7 Expert Tips on Planning a Bell Tent Weekend

Updated

Updated

A Glamping set up in the Cotswolds

So you’re planning a Bell Tent weekend.? Fabulous! Let’s get into it. Bell Tents and events go hand in hand and almost always means you are planning some epic celebration. Don’t let the planning and organising of a Bell Tent weekend spoil what should be a magical experience. 

Bell Tents are used for a whole host of events but the tips below will apply for all types. The most common we have come across and worked on are:

Weddings, Hen Parties, Music Festivals, Charity Events, Arts Festivals, School Sleepovers, Corporate Gatherings, Sporting Weekends, Birthdays and Anniversaries

When to plan your Bell Tent Weekend.

In the UK the most popular months for glamping in Bell Tents are May, June, July, August and September. We also take bookings into April and October but most fall within May to September. 

Now it might be that your event date is set in stone due to other commitments like booking a church for a wedding. Or the fact it’s your 40th birthday on June 17th. In these cases there isn’t much wiggle room. 

However if you have options here are a few things to consider:

  • Think Bank Holidays – There are 3 bank holidays in the summer months. Generally 2 in May and 1 in August. These give opportunities for a longer camping weekend however they also get booked up earlier by your potential guests and by event suppliers. Factor this in when choosing a Bank Holiday weekend. 
  • School Summer Holidays – If the majority of your guests have school aged kids then think about whether booking a weekend in the summer holidays is going to work for you. Families book holidays sometimes a year in advance and so think carefully and chat through availability with your key guests. 
  • Summer Solstice Weekend – This tends to be a very busy weekend for the events industry. This weekend is incredibly popular for bookers and events. People see it as a key date in the summer calendar benefiting from the longest day. It normally coincides with Glastonbury Festival as well which sucks up a huge amount of event resources such as tent stock, toilets, generators, showers and staff. Glastonbury may also account for many of your guests who have tickets. Click to find out When is Glastonbury this year?

How long to camp.

This might be limited to the venue for your Bell Tent weekend. If not, then think about your facilities, your guests and your providers. 

At Brilliant Bell Tent Hire we supply our tents for Friday, Saturday and Sunday night as standard so you don’t need to cut your weekend short. 

Some things to think about when planning how long to camp:

  • Your guests may have come a long way. Make the Bell Tent Weekend as comfortable as possible for them by allowing them not to rush. Rather than planning on a single night’s stay consider having people arrive after work Friday so they can settle in Friday night and Saturday night. 
  • Give them the option of leaving late on Sunday or even Monday. 

What area of space do I need for a Bell Tent Weekend?

A Bell Tent Village set up in a circle - Brilliant Bell Tent Hire
Glamping weekends make attractive backdrops

Start by working out how many Bell Tents you are going to be using for the weekend. An estimate will work. A 5m Bell tent is essentially a 5m diameter circle which needs a 2m gap to the sides and back before the next tent. This allows enough room for guy ropes and the safety of tent spacing. You’ll need to allow for a walkway in front of the tents too. 

Example of a Bell Tent Area Calculation:

How much space do 5 Bell Tents need? 

  • If placed in a straight line you’ll need 37m in length and a depth of 7m with spacing infront of each tent for a walkway. 
  • 2m gap + 5m Bell tent + 2m gap + 5m Bell tent +2m gap + 5m Bell tent +2m gap + 5m Bell tent +2m gap + 5m Bell tent +2m gap = 37m in length and 7m depth. 

Geoff’s Pro Tip

Rarely is there a blank canvas of a massive field to plan a Bell Tent Village. Brilliant Bell Tent Hire can help you plan and get creative with your space. We have created heart shapes, horseshoes, long single lines, quadruple lines, concentric circles…. you name it. If in any doubt just get in touch and we’d be happy to help with planning your own Bell Tent Weekend.

Facilities needed for a Bell Tent Weekend

This is going to depend completely on your weekend and your event. After all we’d love a dodgems set up but that’s not exactly on an essential list!

Now you may be renting a space or using your own land. You may have an existing campsite to have fun with or an empty field by a lake. 

Here is a list of things to consider:

Essentials

  • Toilets – Without going into too much detail your guests will need to go at some stage. For a weekend of camping you’ll need to factor in toilet facilities. If there are existing facilities on site such as a house ask if these can be used by the camping guests. 

A single portaloo can be hired in for overnight use by the campers. This is a cost effective way of providing a solution. 

Contemporary Posh Temporary Loos by Loos for Dos

Toilet trailers can also be hired which come with more toilet cubicles and hand basins. These are more expensive and will almost certainly need a power supply to run the lights and pumps. They don’t generally need a water supply as they come with all the products they need for the weekend. 

