While Allan and I love the great outdoors and exploring some of the UK’s most beautiful spots nestled amongst the trees, often the accommodation on offer isn’t wheelchair accessible. Allan loves camping, but that isn’t an accessible option for us. But glamping is. So when we were invited by Experience Freedom to visit Troutbeck Head and stay in their universally accessible glamping pod, we couldn’t say no.
Troutbeck Head Glamping Pods in Lake District
The Troutbeck Head site is set in Penrith, Cumbria, perfectly located for exploring the beautiful Lakeland countryside with Ullswater and Keswick nearby.
While staying at Troutbeck Head, you will feel as though you are nestled in the middle of nowhere with stunning views of Blencathra, one of the most famous mountains in the Lake District.
However, you are only a short drive from the main motorway and nearby towns for shops, pubs and restaurants. There is also a shop on-site for food and drink essentials, but supermarkets including Aldi, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s are only 10 miles away in Penrith
Before we set off from home, we packed our wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) with everything we needed (and more as I always do – better safe than sorry, I say) for our winter getaway in the Lake District – puffy jackets, chunky knitwear, woolly hats, fleecy blankets and of course some food.
Visiting the Lake District in December is very pretty, but as you’d expect, very cold too. As soon as we arrived in our glamping pod, we turned on the underfloor heating as well as the convector heater and cosied up under our blankets. It was our cosy festive glamping break – complete with Christmas jumpers.
It took a few hours to heat up and we found by keeping the heating on low throughout the night and while out for a few hours during the day, that the pod does well at containing the heat. And to our delight, the duvet covers were thick and cosy which kept us warm all night. I was, if anything, too warm. Unheard of for me.
What was the Wheelchair Accessible Glamping pod like?
We entered the Troutbeck Head site via a barrier after Allan checked us in at reception. He was given the key to our Experience Freedom glamping pod and the barrier pass for exiting the site.
The accessible glamping pod is accessed via a wooden ramp and a large sheltered decking area. The level threshold into the pod brings you directly into the bedroom and living/dining area.
For me, two of the most important features when staying in any accommodation is the bathroom and the bed. So let’s start with the bed which I’m delighted to say is a profiling bed meaning you can adjust your position for support or to ease pain/discomfort.
I have a bed like this at home and always miss being able to raise my head and legs when I’m on a trip.
The twin beds were pushed together against the wall, allowing one side to be free for wheelchair transfers in and out of bed. The bed was 23 inches from the floor to the top of the mattress with a few inches of clear space underneath the bed for a mobile hoist to roll under.
I use a Molift Quick Raiser hoist at home which would be able to slot under with no problems.
There is an emergency pull cord next to the bed. This will notify the site team if you require assistance in an emergency. The team live on-site so they will hear the alarm if you activate the alarm even after office hours.
As I already mentioned, the duvet was lovely and warm and we had one each so there was no fighting over the covers. There was only one pillow each so if you like to sleep with more, you may want to bring your own or ask the team if it’s possible to have a few more pillows.
We actually took my own head pillow and a few pillows I use at home for supporting my arms and legs in bed. It gives me the essential support and comfort I need.
Living and Dining Area
I had good intentions of reading, finishing my first embroidery pattern and doing some watercolour painting with my new paints and supplies I got for my birthday.
But in the end, we just played games, listened to music, chatted and watched TV. There are a couple of books, a game of Connect 4 and a pack of cards in the pod.
The TV is attached to the wall on a swing-away bracket so you can move it around to watch while in bed, on the sofabed or sitting at the dining table.
The dining table is mounted to the wall and can fold down to create more space when not in use. Although manageable, I did find the table too high for my arms to reach and comfortably eat at. Situations like this won’t be an issue once I get a new wheelchair with a seat riser.
There are two remote controlled blinds in the living/bedroom area and one in the kitchen. They are perfect if like me, can’t physically reach to open and close them manually. I took it upon myself to be the chief blind operator during our stay.
It’s these little things I like being able to do to help. One of the blinds wouldn’t close, but after calling reception someone from the team came up to our glamping pod and popped it on charge for us.
Whenever we stay in self-catering accommodation, we usually take too much food with us, which either gets wasted or takes up space in the car. This time we planned for a couple of days of low maintenance and fuss-free cooking, only taking the essentials.
The kitchen is equipped with a kettle, toaster, microwave, hob and fridge for simple snacks and meals. We found this more than enough for what we needed, but there are local pubs and restaurants if you are looking for something a bit more hearty or fancy.
For convenience, Allan prepared a meal at home which was vegan chicken pieces marinated in sweet chilli with vegetable rice and broccoli. We simply put it in the microwave and this did us for dinner on our first night.
The following day we picked up sushi and a falafel wrap for lunch and a microwave meal for dinner from Morrisons supermarket in Penrith.
The kitchen worktops are lowered and under the sink has a slight recess, however not enough for my wheelchair to roll under. On the worktop next to the hob, was a Uccello Easy Pour Kettle and tipper, which enables you to safely and easily pour boiling water.
The microwave is positioned on a shelf under the hob at a height that many wheelchair users may find easier to reach.
The following were provided:
- Glasses and mugs
- Cooking utensils
- Tin opener
- Tea, coffee and hot chocolate
- Cleaning products
Remember I said the bathroom is one of the most important factors when I stay away from home? Well, I’m pleased to say that the accessible glamping pod has a nice little wetroom with turning space for my power wheelchair.
The toilet was positioned in the far corner of the bathroom. There was a fixed grab bar on the left-hand side and a pull-down grab bar on the right alongside an emergency pull cord.
From floor to toilet seat, it measured 22 inches. There is no toilet lid or back support and the flush push buttons are placed a little higher on the wall behind the toilet.
