Glamping at Dundas Castle, Edinburgh

20160917_092908Shock announcement – I think I quite love glamping, and I think it’s a great option for young children.  Dundas Castle in South Queensferry, Edinburgh is known for its luxury  accommodation, but it’s newly opened a small selection of lochside canvas cottages which offer style and attention to detail combined with fresh air and the great outdoors.

This was my very first experience of glamping, and it was Mr Baby’s first experience too – he’s only one!  And clearly spoilt rotten.  I didn’t know what to expect, or how easy it would be to ‘glamp’ with two toddlers in tow.  This is what we discovered.

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THE TENT – EXTERIOR – Outside your tent you have your own decking, with table and chairs, gas barbq, outdoor heater and mains tap (with drinking water).  You also have a truly wonderful view down to the loch and its resident swan and ducks.

THE TENT – INTERIOR – If you equate camping with discomfort then time to revisit that.   The inside of the tent is lush. It’s spacious with hardwood floors, solid furniture, a huge bed with quality bedding and a toddler campbed as requested.  We had to bring our own travel cot but there was ample room for that too.  There was a wood burning stove with logs provided – it powered out heat and made our tent as warm as our home.  We got that lovely chill through the night once the fire went out, so it felt like real camping, then Mr Husband dutifully relit the fire at 6am to get the tent toasty for our toddlers when they woke.  To me heat, more than anything, transforms camping to glamping.  You can buy more logs as required but we had enough for our two night stay.  I did worry Mr Baby (now walking) would veer towards the stove but he sensed that it was truly hot and kept well away.

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20160916_155650The living space  had solar powered lights, solar powered phone chargers, torches were provided, blankets were tucked in a trunk, candles sat in attractive glass holders (which we hid from the children), a vat of drinking water was provided, cutlery and cooking utensils were stored in wooden chests and a carbon monoxide alarm was also present to ensure our safety.

The shower room is another big sell.  It’s a wood cabin annexed onto the tent so the room itself isn’t heated but the water from the shower is piping hot.  Towels and toiletries were provided (just like a hotel) and having your own sink and toilet within the tent is a real luxury in the middle of the night (or when  you have a potty trained child with you).

20160916_172800DINING – We arrived with our evening meals in cool bags.  Sea food, corn on the cob and mushrooms for night one, and steak and roast peppers for our second evening.  Eating outside was a pleasure (yes, we were lucky it was dry).  A kettle could be boiled on a gas ring, next to the barbq for cups of tea (tea bags, coffee and sugar were provided like they would be in a hotel).  It’s also possible to boil a kettle on the wood burning stove if it’s bucketing down outside.

20160916_162016We experienced Dundas’ Breakfast Hampers which were a huge treat and much of the produce came direct from Craigies’ deli just up the road.  The hamper contained bacon, eggs, jam, smoked salmon, orkney salted butter, marmalade, seeded bread, fresh apple juice, muesli, fruit yogurt and croissants.  The hamper is bound to last two days at least, and you’ll take goods home with you.  It’s quality.

And tidying up?  Weird as it sounds I enjoyed doing the dishes outdoors on the decking in a pop up washing up bowl.  Ecover washing up liquid was provided along with a brush and sponge and I used hot water from the kettle, cooled down with water from the mains.  I felt like Heidi.

THE LOCATION – Lots of little pros and cons here.  Each tent is set back from the loch so the views are truly stunning, and you’re a safe distance away from the water if you have small children with you.  The tents are in the shade most of the day, so not too sunny, but the sheltered spot provides a good wind break.  There is low ambient noise from the roads nearby but the main things you hear are the ducks, birds and the occasional squawk from the resident swan.  I love hearing owls at night.

Guests can explore the estate – we enjoyed a stroll as the sun set.  The castle itself is off limits as it’s regularly hired out for private weddings, and the last thing a bride needs to see is my tribe cagoulled up to the max.  Being so close to Edinburgh is a huge advantage – the airport is minutes away, and the big city and all its sights and sounds are close by.  North and South Queensferry offer their own attractions but the highlight of our trip was Dynamic Earth near Holyrood Park – our toddlers were transfixed for the entire visit (unheard of) so a separate post is coming on that!

