Has anyone been to a Feather Down Farm?

(16 Posts)
Gauchita Thu 15-Mar-12 08:02:42

We were looking for a mid-week or long weekend destination and I came across [http://www.featherdown.co.uk/ these]] in the Mumsnet Money Saver email a few days ago.

DH had a look at the website and LOVED the idea. I'm not exactly too outdoorsy, mainly because of bugs <wimp>, but if a place is nice and worth it I can enjoy it anyway and go along with it. DD is 2.9 and DS is 6.5 months old.

Anyone been to any of these before? We were thinking of going to a North Wales one as we've never been to Wales before, and it's relatively close to us. Unless someone recommends a better place in Wales maybe? Every picture we see is amazing so narrowing down a destination is proving hard grin

Thanks in advance!

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Gauchita Thu 15-Mar-12 08:03:46

Gah, I got the link wrong...

Here

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Northernlurker Thu 15-Mar-12 08:08:09

Oh lord - there was a mumsnetter who had horrible problems with a booking last year - they booked as a party and then were located in totally seperate tents ruining the whole idea. There was a huge thread about it and it had a number of alternatives (cheaper). Do a search for Featherdown farms and see what comes up.

turkeyboots Thu 15-Mar-12 08:25:30

If you aren't put off by the other thread, we stayed in the one by Lake Bala. Was great, but we got the one non rainy week for the summer.

Agree the customer service from the main office isn't great, but the farmers are lovely.

Gauchita Thu 15-Mar-12 08:46:42

<off to search>
Thanks Northern and Turkey.
RL calling but will be back later.

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welovesausagedogs Thu 15-Mar-12 09:04:13

We went to the one in Somerset ,last year. At the time my DS was 3 and my DD 1 - they absolutely loved it, it like stylish camping without the dreadful tents. The wigwams you stay in are lovely (not cold at all), like staying in a little house. It's a great holiday for young children, the kids loved playing with the animals and because we went in May, there were lots of little babies around which my DD loved, we will be trying the New Forest one this June as some of DS friends ant nursery went to this one and loved it. I wouldn't recommend going for more than a week though, my DD could have stayed longer, but my son and my husband and i had enjoyed it after the week but if we stayed any longer we probably would have got bored.

LucyManga Thu 15-Mar-12 09:05:45

Yep, we went to one in Hampshire a couple of years ago. It was lovely, but I could only handle (even posh) camping for 3 days max grin. We had no problems at all with the customer service, and the farmers themselves were lovely.

Gauchita Thu 15-Mar-12 13:18:12

Thank you for your replies, Welove and Lucy.

I've finished reading the thread shock That was some very poor customer service from them, to say the least. They could have handled it so much better instead of letting it escalate and disappoint 5 families.
Glad to hear you both had good experiences!!

Hmm <sits on fence> I'll show DH the thread and think about it a bit more, I think. Will look at some alternatives as well.
Thanks again smile

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niminypiminy Thu 15-Mar-12 13:33:03

We are now on our fifth year of Featherdown holidays. This year we are going for 10 days. We love them, our dcs love them. Here's why:

The tents are massive and pretty comfortable. We've been very lucky with the weather and only ever had two days when it rained all day (mind you we've never been to Wales). But even when it rains, you put the flaps down and there's enough space in the tent for games and stuff.

The dcs love the fact that they can essentially be outside and unsupervised a lot of the time. They've always managed to play with other kids staying on the site, and because there's only a handful of tents you know where they are. Normally they can roam around outside safely without getting anywhere near the farm boundaries, let alone getting lost.

Meanwhile, as the dcs build dens (or whatever it is they are doing), you, the parents, are relaxing with a cup of tea/glass of wine or whatever and cooking sausages on the stove.

All the farmers whose farms we've stayed on have been lovely. We've found out more about farming, and been to some bits of the country we'd never visited before. It's expensive but then, we don't want to go abroad, and we do want to have a holiday we really love. So it's worth it.

As we left last year our kids were already begging us to come again.

Gauchita Thu 15-Mar-12 20:48:51

niminy, thank you for your post. I'm glad to hear your experiences have been nothing but great.
<gets splinters due to sitting on fence> grin
DH is still very very keen. The thread didn't put him off too much as far as I can see.
Can I ask a few more questions? They might sound daft silly, mind you.
On the website it says you don't need to bring anything. Nothing? At all? Food?
I'm very glad to know the tents are not cold, as that, for me, would be a deal-breaker.
What would the packing be like? I mean, things that are a must for a place like this. We'd be going in May, probably.
Thanks again <gets tweezers>

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Gauchita Thu 15-Mar-12 21:09:14

Sorry, just read on their website you can buy the food from them, ignore my question.

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Gapants Thu 15-Mar-12 21:11:38

They pay the host farmers an absolute pittance to use the land and the farmers have to supply fire wood, make the land family friendly etc etc. Look for another company to glamp with.

niminypiminy Thu 15-Mar-12 21:51:27

In May you would need to take woollies, weatherproof stuff, wellies, thick socks, slippers, possibly hotties if you feel the cold at night. But once the stove gets going, the tent heats up nicely.

The one thing I would definitely take is a small calor gas stove, because if you want a cup of tea or coffee first thing in the morning the stove doesn't heat up that quickly. Also v useful to be able to heat up a tin of beans etc for the dcs in a hurry.

Torch, matches, games, books. But we don't pack a lot of stuff. After all you can buy food on the farm (farmers get to keep all profits of honesty shop).

Gapants, I don't think the farmers can do too badly out of it or they would simply not do it. In ethical terms I don't think it's worse than a package holiday abroad, no? The farmers would have to prepare the site whatever company you were doing it through, and if they weren't doing it through a company they'd have to market it themselves, which I'm guessing is not what most farmers would like to spend their time doing.

Gapants Thu 15-Mar-12 21:58:21

There was a big hoo ha about it not all that long ago. FDF make alot of £££ on it, the farmers are about £30/day. Not alot when the holiday to the consumer costs so much.

Farmers are locked into a contract for a set amount of time.

I think a package holiday is marketed and positioned quite differently to a FDF holiday.

niminypiminy Fri 16-Mar-12 11:45:32

I think they're on £30 per day per tent, or £210 per week, so if they have 5 tents £1050 per week if fully occupied. That's not so bad all things considered.

I think packages such as Mark Warner are aimed at a similar demographic.

Gauchita Sat 17-Mar-12 11:30:28

Gapants, I had/have no knowledge of what you mention so I can't actually comment on it. If what Niminy says is around what they make then it doesn't sound too bad.
Niminy, thanks for the packing advice. Last time I went on a camping style holiday I was around 7 grin DH asked them for a brochure, and he thinks end of May would be nice. Now we have to choose one of them, which I think will be the hardest bit.

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