We had the opportunity to review a glamping holiday on a Featherdown Farm a couple of weeks ago and it was really wonderful! Fresh air, complete disconnection from our everyday lives and the chance to live simply, immersed in nature (but still with some familiar comforts) was just what we needed as a family!
We chose a beautiful location on Warren Farm in Somerset, a real working farm owned by James and Kate and their lovely children. There are many such farms in the Featherdown scheme and they are located all across the country and even in Europe and the East coast of the USA. We were welcomed with freshly picked flowers in our tent and a word burning stove already burning to warm it up for the evening.
The tents are much more comfortable that your average camping experience, hence the “glamping” title and my willingness to try them out! (I do love real camping too, but it is hard work with little ones!) As soon as we stepped inside it was like a gorgeous scene from Little House on the Prairie or some era long gone by.
With wooden floorboards, a large family table and chars, and a wood burning stove in the centre as a hub to gather and cook around it felt cosy and welcoming, but with plenty of space to move, play and eat if we needed to spend periods of time inside. Thankfully the weather was glorious so we were spoiled in that way too!
Inside the spacious tent were three bedrooms, a large one with a double bed, a small one with bunk beds and space for Bean’s travel cot and a gorgeous cupboard bed that the big girls could climb into and hide away in with the cute little doors shut! This cabin bed was adorable and provided so much joy at night time when daddy and mummy climbed in next to them and told exciting adventure stories in the dark by torchlight! Underneath was a large storage space where they put all their toys and books and could have pretend camp outs in caves and tunnels!
Eating around the table at night was such an atmospheric event, with no electricity in the tent, everything was lit by candles and oil lamps. Cooking on the stove was slow but matched out slower pace of life, and everything felt cosy, peaceful and warm. Overnights were chilly and I’d definitely recommend taking extra sleeping bags to snuggle inside under the duvet covers if you fancy going in the colder months like us! The ultimate plusses for me were that there was flushing toilet and a sink with running water. These made ALL the difference in turning this from the ordinary hard work of camping into a much easier experience!
The girls were given their own chickens in a little coop to look after for the week, who they named Susie and Sarah and fell in love with straight away. It was their job to give them their food and fresh water twice a day, as well as checking for eggs each morning, which caused supreme delight!
Each egg was considered a treasure and there was desperation to eat it immediately! At the end of our stay, the farm owners presented the girls with “certificates of chicken care” and they were so proud of their achievement!
Right next to our tent was a brilliant, brand new playground that they had just built before our arrival, and the kids loved to play here on and off all day. Opposite this was a small paddock with goats, pigs and chickens to go and say hello to at any time, by climbing right in with them! There were also indoor and outdoor toys and games and books for adults and kids that could be borrowed at any time, which was such a thoughtful extra detail!
One of the highlights one our stay was the farm tour, where farmer James and his father drove us and the other guests around their huge farm to show us all the animals. He gave a very informative talk about the history of the farm and the local area, and the kids were allowed to get up close to the cows, pigs and sheep, even getting a change to stroke a tiny day old lamb!
After this it was back to the camping area to light the outdoor pizza oven, then we all decorated our own pizzas and James cooked them for us to eat together outside. It was nice chance to get to chat more to the farmer sand the other guests.
During the day we went for lots of short trips to the local area, to explore the Cheddar Gorge caves, see ruined castles and go for nature walks along streams and through fields. We used the excellent printable sheets from Twinkl to do our very own nature scavenger hunt, looking for the featured flowers and plants to tick off and find. The girls loved finding them and discovering some new names along the way. You can download and print your own from Twinkl here (and this other plant version here) (and take a look around the rest of the site for an AMAZING range of free and very cheap resources to use with kids at home or in school/ child minding environment.) We love Twinkl!
Our stay lasted for 5 days from Monday to Friday and was off-peak being in the school holidays. It was quiet, peaceful and seriously enjoyable. And the children had so many opportunities to learn first hand about farm life, from looking after their own chickens to visiting the goats and pigs in their fields each day to have a little chat! It would be SUCH a great trip for homeschooling families or families with children who are younger than school age, to come in term time like we did and enjoy the peaceful environment and use it as a base for learning all about geography, science, nature and farming. Older children could help gather wood for the fire, learn how to set and make the fire, cook outdoors, build shelters and go on lots of outdoor nature hunts.
We absolutely loved our stay and are already thinking of going back with some friends and camping next to each other in adjacent tents so that our kids could all play together outside all day. How perfect! Please do check out the site and see if any sites appeal to you for a visits. It’s such a great way to support local farmers in all their hard work to keep afloat and is brilliant for kids and adults alike to take a break from screens and distractions and just be together as a family, properly, for a period of time!
[Disclaimer: I was sent on this holiday to review by Featherdown Farms. The opinions are all my own.]