We spoke to Andrea from Kids Love Yurts who offer two magical yurts (and another one on the way) in Newport on the Isle of Wight. They’ve been up and running for three months now, so we thought we’d find about more about them and how their journey into hospitality is going so far.
Your property is so different, can you tell us more about it?
We’ve got two yurts available right now, and we’re opening the third one in the next couple of months. They are each designed solely for children and their families. They are located within our working farm in this really rural location. Each yurt has a fully fitted kitchen with hot water, electric and they have each got a flushing toilet and a shower. We’ve also got log-burners for heat – so there’s no gas but everything else is there for modern conveniences. Each yurt is seven metres, which can sleep six plus a cot. The interior of the yurts are all handmade and bespoke – we designed then based on what our children said they wanted. We have an extensive welcome pack with loads of information in there for families.
One of the main things is that we have no wifi or TV! So it’s a complete chance for escapism, to get away from the modern world.
When guests first come here, the kids can go and get some chicken feed and go feed the chickens whilst mum and dad unload the car. We have an honesty shed, where we offer free nature play (we also sell eggs and wood in there). There is also loads of craft in there that children can just help themselves to, and really start exploring nature the minute they turn up. For example we have a mud kitchen and we offer a real back-to-basics Enid Blyton feel, with hop scotch and jumping beans. Families can kick a football around or play on their bike – it really takes you back to that.
I have three children and when I’ve stayed in some places in the past – camping and hotels, I felt that children were a real second thought. So we wanted to make a holiday experience directly for children. And I really felt it was missing in the glamping market. We find that when the children are happy, the parents really relax and de-stress, which makes the children even happier and everyone goes home with really happy memories.
What was the inspiration behind the decor of the yurts?
The Isle of White is known as the dinosaur isle, so there’s loads of fossil hunting here, it’s quite famous in the paleontology world, so it kind of stemmed from that – but also there are so many children who love dinosaurs. So it seemed like an easy first idea, and it really brings out the imaginative play in kids, as soon as the kids arrive all the roaring starts.
The enchanted woodland one is a real step back in time, it’s very Enid Blyton, going back to when there wasn’t wifi and there wasn’t tv. So all you could do was a bit of sewing or reading or games with your family.
The third one is being designed right now, the theme is under the sea. We chose this because the island has a huge history of smuggling and pirates and coastlines and we’ve also included mermaids and coral reefs and all kinds of sea life in this one.
Is there much to see and do on the island?
Yes, we are completely in the middle of the island, so everywhere is no longer than 20-minutes away. We’ve got miles and miles of award-winning beaches- there’s sandy beaches, there’s fossil hunting places, there’s some really remote wilderness type beaches, loads of countryside and we’re actually on the outskirts of an area of outstanding natural beauty. There’s loads of history on the island and lots of places with guided tours, or you just have the freedom to explore.
So what would you say is the most important thing about running your own yurt accommodation?
Because we have the aim for doing it for children and for families, the vision has always been for families to reconnect and to have some quality time together without everybody sitting on their phones or their laptop going ping all the time. One of our biggest things is to make it easy for parents, even down to having a stepping stool in the bathroom, so that small children can reach the sink independently – it’s the little details like that.
We like to keep the place nice and clean, because when you’ve got children, that’s really important. Especially being somewhere rural like a farm, you want to feel like you can get the mud off at the end of the day, so having really good showers ect is really important.
How did you get into the hospitality industry?
It was by complete fluke! Neither my husband or I had ever done anything like this before. All we’ve done is learnt from the places we’ve stayed before, and learnt how easy or difficult it’s been to have a holiday with children.
You’ve been open for three months now, what’s been the best part so far?
It’s just seeing people smile. When people first arrive on the farm, you can see their faces beaming, they like the look of the place and when they actually go into the yurt they come back out with this look of amazement. Some feedback that we’ve had is that they can’t believe how big it is and that we’ve covered every aspect of what they might need. We must be getting something right because there is a lot of smiling.
And what’s been the hardest hurdle so far?
Time! It’s all very time-consuming as we’ve got to run the farm as well. We’ve got to look after the animals here, we’ve got maintenance and we have our own children that we home educate, so they’re all part of it, we’re all a team.
How do you stand out?
I love the diversity of glamping, especially on the island where there’s so much diversity, and I think every single place offers something different from the next and I think that should be really valued. One of the things for us is that we are on a really small scale, we only have three units and we live on site so it’s really personal. So if people want to come with another family, they’d have the whole place to themselves.
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