Rain Doesn’t Stop Play – Glamping in Wiltshire
We haven’t had much luck with our family camping trips so far this year. Rain has played a big part in proceedings but our latest break has ensured we enjoyed the most of the UK countryside despite being interrupted by the wet weather.
Our weekend away was spent in the West Country staying in a luxury tent on Mill Hill Farm, just south of Devizes. Our hosts, the Dyke family, are farmers through and through. Farmer Joe is keen for you to get involved and find out as much about organic farming as possible. The real pleasure though is that his enthusiasm for farming spills over into his desire to provide a great holiday experience, one he is willing to keep improving on. It’s not just a one man show either. Joe’s whole family – his wife and 4 kids – get involved from helping you feed the animals to taking the younger guests on donkey rides. They are equally as passionate as their father and eager to ensure your farm break is a great one.
The tents are something special too: spacious, clean and well equipped, these are not the canvas tents you can rent in the south of France. They come with decking, wood burning stove and full toilet and shower facilities. Proper beds, leather sofas and running hot water enhance the experience further.
The tent sleeps 4 adults and an additional 2 children can sleep in bunk beds in their own Wendy house enclosed within the tent. Our 2 girls loved it – feeling they had their own little space to play and escape their parents. All these mod cons made it very easy to dive into the tent when a rain shower came over.
There is plenty to do on and off the farm. Chickens, ducks, rabbits, guinea pigs and geese share the field and need feeding. You can pick up the eggs from the chicken hutch and use them for your breakfast. Tractor rides around the farm are available and bikes can be borrowed to explore further. Should you have forgotten anything there is an excellently stocked “Honesty Shop”.
Further afield, there are the well known tourist haunts of Stonehenge and Castle Combe as well as the equally enjoyable local attractions of Caen Hill Locks and Bowood House. Mill Hill Farm is perfectly placed to explore all the best bits of the West Country without having to base yourself out of a more formal hotel.
The wood burning stove and well equipped kitchen allow you to cook on site but I would equally recommend heading out to enjoy the local cuisine. The Raven Pub (Tel: 01380 828 271) is a pleasant 15 minute walk from the farm. Here Nathalie and Jerry gave us the warmest of welcomes and tempted us with their superb menu. It’s always great to see locals frequenting their local and for Saturday dinner, the pub was fully booked. Jerry also has a passion for ethnic cuisine so do try his Sri Lankan curry or one of his innovative deserts.
© Michael Slaughter
A short drive away, Susane Thomson has created the Rowdey Cow Cafe. It is a wonderful venue for the whole family with playground, animals and a shed full of toys. The cafe has a wonderful setting on the farm itself and serves up some great dishes for the whole family to enjoy. The food is only surpassed by the incredible ice cream, over 20 fantastic flavours, all made on site.
A few small tips. You may be glamping but you will still need your wellies to get around the farm. Also the tents don’t have electricity so charge up your iPhone beforehand! Logs for the burner are included but do remember other self catering essentials such as washing up liquid, tea towels and soap. These things are small points in what is a great and very unique experience. Such wonderful places really prove that British tourism can provide great holiday experiences for you and your family to enjoy on your door step.
We stayed at www.millfarmglamping.co.uk. The luxury canvas lodges are available from £400 – £857 per lodge for between three and seven nights, each lodge is self catering and sleeps up to six. To book see www.millfarmglamping.co.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01380 828 351.