When I was young, summer holidays consisted of family trips to Grandma's house. Grandma stayed in a cute little cottage in the middle of nowhere, about 20 minutes outside of St Andrews, on the outskirts of the Cambo Estate near Kingsbarns. Our summers were spent enjoying fish and chips in Anstruther, sharing warm donuts on the pier and eating copious amounts of Irn Bru sorbet that always dripped through the end of the cone before I could finish it. (Even my childhood memories are all food based...)
I've since introduced Gordon to the wonders of Luvians sorbet and we often detour through St Andrews on the way from Edinburgh. Usually we don't have time to do much else on our pitstops and vow to spend a whole weekend exploring more of the Home of Golf. So, as a little wedding present for my new husband, I planned us a surprise roadtrip! Hotels in the area turned out to cost an absolute bomb (£200 per night, no thanks) but then I remembered the Cambo Estate!
Browsing the website for room availability at the Cambo House, I stumbled across the Woodland Retreat. A hidden gem, the campsite is surrounded by trees in the grounds of the Estate. You can sleep in the newly opened CamBoat or cosy up in the Bell Tents. And so we found ourselves, on our third and fourth day as husband and wife, "glamping" in the woods in the Kingdom of Fife.
The Bell Tents
Two tents sit side by side on a wooden deck in the clearing, romantically lit with fairylights. Inside, our humble abode featured a double bed, coffee table and chairs atop a patterned rug, with extra blankets to warm us up in the evening. Outside we had our own little firepit and dining area. We were greeted with a bottle of wine and a welcoming letter from the owners, inviting us to make ourselves at home. A little booklet told us all the essential information, like where to find our own private bathroom. Our tent was even equipped with power - just enough to charge our phones and chill our drinks in the coolbox. All the essentials!
Unfortunately they were having electrical issues during our visit... which I found out the hard way when the power cut out mid hair drying! This didn't affect our stay in any way though. Extra battery powered lighting was provided in the bathrooms and we used tealights to atmospherically light the tent and kitchen area. I actually think the lack of power and phone service added to the experience. There's nothing like the loss of 3G to make you enjoy a conversation and appreciate each other's company!
The Cambo House & Gardens
The Estate has been owned by the Erskines since the 1670's and is still home to the family today. You can take a trip around the house itself, browse the gift shop or grab a bite to eat in the café. Guests have access to a pool table, foosball and table tennis, and there's even an actual tennis court for any budding Andy Murrays out there! For golfers, the Kingbarns Golf Links is only a stones throw away.
After hairdryer-gate, my only hope was that the hot summer sun would work it's magic and dry my fro. Taking advantage of the weather, we explored the grounds rather than the house itself. The Walled Garden is a must visit with its pathways lined by apple trees and colourful wild flowers. Our peaceful wonder through the woodland eventually lead to the golf course and a picturesque view of the sea.
Cambo Estate plays host to an eclectic array of events, from their Snowdrop festival and outdoor plays to the more unusual Batwalk or wild food foraging days. You can even host your wedding in one of their many venues. Imagine how pretty the pictures would be! The Christmas food and craft fair sounds like my cup of tea, and I hope to experience the Cambolicious craft beer festival later this year!
The Woodland Kitchen
Heading back to the campsite, the kitchen area was probably my favourite part. Surrounded by a ring of fairylights, with a parachute roof, it was the perfect shelter from the unpredictable Scottish weather. There's a wooden table with benches, and tree stumps to huddle around the fire. A tripod sits above it for warming the BBQ, which comes provided, as well as a gas cooker. Gordon was in his element building fires and searching for suitable marshmallow toasting sticks! On our first night we shared prosecco and beers and munched on homemade shortbread leftover from the wedding.
The Balgove Night Market set us up with a few treats for our second evening. We sipped Eden Mill cocktails and beers from St Andrews Brewing Co and watched our marshmallows turn golden brown over the hot flames. You can hire extra cooking equipment when booking and our neighbours from the CamBoat talked of delicious fish curries they'd enjoyed on previous nights. It sounds like they cooked up a storm! We weren't quite so adventurous and our culinary skills stretched as far as barbecuing sausages for breakfast. Balgove's pork and thyme sausages, smothered in Angus and Oink rampant angus hot sauce... breakfast of champions.
Take that, Bear Grylls!
The Cambo Woodland Retreat was the perfect getaway for us newlyweds and an ideal base for exploring St Andrews and the East Neuk. A casual, relaxed escape where we watched the sunset and toasted our marriage beneath a blanket of stars. Even a little power cut and downpour of rain couldn't dampen our spirits!
If glamping isn't your thing, you can stay in the Cambo House itself - more info on their website!