Family farm holidays are a great way for parents and children to take a relaxing break in England. There’s always lots of space on a farm for children to run around, the scenery is usually pretty impressive and there’s often the option to enjoy local produce. There are some really brilliant farm stays for families in England: we’ve enjoyed some great farm holidays in Dorset, Somerset and Kent among others.
Why are farm stays in England great for a family holiday?
Some family farm holidays are simple affairs: you might rent an apartment or a cottage on a farm and use it as a base for exploring the surrounding area. Other UK farm stays offer a range of facilities: a play area perhaps or tractor rides and interaction with farm animals. Some holiday farms have a swimming pool or games room for families, making them a very appealing prospect for a family holiday.
If you’re keen to keep holiday costs down, there are plenty of farm-based campsites. As well as traditional campsites on farms, there are an increasing number of glamping sites opening up on farms. These are a great option for families who aren’t keen on sleeping in a tent but still fancy enjoying the other aspects associated with camping with a few home comforts.
Farm stays are a relatively sustainable way of taking a holiday. Farms benefit from the additional income received from holiday makers and local businesses are more likely to be patronised if you’re staying somewhere rural. We’ve enjoyed discovering local shops and cafes as well as indulging in delicious local farm produce during some of our farm stay holidays in England.
There is a great range of farm stay holidays in the UK. Whether you’re looking for a luxury farm cottage in Cornwall or an affordable farm stay near London, you’ll likely find a suitable place which fits with your budget without too much trouble.
Farm stays are a great option for families with more than the usual 2.4 children. Holidays can be expensive but staying on a farm can work out very economical if you’re happy to do a bit of research. We often use family farm holidays for short stays during the half term breaks. Often farms will allow two or three night stays outside of the main summer months. And if you struggle to find suitable holiday accommodation during peak times, it’s well worth seeking out a small rural farm stay off the beaten track which might still have availability when many other family-friendly places are full.
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Our favourite family farm holidays in England
In this post, I’ve put together our favourite family farm holidays in the U.K. along with a property which one of my friends has reviewed for Smudged Postcard. These are not paid reviews, they are simply places that we as a family have enjoyed and would happily return to again.
Rudge Farm, Dorset
Farm cottage holidays
Sometimes you find a special place for a holiday and it feels like you’ve struck gold. This is how we felt one August bank holiday several years ago when we arrived at Rudge Farm Holiday Cottages after a very tortuous drive to Dorset.
The farm consists of several cottages grouped around a garden, each with a little terrace with tables and chairs and a BBQ. There’s a small play area and a sandpit with a play house. A gate leads through to a lovely sloping field with a small lake at the bottom where guests can hop in a boat and row across the water.
The scenery surrounding the farm is bucolic: rolling hills and meadows. Close by are family friendly beaches such as local favourite Hive Beach with its excellent cafe. Day trips in the area include Lyme Regis and Chesil Beach. On our one rainy day, the kids loved searching for fossils at Charmouth and learning about the Jurassic Coast at the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre.
We stayed at Rudge Farm with three generations of our extended family. It was a really lovely holiday.
Hoe Cross Barn, Hampshire
This Airbnb close to the Hampshire village of Hambledon is perfect for families – and dogs – looking for a rural escape in the heart of the South Downs. We enjoyed an October half term break at Hoe Cross and used it as a base for visiting Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Winchester and for access to some great cycle routes.
There are two self catering units at Hoe Cross Barn, both available to book through Airbnb. One sleeps four guests, the other sleeps six. Both have access to the spacious grounds of the property with fields to wander across and an apple orchard (the harvest of which goes to make excellent cider!). The hosts are very hospitable and have lots of great suggestions of things to do nearby.
Upper Heath Farm, Shropshire
Farm cottage holiday
We enjoyed three nights at Upper Heath Farm staying in Stable Cottage, a characterful property overlooking the farm courtyard. This family farm stay will appeal to anyone who really wants to get away from it all. Surrounded by the beautiful rolling countryside of the Shropshire Hills, walkers will delight in exploring the many hillside trails.