20160918_092422THE VIBE – I enjoy camping and going a bit off grid but I loved the ease and comfort of glamping.  The tent was vast, it felt like we had a cave, and we all bundled together.  I think we paid the children more attention.  There was no television; our little boys were wrestling and playing better than they do at home.  In the photo on the right you see them playing with wood chip – they spent twenty minutes doing this!!!  Something clicked in with them, maybe it was being outdoors, and they just got into the whole vibe.  It was a special and memorable experience with children.

Tips – Pack slippers so the kids can go between the hardwood floor of the tent (which can be quite cold underfoot) and the decking.  There are quite a lot of steps up to the tent so we left our buggy in the car.  On the first night we did have to keep Mr Baby away from the steps by blocking the decking entrance with some chairs, but as you can see by Day Two, he had sussed that it was smarter just to sit at the top and play with the wood chip!  Dogs are also welcome.  When guests arrive they’re met by a Dundas representative who not only welcomes you but ensures that visitors understand how to use all the equipment available so don’t worry if you’re not used to glamping, outdoor heating or lighting gas bar-b-qs etc.  Great weekend.  

If you like what you read then don’t miss a post, enter your email address in the ‘Follow’ box then click ‘Follow’ or join the conversation on Facebook, twitter, pinterest and instagram.  For any queries or opportunities please email tots2travel@hotmail.com.   All photos copyright of Tots2Travel.  Tots2Travel received a two night complimentary stay and breakfast hamper – we had two very happy little campers.

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51 Comments

  1. Reply

    PinkOddy

    October 5, 2016

    Sounds amazing and nothing at all like camping really at all! My family still haven’t been to Scotland and it is on our things to do list.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 6, 2016

      This is a very cosy introduction to Scotland’s great outdoors!

  2. Reply

    The Money Shed (@TheMoneyShed)

    October 5, 2016

    Now THAT is Glamping in style! I’ve never done it before but it’s on my list of things to do next Summer when the weather is nicer!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 6, 2016

      I loved it. Encouraging you to try a spot of glamping 🙂

  3. Reply

    joannavictoria

    October 5, 2016

    I must admit I wouldn’t mind trying glamping. I’m not usually a fan of camping this place looks lovely though.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 6, 2016

      It’s a great mix of a bit of luxury and a bit of camping. Definitely worth a try if camping isn’t usually your thing.

  4. Reply

    Little B & Me

    October 5, 2016

    Oh my gosh,
    This place literally looks so amazing & peaceful!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 6, 2016

      It was very chilled, but also very close to a vibrant city so the best of both worlds.

  5. Reply

    clairejustine

    October 5, 2016

    This looks lovey. I’ve never been camping but would love this.. What great tents 🙂

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 6, 2016

      Very spacious and comfortable indeed.

  6. Reply

    Dean B

    October 5, 2016

    We love camping as a family, sleeping on a mattress on the floor and all that however, I’ve never tried glamping, would love to try it too, even though I have a feeling I’ll still prefer camping the “calssic” way 😉

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 6, 2016

      It’s the wood burning stove that made the huge difference. Loved the warmth radiating from it. Very different to classic camping, best of both worlds to me but it’s subjective.

  7. Reply

    Evelina

    October 5, 2016

    This is definitely my type of camping! Amazing experience!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 6, 2016

      I loved the comfort of it yet it was just a canvas between us and the great outdoors so full of adventure too.

  8. Reply

    Newcastle Family Life

    October 5, 2016

    This looks amazing! My partner and children really want to go camping but the idea fills with me dread. This looks much more my kind of thing, I love that they have showers and your own toilet and some home comforts xx

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 6, 2016

      It’s a great baby step if camping seems too daunting. Try it!

  9. Reply

    joylovestravel

    October 6, 2016

    The view from that deck – just stunning.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 6, 2016

      Very peaceful indeed.

