FORGET the inflatable beds with obligatory slow punctures, or midnight trips to the terrifying toilet block, head to rural Suffolk to experience the kind of camping that certainly won’t leave you cold, soggy and counting down the days departure.
Now that’s what I call a tent, says Lifestyle Editor Catherine Bennion-Pedley.
THE PAD Lying in a roll-top bath with a candle flickering away, I couldn’t believe I was technically camping.
The four safari lodges at The Lost Garden Retreat in Hintlesham have plusher, more spacious bathrooms than most homes – with invigorating rain showers, too.
Each is lakeside, complete with BBQ, fire pit and wood-fired hot tub, and inside are two king-size beds, bunkbeds, a den, a leather sofa and a huge dining table.
Our tent, The Fisherman’s Hideaway, had stylish nautical nods throughout, with vintage furniture and a fairy-light-adorned headboard made of oars in the main bedroom.
Kids can ride their bikes and build dens in the surrounding woodland, plus there’s plenty of lawn to play games on. It’s perfect for a special family break or a birthday get-together.
OUT & ABOUT Got little ones in tow? Get to Jimmy’s Farm – yep, the one off the telly.
Just 20 minutes’ drive away, it has everything from guinea pigs to wallabies, a sandpit, playground and bouncy pillow, plus a garden centre and stable shops.
Entry costs £10 for adults, £8 for kids over two, and pre-book is essential (Jimmysfarm.com).
You’re also surrounded by pretty villages of pastel-coloured thatched cottages, so choose a scenic hike at Dedhamvalestour valley.org.
After the two-hour History And Mystery circular walk from Stoke-by-Nayland, grab a Suffolk Distillery Mandarin & Cranberry Gin, £4.75, at The Crown for your efforts (Crowninn.net).
Be sure to keep an eye out for more Flatford Mill attractions reopening – hiring a rowing boat is a gorgeous afternoon activity (Nationaltrust.org.uk/flatford), as is a stroll around Flatford’s Wildlife Garden Nature Reserve (Rspb.org.uk).
EAT UP For a stunning lunch overlooking a sloping lawn, The Marquis at Layham is tough to beat.
Devour zesty crab tacos, £16, and mouth-watering BBQ short rib with beetroot and carrot slaw and sticky rice, £25, before sipping on a delicious salted caramel martini for pudding, £9.
The kids’ spaghetti Bolognese, £8, comes in super-generous portions, too (Themarquissuffolk.co.uk).
A 13-minute drive from camp is Kersey Mill. Set in beautiful grounds with huge oak swings, you’ll find a couple of boutiques and The Miller’s Kitchen, which serves up tasty tarts and toasties – plus great gingerbread lattes, £3.50 (Millerskitchen.co.uk).
Head to Hollow Trees Farm shop for the BBQ meat of dreams, a proper cheese counter and local Stokes ketchup (Hollowtrees.co.uk).
BOOK IT Safari Tents at The Lost Garden Retreat sleep up to six and start from £220 a night (Canopyandstars.co.uk).
Store more than just your dirty smalls in this nifty Koinobori travel laundry bag, £9.99, Prezzybox.com.
Peppermint-scented hand-sanitiser with eco creds? It’s a no- brainer, surely. £5.25, Dr Bronner’s.
The House of Marley has nailed holiday vibes with its waterproof No Bounds Bluetooth Speaker, £49.99.
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