Glamping has become all the rage and no wonder; it takes all the aggro out of camping so that you can enjoy the best bits! Camping trips are the ultimate family holiday. Kids love nothing better than roaming free and getting dirty. Throw in loads of BBQs and some roasted marshmallows and they’re in heaven. Your kids will always remember the nights they spent tucked up in their sleeping bags and all the things that were amazing or went terribly wrong will become the stuff of legends.
If you are new to camping, then the idea of buying all the gear, carting it out to some muddy field and then having to assemble it and make use of it can be very daunting. At the same time, the most seasoned campers and gearheads can also use a break. Why not save yourself a dark, wet walk to the loos this year and try out some luxury camping.
Let me set the scene for you…It’s been six months since you last had a day off work. You’ve been jammed in the car for three hours and the sat nav took you off course – twice. The kids are hungry and are starting to get a bit ‘punchy’.
You finally arrive at your destination. The kids pile out and can immediately run wild. They dash off to meet the piglets while you unload the car. As you enter your rustic safari tent you hear the sound of a crackling fire and smell a stew bubbling away on the wood stove. Candles are lit and the beds are made with deep feather duvets*. There is nothing left to do but crack open a bottle of wine and begin to enjoy your holiday.
Welcome to Feather Down Farms.
Feather Down Farm Days provides sustainable family holidays on farms across the UK and Europe. They began as a project for the Dutch National Trust to provide high quality accommodation on farms and in doing so, have provided a much needed additional source of income to farmers, thus securing the future of their farms. FDFD offers families a unique low-impact farm stay experience. Your family can see what daily life on a farm entails while providing work for the farmers, and bringing tourism to the local economies of the nearest villages.
The tents have no electricity. The lighting comes from candles and you’ll cook and warm yourselves over a wood stove. Some facilities boast outdoor hot tubs, which are also warmed with wood fuels. Each farm provides a shower block and a farm shop, which operates on an honesty basis. There is no Wi-Fi and no televisions. Bliss. Oh – and each tent has its own toilet.
You can spend all day at your farm, or explore the area. You can prepare each meal in your tent, or each out all day. The adventure is entirely yours to plan in the safe knowledge that when you return, your tent will still be standing and you’ll have a dry place to sleep.
The tents are the same across the FDFD farms, so you’ll always know what to expect. They are compact and functional. They feature a double bedroom, a twin bunk room and the coveted cupboard room, which can fit two children. There is a kitchen area, with a sink, woodstove and the dishes and cookware you’ll need. There is also a separate toilet room and a dining table. You’ll find a cool box in which to store your food and drink. Ice can be purchased at the honestly shop to keep this cool. There is enough open space in the cabin for a small dance party and seating outside so that you can take in the unspoilt scenery around you. It is important to note that most of the farms are remote and so you can’t just nip out for fresh croissants and lattes in the morning.
What to pack? Wellies. Extra socks. Tough clothes. Rain gear. At least one entire spare outfit. A designated pair of indoor (dry) shoes/slippers. You get the picture. Our kids were up haystacks, in the pigpen, ‘wading’ in creeks, chasing dogs, milking cows, handling kittens, and more. You’ll need towels and dishwashing equipment. Also, if you’re not going to buy the first night meal, then take one that is already assembled and just needs heating. Check in time is generally not until 4, so you have to be ready to feed the hungry masses.
Book early to avoid disappointment as they do fill up quickly, especially during school holidays. To celebrate their 10th anniversary this year, Feather Down Farm Days are offering a free ‘welcome hanger’ to anyone who books before January 31st. Enter the code ‘earlybird14’ to the booking in order to take advantage of this offer.
Anyone booking 6 or more tents on one farm in 2014 will receive a free ‘group feast’, which will vary per farm.
*Most farms offer a bed making service and pre-made first night’s meal at an additional charge. We recommend you opt for this extra.