Location: Butterleigh, PLS REVERT, Devon, England
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"Poor value for money.…"
We stayed at Manor Farm. The setting was beautiful, but like other reviewers mention, they try to make money on every single little extra, e.g. no extra candles provided, limited wood, not all the beds made up etc. I get the feeling that the brochure promises the luxury, but the farms just want to provide the basics. They need to decide exactly what the target market is, as if it is the luxury end (and the prices suggest it is!), they fall way short.Read moreLess
"Easy intro to camping, but better for families with older kids…"
This was our first stay (at New Barns Farm in Bedfordshire), and while we enjoyed it very much, we did find it quite hard work with two small children (1.5 and 4.5). Hannah and Will, the farm owners, were very warm and welcoming, and I couldn't fault them.
DS1 loved the bed in the cupboard, and we hired a travel cot for DS2. They, of course, adored being able to run in and out when they liked. We knew in advance (from online searching for tips) to get the stove started as soon as we arrived, and my DH managed that quite easily. I was paranoid about the boys burning themselves, though, so we got a couple of fire guards (which were available to borrow from the farm). This was better, but I was still worried. The tent was really lovely, with comfortable beds, although we did get a lot of flies as we had the front flaps open most of the time. There were also a lot of creepy crawlies that my husband had to dispatch before we went to bed. My DC slept very well, even during the wind and rain one night, which were incredibly loud in the tent. It was difficult not having hot water at the ready, especially first thing, but we managed. The honesty shop, where we could pick up our pre-ordered baked goods for breakfast, or other things we forgot, was very well stocked, but a bit of a trek, especially for the boys.
There were lots of places for them to explore, but not on their own, so we took them to play in the hay in the barn, visit the sheep and chickens, see the horses, and walk in the woods. There was also a tour of a dairy farm available (£10 per child, although they didn't charge for DS2), which was fantastic, and well worth the effort to go (only a 10 minute drive). We visited the nearby country park as well another day, which was lovely.
We ordered a prepared meal our first night, which arrived steaming hot and was very nice, but too much food for us; we just kept it in the cool box for lunch the next day, though. Pizza night on the Saturday was fun, but a bit chaotic, as we would prepare one pizza, get it into the oven, then be in the queue to make another when our first one came out of the oven, so there was a lag between getting them all for our family. Unfortunately, it was very windy and started raining, so we didn't get to mingle with the other campers as we would have hoped. We ordered a bbq box for Sunday night, and it was enormous - enough to feed 6 hungry adults. Far, far too much for 2 adults and 2 small children. It would have been nice to have the option of a smaller box, and to have a bit of choice - we got more pork than I would have liked (kebabs, ribs and sausages), so much of it went to waste, and no chicken. The rest was minute steaks and burgers, which were lovely. It was very difficult to bbq without proper utensils, and I really think they should have been provided. There were also no condiments provided, or available in the honesty shop.
There were 2 boxes of wood and two firelighters provided, which I thought was a little mean, but we foraged for wood for our bbq, so managed to stretch the wood out.
The showers were fine, with warm water, but obviously, not so good for the DC. We managed to find a system, with me washing the boys one at a time while DH stood outside with towels, but it was difficult.
Overall, our 3-night stay was a welcome break, but we were glad (DH) and relieved (me) to be going back home.
Top tips: bring a lighter, as the matches won't last long if it's windy. Some newspaper is also really useful for the bbq, as is foraging for your own wood (although not for the stove inside). The cool box won't keep things cold, so don't bring too much perishable stuff. Bring condiments if you're planning to bbq! We found having kitchen roll extremely useful. A torch is also necessary, as the lamps and candles aren't nearly bright enough for reading inside. If you're only a family of 4 (and not particularly good eaters), it might be worth going together with another family for the bbq or one of the meals, so the food doesn't go to waste.Read moreLess
3 people found this review helpful.
"Pant Y March, Snowdonia - Superb holiday with 2 year old and our dog…"
We stayed at Pant Y March near Bala lake Snowdonia and had the best time. The farming couple were totally totally lovely and welcoming.
The canvas cabin/tent was just like the pictures on the website and were cosy and comfy while feeling a little wild and rustic but easy to keep tidy and use for cooking etc. Showers were great, views were fab, honesty shop wasn't over-priced pretty standard for the area TBH, a slection of emergency bits and bobs but also fresh local meats and beer. We weren't 'stung' for extras at all.
