It’s the ultimate barbecue brag – one that comes in its own cabin.
No need to check the weather… but does it take out all the fun?
Here the Daily Mail runs through five BBQ huts dotted around the UK to see if having a cookout indoors is just as fun…
Tiny? It’s like a TARDIS inside
Alex Flynn, 35, runs a children’s entertainment company. She lives in Steyning, West Sussex, with husband, Danny, 44, a landscape gardener and part-time fireman, and daughter, Lily, four.
I never expected to pay £9,000 for what amounts to a wooden hut with a barbecue inside. All I wanted was something to fill the space at the bottom of our quarter-acre garden where we’d felled a tree. A pergola with a few climbing roses would have done.
But last summer we went to an outdoor equipment show in the New Forest, and saw a display by Arctic Cabins. Their cute little shelters are handmade in the UK using Arctic pine, and come with snuggly deerskins on the five bench seats.
Danny was instantly sold and, when he assured me we could afford a 10-metre cabin, I jumped at the chance to indulge my love of cooking outside.
Alex Flynn (pictured with her daughter Lily), who lives in Steyning, West Sussex, spent £9,000 on this shelter from Arctic Cabins last summer
Danny and I are outdoor people and love no-fuss entertaining but I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve organised parties and then had to go stampeding inside with all our guests when the heavens opened. Not only were we stressed beforehand, checking forecasts, but moving everything inside messed up the house.
Not any more! Our six-sided cabin arrived last September and took just four hours to erect (included in the price). We’ve used it virtually every weekend since. We’ve held a cheese and wine party, and Danny entertained all eight of his firemen pals.
It’s like a Tardis, small on the outside but, once inside, it seems huge, and we can grill all-year round. We love sitting round the fire drinking wine — there’s nothing more romantic.
The grill — which you can raise and lower to get the exact temperature you want — is so versatile I’ve cooked dishes like paella and chicken curry.
We’ve made a firm decision not to have electricity, although it would be nice to have a fridge so we could keep the beers and Chablis chilled. We’re not the only ones who love our hut — even Alan Titchmarsh has one.
Ms Flynn said: ‘Our six-sided cabin arrived last September and took just four hours to erect (included in the price). We’ve used it virtually every weekend since’
A dazzling den for kids’ parties and sleepovers
Lee Wilson, 38, lives in Linlithgow, West Lothian, with husband, Jim, 39, a farmer, and children Abbie, 11, Claire, nine, and twins Robert and Thomas, seven.
I suspect that friends thought we had lost our minds when we bought our £4,500 hut complete with charcoal barbecue. After all, neither of us had barbecued as much as a sausage our entire lives. But when we saw our 11-metre square hexagonal hut at the Royal Highland Show near Edinburgh last summer, we instantly saw the potential.
It’s a wonderful space for us to hang out as a family and enjoy eating outdoors. And, yes, I have been very slowly learning how to barbecue although Jim is yet to even try!
He’s a typical old-fashioned farmer and doesn’t think cooking — even on an outdoor grill — is for him.
Lee Wilson, 38, lives in Linlithgow, West Lothian, with children Abbie, 11, Claire, nine, and twins Robert and Thomas, seven (pictured) and husband Jim
I insisted on getting an extractor fan which means all the fumes escape, but it also halves the normal 30-40 minutes it takes for the charcoal to heat, ready to cook. That’s essential with four hungry children to feed.
But the biggest attraction for us is as a space for the kids to escape with their friends — particularly as they grow older.
We held Abbie’s 11th birthday party there last month. It was snowing outside but we toasted marshmallows, played games and had an impromptu karaoke.
My kids’ friends all tell them how lucky they are, and I know we’ll be having back-to-back parties and sleepovers in the hut all summer.
The shingle-roofed pod — which we simply call The Hut — can sleep five (the benches transform into two double beds and a single). We ordered it from Logspan in Dumbartonshire and it arrived on the worst day of the year just before Christmas.
It took the team six hours to erect in torrential rain, and we linked it up to the electricity supply in the house.
As soon as they left, we all piled in, snuggled up under the sheepskin rugs on the benches and drank hot chocolate!
Ms Wilson said: ‘The shingle-roofed pod — which we simply call The Hut — can sleep five (the benches transform into two double beds and a single)’
Our posh romantic hideaway is a cut above – everyone loves it
Businesswoman Mary Gallon, 51, runs a hair salon near her home in Inverurie, Scotland, where she lives with husband Neil, 48, a draughtsman, and children Liam, 22 and Jodie, 21.
