Feather Down Farms take farm stays to a new level

with the launch of ‘Country Retreats’, Feather Down Farms has well and truly raised the bar

Feather Down Farms are known as innovators. They were at the forefront of the glamping movement, bringing luxurious safari tents to farms across the UK. Now, it seems, we can't get enough of this marriage of 'wild' and 'luxury', with over 30 Feather Down locations across the UK, and more still in France and the Netherlands.

But now the canny folk at Feather Down have stepped it up with the addition of Country Retreat locations – adding a few extra frills to the Feather Down experience.

Instead of farms, Country Retreat locations are tucked away in the grounds of some of Britain’s most stunning country estates. And as well as the trademark comfortable interiors with dining area, proper beds, kitchen, flushing loo and wood-burning stove, the extra touches include your very own private shower, luxurious hot tub and a roomy veranda, adding a third to your living space.

Let's be clear, the hot tub is not some white plastic contraption powered by electricity. In keeping with Feather Down's rustic credentials, you need to warm the water yourself, by lighting and tending a fire in a metal box beside the wooden hot tub. It's a fun process – kids especially are fascinated by the whole thing – and you really feel you've earned your hot-tub relaxation.

This is camping for adults who want to unfurl, unwind and reacquaint with mother nature, but who want to have a bit of excitement and a few frills along the way. Whether you're seeking a romantic weekend in the wild, or a fun, family break with the kids, Feather Down Country Retreats offer that little something extra to make for a memorable stay. Your only concern? Which one of these five-star getaways to visit first.

Wyresdale Park

Preston, Lancashire

As country retreats go, Wyresdale Park takes some beating. Luxury tents are equipped with proper showers, flushing toilets and a private hot tub, all wonderfully positioned close to the park's serene private lake. Little has changed here in the past 200 years, and with the Forest of Bowland (an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) right on your doorstep, Wyresdale Park is a mecca for hikers and cyclists alike. And if all of that sounds too much like hard work, why not hire a boat and spend your days lazing on the lake?

Acton Scott

Church Stretton, Shropshire

Tucked away in the Shropshire Hills and surrounded by open pastures lies the breathtaking Acton Scott estate. Each of the four luxury encampments comes with its own private clearing in the tranquil plantation of Hatton Wood. The Acton family has owned land here since the 12th century, and today this 1,500 acre estate consists of traditional farmsteads, stone and timber-framed cottages, and ancient woodlands. Surely the perfect setting for a back-to-nature break?


Jedburgh, Roxburghshire

Nestled on the banks of the River Teviot, this gorgeous country house hideout has it all: hills, hidden glens, streams, and secret corners which act as home to over 1000 sheep, cows, roe deer, pheasants, salmon, and myriad rabbits. Sumptuous canvas abodes are found in lush, magical woodlands, and guests are invited to exxplore the surrounding environment. However it’s Chesters old walled garden that acts as the site's centrepiece – a truly serene hiding place with its own croquet lawn and fresh vegetables that are yours to pick.

Layer Marney Tower

Colchester, Essex

One of England’s most dramatic Tudor buildings, Layer Marney Tower commands spectacular views to the River Blackwater and beyond. The huge ‘safari style’ tents are peacefully nestled in a private woodland nearby and come with a whopping 45 square metres of living space! Former residents (of the tower, not the tents) include Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, and today Layer Marney Tower welcomes guests from around the world who come to enjoy the Tudor architecture, tranquil gardens, and now, outstanding accommodation.

by Andrew Day

Published: February 2014