We fed an orphan lamb and the communal chickens every day, which our (just) 2yo was thrilled with. The tent area was well maintained with short grass area around so we could walk about and from car to tent etc without getting soaked feet. Our dog was welcome and once we established our neighbours/farmer were happy about it he was allowed to be off the lead so not tied up all the time.
There are LOADS of activities to do in the area, so despite the very wet weather we were never stuck for entertainment and the farmer gave us loads of pointers on where to go for activities and eating out.
Our toddler was free-range the whole time, in and out of the tent and happily playing with the 2 older children in the next door tent.
All in all we had the best holiday we have had in 3 years and would go back in a heartbeat.Read moreLess
1 person found this review helpful.
"We went to Dolphinholme Farm in Lancashire, which is in…"
We went to Dolphinholme Farm in Lancashire, which is in a beautiful location on the edge of the Trough of Bowland.
Overall we loved it - the 'tents' are fantastic, rustic enough to give a real sense of adventure, with the super-cute cupboard bed and deck chairs ideal for lounging in front of the wood-burning stove. But comfy enough that you don't feel cold or have to wee in a bucket!
The stoves take a bit of getting used to - take some firelighters and start with small twigs/paper, until it is well-established, or the bigger logs put it out. And you do need to keep an eye on smaller kids around it - there is a small barrier but you know how little hands are like magnets for anything dangerous.
The location was great - on the edge of a huge field perfect for ball games, just across from a beautiful stretch of river where you could paddle and skim stones. There's also a playbarn with slides, a trampoline, and hay bails. And as it's next to the goat shed you get little goaty faces peeking out at you!
It's a working goat farm and the owner will take you on an interesting tour, and my teenager went along and helped with the milking as well, which he loved.
Plus points: eggs fresh from the hen! Lovely bacon in the honesty shop!
Downsides: getting that fire burning can be tricky, so if you are there during colder weather, take extra blankets and PJs etc, as well as slippers. Plus take a big bin bag to throw any wet clothes in. It is also, I think, a bit overpriced - I did feel a tad ripped off by the end of the weekend. I'm sure all those countryside folk think it's hilarious that us city types pay a small fortune to come and 'rough it'!
Overall though a really fun experience.Read moreLess
2 people found this review helpful.
"I've been to Billingsmoor three times with my 3 children…"
I've been to Billingsmoor three times with my 3 children and my experience was much more like Carletta's than Eightieschild. Our children 'borrowed' the farm dogs and went for walks in the woods and across the fields. We took our food scraps to feed the pigs. Hens wandered free, and there were calves, ducks and sheep. Obviously you have to be careful around the cows (but the point is it's a working farm).There's loads to do nearby, but we spent loads of time just mooching on the farm.
As for the farmers 'cashing in', that's just nonsense. Many of the products were comparable with supermarket goods of the same quality. OK a few things were marked up, but presumably someone had to use petrol and time to go and buy them and so the farmer is probably covering their costs and breaking even, which is fair enough, they're not Tesco!! Also you have a choice, it's not mandatory to use the honesty shop-it's just a great service so that you don't have to leave the farm every time you need something.
The farmers were lovely, so friendly and kind, they really add to the holiday. Our children are always asking when we can go again.Read moreLess
6 people found this review helpful.
"We went to FeatherDown site at Billingsmor farm and had…"
We went to FeatherDown site at Billingsmor farm and had such a different example as the one I have just read. I have three children and we stayed at the farm for a week and had such a great time. The kids could roamed safely in the woods and field with out my husband and i worrying about them. The kids went on the farm walk and meet all the animals including the pot bellied pigs as well as watching the cows being milked. Their were baby calves and different types of ducks and we seemed to adopt one of the farm dogs called Meg who had had a litter of puppies which the kids loved. Their was a Pizza night and the communal oven was lit once a week so we could cook our own food. My kids had a day at Wildwanderers which was fantastic. It is a forest school site set in Bilingsmoor woods and they learnt how to firelight, whittle and make walking sticks and have pizza and loads of cooked marshmallows.
Our views from our dwelling were splendid. We had time to relax and rejuvenate in a peaceful, quiet area. We will go again as the facilities were great. A holiday away from the hustle and bustle of TVs, videos a time to take in the simple outdoor life with the luxury of comfy beds and a woodburner. Thanks for a great holiday.Read moreLess
4 people found this review helpful.
