they have an agreement in place to ensure music is not played after 12, they confirmed it wasn’t them and was in the village itself. Exton Park have spoken with the relevant people to make sure it doesn’t happen again. They have had people staying here for a while now and this is the first time something of this nature has occurred, I am mentioning this only because I am here to write an honest and transparent review.
The tent was clean and beautifully decorated, as it was my birthday they had put up banners for me, it was a wonderful way to spend my birthday weekend, so would I go again? Definitely, it was a truly wonderful experience, the children were able to run about and be free, we could sit and enjoy watching the children play whilst we had a little bottle of champers. The lake at the bottom of the site was fenced off, they had thought of everything to make sure it was a safe and relaxed environment.
Whilst we could have spent plenty of time exploring the local area from the tent we did venture into nearby Oakham, it has some wonderful independent shops and restaurants so if you have forgotten anything it is well worth a visit.
Then of course there is Rutland Water itself, with water sports, bike hire, parks and plenty of walking it is a great place to while away a few hours, and then the tent is the perfect place to come back to and sit and enjoy the sunset.
We had an amazing time here and I would love to go back, they have some other fabulous locations around the country including Lancashire, Suffolk and Somerset, so wherever you are in the country there isn't one too far away.
A huge thank you to June and the team at Lantern and Larks for having us and if you fancy glamping then why not take a look at Lantern & Larks fabulous Ultimate Guide to Glamping
NB: We were given a weekend break here in return for our honest opinion, all words and pictures are my own.