The staircase to glamping heaven

Community, architecture and interior design are at the heart of a new glampsite that has opened in the East Midlands.

In the Stix Darren and Alex

The 'secret staircase'

- Rutland Creative

In the Stix in Greetham, Rutland, opened this year and is the first campsite in the country to offer camping domes with a solid mezzanine second floor, creating a family-friendly camping experience that encourages visitors to engage with each other and local businesses during their stay.

It has taken owners, Darren Blackwell and Alex Cowie, four years to plan and design the site in Darren’s home county of Rutland because the couple wanted the domes to be state-of-the-art.

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Darren said: “We did a lot of research and looked for inspiration from other designs but Alex was determined to get a bathroom in there.

“Creating a second floor in the domes is unusual, we’ve only seen it at one other place in Europe, but it enabled us to house the bathroom below while introducing a fun upper level for additional beds and making the lower level bedroom feel cosy. Our children have dubbed it the ‘secret staircase’.”

As well designing the four domes, which can sleep up to six people, Darren and Alex have positioned the domes so that they give privacy but are not remote from each other. They have also built a communal fire pit with reclaimed wooden benches, perfect for toasting marshmallows on lazy summer evenings.

Alex, who is a freelance property developer, said: “We were inspired on a weekend glamping ourselves when we stayed at a beautiful site with family and friends.

“We loved the vibe of the place and wanted to create something like that ourselves, where people and families can come together and enjoy being in the British countryside, with plenty of music and good food.”

Each of the domes has a wood burner, a wood-fired oven, field kitchen and a wood heated hot tub, as well as a plumbed in bathroom which took more than a year to connect to the nearest water supply.

In the Stix digi detox


- In the Stix

Alex said: “We deliberately have not installed electricity or Wi-Fi as it’s about relaxing and spending time with your family and loved ones, exploring the great outdoors and all the wonderful things Rutland has to offer.”

The couple have also made a point of working with local businesses and suppliers where possible and are stocking products from local producers in their on-site shop.

Alex added: “Rutland has so much to offer. It’s where our hearts are and yet so many people still don’t know where it is.

“We want to push tourism in Rutland and get it on the map.”

In the Stix is located just off the A1, making it easily accessible from London, Peterborough and the North and is within walking distance of Greetham village, which has the second-best pub in the county according to Trip Advisor.

The nearest towns are Oakham and Stamford which both have train stations and are rich in culture and heritage, from Tudor houses to watersports and bike hire at Rutland Water, Britain’s largest man-made reservoir.

In the Stix luxury glamping

Luxury glamping

- The Rural Travel Guide

Darren and Alex have planning permission for up to 11 domes and hope to expand the site in coming years.

The 2018 season starts at Easter, so book now to avoid disappointment.

For more information visit or email

Megan is the owner of Rural Roots Media, specialising in rural tourism, where her passion for travel, heritage and a great visitor experience inspired her to start 'The Rural Travel Guide'.

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