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Last weekend me and the wife booked ourselves into one of our most favourite short-break locations.
It’s called Secret Cloud Holidays, and is basically ‘glamping’ on another level!
For those of us that enjoy being in the outdoors, but no so keen on camping – staying in a Yurt is a wonderful experience.
One of only four other yurts on the site, Secret Cloud Holidays is located on a meadow, on the edge of the Derbyshire Peak District, with beautiful views and an assortment of farm animals to keep you company.
A Yurt stay is a fantastic experience for all manner of reasons.
Peace and Quite
One of the reasons we love it here is because of its isolated location.
Apart from the distance rumble of a car from the main road, you can only hear natural sounds.
Your nearest neighbor is a good fifteen meters away, and like you, they’ve also come for the tranquil nature of the yurts. (You can just make out one of the other yurts in the picture above)
It’s a place you can take a good book, and read in blissful peace.
At One With Nature
Well, not quite.
The last time we went (about 18 months ago) there was no electricity in the yurts. This year the owners have installed an electric socket.
So you can charge any electrical devises and listen to music or watch films (although why would want to in a place like this is?).
We did have some background music on, but it wouldn’t have bothered us if we didn’t.
Sitting outside on our decking area, watching the wildlife, taking in the views, or reading a book is what this place is all about for us..
..oh, apart from the hot tub!
The Hot Tub
Who doesn’t love a hot tub?
Well at this place, you get your very own, private use one, right outside your yurt.
Most of the facilities on-site, tend to be as eco-friendly as possible, and the wood-fired hot tubs are no exception.
We arrived on-site just before 6pm on Friday evening, and our hot tubs were already lit and ready for us to jump right in.
After a 3 hour+ traffic-ridden drive, slipping into a hot tub with a glass of wine is as good as it gets!
When we were first here a few years ago, we had to book a time for a ‘communal’ hot tub. It was also a little walk from your yurt.
The addition of your own private one, right outside your door, has really set this place apart.
Most people who stay at Secret Cloud Holidays, spend a lot of their time relaxing in the hot tub and it is without doubt a big draw for visitors. It really is a special treat.
We went during the winter last time, and were lucky enough to have a clear night. We sat for what seemed like hours in our hot tub, staring at the stars.
I remember it was freezing, and the ground was covered in fresh snow. There was no other place I would rather have been.
From the outside, the yurt doesn’t look like much, but when you go inside for the first time, you understand why this place has over a hundred five-star reviews on Trip Advisor.
After stepping inside you are greeted with an oasis of calm, luxury and romance. It is also spotlessly clean.
A solid wooden bed sits in the middle, with a fresh, white duvet and pillows and super-soft bathrobes.
Swan style towels are perfectly positioned to form a love heart, and little extras keep appearing as you explore further.
Small solar-powered lights decorate the inside to produce a warm, cozy glow.
The yurts come in different sizes, and some can sleep up to 5 people.
We’ve stayed in three different yurts so far, and all of them are special in their own way. As a couple, we like the cozy setting of a smaller yurt, but it was also nice to have lots of room in one of the larger ones.
Every yurt has a table and chairs with a gas stove for cooking and making tea/coffee.
You can also use the wood burner to cook with, and heat food or water.
There is plenty of cutlery, plates, bowls, pans, knives, glasses (including plastic champagne glasses for the hot tub) etc. They really have thought of everything.
Your outside area has decking, with a table and chairs and of course your hot tub.
The eco-loo is also outside, but nicely set back a little.
There’s also a large cool box, which is great to store any drinks and food. You can borrow some cooler ice packs from the site’s freezer to keep everything nice and cool.
We kept all our drinks in the cool box, and it worked perfectly.
The Wood Burner
Apart from the hot-tub, the wood burner is a real favourite for me.
We have an open fire at home which we love, but a wood burner kicks out much more heat.
You can boil a kettle on it or cook food in it, such as jacket potatoes and pizzas. We only used it to make toast and cook pies.
During your stay, you are supplied with all the wood (and coal) you need to keep the wood burner and the hot tub going. You also get kindling and fire starters to get them started.
For the health and safety among us (okay me) – there’s a carbon monoxide alarm in your yurt, along with a fire extinguisher and fire blanket! 🙂
Of course it’s got a sauna!
Not your own private one, (yet!) but a small wood-fired sauna set apart for all to use.
