Tree house camping might sounds like something that kids would do for fun, but it’s become a slowly growing segment of the luxury camping market. Although classed as camping, in general it’s certainly not roughing it; the facilities are often expensive. Sometimes the only difference between it and a hotel is that you’re up in a tree, and the prices tend to reflect that.
The nature of tree house camping is that it’s generally for warmer climates. That said, there are a few places in Britain that offer this, notably in the Southwest, in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, where the summers are often a little warmer.
There are several tree house camping sites in France, ranging from Brittany to the south of the country, as well as around the Mediterranean, especially Turkey. They’re still not commonplace, but the novelty of the idea makes it appealing to those seeking something different – and tree house camping is certainly that.
You’ll also find a number of locations in the US, and more are coming in places around the globe. Understandably, people will prefer tree house camping in summer when the weather is warmer. The nature of the some of the structures means air is all around so it will understandably become colder with falling temperatures and so unsuitable for winter.
Some tree house camping sites are essentially self-catering holidays. Each tree house will sleep several people, with a number of bedrooms, living room, bathroom and kitchen. There’s no skimping on the facilities. Although some are built around trees, others are actually houses on stilts among the trees, which is an important distinction, as the latter really are buildings placed somewhere exotic, often with balconies and plenty of room.
That said, some are not as well equipped than others. In Turkey, some of the tree houses are little more than thatched huts, while some are just sleeping platforms up trees, with bathroom facilities on the ground (although these places will have food available all day, including vegetarian food). These places are aimed more at the backpacker market rather than families, and the much lower prices (which can be as little as £10 per night) reflect that.
As with most things, you get what you pay for. A tree house that costs £500 a week will offer far more than something which costs little more than spare change. But there are a few who will pay a premium to have a rugged experience, and in Cornwall you can spend a night up a tree in a hammock (tied in so you can’t fall). It’s part of a tree climbing course, and the nearest to true tree camping that’s commercially available. It’s not cheap at £140 a night.
As there’s novelty and cachet attached to these kinds of holidays, and due to the fact they’re only available for part of the year, demand for tree house camps is quite high, so that booking well in advance is advisable.
If anyone in your family suffers from vertigo or has a problem climbing ladders, this won’t be an option to consider for your holiday. Kids, though, will love it and treasure it as one of the great holidays together.