  • Handwash – Linked with toilet usage is the need for a hand washing solution. 
  • Drinking water – If guests are staying 1 or 2 nights look at providing some kind of drinking water on site. For a rural 1 night stay it may be possible to ask your guests to provide their own water. 

Desirable

  • Showers – These may be available on site. If you believe you’ll need showers for your weekend these can be hired fairly easily. They normally come trailer mounted and can come in 1, 2, or 4 bays. They will probably be gas bottled powered but they will need an electric supply to run the pumps and lights. They will normally need a water supply as well. This can be a standard hosepipe connection in most cases. They will also need somewhere to run the grey waste. (Shower waste water). 
  • Chill out tent – These can be spaces to relax and chat. They are normally additional Bell Tents set up with cushions, rugs, tables etc. 
  • Generators – If you require power on site then generators are an option for you. They come in a range of sizes and the sizes will vary depending on how much power you actually require. 
  • Bar area – These come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The only limiting factor is your imagination! You can hire in a mobile supplier for the weekend or provide your own. 
  • Catering – Food plays an important part of a weekend away. This is an area to have fun with. It maybe you have very little need for food given the event you are planning or it might be you need some food on the arrival evening and breakfast the next day. 
  • Group shelter – If you are planning on catering or providing a bar area then a central communal area might be worth thinking about. While you can hope for a glorious weekend away it’s always best to plan for some wet weather and have things in place. Takes the stress out of the day. 
  • Campfire – Definitely makes the desirable list although I’m sure for some it will be on the essential list! If you are renting the space double check that a campfire is allowed. If campfires are allowed make sure you take ownership of it at the planning stage. Organise where it is going to go and make sure it is away from tents, cars and check the wind forecast. The prevailing wind is the SW in the south of England but it can change. 

Parking and Bell Tents 

Chance are high that each Bell tent you have is going to need a car parking space. We recommend creating a separate parking close by but away from the tents themselves. This serves a number of purposes but mainly keeps your glamping area as safe as it can be. 

Safety

Having a designated parking area means you minimise the risk of vehicles mixing with guests. Late night arrivals, driving over guy ropes, handbrakes slipping, children running around, reversing, early morning leavers etc. Just be safe and separate the two. Allow guests to drop off their luggage but ask them to park in a separate area. Provide signage for this as well as anything else you need for your Bell Tent Weekend.

Noise

Some people will arrive late. Some will leave early. Some will think it’s a good idea to run an engine to charge a phone. (grrgh) Keep the cars away from the canvas and everything becomes easier. 

Aesthetics

Bell tents look great. They work with bohemian themes, rustic themes, festival vibes, ibiza beige chic 2021 theme (whatever that is)  etc. They tend to clash when back dropped by a car park. Just plan your car park where they are not messing up any of your photos. 

Where to pitch the tents

Bells for a Party nestled by the tennis courts - Brilliant Bell Tent Hire - landscape

You are looking for a flattish section of land for your glamping area. Imagine yourself lying down where you are. Will this work or is it too undulating. Are there too many dips or channels. Will my guests be sliding to the bottom of their tent. 

If you are still not sure, contact your Bell Tent company who will help with this. We’ve been planning and operating Bell Tent Weekends for over 10 years and we’ve got very creative with space. 

Guest Booking

This is actually the easiest part of the process. At Brilliant Bell Tent Hire we offer 2 easy ways of booking. 

  1.  Booking Portal – We will create a dedicated webpage for your weekend and give you the weblink. You send your guests to that page which is populated with information regarding your fabulous event and allows them to book direct with us and configure their tents – great for organisers who don’t want to manage the process themselves and chase people for money. 
  2. Book direct – Simply book how many tents you need for your event. Works great for organisers who know exactly what they need and are happy to take on the organising. 

Extra pro tip from Rhian

Communication is the key. Let your guests know what to expect when they come to your Bell Tent Weekend. Provide an email, letter, pdf or whatever explaining things like arrival times, departure times, what to bring, what to wear, how to get there, what is nearby (pub, shop, supermarket), food available, facilities, etc

If you’re using our Booking portal we will populate the booking page with a lot of your information. 

Conclusion

Planning a Bell Tent Weekend need not be stressful or taxing. We understand this might be the first time you’ve ever organised anything like this before but just keep in mind you are pulling together something special. A weekend which will make lasting memories and that is what it is all about. We can take care of many of the items like bookings, communications and building the site. We can also help you with any planning questions you might have. Just drop us line and let us help with your fabulous Bell Tent Weekend. 

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