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When you hear the words ‘farm holiday’, what immediately springs to mind? Pretty summer meadows full of wild flowers and brisk winter walks in the fresh country air? Friendly farm animals coming over to greet excited little ones and memories of scrumping juicy red apples as a child? Whatever your association with the British farm holiday, this growing trend is providing city dwellers with the perfect place to recharge their batteries while enjoying some of the most beautiful British countryside around.
While watching lambing on Springwatch and ordering organic vegetable boxes may have provided a taste of the country from your living room, more and more people are wanting to experience authentic rural life first hand. So whether you want to get down and dirty on a working farm, cosy up in a quirky shepherd's hut or watch glorious sunsets from a luxury converted barn, have a read on to see why farm holidays are the new cool.
Why choose a farm holiday?
- Escape from the city – living in the big smoke may be exciting, but in many instances, you won’t spot a farm animal or ploughed field for miles. A farm holiday is the perfect remedy to bring some nature back into your life.
- Breathtaking scenery - if the sight of cows grazing in lush pasture and glorious sunsets sinking into pretty meadows isn't enough, you'll normally be within driving distance of a plethora of picturesque villages and historic towns.
- Healthy living – what could be better than waking up to the sounds of the countryside followed by a hearty breakfast made with fresh local produce and then a bracing walk in the fresh air?
- Easily accessible – there are hundreds of farm properties situated all around the UK and most of them can be reached easily by car or public transport.
- Fun for children – many farm holidays offer opportunities to meet the animals; some even allow you to help feed the lambs or watch the cows being milked. Building dens in the woods and splashing about in muddy puddles also offers children a welcome break from technology.
When is the best time to go?
From newly-born lambs and lush crop fields in spring and summer to harvest festivals and the smell of smoky bonfires in autumn and winter, whatever time of year you visit, you can be assured of a sense of calm. Seasons are all important in the country and provide lots of fun things to do, especially if you have children with you - here are some ideas:
- Spring – feed the lambs, show toddlers how to spot baby animals, watch crops being sown and share Easter Egg hunts with little ones.
- Summer – watch haymaking and baling, visit pick your own fruit farms, learn how crops are harvested and enjoy glorious evening sunsets.
- Autumn – hunt for shiny conkers and make leaf drawings, attend harvest festivals in local churches and take the children to bonfire displays.
- Winter – visit local food and Christmas festivals, snuggle up to roaring log burners, take long bracing walks in the twinkling snow.
Discovering local produce:
Whether collecting freshly-laid eggs in the morning, buying just-baked bread from the local farm shop or discovering unexpected hedgerows laden with plump blackberries, you will find a whole host of fresh local produce that reflects each region and season. Why not try some of the below:
- Homegrown grass-fed organic beef and lamb, free-range poultry and freshly-caught seafood
- Artisan breads filled to the brim with creamy local cheeses and chunky chutneys
- Tangy apple juices and strong ciders, craft beers and sparkling wines
- Delicious juicy strawberries, blackberries and plums, ready to make deep-filled fruit pies for winter
- Clotted creams and preserves just waiting for their very own fluffy scones...
Don't forget to support your local farmer's market
If you're looking to whizz up something while on holiday, have a browse through our Recipes to try out in your farm kitchen guide for inspiration.
Get a taste of nature:
From the wild and rugged moorland of Yorkshire and the magical lakes and mountains of the Lake District, to the winding lanes and shaded woods of the New Forest and the pretty patchwork fields and wisteria-clad thatched cottages of Kent and Sussex, a farm holiday will allow you to reconnect with some of Britain’s most glorious and diverse countryside. With thousands of trails and paths accessible by foot and bike and winding country lanes just perfect for a relaxed drive, your holiday will be full of opportunities for lots of country fun:
- Wildlife spotting – discover a whole host of common and rare birds and insects as you explore new areas. Watch out for furry native ponies in the New Forest and Exmoor National Park as well as wild deer all over the UK. Look out for red kites in the Chilterns and Wales, golden eagles in the open moorlands and mountains of Scotland and don't forget to keep a lookout for Nessie if you are heading up to the Highlands.
