From chocolate box Cumbrian cottages to secluded luxury farm restaurants, could your next holiday be spent on a British farm?
There’s currently a growing appreciation of the disconnect between city and rural life – as is the idea staying on a farm provides some kind of remedy to that. Farm holiday breaks – or ‘farmstays’ to use the proper coinage – grant you a taste of the country while putting you in touching distance of where your food came from. Especially important when trying to inform young kids. At the same time, chefs like Dan Barber in the US, and Tom Adams in the UK, are showing that good food is found closest to its source.
So where should you think about staying for an idyllic farm holiday? Here are a few ideas to kick you off.
1. Layer Marney, Essex
Layer Marney’s accommodation is, as you might hope, a bit on the wild side. Canvas lodges and log cabins are dotted about the estate – a space guests share with woodpeckers, pheasants, muntjac deer and owls. What’s more, it’s all overlooked by Layer Marney’s stunning Tudor tower, commissioned by Henry VIII, with views of the coast to boot. The farm’s well catered to visiting families, with activities like bottle feeding lambs, tractor rides, and bike hires to choose from. Nothing says ‘farm holiday’ like a bottle-fed lamb.
Accommodation from £429 for four nights
2. Yew Tree Farm, Cumbria
Before it came to be in the hands of the National Trust, this Grade-II listed farmhouse was owned by none other than Beatrix Potter – the dining room is still kitted out with some of her furniture. The farm, named after a 700-year old Yew Tree which used to grow behind the house, is surrounded by over 200 acres of sweeping valleys and hills, largely uninhabited but for the farmer’s accumulation of Galloway cattle and Herdwick sheep. WiFi is available, but ‘might not be as fast as what you’re used to’.
Price of accommodation varies season to season
3. Bulltown Farmhouse, Kent
Bulltown is a lovingly restored 15th century farmhouse within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, surrounded by several working farms. Its location and proximity to Canterbury (even closer to the medieval village of Wye – by all accounts one of Kent’s hidden gems) means you can explore some of the best Kent has to offer without travelling too far.
Accommodation from £80 per night
4. Coombeshead Farm, Cornwall
Coombeshead Farm, in its current B&B guise, has only been going a year or so. But it’s already established itself as an ultimate epicurean getaway. A joint venture between Pitt Cue’s Tom Adams and celebrated chef April Bloomfiled, this is where food and farming come together. Most if not all of the ingredients – from honey and rhubarb to free-range chicken and rare-breed mangalitza pigs – used at the restaurant are grown or reared on-site. Even your average breakfast cereal has no place here – on the morning menu you’ll find homemade granola and bircher muesli, soaked in local apple juice, instead.
Accommodation from £130 (note: closed Monday to Wednesday)
5. Monachyle Mhor, Scotland
This 18th century farmhouse-meets-hotel in the middle of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is not for the unadventurous – Monachyle Mhor sits within 2,000 acres of its own estate. Lamb for the restaurant is plucked straight from the hill; venison is bought off the stalkers next door. Vegetables and herbs are either grown on the farm or foraged out in the wild. Speaking of which, guests can feel that little bit more in touch with nature by hiring out the farm’s 1950s Pilot Panther glamping wagon, which certainly puts the romance back into caravanning.
Accommodation from £125
Know some gems we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below!
This post was originally published in July 2017.