Meet Emily and Barny Lee – the team behind The Badminton Retreat

Wednesday 7th - 11th May 2025

Meet Emily and Barny Lee – the team behind The Badminton Retreat

Find out more about how the idea came about for a luxury glamping field to be created at Badminton's famous Huntsmans Close

“My husband Barny and I run The Badminton Retreat which is the exclusive luxury private glamping site endorsed by Badminton Horse Trials.

“As a former International event rider who has competed at Badminton on three occasions, I felt there was an opportunity to provide quality on-site accommodation at the event, and seeing as my husband Barny runs a marquee and event management business it made sense that together we put together the Badminton Retreat, which made its debut at Badminton in May 2019.

“We had a taste for what would work off the back of the success of the Glastonbury Retreat which we have run for many years outside Glastonbury festival.”

Favourite moments

“Welcoming our first guests was great, seeing the look in their faces when they entered their glamorous compact home for the week!

“On the Friday night it was lovely listening to the chatter and laughter in the Bar and Restaurant as guests catch up with old friends and meet some new faces. It was wonderful knowing everyone was having an excellent time, being really well looked after in luxury surroundings right next to the heart of the event before the big day of cross country began the next morning.”

“On the morning of cross country day. It was great to wake up with the calm and quietness of this ancient wonderful Estate and be greeted with a spectacular sunrise before all the cars and people descended for a full day of sport, feasting, shopping and entertainment.

“The atmosphere was fabulous on the Saturday due to the build-up of guests from all over the world supporting many different nationalities all coming together with a common interest to watch the day’s adrenaline-fuelled cross country play out on a big screen in a luxury surrounding looking out on the course.

“Our talks and discussions from past and current riders (such as Sarah ‘Cutty’ Cohen – see photo below) helped to build a fun ambience where guests got an expert view of what it takes to compete at this level. It was great to get riders’ ideas and opinions on the day’s action and their insights into the following day’s tactics and predictions.”

Feedback from 2019

“We were pleasantly surprised with how many owners of horses competing at Badminton Horse Trials stayed on site with us – because the Retreat is situated close to the stables, owners found it very convenient to dine with their riders in the Retreat restaurant. As a former Badminton competitor, it was lovely for me to see the event from a different perspective. I loved seeing lots of people I know from the sport enjoying what felt a lot like a mini festival.”

Glamping at Badminton

“Being located right next to the cross country course meant our guests could experience the excitement of Badminton then ‘retreat’ back to their luxury glamping accommodation. Highlights of staying with us this year again include VIP evenings with special guests and speakers and for those who love to shop, The Retreat’s buggy service provides rides back and forth to the heart of the tented village (see above photo of Emily and I driving the buggy – it’s a truly all hands on deck team!).

“In May 2019 guests from all over the world stayed and enjoyed the amazing location and facilities which include 24 hour security, a fantastic chill out sitting areas as well our well-stocked fully licensed bar and superb restaurant.”

Looking ahead for 2020

“We are already taking bookings for next year’s event (6th – 10th May 2020). Our new additions for 2020 include Tent Houses with multiple rooms and Deluxe En-suite Safari Tents. The restaurant will be run by the award-winning team from The Tarr Farm Inn on Exmoor who will be creating classic dishes with a contemporary twist using an abundance of excellent local produce.”

“We came across Hillary and her team from Tarr Steps on a family holiday on Exmoor. We were actually riding on Exmoor and decided that the pub looked like a great place for some lunch. We were discussing what to put on the menu for Badminton next year while browsing the menu and decided that their menu was exactly what we were looking for at Badminton!

“After one of the best lunches ever we started talking to Hilary about coming on board and doing the catering for the Badminton and the Glastonbury Retreat – luckily for us they agreed. Barny’s favourite meal from their kitchen is the Rump of Spring lamb with Dauphinoise potatoes, Asparagus and Salsa Verde and I loved the Fillet of Sea Bass, Mussels and Dill Veloute with Crushed Potatoes, Samphire and Crispy Parma Ham.”

Only a very short walk to everything…

“We are very pleased to share this feedback from a selection of our 2019 guests:

Wendy Coney, Badminton Retreat Guest 2019: “Our visit to Badminton this year was beyond our expectations having booked into “The Badminton Retreat”. The atmosphere in the bar and restaurant was fabulous, not to mention the delicious food. Nothing was too much trouble and we loved being able to have friends drop in and join us for dinner, a G&T or just afternoon tea, while watching the live action on the screens or highlights of the day. The most comfortable beds and only a very short walk to everything was a bonus. ”

Lucinda Federicks, Badminton Winner 2007: “We had such a great time at The Badminton Retreat. It was beautifully set up, with really comfortable beds and excellent facilities and entertainment. The restaurant was fantastic – the perfect space for meeting people and enjoying great food and drinks. The Retreat is perfectly located with easy access to the trot-up and stables, making it very convenient for owners wishing to check in on their horses and meet riders in the restaurant. Having car parking on site and immediate access to the road made it simple to get to. I can wholly recommend it!”

Millie Dumas, 5 Star Rider Badminton 2019: The Badminton retreat is certainly the way to do Badminton if you’re looking for comfort, style and brilliant hospitality! I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, the food was outstanding and the atmosphere was relaxed. Also in a great spot for viewing the cross country day. A really cool experience!”

Alice Fox-Pitt (Mother of four children, married to 2016 Badminton winner William, racing journalist and presenter): “Our horse’s owners stayed at the Badminton Retreat and we joined them for dinner one night. It was fantastic not to have to get in a car but be able to just cycle up to the Huntsmans Close site. There was a wonderful atmosphere, with a beautifully laid out bar.

“The dinner was delicious. What a fantastic addition to Badminton!”

Suzanne Doggett
, owner of a 2019 Badminton competing horse:”Accommodation and facilities are fantastic… Staying at The Badminton Retreat was just a great place, being actually on site as opposed to the owners car park was just brilliant – such easy access with the golf buggies. Accommodation and facilities are fantastic and the bar was a great place to unwind after a day walking around the course or endless shopping and discuss the day’s activities around a fire pit was just perfect!”

 “I will definitely be staying at The Retreat again!!”

Find out more..

Visit The Retreat website for full information, bookings and prices:

Watch the 2019 highlights video below to get more of a flavour of what the experience of being in The Retreat offers guests: