The secret is out… and it lies in West Lancashire
It’s no surprise that glamping has increased in popularity over recent years. Feeling the connection to nature, while not having to pitch a tent, and no risk of the weather putting a dampener on your weekend.
With this popularity comes a huge range of options for those who want to enjoy glamping, but very few of them offer the same experience as Secret Garden Glamping, Derry Green’s venture that has gone from strength to strength since it was opened in 2020.
Stemming from boredom during the first lockdown, Derry started Secret Garden Glamping as a project to keep him and his children entertained when they couldn’t leave the grounds of their home. The intention was to help keep the kids entertained, occupied outdoors. They slept outside one night and Derry considered how to make it comfier… sourcing his own materials, Derry created an oasis in their back garden with the first glamping pod for them to share during the lockdown. Then when the lockdown was lifted, Derry popped the pod onto AirB&B and the Secret Garden Glamping site was born.
The hobby turned into a passion project and now, 10 pods later, Derry still doesn’t consider running Secret Garden Glamping a job, not in the way that he felt pre-pandemic when he was running his own European Transport business, spending one week in Spain and the next in the UK. Secret Garden Glamping is a far cry from the work that he did within the transport industry for the 12 years previous; “The way I see it is I get to do my hobby every day from home. I know it’s not how most people see it as it’s very hard to separate work and home but to me it’s all the same thing as I genuinely do what I love.” He says when asked about his job.
Part of the business’ success story was the immediate notice it got as Derry posted about it on his facebook page during lockdown. A major publication caught wind of the very first glamping project and the story “what a Dad built in lockdown for his kids” went viral as people were awed at the dedication of the project. Derry never intended to create a full glamping site, but after gaining so much attention with the first pod and booking coming in thick and fast when it was listed on AirB&B, demand came for more and soon Derry found himself with a full site, most of which is now booked up two years in advance. The media attention didn’t stop with that one story either, and the site has been featured on shows on many major TV channels, including E4, Channel 4, Channel 5 and BBC One over the last few years.
Not only is the attention coming from guests and hopeful visitors, but many industry awards are also noticing Secret Garden Glamping, with the company winning the Lancashire Tourism Awards Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year in 2022, and the Leisure and Tourism Business of the Year at BIBAs 2023.
It was fortunate that the site at Moss, between Skelmersdale and Rainford, had enough land to house the ten pods that are now open. With 4 acres of land Derry had bought the property because he loved to be outside and in nature. There was no plan to turn it into a retreat, that just formed overnight and Derry has been careful to make sure that it is not overcrowded, so that guests have the privacy and the connection to nature that the name suggests.
Thanks to the amazing offering, Derry’s fabulous finishing touches and the acclaim of going viral, the business’ social media pages rival those of major national hospitality companies like Hoseasons and Butlins. This is a huge achievement for Derry and one that he hopes will bring Secret Garden Glamping to the forefront and turn it into a national chain in the future.
Derry is so passionate about the project and its future, with huge plans afoot, none of which can be talked about yet, but is also keen to share his experience with others. The best bit of advice he offers those looking to create a glamping site or holiday park for themselves is to really concentrate on your offering. “Focus on what people really want from an experience. There are thousands of places you can book to stay, but not everyone will offer a true experience. At Secret Garden Glamping, we focus on guests been able to reconnect with nature on a level they haven’t been able to do before.”
There is such an exciting future ahead for Secret Garden Glamping, as a business and a brand, but it will never lose what Derry aimed to create; the chance to escape and get back in touch with nature. At the end of the day, you’ll always be booking with the Dad from Lancashire who built his kids the most perfect lockdown hideaway.