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Mount Ephraim Glamping - Now Open!

Lucy Dawes, Owner of Mount Ephraim Glamping Pods. 

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Introducing Our First Client Guest:
Lucy Dawes of Mount Ephraim Glamping Pods

Welcome back to the UK Glamping Podcast! In this episode, Oli is joined by his colleague Calum, and we're thrilled to have our first client guest, Lucy Dawes, owner of Mount Ephraim Glamping Pods. During the episode, Lucy shares her journey with Glampitect, the steps she took to open her glamping site, and her key lessons for other potential site owners.

Discovering Glampitect

Lucy Dawes managed her family business, Mount Ephraim Gardens, for several years. With an established wedding venue and some accommodation options, she had long considered the potential of glamping. The idea initially came to her in 2018, but it was not until four years later, in February 2022, that she decided to pursue it seriously. Recognising her need for expert assistance, Lucy turned to Google and reached out to Glampitect.

Feasibility Study: A Crucial First Step

Lucy opted for a feasibility study, recognising it as a sensible and reasonably priced first step. She valued the study’s comprehensive approach, which included market analysis, competitor analysis, and a detailed look at planning considerations.

The study confirmed a viable market for glamping in her area, given its proximity to London and the Kent Coast, and highlighted the potential challenges with local council planning preferences. For instance, the council had rejected several applications for shepherd’s huts, prompting Lucy to consider timber pods instead.

With positive results from the feasibility study, Lucy moved to the next phase: a post-feasibility consultation call with Glampitect. During this call, they discussed the best approach for planning, unit choice, and site design. Lucy decided to proceed with the Full Planning Light option, believing that her established tourism business and the clear business diversification argument would simplify the process.

Mount Ephraim Glamping Pods

Site Visual Prepared by Glampitect Design Team

Mount Ephraim Glamping Pods

Mount Ephraim Glamping Site - Now Open

Choosing the perfect pod

One of the decisions Lucy made was to source her glamping pods from Timber Builds in Northern Ireland. This decision was informed by the feasibility study’s insights and her desire to align with council preferences and the aesthetic of Mount Ephraim Gardens. The timber pods were not only suitable for the surroundings but also had a higher likelihood of receiving planning approval.

Navigating the Planning Process: Time Frames and Challenges

Lucy’s planning application journey began in July 2022. Initially, the council promised a decision by mid-October, which was later extended by two months. The process took longer than expected, with the final approval coming in February 2023. This eight-month period is relatively swift compared to many planning applications, but it still required patience and persistence.

One significant challenge Lucy faced was with the power supply for the glamping pods. Initially, UK Power Networks quoted an exorbitant £75,000 for a 300-meter supply line. After some negotiation and reassessment, they managed to find a more affordable solution by utilising an existing three-phase power supply from the main house. This issue caused a delay, but it underscored the importance of early engagement with utility providers.

Key Lessons and Advice for Future Clients

Lucy’s journey offers several key lessons for prospective glamping business owners:

  • Engage Early with Utility Providers: One of the most critical aspects of setting up a glamping site is ensuring adequate utilities. Early engagement can help avoid unexpected costs and delays.
  • Trust the Experts: Working with a specialised company like Glampitect can provide invaluable guidance and support. Their expertise in glamping-specific planning and design proved essential for Lucy’s success.
  • Be Prepared for Delays: The planning process can be unpredictable. Maintaining flexibility and patience is crucial.
  • Consider All Aspects of Site Selection: Choosing the right site involves more than just a scenic location. Consider factors like proximity to existing infrastructure and potential planning hurdles.

Opening and Business Success

Mount Ephraim Gardens' glamping site officially opened on New Year’s Eve 2023, about ten months after receiving planning approval. Despite initial setbacks, the site has seen great success. Lucy reports high occupancy rates, especially on weekends, and glowing five-star reviews from guests.

Mount Ephraim Glamping Pods
Mount Ephraim Glamping Pods
Mount Ephraim Glamping Pods
Mount Ephraim Glamping Pods
Mount Ephraim Glamping Pods
Mount Ephraim Glamping Pods

Lucy Dawes’ journey from feasibility study to the grand opening of her glamping site at Mount Ephraim Country House & Gardens illustrates the importance of thorough planning, expert guidance, and perseverance. 

For those interested in experiencing the beauty of Mount Ephraim Gardens' glamping site, you can find more information and make a reservation through their website!

Download your free guide step-by-step guide today, or if you would like personal advice schedule your free consultation with our team today!


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