Starlight and woodsmoke in Loch Lomond's luxurious glamping bolthole
Draping my hair over the edge of the open-air bathtub, I eased back into the bubbles and sipped my champagne as I took in the views of the dell below and sparkling constellations above. I, like many, have chosen to “glamp” rather than brave the chaos of the airport, risking cancelled flights and lost hopes. Sure, hotels are wonderful, but sometimes you need time to feel free. To fill your lungs with fresh air and solitude. To feel alive again.
I booked my stay at Arcadia, a luxurious glamping site nestled between Glasgow and the banks of Loch Lomond. Consisting of two secluded cabins a short walk away from owners Rob & Sue’s sculpture studio, these deceptively well-equipped boltholes sit at the high end of the glamping spectrum. Solitude, rustic styling, an open-air bath, and twinkling tea lights? You’ve got it. Modern power shower, crisp linens, indoor loo, interior lighting, and somewhere to charge your phone? Don’t worry, you’re still covered. Here we have the breath-taking freedom and aesthetics of the dreamy cabin in the woods fantasy many of us have pinned to our Pinterest boards, paired with the mod-cons most of us, admittedly, cannot live without. Welcome to glamping perfection.
A welcome loch down
Located less than an hour from central Glasgow, you will find Halcyon and Elysium (Arcadia’s two bespoke cabins) nestled snugly inside The Dell in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Set within 21 acres of woodland and pasture, the cabins are within reasonable proximity to the quaint local shops of Drymen yet feel a world away from civilisation. Once you’re parked and unpacked, wheelbarrows are available to cart your bags along the short path to your sanctuary. Passing through the archway of The Dell, prepare to be met by a wash of wildflowers framed by lofty, ancient trees, the wildlife and trickling of the School Burn below providing the soundtrack for your stay.
A masterclass in calm
Built by hand in 2020, it is clear Arcadia was conceived through the eyes on an artist. Evidence of care and consideration for the location and environment can be found throughout, from the gently upcycled furniture to the reflective camouflage wrapped around the cabins, blending into the surrounding woodland. Renowned sculptor Rob Mulholland, along with wife Sue (and dog Mimi), have created a haven like no other: bedecked in a clean, boho style, the cabins ooze luxury whilst maintaining green principles (both are fuelled by 100% green energy and are maintained externally using wildlife friendly gardening techniques). Cosy beds topped with crisp white linens provide sneaky storage underneath, keeping your bohemian dream free from cases and clutter. Shelves adorned with flameless candles add a heightened sense of calm and ambience to the tranquillity. The consideration and respect evident in the recycled wood and carefully selected soft furnishings has you feeling as though this place was built just for you, a place for you to breathe and escape.
The beauty of Arcadia is the rare opportunity to explore the lusted after “cabin in the woods” experience without, well, roughing it. The exceptional kitchenette is equipped with everything from quality ceramics, pots and pans, and a hotplate, to the all-important (and most crucial appliance) kettle. The bathroom boasts a proper sink and shower (with free-flowing hot water) and the “Rolls Royce of composting toilets”, fluffy towels, and a window into the woodland beyond. Back in the living area of the cabin, throw open the glass doors for views of the dell and the odd cheeky robin from the comfort of your bed, or with a cup of tea in one of the voguish wicker chairs.
The deck areas of the cabins are where things really get exciting: each boasts an outdoor tub surrounded by tealights and calm, the sense of peace beyond breath-taking as you sink into the bubbles (eco-friendly, of course), and drink in the view of the stars above. Each deck also features a bistro table and chairs for two, along with a cosy seating area around the wood burning stove. Firewood from windfall trees and spare candles are provided in abundance, should you wish to compliment the twinkling fairy lights draped overhead. The perfect place to switch off.
The cabin grounds are also home to the Arcadia Sculpture Walk, a beautiful trail through woodland and pasture where you’ll stumble across plenty of Rob’s sculptures and aesthetically pleasing spots for the ‘Gram.
Don’t worry about living on baked potatoes and toasted marshmallows all weekend: the kitchenette is equipped with everything you need to throw together a hearty meal.
Wifi/mobile signal is limited on site, but we found plenty along the sculpture walk.
Whilst both cabins are located in the dell, they are positioned in such a way that you will still have complete privacy from one another.
If you’ve forgotten anything, the village of Drymen has a lovely bakery, coffee shop, and Spar.
HOW TO BOOK:
Bookings start from £168 per night with a minimum of two nights stay (there is a £50 discount for every subsequent night beyond this). Click here to book directly or head over to www.aracadiaglamping.co.uk