Next up is the bathroom sink with space underneath that allowed me to roll under and get a little closer. The sink had a mixer tap and space on top to display toiletries for easy reach.
The roll-in shower had a wall mounted fold down shower seat which also measured 22 inches from floor to seat. There was a grab bar on each side of the shower seat and the height of the handheld showerhead unit was able to be adjusted if needed while the controls were within easy reach.
When we visited in December it was very cold, but there is a heated toilet rail in the bathroom that helps ease the chill.
Parking and Decking Area
The accessible glamping pod is the very last pod in the row with a parking bay directly next to it. We loved being at the end as it felt more private. The bricked driveway was perfect for parking our WAV and provided ample space for larger vehicles.
There was a brick BBQ station and wheelchair accessible picnic table next to the parking bay. Although a little cold during our stay, this would be lovely in the spring and summer months for outdoor dining. One disposable BBQ is supplied for free.
I loved the large sheltered decking area as it provides a lovely spot to sit out in any weather (just make sure you wrap up extra snuggly in the winter). There was plenty of space to move around in my wheelchair and there was also a small table and chairs which would be nice to enjoy al fresco breakfasts in the warmer months.
And I can totally see Allan and me spending long summer nights sitting out chatting and listening to music when it’s warm out.
We were lucky to experience a clear night sky during our stay, resulting in a spectacular star-filled sky.
Things you need to know about Experience Freedom Glamping Pods
The following facilities are available on site:
- Wash room / toilets
- Dish washing
- Laundry facilities
- Car parking
- A small shop is now available in reception, selling essential items
- Wi-Fi is not available. 3G/4G and phone signal are limited at this site
How much does it cost to stay in a Glamping Pod at Troutbeck Head?
Booking a stay in a glamping pod at Troutbeck Head will vary in price by day of the week and time of year. Lead-in prices for 2022 are £69 per night, but this will vary depending on when you stay – peak season etc. However, for a two-night stay in December, when we stayed, it would cost around £178. This is cheaper than many hotels with the added bonuses of beautiful surroundings and home-from-home comforts.
Troutbeck Head glamping site season runs from March to January.
Places to visit near Troutbeck Head Glamping Site in Penrith
Although we only had one full day to explore, we managed to squeeze in a lot especially considering we were racing against the fast-fading daylight.
So if you’re keen to do a little exploring around the Penrith area, here are some nearby sights we visited.
Lowther Castle and Gardens
Around 15 miles from Troutbeck Head, Lowther Castle and Gardens was our first stop of the day. In medieval times, Lowther Castle was home to the Earls of Lonsdale, but now the castle ruins and gardens are a lovely visitor attraction.
I instantly wanted to visit as soon as I saw an image of the castle online. It’s uniquely beautiful and surrounded by acres of woodland and ancient gardens.
We walked around the castle ruins but unfortunately, it was just too cold so we didn’t manage to explore the gardens. But we both agreed we’d like to return in the spring or summer to see all the flowers in full bloom.
There is also a cafe, shop and playground making it a great place to visit with the whole family. I’d love to bring my nephews here.
We drove into Penrith Town Centre in search of some lunch. We popped into Morrisons and grabbed a few bites, but later discovered a vegan cafe as we drove through Keswick Town. It’s called Kat’s Kitchen and looks lovely, so that’s top of the list for our next trip.
Castlerigg Stone Circle
I climbed a hill. At the top of the hill was one of the oldest stone circles in the country, Castlerigg Stone Circle. Similar to Stonehenge, but at Castlerigg Stone Circle it’s free to enter and you don’t have to book a time slot.
We parked on the road and were able to enter one of the gates into the fell. It was a short roll up to the top of the hill where the stone circle is. We enjoyed fantastic views of the surrounding landscape and a dramatic atmosphere.
We didn’t spend much time here – maybe 10 minutes. It is a cool sight, so if you’re nearby and fancy a look, go for it.
Derwent Pencil Museum
I was keen to visit Derwent Pencil Museum, but unfortunately, we ran out of time. The museum is located in Keswick which is the home of the first pencil – how cool!
You enter the museum through a replica graphite mine, which I’ve read is narrow with twists and turns. Someone wheelchairs may manage, but you can enter through the exit doors if you’d prefer. Once inside, it’s interactive and there is also a cafe, shop and an accessible toilet. It’s also on our list for the next time we visit the area.
Derwentwater was our last stop of the day before heading back to the glamping pod. We drove around 10 minutes from Keswick town centre and found a car park next to the water. I was able to get down to the water edge where we were greeted by a team of friendly ducks.
There was no one around, just us and the ducks enjoying the tranquil lake and the beautiful view. It was getting dark which made it all the more peaceful.
Troutbeck Head Glamping: Watch Our Travel Vlog
If you’d like to see more of our stay at Troutbeck Head Glamping site plus a tour of our wheelchair accessible glamping pod then please do check out our video below…
Troutbeck Head Glamping – Final thoughts
Troutbeck Head is an excellent site to enjoy a glamping holiday. The wheelchair accessible glamping pod was ideal for our two-night stay and I was able to easily move around without difficulty. The profiling bed, wetroom and underfloor heating made our stay more comfortable.
Troutbeck Head is in one of those perfect locations – you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere, but in fact, you are super close to the main roads with so many things to do in the surrounding areas.
If you’ve always fancied glamping but never considered it to be accessible, then I’d recommend you check out Experience Freedom glamping pods. I love that glamping is now an accessible option for us when visiting remote places and I’m looking forward to more glamping trips with our family.
My stay at the Troutbeck Head Glamping site was a complimentary press trip. As always, all opinions are my own and 100% honest.