TRAVEL: Experience the beauty of the great outdoors while enjoying the comforts of home

Dundas Castle offers 10 luxury tents, each with the loch in sight
Dundas Castle offers 10 luxury tents, each with the loch in sight

If like me, the thought of camping makes you run for the hills, don’t be put off going on a glamping holiday.

From a young age I’ve never been a fan of camping. The thought of having to put up a tent, sleep on a rocky bit of ground and trek to find the toilet block in the middle of the night with a torch is not my idea of a holiday.

Glamping, the upmarket big sister of camping, however, offers the chance to experience the great outdoors without sacrificing access to the luxury of an en suite toilet, hot shower and comfy bed.

Dundas Castle, situated on the outskirts of Edinburgh, near South Queensferry, is one of the latest glampsites to pop up in Scotland.

Run in partnership with Glampotel, the site features 10 luxury tents each overlooking a loch brimming with wildlife.

We spent one night at Greylag – each tent is named after wildlife found on the Dundas Castle Estate – and enjoyed a whistle-stop tour of the surrounding area.

A track leads up to the tent from the loch side and steps take you to a decked area complete with outdoor kitchen (barbecue, gas-powered fridge and sink with running water), seating, a parasol and a chimenea for those chillier evenings.

More steps lead up to the canvas tent, which comes complete with a super-comfy king-size bed, electric-powered wood-burning stove, pantry unit with crockery, and the all-important USB charging point for mobile phones and tablets.

The entrance to the en suite bathroom, featuring a toilet, sink and gas-fired shower with hot water, is through a side door in the tent.

Dundas has thought of every eventuality and the tent features a trunk with board games, extra blankets and battery-operated torches.

Basic lighting is provided and there are plenty of candles to create a cosy glamping experience.

After checking into our tent for the night, we embarked on the recommended walking tour around the estate. This takes around an hour and offers breathtaking views of the Forth bridges, the chance to see farm animals and a glimpse of the beautiful Dundas Castle.

We also went for a wander around the nearby picturesque South Queensferry with its great range of independent shops, cafes and restaurants.

It’s a tourist hotspot, so if you’re planning to eat there, make sure to book somewhere in advance – we learned that the hard way.

We instead opted for a visit to Hopetoun House and its Stables Tearoom for a meal before enjoying a night of wine and board games under the stars.

The tearoom is located in a beautifully restored stable block, where you can still see signs of how the horses were kept in times gone by.

The food is tasty and great value – and if you’ve got the time, a tour of the house and its grounds is a must.

Back at the tent, our fears of being cold or uncomfortable during the night were quickly put to rest. The tent was cosy and the bed was probably better than the one we sleep on at home.

The next morning, after a warm shower, we cooked breakfast on the barbecue using ingredients provided in a breakfast hamper from Dundas.

Available at an extra cost of £40, the hamper is a bit on the pricey side but is jam-packed full of produce including free-range eggs, sausages and bacon from Puddledub Farm in Fife, some Stornoway black pudding and fresh bread rolls.

After filling our boots, we enjoyed one last wander around the estate before heading back north.

If we’d had more time we would have gone into Edinburgh for an afternoon of sightseeing and cocktails, but instead we had a quick visit to Deep Sea World in North Queensferry.

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