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Take the Family › 14 Fabulous Farmstays with Kids Around the UK

14 Fabulous Farmstays with Kids Around the UK

Meeting the animals on a Feather Down Farm holiday.Meeting the animals on a Feather Down Farm holiday.

The perfect example of sustainable, local travel, UK farmstays are a fantastic option for low-key, low-cost and green family holidays, especially with young kids, who adore having friendly animals on tap and lots of space and fresh air to run around in. At many venues you can join in with farm tasks, including feeding and egg collecting, and feast on home-grown produce.

ISLE OF WIGHT

Godshill Park Farm, near Shanklin

Just 10 minutes from sandy beaches, this organic livestock farm with three self-catering cottages, glamping shepherd’s hut for two (with private lake) and B&B rooms is a great base for exploring the family-friendly island and visiting retro Godshill Model Village with its miniature trains, bonsai trees and squirrel trail. But the array of cute animals on site, many tame and strokeable, will make kids want to stay home: in addition to cows, rare-breed sheep, pedigree pigs and horses, there are rabbits, guinea pigs and the star turn – alpacas.

CORNWALL

The Old Farm Cottage, near Falmouth

In a stylishly converted stone building on traditional Little Goonreeve Farm, barely changed since the 1950s, this delightful property has decking, a small garden and open access to 20 acres of farmland. Visitors are free to join in farm tasks such as feeding and can buy meat, eggs and organic vegetables produced on site. The cottages sleeps four in a master bedroom and bunk-room, or there’s a neighbouring property for up to six.

DEVON

Buckhouse Farm Barn, near Honiton

This three-bedroom contemporary conversion is on a mixed farm keeping Black Welsh Mountain sheep, Red Devon cattle and traditional breeds of pigs and chickens, offering its own meat in season and eggs most days. Depending on when you stay, there are brilliant activities to join in with either on-site or nearby, including Whimple Wassailing (driving evil-spirits out of the orchards), mountain-biking through the bluebells, vintage tractor rallies and hay-making. You’re within easy reach of the Jurassic coast, but in fine weather the outdoor swimming pool will tempt you to stay put.

Orchard Barn, near Honiton

In the courtyard of a 200-acre dairy and sheep farm in the Blackdown Hills AONB, this characterful barn sleeping 6/8 has direct access to extensive walking paths, some through ancient woodlands, others alongside the River Lupp adjoining the farm, and one to a National Trust Iron Age fort on Dumpdon Hill. Guests are welcome to have barbecues in the large orchard.

DORSET

Manor Farm Cottage, near Salisbury

In a wing of a Georgian farmhouse in the Tarrant Valley, this cosy dog-friendly property sleeping up to five is on a working farm with plenty of great walking right on the doorstep, as well as use of a hard tennis court.

WILTSHIRE

The Farm – Hog Pits, near Chippenham

On a working farm and riding centre (to which guests can bring their own horse or pony), this restored granary with its cosy woodburner and space for four is one of three on the same site (booked together, they accommodate up to 15). Kids love watching the chickens and pigs in their free-range enclosures, and there’s an array of footpaths and cycle routes nearby, including canal towpaths.

COTSWOLDS

The Old Bakehouse, Field Farm, near Woodstock

This Oxfordshire farm and horse livery yard welcoming well-behaved dogs and horses gives onto a brilliant network of bridleways and walks. You can see sows farrowing all year, ewes lambing in spring and mares foaling in spring/early summer. The five-person cottage with its exposed stone walls includes baby and toddler equipment such as a stairgate and highchair.

DERBYSHIRE

Oakerthorpe Holiday Village (Amber Mill Farm), near Alfreton

Just east of the Peak District and also handy for the child-friendly attractions of Matlock and for Alton Towers themepark, this collection of seven farm properties sleeping up to 80 sits in three acres of lovely farmland running alongside the River Amber. On-site you’ll find a fruit orchard, a petting zoo and children’s play areas, and kids can feed the animals and collect eggs with Farmer Vic.

LANCASHIRE

Dolphinholme Farm, near Lancaster

This dairy farm by the River Wyre (part of the popular Feather Down Farms group) gives families staying in its safari-style glamping tents the freedom to go wild swimming, build dens in the woods and romp in the indoor play barn with its straw bales. The honesty larder stocks tasty treats including cheese from the farm’s own goats. The coast is just 15 minutes away, and you’re also close to both the wild landscapes of the Forest of Bowland and the funfairs of Blackpool.

Bramble Farm Cottages, near Clitheroe

These three properties (sleeping two, seven and eight) occupy converted 19th-century barns on a working sheep farm where kids can join in with lamb-feeding from March to May. Set in 170 acres of environmentally managed farmland in the heart of the Forest of Bowland AONB, they’re perfectly located for exploring the Ribble Valley and for visiting Brockholes Nature Reserve, the Bowland Wild Boar Park and the Roman museum at Ribchester.

WALES

Werngochlyn Farm, near Abergavenny 

Sleeping six, and pet-friendly to boot, this stone cottage is one of four set around a 12th-century farmhouse in open farmland underneath the Skirrid Mountain in Monmouthshire. Kids are free to explore and make friends with the animals, including Kune-kune miniature pigs, a huge Gloucester Old Spot, a donkey, goats, sheep, ducks, dogs, cats and loads of horses and ponies – including Tinkerbell, a tiny rescue pony. They can also collect their own eggs for breakfast. Added bonuses include a heated indoor pool, a hot tub, a games room and an on-site riding school with tuition for ages four and up.

Bodwi Farm Cottages, near Abersoch

This homely four-person property a mile from the sandy beach of Abersoch on the Gwynedd coast is one of three neighbouring the owner’s working farm, all of them dog-friendly and all with enclosed gardens with views of the farmland, mountains and sea.

Werganrose Farm, near Swansea

Though not an actual farm, this luxurious seven-bedroom farmhouse on the Gower Peninsula has a whole bunch of resident animals including dogs, cats, horses, chickens and ducks, and also welcomes your own dogs and horses. Set in 35 acres of natural forest, pastureland and flower meadows, it has a large carp-filled lake with a jetty and a rowing boat.

SCOTLAND

Downanhill Farm, near Ballantrae

This dog-friendly holiday cottage sleeping five can can be booked with another one on the same working dairy farm to sleep 10 in total. Located directly on the long-distance Ayrshire Coastal Path, it comes with spectacular views of Arran and the Mull of Kintyre and is just a few steps from the beach. Farm tours are available.

See also our features on Green Places to Stay in the UK with Kids and Amazing Family Glamping Sites around the UK.

By Rhonda Carrier

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