  10. Reply

    wha2wear

    October 6, 2016

    oh wow! What an amazing landscape and tent! I’ve been in Edinburgh just for work and didn’t get to see too much but I loved the landscapes along the way, it’s magic x

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 6, 2016

      We were in rural countryside yet minutes away from the city centre. Ideal.

  11. Reply

    Kara Guppy

    October 6, 2016

    It looks stunning, not sure camping at this time of year is for me but I bet the log burner makes it toasty warm inside

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 6, 2016

      The stove is a complete game changer. Loved it.

  12. Reply

    Rachel

    October 6, 2016

    This is perhaps the only sort of camping that I would ever do, glamping, it sounds so much better and I am impressed with your accommodation x

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 6, 2016

      It could potentially be a very romantic weekend as well.

  13. Reply

    Jayne (@SMABLblog)

    October 6, 2016

    Camping with a bit of luxury thrown in! What is there not to love about that?!
    Looks fab, I’ve never been to Scotland, although it is somewhere I would like to visit in time x

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 8, 2016

      It was pretty heavenly! Scottish scenery with a splash of luxury.

  14. Reply

    fashionandstylepolice

    October 6, 2016

    I would love to go glamping one day. Sounds like fun.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 8, 2016

      It’s a great experience, would recommend it.

  15. Reply

    susannabritmums

    October 9, 2016

    That just looks simply wonderful!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 11, 2016

      All the fun and adventure of camping but enough comfort and heat for me to take our toddlers with us. I’d recommend it. So close to Edinburgh too.

  16. Reply

    mariesbeauties

    October 10, 2016

    That place looks so nice, thanks for sharing!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 11, 2016

      A real find.

  17. Reply

    Nicola

    October 11, 2016

    Wow, that’s the kind of camping I’m interested in!
    Visiting from #citytripping

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 11, 2016

      It was so chilled!

  18. Reply

    Umberta

    October 11, 2016

    Really a beautiful place!! looks much more like a good hotel in the nature than camping though! 😉

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 11, 2016

      That’s a good way to put it. But I loved when the fire went out and the air was crisp and then you knew you were camping!

  19. Reply

    Smidge

    October 11, 2016

    Well done Dundas Castle! A great addition to options for people coming to visit Edinburgh, i’ll be recommending this 🙂

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 11, 2016

      It’s a really stand out option for visitors or locals looking for something a little different. Thanks for recommending.

  20. Reply

    California Globetrotter

    October 11, 2016

    OMG now this is my kind of camping! I used to go camping all the time as a kid and when I lived in Montana and I still love to rough it, but I could get used to glamping! #CityTripping

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 11, 2016

      It really took the best of both worlds – kept the best bits of camping but took away the tougher elements, like being frozen!

  21. Reply

    Notmyyearoff

    October 11, 2016

    I didnt even know there was another castle there. I’m not really a camping fan and I’ve never tried glamping but it does look good and the surroundings are just beautiful aren’t they?

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 11, 2016

      Lovely setting, in the middle of nowhere yet just minutes from Edinburgh. Ideal.

  22. Reply

    WanderMum

    October 12, 2016

    This sounds great. A good combination of being outdoors (and having no TV) and having warmth and facilities (toilet!). I’m pretty sure I could convince my husband to do this. Looks like you had a really fun time. What are the prices like out of interest?

  23. Reply

    MummyTravels

    October 13, 2016

    What a lovely experience. You are braver than me taking a toddler camping but that really is the way to do it. All the benefits of camping with a proper toilet, shower and lovely bed! Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      October 13, 2016

      It worked with two toddlers because we didn’t have the hassle of camping, just the good bits! We didn’t have to erect the tent, it wasn’t cold or cramped. Can’t wait to take the boys properly camping but this was a great initiation.

  24. Reply

    Louise Andrew

    November 2, 2016

    We are so pleased that you enjoyed your glamping experience here at Dundas! Next year we hope that even more people will come and enjoy the experience – we will be open again between April and the end of October! All the best from Glampotel Dundas Castle!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      November 3, 2016

      Great. Maybe I could reblog the post in April 2017 as a reminder of the new season? Keep me posted on when exactly you plan to open 🙂

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