Horse riding holidays can be arranged at Upper Heath Farm. There are stables to accommodate your horse or pony and the roads surrounding the farm are very quiet. Our children loved feeding the resident goats and playing with the very amendable dog, Teddy.
This family farm is located midway between Ludlow, Ironbridge and Shrewsbury so there is a wealth of activities close by. We enjoyed a day out in Ludlow, visiting the impressive castle ruins. Ironbridge is home to a range of museums exploring the industrial heritage of the region. The recreated Victorian town at Blists Hills will be a particular hit with children.
Bush Farm Bison Centre, Wiltshire
Farm camping and glamping
Bush Farm Bison Centre in Wiltshire is perfect for families looking for a good value farm stay. There are a couple of fields as well as some woodland pitches to choose from. Our kids really enjoyed exploring the farm, there’s a walking trail taking visitors through woods and across fields with the chance to view the farm’s bison as well as various other animals.
For those less convinced by a night under canvas, there’s a good value wooden pod in one of the fields which sleeps two adults and a child, there’s a double mattress and a single, just bring your sleeping bags.
One of the essential requirements when we go camping is having a campfire and a BBQ. At Bush Farm there’s the added bonus of having zero mile burgers, made from the farm-reared bison. The kids loved toasting marshmallows over the campfire in the woods.
Close to the farm, we enjoyed exploring the atmospheric ruins of Old Wardour Castle. Another nearby highlight is steeply sloping Gold Hill in the town of Shaftesbury where the Hovis advert was filmed. Stonehenge is under half an hour away.
Brackenborough Hall, Lincolnshire
Converted coach house apartments
This is one of our most recent holiday successes and we are all hoping to return in the not too distant future. You know a place is good when everyone agrees they had a great time despite the weather being monumentally awful.
The lovely owners allow guests free rein across their lovely grounds and we were invited to bottle feed new born calves.
Highlights included a shed full of ride on toy tractors, a ruined folly, a secret tree to climb and wonderful woodland and meadow walks.
There are three attractive apartments. We stayed in the Saddle Room which has interesting original features such as hay racks and a manger. There was reams of information on things to see and do in the area along with an interesting book on the history of Brackenborough Hall. The owners have put in a lot of effort to make this a particularly successful tourism enterprise.
The farm is close to the market town of Louth which, along with much of the county, has a strong pride in its local produce. We booked a hamper of food for our arrival which included locally grown fruit and veg along with local cheese and meat. Have you ever sampled Lincolnshire chine…?
From Brackenborough Hall we made a day trip to Lincoln and to the east coast. Lincoln is a brilliant city to explore with kids. There are castle walls to climb and the cathedral is magnificent.
Although the February half term weather was grim (aside from our final day when I took the photograph above), we had a fun afternoon walking along the sandy beach at Chapel Point. We definitely earned the excellent coffee and cake at the North Sea Observatory which was packed with families escaping the wild weather.
There are lots of brilliant sandy beaches to enjoy on this stretch of the English coast, you don’t have to visit Skeggy if it’s not your cup of tea.
Torridge House Farm Cottages in Devon
Farm holiday cottages
If you’re looking for farm holidays in Devon, Torridge House Farm Cottages takes some beating. My friend Penny Metcalf rates this farm stay so highly that she and her family have been visiting it every year for over a decade.
Located in north Devon, not far from Great Torrington, the farm offers a collection of self catering houses which share spacious gardens and an outdoor swimming pool.
Children enjoy feeding the animals at the farm and collecting eggs. There’s plenty of space for children to play and make friends.
Torridge House is close to the Tarka Trail, a 30 mile car free route perfect for walking and cycling. The popular beaches of Westward Ho and Croyde are both within day trip distance.
Nettwood Farm Campsite in Somerset
Farm glamping and camping
We loved the position of Nettwood Farm, on a hillside with incredible views of the Mendip Hills AONB below.
