Is this the UK's nuttiest place to stay?

Is this the UK’s nuttiest place to stay? The incredible copper-clad ‘Conker’ Airbnb glamping pod in Wales designed by a former Rolls-Royce engineer

  • The Conker is part of the Red Kite Estate in Llanafan-fawr and is set amid a bucolic landscape 
  • Former Rolls-Royce engineer Jag Virdie conceived the architectural structure of the pod 
  • A stay at the Conker is a mix of sci-fi and back-to-basics, with the nearest phone signal a 10-minute walk away 

Glamping doesn’t get much nuttier than this.

Nestled in a remote mid-Wales woodland landscape is a gleaming copper-clad ‘Conker’ – a spherical pod for two designed by a former Rolls-Royce engineer to resemble the brown nut that’s a perennial playground favourite. 

The Conker is part of the Red Kite Estate in Llanafan-fawr and is available to book through Airbnb.

Nestled in a remote mid-Wales woodland landscape is a gleaming copper-clad ‘Conker’ – a spherical pod for two designed by a former Rolls-Royce engineer 

The Conker is part of the Red Kite Estate in Llanafan-fawr and is available to book through Airbnb 

Inside, there’s a big duvet-clad double bed that transforms into a coffee-table area with cushioned bench-style seating, and a micro-kitchen with utensil storage.

There’s a state-of-the-art heat recovery system, too, courtesy of the inventor, Jag Virdie – who runs a company called Conker Living.

Spheres are designed and built to order at the firm’s Cheshire headquarters and cost from £9,000 for a ‘baby’ version and from £25,000 for the full-size edition.

On the inside there’s a big duvet-clad double bed that transforms into a coffee-table area with cushioned bench-style seating, and a micro-kitchen with utensil storage 

There’s definitely something sci-fi about their design, but the Red Kite Estate Conker experience is mostly an off-the-grid back-to-basics one.

There’s a firepit for marshmallow-toasting and song-singing and guests at the hideaway carry out their ablutions in an outdoor hot-water shower on a private deck, which also houses a ‘clever kitchen’.

The flushing loo, meanwhile, is on a hill nearby and the nearest mobile phone signal is a 10-minute walk away. But guests are likely to find the bucolic setting and rustic way of life a satisfying substitute for their regular digital diet.

The listing says: ‘The true joy of this place is how wonderfully simple it is. Days are filled with fireside discussions, wildlife watching and stunningly beautiful walks.

‘It’s a great place to ditch the digital and truly escape.

This image shows the interior in lounge mode. The inventor of the Conker pod is Jag Virdie, who runs a company called Conker Living


The Red Kite Estate Conker experience is mostly an off-the-grid back-to-basics one. The listing says that days ‘are filled with fireside discussions, wildlife watching and stunningly beautiful walks’. Pictured right is the Conker’s firepit

‘Head out on a moorland walk to take in some magical views. Further afield, the stunning Elan Valley, a landscape bursting with impressive dams and reservoirs, is well worthy of exploring. And for those needing supplies – and perhaps a flat white – then the friendly market town of Builth Wells is just down the road.’

It adds: ‘Don’t worry, you’re not totally left to your own devices. On arrival you can expect bed linen, towels and a load of dry wood and kindling.’ 

One Airbnb reviewer wrote: ‘Stunning structure and stunning views! We absolutely loved getting back to nature, and we’ve never seen so many stars. There’s zero light pollution!’

Guests at the hideaway carry out their ablutions in an outdoor hot-water shower on a private deck, which also houses a ‘clever kitchen’

Airbnb revealed that all searches by guests or potential guests in the UK nearly tripled week-over-week compared to February 16, following the government announcement that self-contained accommodation could open up by April 12.

It added: ‘With the increasing attention on nearby summer stays, many Brits are considering hosting too. Visits to Airbnb’s landing page for new Hosts were up in January and February compared to December. During last summer, Hosts in the UK earned more than £225million, with the average Host pocketing nearly £1,000.’

Stays at the Red Kite Estate Conker cost from around £180 per night for two.

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