As lockdown started to ease, the Out and About Team went to Wales, to see the location for our Glamping long weekend in September. Lockdown restrictions meant this could not be a ‘Famous Five Adventure’, but Nikki, Noreen and I still had a smashing time.
Nested in the beauty of Pembrokeshire National Parks, The Little Retreat has been described as ‘Pembrokeshire’s hidden secret’. It enjoys a stunning location, on the ruins of a castle, in the grounds of The Larwenny Estate, with views across the Cleaddau river. When you arrive, you can clearly see why it’s been featured in mainstream and travel media, including The Times, National Geographic and Coolspaces
We took the train, it was an easy journey with a change in Swansea (good job too as Noreen the dog, needed to have a comfort break!). You can book cabs to take you from a number of nearby stations, including Pembroke Dock. If you want to drive there is plenty of room for parking, and it’s a great week to see Pembrokeshire.
Out and About were introduced to Wellness Coach and owner of The Little Retreat, Amber Lort-Phillips, back in January. Amber is the brainchild behind The Big Retreat Wales, a popular 3-day Wellness Festival, held in Larwenny Estate. It seemed a natural extension for her to then create a smaller year-round space that she terms ‘An Escape from the Ordinary’.
The focus of The Little Retreat is all about soothing your soul, and I think we all need a bit if this after over a year of lockdowns and restrictions. The Little Retreat is tucked away in a private corner of The Lawrenny Estate. Amber is growing the current space to have 15 glamping tents as well as space to have up to 15 campervans. There is also a community run hostel (once an old schoolhouse) right next door that can take up to 22 people.
We also got a glimpse of a beautiful wall garden, that is currently being renovated (thanks to Lottery funding) to have a semi-permanent foraging workshop and restaurant. In future years, Amber hopes to get permission to build some self-contained cottages that can be let out.
The Out and About Team, including Noreen the dog (dogs are welcomed on the campsite), stayed in one of the luxury Dome tents. Newly constructed, these are fully insulated, with a large double bed, and two roomy singles (that slip neatly under the doubles if not needed). There is also a sofa, table and chairs, log burner and a smart TV (I have to say we did not switch the TV on, even when Line of Duty beckoned!).
The Domes also have a shower room and a small, well-designed kitchen. Outside is a private garden with a wood fired hot tub, a bench and a log burner/BBQ. Best of all though is the view, right out onto the Estuary and a 12th century church. We were very lucky with the weather and had a blissful evening watching the sun go down, with a glass of wine in the hot tub.
In the morning we walked 100 yards up to where the campervan space in. On the top of the estate, there are stunning views down to the Estuary. There are plenty of benches and space to start up a campfire.
Amber has built up some fantastic local connections to allow visitors to make the most of their stay. This includes Laura Owen Sanderson, founder of www.weswimwild.com, who is passionate about wild swimming and conservation and comes in to lead group cold water swimming trips. In addition, there are Yoga instructors, foraging experts, massage therapist, art teachers and paddleboard and kayaking instructors that can be booked in advance. We will be making these available to all those attending the Out and About trip in September.
What we loved about Amber was how keen she is to be inclusive, and she absolutely understood the need for developing safe and supportive spaces for LGBTQIA women. She is just setting up a Community Interest Company, and has already been asking us how she can use funds to support LGBTQIA youth in Wales.
On our trip we will be making the most of some wonderful local caters and having a fireside BBQ, a 3-course foraging dinner as well as a visit to the local pub, which is situated right on the banks of the Estuary, just a 15-minute walk from the Glamping area.
For those that love nature, The Lawrenny Estate is surrounded by acres of beautiful woodland walks, and you are also only 20 minutes’ drive to some of Pembrokeshire’s stunning beaches and the harbour town of Tenby.
We are supper excited for our trip in September. And for those of you that missed out (it sold out in less than 48 hours), we will be planning more long weekends here. Out and About are also proud to be working closely with Visit Pembrokeshire on a 5-year strategy for tourism, and we are keen to help make Pembrokeshire a go to destination for LGBTQIA women.
The Little Retreat | Luxury Glamping | Pembrokeshire, Wales (littleretreats.co.uk) The Dome Tents we stayed in are available from £140 a night and sleep up to 4
Travel Blog written by Polly Shute, Co-Founder of Out and About LGBTQ