Craving a rural retreat after months of being cooped up at home? Nothing beats a stay on a working farm.
If you’re after an escape to the great outdoors with a dose of creature comforts, some real creatures and activities to keep you (and the kids) happy when you’ve had your fill of walking, a farm stay is perfect. Take your pick from cute cottages to lovely lodges and gorgeous glamping sites, and decide how much you want to get stuck in. Collect eggs for breakfast, feed the animals or just sit back and soak in the atmosphere.
Read on for our pick of the best farm stays in the UK.
1. Bucks Farm, Suffolk
Tucked into Suffolk’s beautiful Blyth Valley, Bucks Farm has five ridiculously cosy self-catering cottages. Our favourite is the four-person Hogs Corner, with its stylish open-plan living room and kitchen, and wood-burning fire.
When you’ve finished petting the pygmy goats, feeding the guinea pigs or stroking the Shetland ponies, there’s a huge indoor swimming pool to dive into, and the toy-filled indoor and outdoor play areas provide plenty of space to burn off excess energy. Don’t miss the opportunity to help collect the chickens’ eggs, which are then shared among the cottages.
Courtesy of Bucks Farm
2. The Olde House, Cornwall
The Olde House is a collection of 30 self-catering cottages dotted across North Cornwall’s huge 550-acre Penpont Farm, which means plenty of animals to pet.
It’s a brilliant option for families and groups of friends – the cottages sleep between two and 10 people – and the fantastic amenities cater to all age groups. There’s an enormous children’s play area, bird hide and Pet’s Corner, plus a sauna, steam room and tennis courts. Make sure you sign up for one of the falconry sessions, during which you’ll get to meet five different birds of prey.
Photo by James Ram
3. Drovers Rest, Herefordshire
Head to Herefordshire’s wonderfully-named Golden Valley to stay at Drovers Rest, a working farm with three self-catering cottages and seven safari tents. We recommend the latter. The tents (referred to as canvas cottages by the owners) are kitted out with sofas, log burners and hot showers.
Courtesy of Drovers Rest
Our favourite spots are the barns – one contains a cocktail bar, while the other has table tennis and a library stocked with walking guides. There’s also usually a packed calendar of events, ranging from movie screenings to animal encounters. You can also be a farmer for the day – you’ll collect eggs, herd sheep and milk goats.
Courtesy of Drovers Rest
4. Broome Park Farm, Shropshire
A working farm nestled in the hills of South Shropshire, Broome Park Farm is a bed and breakfast with just two bedrooms, so you’ll need to book early. You’ll stay in a wing of the house which has its own entrance, so there’s plenty of privacy and the cosiness factor is high. The house dates back to the 16th century and the interior is a beautiful tangle of exposed wooden beams.
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Dinners and breakfasts – all made with produce fresh from the farm – can be ordered in advance, and there are plenty of opportunities to get involved, whether it’s by feeding the calves or collecting the eggs.
Courtesy of Broome Park Farm
5. Northumberland Farm, Northumberland
Stay at Northumberland Farm and you’ll have the best of both worlds – the chance to get involved in the day-to-day running of a working farm, along with easy access to the Northumbrian coastline.
Accommodation takes the form of safari tents with spacious verandas and en suite bathrooms, and bookable extras include stove service (which means you’ll arrive to a freshly-lit fire) and Farmers’ Stews. You’ll be provided with the ingredients and utensils required to make a delicious dinner.
Courtesy of Northumberland Farm
Don’t miss the opportunity to join the farmer on his rounds, during which you’ll learn about the farm animals as well as the badgers, deer and kestrels you’re likely to spot.
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6. Newhall Mains, Ross-shire
A three-year renovation project has transformed Newhall Mains’ farm buildings into some seriously stylish self-catering accommodation, along with four sumptuous suites. The five self-catering cottages, on a working farm on Scotland’s Black Isle peninsula, sleep between two and six people, and have underfloor heating, Nespresso coffee machines and more Aromatherapy Associates goodies than you can shake a (shepherd’s) stick at.
Don’t forget to admire the gorgeous Jacob sheep frolicking in the field next to the cottages – it’s their wool which was used to fill guests’ quilts.
Courtesy of Newhall Mains
7. Brook Meadow, Leicestershire
Head to Brook Meadow and you’ll find lakeside lodges, cabins and safari tents scattered across a working farm with a huge lake at its centre. It’s a seriously sustainable getaway – the farm relies largely on solar power and rainwater harvesting.
You’ll be able to get involved in a variety of tasks (including our favourite, egg collecting) and depending on the time of year you can watch farm workers help deliver lambs and calves. Fancy an adrenaline fix? Sign up for clay pigeon shooting, archery or quad biking sessions.
Courtesy of Brook Meadow
8. Nettlecombe Farm, Isle of Wight
An idyllic retreat on the Isle of Wight’s southern coastline, Nettlecombe Farm has nine dog-friendly, self-catering cottages and a huge range of activities to sign up for, whether it’s fishing in one of the three lakes, an open-air workout or animal feeding sessions.
Courtesy of Nettlecombe Farm
If cows and pigs don’t do it for you, you’re in luck – the farm’s exotic residents include Edna the emu, along with several alpacas and two reindeers, all of which you’ll be able to feed.
Courtesy of Nettlecombe Farm
9. Arnprior Farm, Stirling
This Scottish farm is a brilliant option any time of year. Come in spring to help with the lambing, or in autumn to help harvest the enormous pumpkin patch. Arnprior Farm is another spot with rather impressive eco-credentials. For example, the indoor pool is filled from a borehole and heated with wood chips.
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The four glamping pods each sleep five people and come with private hot tubs, showers and fire pits. One of the most popular activities is the sheep-feeding sessions – the farm has 1,300 (very hungry) woolly wonders.
Courtesy of Arnprior Farm
10. Fforest Farm, Ceredigion
Full disclosure, Fforest Farm is no longer a working farm – owners James and Sian converted it from a farm into a rural glamping site when they purchased it. But it’s ideal for anyone craving the rural romance of a farm stay without the animals (which, let’s be honest, can be smelly and noisy).
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The site is dotted with nods to its past, including the on-site pub, Y Bwythyn, tucked inside a former farmworker’s cottage. There’s a staggeringly wide range of accommodation (everything from rooms inside the original farmhouse to bell tents and domes) and plenty of activities on offer. You can sign up for foraging, bushcraft and wild swimming sessions, and there are regular cycling retreats.
Courtesy of Fforest Farm
Due to COVID-19, be sure to check national and local travel restrictions, and individual places before booking and visiting. Please note that some amenities may be suspended so check before you go.
Main image: Courtesy of Drovers Rest
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