First Luxury ‘Glamping’ Tent Goes Up On Peninnis Farm

The first of the new luxury tents being assembled

The first of the luxury tents on Peninnis Farm has gone up.

And the site owners believe the tents will offer such a different, unique and luxurious form of accommodation, they’ll attract new holidaymakers to the islands.

The seven tents will each take six people but unlike traditional campsites they feature solid flooring, bespoke wooden kitchen units and tables and tiled shower and bathroom units.

But getting these luxury tents up has been a seven-year process for Jon May and his son Dan.

An original, larger proposed development became highly controversial and received a significant number of objections. The business model also had to be altered in-line with planning requirements.

Jon says it’s a shame that there was so much resistance as Scilly could have been at the forefront of the huge national growth in luxury camping or ‘glamping.’ But he admits that the delay has given them extra time to plan thoroughly and the project has evolved during this time.

He said some people didn’t understand what they were trying to achieve, but thinks many of those original objectors now have a much better view of the project.

Zenna Jenkins has been looking after the campsite promotion and marketing. She has been studying other luxury camping operations and says she and Daniel will be spending the winter in various glamping sites to get first hand experience of other people’s offerings.

The bespoke interior taking shape

Zenna thinks the Peninnis campsite is quite different from what’s on offer elsewhere. They’re targeting the family market and campers will be allowed access to the farm, including working with the animals.

Social media is a big part of how she intends to fill up the spaces and there is already a website online which allows people to register their interest in the accommodation, as well as see the story of the project as it develops.

Dan says the bespoke, wooden kitchen units and the wood-burning stove set the units apart from regular tents. He said they can almost be viewed as self-catering cottages but just made of canvas.

They hope the addition of heating will extend the season, although despite the amount of furnishing and infrastructure in place, they’ll have to come down at the end of each year, in line with the planning consent.

Jon says working in the tourist industry in Scilly can be daunting at times, especially with visitor numbers down and the helicopters pulling out. But he says investments like this are about the long term and creates something new for the islands.

He says they’ve done their homework and they hope that there is demand that will make their investment worthwhile.


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