Let’s be honest when my boyfriend first told me that he had booked a surprise trip for us to go glamping my first emotion was panic… the last time I had gone anywhere near a field and an activity of a similar sounding name I waved goodbye to a friendship and also a tiny bit of sanity.
But having also been surprised with an amazing break away for valentines I had faith, trust and a little bit of pixie dust that he wouldn’t guide me wrong and since he knows how much I can talk (read:moan) I knew he wouldn’t set himself up for 48 hours of that.
So armed with walking boots, some gluten-free snacks and two days worth of clothes we headed into the Shropshire countryside and found ourselves at Barnutopia in Oswestry.
Barnutopia is a small family-owned glamping site on the Shropshire side of the Wales – England border about 5 miles west of Oswestry, Shropshire. The owners live with their family of four children in the farmhouse next to the yurt field and stable block.
On arrival we were greeted by Katrina (owner of Barnutopia along with her husband Steve) who showed us around the site and pointed out the party barn, the kitchen, toilets, bathroom and our yurt. To my great delight there was not only a double bed, but electricity and a heater. It felt like I was camping Harry Potter style (punches the air). Plus thanks to the high ceilings and good sized bed my 6ft4 boyfriend wasn’t going to spend the days feeling like he was trapped in a hobbit house.
After unpacking we wandered over towards the party barn and sat outside taking in not only the idyllic scenery but also the fact that the only noise was the sound of the sheep in the field next door.
Before we knew it, it was time for dinner and Katrina had prepared us gluten-free pasta in a cheese sauce and can I just say…. I am absolutely gutted that I never asked her for the recipe. it has been 9 years since I first got ill with coeliac disease and in that time I have not tasted a pasta dish that good… as a cheese fanatic I was in my element.
After dinner and some more time spent taking in the views, we heading into our yurt to prepare for the day of sightseeing we had planned for the following day.
Waking refreshed and ready to go the next day we set out for a day steeped in history.
Our first stop was Chirk Castle: 27 minutes from Barnutopia: Started in 1295, Chirk Castle was one of several medieval marcher fortresses sited on the Welsh-English border to keep the Welsh under English rule. The castle is run by the national trust and offers a guided tour.
We then headed to the beautiful Powis Castle and Garden 38 minutes from Barnutopia: Powis Castle is a medieval castle, fortress and grand country mansion near Welshpool, in Powys, Wales. Also run by the national trust this castle is a must see especially on a warm day.
After a glorious day of sunshine, history and exploring some of the beautiful sights that Wales has to offer we headed into Oswestry for a bite to eat and a look around the local town.
Arriving back at Barnutopia we finished our day with a drink outside the yurt, enjoying the fact that nature was the only noise to be heard.
As a city girl I never realised how much getting away from the daily noise allows you to switch off. With life of late I have found myself in my own head a lot and 48 hours of peace really did allow me to unwind and process things a little bit more. And to think that this haven is literally less than 90 minutes from where I live, it just proves that you really don’t have to travel far to get away from it all.
What we must remember is that locations can capture the eyes but it is the people who often capture the heart and that is where Barnutopia flourishes. Katrina and Steve are fantastic hosts who will go out of their way to make sure that your needs are catered for. It is these touches which will guarantee their customers will return. I personally cannot wait to see the place expand and see their vision come to life more and more.
Finally, I would like to say thank you to my boyfriend for taking me on this journey. I thought I was going to test my limits but instead you showed me that every memory I make with you is a magical one.