Philip Gregory from Earsdon Hill Farm, near Felton, and his wife Fiona aim to raise the bar for high-end staycation experiences with their new concept in luxury glamping.
A pioneer’s cabin that they stayed in whilst travelling through the Rocky Mountains of Canada has inspired the development.
Hillside Huts & Cabins has four shepherd’s huts and cabins, each with luxuriously rustic interiors, king size beds, power showers, wood-burning stoves, central heating, and wood-fired hot tubs.
And the development has already been named in The Times as amongst the best places to spend a glamping holiday in the UK.
Philip said: “I spent 20 years organising safari holidays to Africa and the Indian Ocean islands and we wanted to recreate that same feeling of escape on the farm.
"This venture combines our interest in wildlife, the environment, and our love of the Northumbrian landscape.
“Our aim was to create a hut bursting with rustic chic. Each hut has a cosy log burner, shower and bathroom with a roll top bath, one of the huts has an outdoor shower for that ‘Out of Africa’ experience.”
The huts are made from recycled materials with reclaimed wood, in addition the huts are energy efficient, utilising sheep’s wool and hemp to insulate the walls, while the farm’s own wind turbine generates the electricity.
The new business also allows guests to take part in a range of activities designed to improve mental and physical wellbeing.
“Not only can guests truly unwind in this retreat, but we also want to put them in touch with nature, by offering experiences such as yoga classes either in our wildflower meadow or in our yoga Tsala, as well as wild swimming at Druridge Bay, wild fitness, massage, and holistic therapies,” said Philip.
“It lays down a new marker for a high-quality, sustainable glamping experience in one of our country’s most beautiful regions.”
The new development, which has created four new jobs, has been fully self-funded through personal investment.
Advisers at Robson Laidler Accountants have supported Philip with his three-year vision for the development of the business, having initially assisted him with a grant application that was subsequently withdrawn due to the pandemic.
Robson Laidler have since provided Philip with cashflow forecasts, budget analysis and regular business coaching, which saw him release his own personal investment to get his dream off the ground.
Amy Park, director at Robson Laidler, said: “It has been a pleasure assisting Philip with the launch of Hillside Huts & Cabins. It has been a long journey, which wasn’t without its challenges due to the pandemic where we had to pivot the business model to get to his vision. With Philip’s determination and focus and with our real time financial information he was able to make business decisions in the knowledge that it was going to be a sound investment.”
Hillside Huts & Cabins is now open to the public and guests can make reservations online: https://www.hillsidehuts.co.uk/