"We stayed at Billingsmoor in June 2011. We had high…"
We stayed at Billingsmoor in June 2011. We had high hopes as it all looked and sounded amazing! In the end it was 'okay', the farm is a working dairy farm and we had a tour of the milking area etc but there was no communal hens or other animals for the kids to get involved with, indeed, the only entertainment was a field full of stinging nettles in front of us and a wood which was okay for a while... I lost count of the stings our kids got. The farmer was quite lax in keeping the grass manageable just outside of our tent. Glad we had the 'private rather small chicken coop' at extra cost as it provided some entertainment for the kids (3 and 5) although no eggs.
The featherdown concept is very much 'cashing in' on extras, the one that really got me was having a metal barbeque outside our tent but we needed to rent the metal grill at a cost per night! So much is made from extras and I don't think they are worth it. The stew seems extortionate to me and I am not5 tight at all. The honesty shop was pricey and you could get things like local eggs much cheaper locally.
I think Featherdown is nice, but for me I could not decide whether it was 'posh camping' or 'slumming it in a dodgey mobile home', but forRead moreLess
8 people found this review helpful.
"We went on a featherdown farm weekend in June 2011,…"
We went on a featherdown farm weekend in June 2011, with our 2 dd's (aged 11 and 9) and absolutely loved it.
We stayed on East Shilvinghapton farm in Dorset, the highlights for us were feeding the baby goats, cooking pizza in the oven and having a camp fire.
Our dd's loved it and didn't want to come home.Read moreLess
"A bit more rustic than the glossy brochure shows but…"
A bit more rustic than the glossy brochure shows but that was ok. It was rarther cold at night which was bothersome as I didn't sleep well. Ds had a ball and made new friends and didn't once mention missing the television. Another downside for me was the lack of a powerpoint to dry my hair in the shower block. I know its camping as pointed out by the farmer's wife but we were out and about in the day and went out for dinner so would have liked to at least look presentable. Men could go without a shave but noticed they were catered for.
My advice would be to take a gas stove, as the kettle takes ages on the wood burner. Extra quilts and warm clothes. Also lots of candles, torches etc.Read moreLess
4 people found this review helpful.
"Just back from a long weekend at Dolphinholme. Loved it…"
Just back from a long weekend at Dolphinholme. Loved it and it's our second time. DD took her bff and we had the most chilled time. Yes it's expensive, but you get a quiet, unsophisticated holiday that's hard to beat in this modern day. No phones, no tv games, no clubs and no fuss. If it's the emperor's new clothes I'll happily strut my naked stuff againRead moreLess
1 person found this review helpful.
"The phrase "the Emporer's New Clothes" springs to mind when…"
The phrase "the Emporer's New Clothes" springs to mind when I think of our Feather Down Farm experience - just like in a review by the Times, a couple of years ago. Yes, the older children completely loved it. Yes, the fresh air and farm smells were glorious, but no ... it was not a relaxing holiday with a 2 year-old.
Put simply, for the cost, we could have had a holiday cottage. Does this make it glamping [glamourous camping] or more like slummaging [slum holiday cottaging]??? When you've paid overRead moreLess
16 people found this review helpful.
"Billingsmoor Farm - Devon I couldn't disagree more with the…"
Billingsmoor Farm - Devon
I couldn't disagree more with the last review of this farm as a location for a Featherdown Farm holiday.
The farm is obviously a working farm which is the whole concept of Featherdown farms, the cows are milked at 6am and 4pm and they do have to be lead down to the milking shed but this did not disturb us at all, you could hear the cows, this is however the sound of the countryside!
The family who run the farm are passionate organic farmers but were very welcoming and keen to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable. They were prepared to go the extra mile eg. specially ordering and collecting food produce from local suppliers for us.
Our 2 boys, aged 5 and 7, enjoyed the open spaces, farm and woodland and just wanted to spend all day exploring, including a day at the on site forestry school. Even taking a 10 month old was easier than we had anticipated.
The views from the tents were beautiful, there is nothing better than enjoying your morning cuppa sat outside in your pj's looking at the countryside.
The tents are just as you see in the brochure and are arranged with 2 or 3 tents per field and in such a way that you do not over look one another. There is no electricity but the wood burning stove and the candles just add to the atmosphere - we were surprised that none of us missed the tv! There were hot showers for us to use in a building in the farm yard. There was also an honesty shop for the daily essentials and some little treats.
We totally enjoyed our stay and soon found ourselves relax down to the Featherdown farm pace of life.
We would like to say thank you for a lovely holiday.Read moreLess
2 people found this review helpful.