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Feather down farms - have you been? Can I ask a few questions please?

(9 Posts)
Kiffykaffycoffee Mon 09-Feb-15 17:00:08

We're thinking of booking a Featherdown Farm holiday in France in the Summer hols. Family of 4, DDS age 8 and 11. Experienced campers but want to make it a bit easier on ourselves as it's a long journey!
Is it worth the money? Is it noisy? Are the tents well spaced out or all crammed together?
On a practical note, how do you do the washing up - is there any hot running water like on a "normal" campsite?
Love the idea of a wood burning stove, but doesn't it make the tent very hot in summer? And is 't it a pain when you just want a quick cuppa?
Oh and I've heard a few vicious rumours about them charging £32 for a pack of vegetables to make soup, or £15 to look after a rabbit - are they true?
The website says everything's provided, but based on experience, what extras would you pack?
I just don't want it to be an expensive mistake. We could stay on a normal campsite for a fraction of the price.
Any advice welcome!

Kiffykaffycoffee Mon 09-Feb-15 17:08:51

Posted too soon - some more questions - are the tents waterproof? And we'll designed, with storage space & somewhere to put wet towels etc. And are there any laundry facilities?

droogie Mon 09-Feb-15 23:10:04

We did a featherdown for my 40th last summer and really enjoyed it. It is pricey but we couldn't find anywhere else with a B&B on site for the non camping members of the family and anywhere else with a wood fired hot tub for hire (Upper Shadymoore Farm)!!

There was plenty of space between the tents and they are waterproof but you can also lift the sides and the layout was good.

The wood burner was welcome on July evenings as it got quite cool but we were glad we took our suitcase stove for quick cuppas.

There were overpriced soup kits and the on site shop was a bit hit and miss (a friend who came along said the one she went to was better so they probably vary) but there was a supermarket nearby.

We had to take towels and would recommend something to heat water for tea or washing up (there is a sink with running cold water) and we found our cool box brought for the journey easier to keep cold than the huge cool box in the tent - though we could use the fridge in the farm shop too.

There weren't any laundry facilities but wet towels dried fine nearish the stove.

Our son loved looking after his chickens, sleeping in the cupboard and hunting for firewood and the other tents were close enough for him to run off and make friends while we kept him in sight.

Overall good, but as you say not cheap. I enjoyed it for a special birthday though

Titsalinabumsquash Mon 09-Feb-15 23:27:52

We went to one last May, it rained, a lot but we got a couple of sunny days, we had a 'frills tent' in Devon.

We're not experienced campers at all, we were family camping virgins before we went, it was me and DP and our 3 boys (10,8,2)

. The tents are waterproof, we had a huge storm and not once did the elements get in the tent.

. It was freezing so the log stove was a god send, but we did spend an awful lot in extra logs, kindling, matches, lamp oil, wicks and candles.

. No hot running water, it's all from the kettle boiled on the stove, we took to keeping a giant kettle topped up all day boiling either on the log stove or the outside Fire pit so we could always have coffee, washing up water etc.

. Yes, they have the option of buying meal kits and hampers, they're expensive, it's not essential though, we did get one for a beef stew to cook in the couldren over the outside fire and we got a breakfast one, we justified it purely because we'd had s tough year and we were happy to pay for the luxury option as we knew it would be our only break.

. The kids adopted a chicken each and the coop was outside the tent, it cost £10 for the week and they enjoyed it enough that 2 weeks post holiday we had 4 chickens living in the garden grin

. There is an honesty shop, again it's expensive but you'll need it for logs and you collect ice packs for the fridge box in the tent.
If you order anything they'll leave it in there for you with a clipboard that you fill in to keep a tally of your purchases during your stay.

. I'd take extra bedding, it's cold (although I find know about France compared to May in the uk) if you can get lamp oil, wicks, candles/torches then take them in bulk.
We loved having a tiny portable radio in the evening time, it was so quiet.
We took bats/balls/activity books for the kids, they used them all as well as exploring, touring the farm and assisting the farmer at the pizza oven. grin

The tent itself is stunning, very quaint and idealic, the fine details are lovely, hearts carved in the doors, the bed in the cupboard, the candle chandelier over the big dining table etc.

We loved it and did think it was worth every penny, I guess it depends on what type of holiday you like.
It really helped though that our hosts were so friendly and accommodating, they looked after us at all times and made the site feel homely despite still working hard to look after the cattle.

The contrast of things to do for the kids (away from screens!) and the evening hot tub/hammock/lazy relaxing with just DP was perfect for us.

Kiffykaffycoffee Tue 10-Feb-15 08:14:07

Thank you both! Very helpful and detailed replies. We'll need to take our portable gas stove and plenty of towels. Also a calor gas light as candlelight, though romantic, is hopeless to read by!
Sorry to bombard you with questions - is there anywhere we could hand-wash a few clothes? Is it possible to rig up a temporary washing line outside the tent? Or would that kill the rustic ambience a bit?
It doesn't sound like too much of a ripoff, as you said, nobody has to buy any of the extras.
We'll bring plenty of non-perishable goods to tide us over.
Thanks again!

Titsalinabumsquash Tue 10-Feb-15 11:20:23

I think you could wash some bits in the sink with boiled water and then rig up a line on the side of the tent, although our farm had washing machines and tumble dryer in the honesty shop and the family were happy for us to use it if need be, they have all the showers and a baby bath and airers etc for free use down there too so yours might have the same, they also kept a big she full of children's toys and games to borrow during your stay. smile

Kiffykaffycoffee Tue 10-Feb-15 18:18:35

Thanks for that, Squash. I'll check what's provided on our actual site before we go.

droogie Tue 10-Feb-15 20:24:22

Our neighbours had washing on a rope outside their tent and it looked quite quaint smile

Ours was next to a wood so firewood was free stacked I. A log pile near the tents and DS (4) amused us all week by saying he was going "dick hunting in the woods" - his Ss aren't very clear confused

Kiffykaffycoffee Tue 10-Feb-15 22:21:31

Lol Droogie! Sounds like FDF are are quite laid back. We got told off for putting a washing line up in the New Forest last year!

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