Looking to try out the Pod experience? - Here are some pointers to help you on your way.
All the ‘official’ Pod sites are listed on the Locations Map. By clicking on a pointer you will bring up a ‘pop-up’ which gives you the key information and a photo of the Pods that you have chosen to look at. You will find contact details if you wish to enquire about availability or make a booking. Wherever possible we will provide a link that goes to the site’s own website which is quite often a dedicated Pod page. Many of the Pod locations are campsites but increasingly you may find that they are part of the accommodation offered by hostels, pubs and hotels who will likely offer other facilities including catering. There are several sites that are farm based, some are set around fishing pools and there is even a naturist site or two. Do your research - there are some great sites in some fabulous locations.
In the beginning there was the ‘standard’ camping Pod – suitable for 4 but really ideal for a couple with or without a couple of children. Next to come along was the Family Pod because for some people the original just wasn’t big enough. The family Pod is nearly 50% bigger than the original and will accommodate 5 adults (tent format!). Both the above are all about camping – just forget the tent. For those who want even more space there are a few basic ‘part furnished’ MegaPod’s that don’t have facilities or mini-kitchen! More recently we have introduced the MegaPod which is essentially a two plus two small timber lodge. These are fitted out with furnishings (there are some variations), a mini-kitchen or wardrobe and will have either have a ‘luxury’ wet room with shower or a washroom with w.c. (typically on sites where they have showers available). These are a really excellent option for a few days ‘get away from it’ break where eating out is the order of the day but you still have the conveniences (and more) of a hotel room! Some even have the luxury of under floor heating – how ‘glamping fantastic’ is that! The new Pod on the block is the ‘split’ family sized Pod where there are two single beds in the front end and a ‘mess room’ in the raised back area which is big enough to take a fold out double bed. These are proving popular with hostels and also feature at the amazing new surfing lagoon in North Wales see www.surfsnowdonia.co.uk .
The first rule is don’t leave it too late – the Pod is popular and there is often more demand than supply, especially through the summer months and national holidays. Some sites offer Pods through online services such as PitchUp and there are organisations such as the National Trust and the YHA who operate multiple sites with online booking. Most sites are privately run by welcoming owners who will be helpful and explain what they have available. The rates are quite variable and start around £30 per night for a standard Pod – then it comes down to the facilities on offer, the time of year and the type of Pod – MegaPods will work out around £70 per night (or typical B&B rates for a given area). Pods were designed to provide a level of comfort and security that is generally absent with tent camping and, depending on your constitution, camping through the darker wetter days of winter should be no problem. All the MegaPods are designed and equipped to be an all year round option, there is however quite a variation in the insulation properties of the camping Pods. Many sites close through the winter months but you might check with the ‘all year round’ sites that the Pods on offer will meet your expectations!
If you are staying in a camping Pod then it is very much a case of gathering together a set of camping equipment to whatever level you are comfortable with. Virtually all Pods have a timber decking outside the front door and this is often used as a kitchen area plus you have the porch for wet days. Barbeques are very popular but need to be kept away from the decking while in use. Be aware the briquettes will produce highly dangerous carbon monoxide until they are stone cold so keep your BBQ well away from the confined living space! If you are new to camping you need to be prepared for the whole food management thing. Nothing is quite as easy as at home but good eating can be had with a bit of planning and the right equipment – ‘one pan’ cook books or the ‘cool camping cookbook’ can be inspirational and eating should be twice as enjoyable outdoors. A cool box might be useful when the weather gets hot!Depending on how you are travelling you will want either a foam (bulky), self inflating (not so bulky), or inflatable (not bulky) mattress to sleep on and the same pretty well applies to your bedding - the Pod is going to be warmer and dryer than a tent so the comfort of duvets or compactness of sleeping bags are both options. A few sites equip their Pods with futons which are good for sitting on and sleeping on. All sites produce a set of rules for the use of their Pods and these are primarily for your safety and the mutual enjoyment of the site with your ‘neighbours’. A universal rule is ‘no naked flames in the Pod’ which means no cooking, no candles, no smoking etc etc. so while all Pods are fitted with lights if you want mood lighting consider using LED decorative lights or a lava lamp!
Camping can be a great and revitalising recreation especially when the weather is good. It can however be quite challenging, especially in a tent, when the weather turns bad and stays bad. A Pod will go a long way to making bad conditions tolerable. So, why not save on the cost of the tent and avoid the potential difficulties of striking camp in the rain and having to dry out everything when you get home! For many enjoying the day usually follows a good night’s sleep and having the comfort and security offered by the Pod can be like ‘home from home’. The long days of summer means the sun rises as early as 4.30 a.m. – in a Pod you can keep the blackout blind down, or curtains closed if day dawns ahead of your routine! On the bottom line you will find that the Pod offers great value for money – it offers a real ‘woody’ experience that is different from many other forms of accommodation and more than likely you will be in some of the most amazing landscape on the planet – that’s just the way it is! And for families, kids just love them!