We camped with a group of three other families and had a field to ourselves. There was a small play area right next to us so the kids were able to play independently while the parents sat back and enjoyed the view. Our children loved the delivery of logs for the campfire arriving on the farmer’s tractor.
There are plenty of woodland walks close by along with a couple of pubs within walking distance. Cheddar Gorge is a short drive away while Bristol and Bath are within day trip distance.
If you enjoy sitting in front on your tent with a beer or a glass of wine, admiring the view whilst your children busy themselves at a distance, you’ll love Nettwood Farm.
Dale2Swale Glamping in North Yorkshire
Luxury safari tent glamping
We spent two nights at Dale2Swale at the start of our 2020 summer holiday. Dale2Swale consists of luxury safari tents situated in a field on a family farm near Richmond in North Yorkshire. The tents look out onto peaceful farmland. It is a very tranquil spot but you’re within walking distance of the market town of Richmond, reached via a series of rural footpaths. This is a perfect farm stay for families who’d like a car-free holiday as there’s rail connections from Richmond.
Dale2Swale is a great option for a family glamping break if you are new to glamping: there’s no need to bring anything with you, everything is provided from bed linen to eco-friendly shower products. Electricity is by solar energy, including a charging point for devices (in case this is crucial for certain family members).
There are no particular facilities laid on for guests. Our children were happy to make their own entertainment: tearing across the field, searching for sticks or toasting marshmallows on the BBQ. We witnessed some stunning sunsets; I didn’t quite manage to see the sun rise but I certainly enjoyed a peaceful cuppa in the mornings sitting on the spacious terrace in front of the tent.
Great Prawls Farm Holiday Cottages in Kent
Farm holiday cottages
We stayed at this sheep farm one February half term. Consisting of just two holiday cottages, we found Great Prawls was a fab base for exploring Kent and East Sussex. It’s also a great option if you’re looking for a farm stay near London.
The accommodation is cosy and comfortable with a spacious garden. There’s access to some lovely walks across the fields with beautiful views over the Isle of Oxney countryside. The sunsets were stunning.
We picked this farm for its proximity to the attractive town of Tenterden where Kent and East Sussex Railway runs steam trains to the National Trust Bodiam Castle. It’s also not far to Hastings where there are lots of great attractions for kids including smugglers’ caves and a fishermen’s museum.
Three Lakes glamping and camping at Westmill Farm in Hertfordshire
Farm camping and glamping
If you’re after a budget farm stay near London, Westmill Farm near Ware is worth considering. Here you have a choice of bell tents in the dedicated glamping section or pitching your own tent. We camped with a group of friends in a big field. There was plenty of space and we enjoyed lovely sunset views.
This isn’t a farm in the traditional sense of the word: you won’t see animals or crops. The land is given over to various indoor and outdoor activities with something for all the family to enjoy. There’s a lake for fishing and swimming (booking required), archery, high ropes and much more. The farm has a restaurant, soft play and even a small garden centre.
Westmill Farm is located five minutes drive from Ware town centre. Trains run regularly into London (45 minutes to Liverpool Street) so if you’re visiting from the capital, you can reach the farm by train and taxi without the need to drive.
There’s plenty to see and do not far from Westmill Farm. The Henry Moore Studios and Gardens are under 30 minutes by car and the Broxbourne Woods sculpture trail is a similar distance away. There are lots of other lovely walks close by, some of which I’ve detailed in my post about where to find bluebells in Hertfordshire.
Have you experienced a family friendly farm stay in England? Let me know in the comments below.
I’ve also written a post about farm stays in Italy, agriturismo holidays are a wonderful way to explore Italy.
For family glamping inspiration, I’ve put together a post about the best glamping breaks in the UK and also an article on glamping in Hertfordshire. Many of the glampsites are set on farms and make a perfect destination for a family staycation.
For more holiday ideas in the UK, check out my post about family short break ideas which covers suggestions of places to visit from the Isle of Skye to the Isle of Wight along with everywhere in between.
Looking for other family friendly places to stay in England or further afield? Check out my section on family friendly stays for more holiday accommodation reviews across Europe.
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