It was a toss-up between a kitchen extension and buying what we’ve nicknamed ‘The Hut’ — which looks exactly like a little Hobbit house. I’m so pleased The Hut won.
It cost us £16,000, which I know many will think extravagant just so you can barbecue in comfort, but you can’t put a price on fun.
And because our 16.5-metre pine cabin, which comes from Norway and was supplied by Echt-based Forest Products, is small, it didn’t need planning permission.
It has a shingle roof and a little chimney, so all the smoke escapes. The windows are double glazed so it gets really toasty.
Businesswoman Mary Gallon, 51, was deciding between a kitchen extension and buying what she nicknamed ‘The Hut’ — which looks exactly like a little Hobbit house and cost £16,000
There are four benches around the Viking gas grill, and each bench comfortably seats three people.
Two extend so Neil and I could sleep in it if we fancied. Included in the price is a proper cement base — essential if you want to use the hut, as we do, for parties.
On New Year’s Eve we had a Christmas tree in it and threw a party with everyone whirling round inside until the early hours.
We also had a metre-large extension added on the side which we have kitted out as a bar and Neil loves.
When we’re not throwing parties, it’s a lovely romantic hideaway. It may sound mean but children are banned unless we invite them. I certainly don’t boast about my posh barbecue hut but, when you’re a hairdresser, it’s impossible to keep secrets.
So far, everyone has been very positive. When I come into work on Monday morning they all want to know what we’ve got up to in The Hut over the weekend.
Ms Gallon said: ‘When we’re not throwing parties, it’s a lovely romantic hideaway. It may sound mean but children are banned unless we invite them’
We call it our Gnome Home
Gardener Christine Newton, 51, lives in Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria, with her retired businessman husband, Cliff, 70. They have three grown-up children, Scott, and twins Sophie and Oliver, and three grandchildren Ben, 14, Rio, ten, and Beatrix, four.
When Cliff retired two years ago he suggested we celebrate with a cruise, but I knew what I wanted: my very own barbecue cabin. I’d seen one at a country show and knew it would be perfect.
We’re lucky enough to live in the Lake District.
Gardener Christine Newton, 51, lives in Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria, with her businessman husband, Cliff, 70. They bought their £8,000 barbecue cabin to celebrate Cliff’s retirement
Instead of traipsing off on holiday I wanted to get the most out of living in one of the most beautiful parts of Britain.
The only thing holding us back was the unpredictable weather. Now, with our little hut — which we’ve called the Gnome Home and positioned so it has the most sensational view of Lake Windermere — we honestly don’t care whether it rains or not.
It’s 10 sq m with an added extension where I can sit and read or do craft work. It cost £8,000 from Cumbria-based Carr Bank Garden Centre and easily fits 14 people. The grandchildren were beside themselves with excitement when they first saw our hut.
Now, the second they arrive, whatever the weather, they ask if we can BBQ in the Gnome Home.
She said: ‘Instead of traipsing off on holiday I wanted to get the most out of living in one of the most beautiful parts of Britain’
Soggy summers won’t stop barbies now
Sarah O’Fee, 57, is a cashier. She lives with husband, Pete, 57, a retired RAF technician, in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.
I can’t wait for BBQ season. To me, cooking outside is what summer is all about. Best of all, it means my husband, Pete, will be doing all the cooking as he insists on being in charge of the barbie.
He will spend literally an entire afternoon lovingly cooking a joint on the rotisserie-style spit which is fitted on the grill. All I have to do is slice a few tomatoes and shred some lettuce leaves.
However, in the past, summer saw me constantly stressed out — thanks to the vagaries of the weather. We would regularly organise barbecue parties for up to 20 friends, then be on tenterhooks wondering whether it was going to rain.
Sarah O’Fee, 57, lives with husband, Pete, 57, a retired RAF technician, in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. They bought their 7 sq m barbecue hut five years ago from Arctic Cabins for £7,000
I hate to remember the number of times I had to ring round, cancel and chuck all the food away. But not any more.
We bought our 7 sq m barbecue hut five years ago from Arctic Cabins, and I like to think we are ahead of the trend.
Friends thought we were mad to pay £7,000 for what amounted to a garden shed.
Once we invited them round they completely got it, and we’ve never looked back.
Now I actually look forward to soggy British summers.
Do not try to construct your own barbecue hut at home. Without proper ventilation, barbecues in enclosed spaces can cause fatal carbon monoxide poisoning.