Have you ever stayed in a yurt? I hadn’t until last month, and wasn’t really sure what they were. Is glamping hipster? Or has it become cliche now? How much glam does a campsite require to evolve into a glampsite? These existential questions must prey on all our minds from time to time, but I would urge you to leave your worries at the tiny little hobbit door and enter the world of yurting (note: I don’t think that’s a real verb).
We stayed at Cae Wennol yurts, about 20 minutes drive from Betws-y-coed and 40 minutes from Snowdon. The site has three yurts, as well as an outdoor pizza oven, individual bbq areas and an open-air communal kitchen. There are ponds with dragonflies, rabbits peeping their little noses about, and cheeky magpies thinking they own the place. It’s a weirdly magical place.
All of the yurts have names, and ours was called Seren. It was equipped with a double bed and futon, as well as drawers, a chair and tables, and a wood burner complete with chimney. The floor is made of wood with rugs to keep your feet warm. It was decorated in a middle-eastern inspired “rustic” theme that made it feel like a real home. It definitely didn’t feel like a tent, more like when you are a child and you dream of making your wendy house into a real house to live in your garden forever.
On the first night we made a valiant effort with the outdoor pizza oven, with mixed results. We had trouble getting it hot enough, and in the end resorted to creating a thin garlic flatbread, using our pizza ingredients to create a pasta instead. I made the pizza dough from scratch without scales, weights or measurements, rolling my sleeves up in the open air kitchen with a G&T at my side and using a pint glass as a rolling pin. It was just perfect.
On the second night, after an exhausting trek up Snowdon and a second (this time successful) visit to the Swallow Falls we had a simpler BBQ/salad outside our yurt before collapsing into bed. That night I was so happy we weren’t sleeping on the floor of a tent, and my weary legs really valued the support and softness of a real bed! Although the yurt had a log burner inside, we found it really warm, and were throwing blankets off the bed rather than needing to worry about keeping warm. Those padded walls are really insulating.
Each of the three yurts has its own individual “loo shed”, with a real basin and a compost toilet. There was also an eco shower, complete with hot water running off into pebbles under your feet. The whole site felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland meets Eden – one morning when I woke up and came out of the yurt, I saw six baby bunnies sprinting across the path in front of me, as if playing that now the humans are awake, it’s time to run! Another morning, as I entered the open air kitchen, a magpie flew out with a whole slice of bread in his beak – I entered to find that someone had left a new loaf on the sideboard rather than in a cupboard, and the magpie has worked his way in through the plastic to steal a cheeky snack.
It felt magical to have these home comforts of real beds, hot water and pizza ovens while running round barefoot and huddling around a fire. I’d return in a heartbeat and would recommend the site to anyone else staying in the area.