- Walking and cycling trails – you can roam miles of unspoiled open spaces and visit ancient landmark monuments in many parts of the country with just a rucksack and an active dog or two for company, be it on foot or by bike. Get those walking boots or helmet on and discover the UK's wonderful heritage!
- Don’t forget the coast – discover secluded coves and pretty bays from rugged clifftop coastal paths and hunt for fossils along the Jurassic Coast. Children will love looking in shallow rock pools when the tide is out and running up and down sandy dunes in the summer.
- Horse riding - even if you are a novice, there are lots of riding centres that will take you out on a hack across some beautiful landscape. There's no nicer way to enjoy the scenery than with the wind in your hair, mounted on a trusty steed.
- Berry picking – whatever time of year, foraging for berries, basket in hand makes the best teatime treat. Take them home to make a wonderful fruity pie served with clotted cream.
Enjoy the late summer harvest
Just take me there!
You could be a couple looking to do a spot of stargazing in a romantic Dark Sky Reserve, a large family eagerly awaiting an annual getaway or special celebration, or perhaps it's just you and the dog. Whatever your situation, we will have the perfect property - just have a read below to see how much farm life can offer you.
For romantic weekenders
There’s nothing more romantic than waking up to the sounds of birds singing and lambs bleating as the morning sun streams in through your bedroom window. Start the day with a romantic breakfast straight from the farm or local farm shop and then explore miles of open country with long brisk walks, perhaps stopping for lunch in front of a crackling log fire in a local pub. Return home for an evening under the stars in a bubbling hot tub and sink into bed for a blissful night’s sleep.
Plan your romantic escape to the country at Tack Cottage in Shropshire
For families with little ones
What could be more exciting for small children than watching a friendly farmer going about his business or greeting the resident animals? Imagine the thrill of collecting your very own breakfast eggs or watching the cows come in for milking; some farms even allow you to pet or bottle feed the lambs. Not only is this a fun activity for children but it teaches them about where their food comes from and gives them great stories to take back to school. Many farms have indoor or outdoor play areas as well as lots of woodland to explore.
Little ones will love meeting the farm animals at North Penlean Honeypot in Cornwall
For those with four paws
Well-behaved dogs and responsible owners are welcome at many of our farm properties as long as the former are kept on leads around any livestock! With miles of rolling green fields and downs to explore as well as wonderful coastline, wooded trails and rugged mountains, even the laziest canine won't be able to resist the urge to get involved. You'll see the best of the British countryside with a dog so get your wellies and leads on and bring the countryside closer.
Treat your favourite canine to a holiday at Mawr Well Cottage in the Brecon Beacons
For sparkling celebrations
Long-awaited family celebrations, special birthdays and anniversaries, or just an opportunity for friends to get together at a slower pace of life all deserve a luxury holiday. With lots of space on offer, rural properties are great for not only getting together for drinks and dinner in the evening but are also ideal for revisiting traditional games like rounders, cricket or croquet. Some larger farm properties have swimming pools, tennis courts and hot tubs as well as games barns if you like a bit of family competition on holiday!
Bring your special family celebration to Deepdean The Cockerel in The Forest of Dean
For a taste of the unusual
Embrace the true quirkiness of the British countryside with a stay at one of our more unusual properties, set on working farms and rural land. From converted railway carriages and cosy shepherd's huts to riverside cabins and stone bothies, we'll have something for the adventurer in you! Take a walk on the wild side with lodges and log cabins which bring you right into touch with nature, or experience the magic of a hanging tree tent in the woods. Not just for the adventurous, they give you an exciting place to base yourself as you explore the wonderful countryside on offer all around the UK.
Head to The Secret Hideaway in deepest Kent for a taste of quirky country living
If we have inspired you to dip your toes into country life, why not try something completely different this year and experience a farm holiday? We offer a great selection including traditional farmhouses and stone cottages, converted barns and shepherd’s huts, so take a peek at our portfolio of farm cottages and choose your next holiday in the UK.
We look forward to seeing you soon!