Part of the responsibility of any parent is to fill your family’s childhood with as many positive memories of laughter, adventure and fun as possible. How much richer are our adult lives when we can recall entire summers and weekends ruining our clothes with grass and mud stains? And how much closer are families who enjoy these days in the sun and the evenings around a fire watching the stars? We asked the owners of Llanfair Hall Glamping.
Lucy and John Miller, the owners of Llanfair Hall Glamping in Llanfairpwllgwyngyll in Anglesey have become the local enablers of such golden memories.
Typical of the best glamping sites, Llanfair Hall offers a luxurious standard of accommodation to work from. The five glamping pods, constructed in Kendal Cumbria, are made from the finest treated timber and are insulated with sheep’s wool. Additionally, each pod has its own shower wet room, sumptuous beds with 100% cotton bedlinen, sofa, electric heater and Freeview TV/DVD.
Personal barbecue fire pits outside each pod provide the perfect opportunity to return to a simpler era where a firepit was used to prepare the evening meal and warmth was provided. While inside the communal field kitchens, a microwave, an electric stove cooker, fridge and kettle allow the chance for convenient meals to be prepared throughout the day. Crockery and cutlery are provided. As is a handy fire extinguisher if you’ve never handled a fire before.
While not exclusively for families and enjoying a high number of couples and even individual holiday makers and excursions seekers, Llanfair Hall is a great place for families.
A giant chess set, giant jenga, giant pickasticks and normal sized badminton and table tennis are available on site. There are also spectacular bike trails available and a place to safely wash your bikes when not in use. And if someone has blown up the fire pit, there is an amazing outdoor pizza oven that Lucy and John will even supply the dough for.
“We welcomed our first guests on the 27th February 2015, with a customer base of mainly young professionals with a dog,” Lucy reflects. “While we are still perfect for couples, we are gaining a reputation for hosting family groups. These groups can book out either the whole site or a part of it and their children can play safely but freely – an opportunity that is so rare these days.”
THE CONCEPTION OF LLANFAIR HALL
With Tripadvisor reviews beginning with the words “Outstanding” and “Perfect” and “Returned Yet Again” you could be forgiven for assuming that Llanfair Hall was a lifelong ambition for the couple.
However, the reality is more a case of destiny calling as Lucy reveals both she and John did not have backgrounds in hospitality at all!
“After a varied career in the army John was working in recruitment and I was working as a Market Analyst for Dixons plc and Cape Industries,” she says, “After I had my children, I worked in enterprise education with young people and absolutely loved it. Also worked for one of the dragons from the Dragons’ Den – and absolutely did not love that.”
She explains that it was during a particularly tough day that her friend Ruth suggested that she should set up a glamping site. To which Lucy responded, “What the hell is glamping?”
Needless to say, the seed was sown.
HOSPITALITY BUSINESS AFTER 50
“We were quite old to be starting a brand new career in our late 50s,” Lucy explains, “but it did make sense. We travel as much as we can and we believe we know what customers want and how they want to be treated.”
The opportunity to move to Anglesey also was not to be missed. It was useful as John had to continue his job in Liverpool for the first three years, so it was important that they were somewhere that he could come home to every weekend. Also, Lucy adds, “I had visited the island every summer of my childhood and also brought my children here every summer. It is a place that holds most of my happiest memories.”
Combining this sensibility with their personal experiences of what they would appreciate and expect when choosing to stay somewhere the Millers have kept their standards very high. And it shows.
“We personally welcome all guests on site and try to make sure we are available as much as possible to give hints and tips of exploring the beauty that is Anglesey.” Lucy adds, “We also have two secret weapons in our PR team – our two dogs, one of which has great reviews of her own!”
Also, rather than supply the generic pile of tourist leaflets Lucy has taken the time to create a folder of things to do and see including places to eat and locations that are dog friendly.
“I like having a personal approach to bonding and believe it has some bearing on why we have guests returning for the fifth and sixth time!” Lucy says.
Teamwork is about splitting the workload and working to your strengths. As such Lucy is responsible for the majority of the office work including admin, advertising, marketing and buying while John is responsible for the maintenance of everything. They both share the pleasures of customer service, the endless laundry and everything that urgently requires attention. Lucy does admit that while she plans to spend up to four hours a week on their social media, where they focus on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, it is the first thing to go when things get busy.
This is not to say that the importance of digital growth isn’t a priority. Lucy explains that being aware of the impact of the digital world on her business, she built a brand new website when she discovered that their initial one was not phone/tablet friendly in the way information was displayed.
And, despite winning the Best Camping, Caravan or Glamping Site in North Wales in November 2017, Lucy refuses to rest on her laurels and is always researching how to further promote and improve Llanfair Hall. This includes researching what competitors are doing online and what the other award-winning glamping sites are doing in their parts of the country to stand out.
Such improvements include little “added touches” that would interest new guests as well as reward returning ones.
“In each pod we have a feedback form and we have a policy that if guests have suggested the same thing three times we take action,” Lucy says, “So, at the moment wood fired pizza ovens and random tables and chairs around the fields are taking precedence.”
They have had several enquiries regarding hosting wedding receptions here. Another credit to the solemn beauty of the location and setting that a couple would want to share such an important day at Llanfair Hall with their dearest and closest. Lucy reveals that the first one is happening very soon, which is a very exciting time for everyone involved including Lucy and John.
It may be slightly ironic that for a couple that have created a sterling business based upon the experiences of their many travels; that their success makes it difficult for them to travel. But far from impossible.
“You do have to keep a finger on the pulse,” Lucy admits, “But we do try and travel each year in May and November. This year it is South America!”
Excitedly she lists the locations she and John plan to visit, “Cusco, Macchu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Iguazu Falls amongst others. We did Madeira in May and last year – Mauritius and Italy. The year before we did a road trip to Yellowstone National Park, Denver and San Francisco as well as our European trip to Iceland.”
Lovers of food and great sights, Lucy says that of all the places she’s visited she got the most inspiration from Greece. Particularly on the Peloponnese, a peninsular on Southern Greece where they currently own a small property.
“There are a lot of places I want to visit on my list. Everywhere inspires and we are all so lucky to be caretakers of this wonderful planet.”
Facebook: Llanfair Hall