It is kept hot and maintained in the evenings, and is another nice addition to the site.
We went in it the first year and it was great, but didn’t bother this time round.
Toilets / Showers / Washing-Up Facilities
A few years ago, the only toilet to use was your own, outside compost toilet.
This was an experience in the middle of the night, when it’s minus five outside! Not so bad this year in Spring time.
However, this year we were pleasantly surprised to discover a flushing bathroom in the two shower rooms!
Personally I think this is a great addition. We used own eco-loo for just number ones.. (okay TMI!)
Note: Spiders love the inside of an eco-loo!
There are 2 private shower rooms housed in one wooden building. Both are warm and have lovely hot showers, a flushing loo, toiletries, hair dryers, shaving points, towels, mirrors and plenty of space.
For washing your dishes, the owners have now built an extension to the shower building to accommodate an inside washing area.
There is a big sink and drainage with washing-up liquid, dish-cloths and tea-towels.
There’s also a large fridge freezer with your own little space to keep your breakfast items cool.
Food and Drink
When you make your booking you get the choice of what type of breakfast you prefer – full fat, vegetarian, or one of each.
We chose one of each.
All the food is fresh and locally sourced, and the sausages (cooked in the wood burner) are unbelievably tasty.
Top Tip: Bring tin foil with you. It makes cooking much easier and less cleaning up to do.
Our hamper for two mornings included; 6 free range eggs, 6 veggie and 6 meat sausages, (although you could stipulate bacon) a pint of milk and a loaf of bread and butter.
My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
The only little extra I recommended in the feedback sheet, is some sachets of jam/marmalade etc.
You also get a cafetière and a bag of fresh coffee.
What Else To Eat
Along with the food already supplied, we brought lots of nibbles including cheese, grapes, crackers, crisps etc.
We also bought two delicious home-made pies from the local town of Leek on the Saturday – which again we cooked in the wood-burner.
On previous stays, we’ve brought soup, beans and other canned food.
There are pubs near by that serve good pub grub, and you can even order a pizza to be delivered. I hear they’re pretty good too!
I’m not sure if the owners do it for everyone now, or just for returning guests, but when you arrive there is a bottle of Prosecco on ice waiting for you! Another lovely touch.
Naturally we brought a few more bottles of fizzy stuff and some wine and beers (we were there for two nights!).
There’s plenty of free drinking water on site, and there’s a bottle of water next to the bed.
The site was set-up and is run by husband and wife team Ian and Catherine, about five or so years ago I think.
They are both genuinely lovely people, and want you to have an amazing experience.
The place is designed to be self-sufficient and they tend to let you get on with it to enjoy in peace. However, if you do need anything fixing or sorting out, they are just a phone call away.
Despite their obvious success, they continue to improve the facilities to provide a proper luxury experience.
I love that they listen to feedback from guests, and act upon them.
I’m also pleased they haven’t added more yurts onto their existing site. The fact that there are only five, keeps privacy levels high, and noise pollution low.
Let’s face it, that’s what most of us want when we stay here.
Instead, they keep improving on what they already have, and have done a fantastic job.
It’s often the little things that make the difference, and they understand this.
A lot of people chose to stay at their yurt and simply enjoy the surroundings.
It’s lovely to de-stress and do absolutely nothing..well you might need to throw another log or two in the wood burner now and again.
We like to walk, and there are plenty of walking options around the area, from easy to more challenging. Good walking shoes are highly recommended.
After a good hike, we feel we’ve earned our hot tub and booze when we get back!
There are lots of maps and guides in your yurt, so you won’t be short of things to do.
Alton Towers is also right on the door step, if that’s your thing.
If you like local pubs and cafe’s there’s plenty to choose from, with some set in idyllic countryside locations.
Just don’t be tempted to stay out too long. Your yurt is waiting, and you really should make the most of it.
I can’t praise this place highly enough, and we love coming here. It is quite pricey, but you get a whole new experience you would never get in any hotel.
Unfortunately the secret is out, and due to its popularity you need to book well in advance to secure the days you want.
Although it is fairly popular with hen parties (hen parties must book the whole site) and families, I would say it has more appeal as a ‘couples retreat’.
And that’s one of the reasons we like it so much! 😉
If your after peaceful, luxury camping in beautiful countryside..this is the place for you.