How suitable is the Bell Tent Camp, at Tom’s Eco Lodge, for families with young children?
We were lucky enough to stay in the NEW Bell Tent Camp a night before they officially opened. We stumbled across the accomodation by chance on Airbnb and luckily for us, the booking was accidentally accepted (it should have been declined). Due to work commitments and wanting to coincide the trip with out Wedding Anniversary Trip, we couldn’t ammend the dates for their opening. Fortunately for us, Tom’s Eco Lodge were true to their word and allowed us to keep our booking giving us the huge privilege of having the entire camp to ourselves (the night before opening)!
We had the most amazing anniversary and one of our favourite family getaways to date. Although every aspect of our Isle of Wight trip contributed to this, the stay at the Bell Tent Camp was our favourite part (all of us) and provided us with memories we will treasure forever.
As soon as we pulled into the car park we were impressed. Each Bell Tent had its own parking space which was clearly and stylishly labelled (yes they’ve even made the car park pretty)!
We followed the children to our Bell Tent as they safely led the way, admiring the beautiful countryside all around us. Each Bell Tent had its own fire pit and cooking station, a bench, a water tap and a beautiful decked area to the front. It was amazing and we hadn’t even been inside yet.
The Bell Tent
We unzipped the entrance, not really knowing what to expect, and we were truly blown away! It was beautiful. It far exceeded our expectations in every way.
The first thing I noticed was the main bed. This was a proper bed, a king size bed for that matter and it looked so cosy and inviting.
It would seem the children had the same idea because they went straight over to their beds. Either side of our bed, were the children’s beds. These were striking with their clean white sheets and contrasting, cosy red blankets and cushions. The children obviously didn’t notice this; they were too busy in awe of the elephant towel! Yes that’s right, we are staying in a tent on a farm and they have shaped the towels into elephants.
I think you’re starting to realise that this was not simply staying in a tent on a farm. This is glamping to a whole other level where the thoughtfulness and attention to detail is impeccable. Now I should really stop talking about beds but I can’t as I have to share with you some of the things that were said about them. It didn’t take the children long to jump into their bed and what followed was quite possibly the cutest and best child’s monologue/review:
Bug (age 3.5): “My bed is so so so so so so so so comfy. Cosiest bed in the world. Wish me were here for ages. Best tent ever!”
Mimi (age 18 months): “Comfy! Comfy! Comfy!” Now Mimi is only 18 months old so she doesn’t have a huge vocabulary yet. However, it would seem she deemed her bed in the Bell Tent worthy of adding a new word to her list.
Joe (age 29): “This is the most amazing bed I have ever been on!” Yep, don’t worry the King size bed didn’t fail to disappoint in its comfort too.
Amazingly, these tents are incredibly spacious. There was plenty of space to move, (even run) and play inside the tents.
Moving on from beds…inside the Bell Tent there were many more delights to be discovered:
- Bullet point
- Bamboo clothes rail.
- A HUGE comfy bean bag.
- Skittles toy set.
- First Aid Kit.
- Fire and Carbon Monoxide Alarm.
- Briquettes and fire lighters.
- Cool Box.
- A kettle and toaster.
- Tea, coffee and sugar.
- Portable gas stove.
- Electric blankets for all the beds (these are already under the bed sheets so you only have to plug them in if you want to use them).
Now I think it’s time I talk about the picnic basket. Although the beds caught our attention right away, there is no way the picnic basket escaped our vision. How could it? It was presented beautifully on a wooden crate with a gorgeous candle and freshly picked flowers.
The utensils and crockery were of a very high standard AND they even included colourful, plastic crockery and utensils for the children. To top it all off, they had supplied delicious chocolate chip cookies too!
Other Camp Facilities
Communal fridge and freezer area with a washing up station, as well as a large (and very clean) toilet and shower block.
There is also an Honesty Shed which provides everything from your daily essentials to treats like marshmallows and chocolate. There are even games, a hairdryer, iron and more things you can burrow if you need to.
Communal Pizza Oven – basic ingredients for this can even be found in the honesty shed!
Although there are no laundry facilities to use, they make it clear that they are more than happy to arrange this for you for a small donation. They will also change bedding quickly and efficiently should a child have an ‘accident’.
After a delicious meal at the Cow and Co Restaurant and Bar, we headed back to our tent to toast marshmallows on the fire.
As the sun started to set, the four of us climbed onto the highest hay bales and we sat and watched the sunset together. We then all went to sleep in the ‘comfiest beds in the world’.
All sounds a little bit like a fairy tale doesn’t it? That is kind of how it felt too. It was a magical and memorable stay that we will cherish forever. Sadly, when we woke the next morning it wasn’t long before we had to check out. The only way to stop our two from crying was by promising we would return again soon. Luckily, we headed straight to Tapnell Farm Park which quickly brought the smiles back on their faces.
Bell Tent Camp, Tom’s Eco Lodge – suitability for young children:
Some Useful Tips
While the toilet blocks are very close and clean, depending on the age of your children you may want to consider bringing a travel potty.
Bring a travel mirror for the tent. While there are plenty of mirrors in the toilet block it would be handy to allow you to do hair and make-up in the tent if you wanted to.
Make sure you have warm clothing for first thing in the morning. Slippers would be handy too! However, even though it was cold when we woke up, we put some layers and socks on, turned on the electric blankets and all had breakfast in bed together – another memorable part of our stay.
The children’s beds were made of 2 mattresses on top of one another. We still worry about Mimi falling out of bed so we moved one of the mattresses next to the other one. This worked perfectly as meant she was lower if she did roll out and this was unlikely now the bed was twice as big! It was also very handy in the morning as it was big enough for us all to snuggle in and have breakfast in bed.
For more details, visit their official website: Tom’s Eco Lodge.