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Balnab Whithorn Farm Feather Down Farms

UK Scotland South Scotland Dumfries And Galloway

  • Extra toilets/showers
  • Deep cleaning of shared facilities
  • Deep clean between glamping guests
  • "We're Good To Go" accredited
  • Campfires allowed
  • Dogs welcome
  • Groups welcome
  • Campfires Allowed
  • Beaches
  • Walking
Safari tents with sea views on a farm in the south west of Scotland

The Machars Peninsula is about as far south as you can go in Scotland. It’s home to Scotland’s national book town and one of the country’s earliest Christian sites. It’s been a place of pilgrimage for a thousand years – and yet we wouldn’t blame you if you hadn’t heard of it. The books, beaches, crumbling abbeys and sleepy villages attract plenty of visitors but it’s definitely a peaceful place. And it’s close to the very tip of this peninsula, on the outskirts of the village of Whithorn, that you find Balnab Whithorn Farm.

A destination in its own right, Balnab Whithorn is really where the action's found. A busy working farm with sheep, goats, ponies and a 120-strong dairy herd, a stay here gives you all the fun of the farm at the same time as soaking in the peninsula's peaceful surrounds. The site is a Feather Down farm; part of a network of stays offering off-grid holidays in roomy safari tents across the UK. Lit only by candles and oil lamps, the rustic but homely accommodation is invariably lovely with log burners, en suite loos and cute kids’ cupboard bedrooms as particular highlights. And while the well-set up accommodation varies little from place to place, the on-site experience is totally unique, with hosting left in the capable hands of Feather Down’s partner farmers.

Here, that’s the Vance family who have been farming this land for three generations. They’ll welcome you to the site and take you to your tent, one of six, each looking out over the fields towards the sea. There’s a farm tour, opportunities to help with the animals and the chance to see the cows being milked, with produce that’s as fresh as it gets from the on-site honesty shop.

The country lanes around the farm are perfect for pootling about on bikes and it’s just a couple of miles to the small town of Whithorn. Head for the abbey and museum to learn how St Ninian brought Christianity to Scotland before pootling off down to the beach (less than a mile from the farm). There you can watch the fishing boats come in or head off to find St Ninian’s Cave. Further afield, a visit to Wigtown gives you the chance to watch wildlife, visit a whisky distillery and explore beautiful gardens. Before you head back to the farm, perhaps pick up a book from one of the town’s many independent shops; something to read back on the farm while your kids groom ponies, collect eggs or simply roll about in the grass.

Details

Facilities

Each family-sized safari tent has three rooms: a double bedroom, a bunk room and the main living space within which is a cute cupboard bed suitable for younger children. The living space also has a fully equipped kitchen, a wood-burning stove, dining area and a sofa and each tent has a private en-suite, flushing toilet. There is running cold water to both the hand basin and the kitchen sink. A private hot-water shower is not quite en suite but private and just outside your tent. There is also a sheltered veranda outside with two deck chairs, a picnic table and outdoor cooking area with a barbecue. Balnab Whithorn Farm also has an honesty shop on site.

Suitable For

Glampers, families, couples, dogs – yes. Big groups and single-sex groups – by arrangement only. Campers, campervans, motorhomes, caravans – no.

Nearby

The nearby town of Whithorn is said to be the birthplace of Christianity in Scotland and was a place of pilgrimage for hundreds of years. Found out about it at Whithorn Priory and Museum (01988 500 700) and then perhaps make your own pilgrimage to St Ninian's Cave on the beach and wander along to the Isle of Whithorn (not actually an island but a pretty coastal village). The seaside village of Garlieston is five miles away with the nearby coastal Galloway Estate Gardens (01988 600789) a pleasant place for a wander. For a longer walk, head out on the coastal route from Rigg Bay to the ruins of Cruggleton Castle. In the other direction, the fishing village of Port William is 10 miles away. Look out for the Drumtroddan Standing Stones on your way there. Whisky fans might want to take a trip to the Bladnoch Distillery (01988 402605), 12 miles from Balnab Whithorn Farm, on the outskirts of Wigtown. The town itself is well known for its annual book festival and as Scotland's national book town with bookshops on every corner. Wigtown Bay is a great place for bird watching and home to the Crook of Baldoon RSPB site.

Food & Drink

Head over to the little Central Cafe (07446 684224) at Whithorn for fish and chips, pizza or a Turkish breakfast. If you have a sweet tooth, try the community-run St Ninians Tea Room (01988 501197) for delicious cakes and tea with a view of the Isle of Whithorn Harbour or for something more substantial pop along to The Steam Packet Inn (01988 500334).

Open

April–October.

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Accommodation

Six safari-style tents set on a working farm.

Canvas Lodge with private outdoor shower

Grass pitch Sleeps 6 2 Available
Sleeps 6. If you’re a nature lover, there is nothing quite sensational as showering in the midst of nature. Located right next to your tent is where you will find our wooden, rustic private outdoor shower.

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Location

Contact Balnab Whithorn Farm, Feather Down Balnab Whithorn Farm, Whithorn, Newton Stewart, Dumfries and Galloway DG8 8HP

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Getting There

From the A75 at Newton Stewart, take the exit for the A714/Wigtown Road towards Wigtown. Bypass the town by following the B7005 then, after two miles, briefly join the A714 again heading towards Whithorn. After two miles, take a light left on to the B7004 towards Garlieston. Stay on this road for about five miles, past Garlieston, until you have the option to turn right on to the B2063. Follow this for around four miles until the end of the road. Turn right and then take the second lane on the left to reach Balnab Whithorn Farm.

This is not an easy location to get to by public transport. The closest train station is Stranraer, 30 miles from Balnab Whithorn Farm. From there or from Dumfries (60 miles from Balnab Whithorn but easier to get to from Edinburgh or England), you can get a bus to Newton Stewart then change for Whithorn, which is two miles from the farm.

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