Top 10 farmstays

Paul Thornton introduces you to 10of the best farms to enjoy a rural break across the UK

31st January 2012
Carr House Farm

1 Lowerton Farm, Dart Valley, Dartmoor - Devon

Would you like to take your horse on holiday? If so, Lowerton Farm is the perfect place - with a great livery stable to accommodate your horse and miles of bridleways and open common to explore.

If you are a climber, kayaker or keen to explore the moors on horseback or foot then Lowerton Farm is the ideal location to start your adventures from. You can relax and experience the beauty and activities that Dartmoor has to offer, then relax in front of a log fire in the farmhouse before getting a well deserved nights sleep and awakening to fantastic views. Dogs are welcome when arranged prior to your visit.


2 Carr House Farm, Ampleforth - North Yorkshire

Carr House Farm is home to Cuckavalda Gundogs - these are working dogs, with a great temperament and provide wonderful companionship. The dogs can play as big a part in your holiday as you wish, you are welcome to take them out for walks or simply enjoy their company. It’s the perfect way to introduce your family to the joys that owning a dog can bring.

Jack and Anna, along with their dogs welcome you to their B&B set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. As Jack is officially recognised as a friendly face for North Yorkshire you can imagine the warm welcome and hospitality that you will receive at this delightful 16th Century Farmhouse.


3 Ash Park, Dungiven - Northern Ireland

If the thought of learning how to make a hearty meal in the great outdoors sounds appealing, then for a small fee, the Stephenson Family, will be provide you with the ingredients, recipe, utensils and wood to make a delicious traditional Farmers Irish Soup or Stew. And if you happen to visit in July, the sun sets 40 minutes later than it does in London so, you can sit back and enjoy your relaxing holiday evenings for even longer. This luxury camping has outstanding views towards the Sperrin mountains across the lush green countryside, is close to the world famous basalt columns that form Giants Causeway and only an hour from the hustle and bustle of Belfast. The eco-friendly farm overlooks the beautiful Mountains and is home to an abundance of wildlife and delicious produce to forage.

4 Dunalastair Highland, Perthshire - Scotland

Staying in a cottage on the Dunalastair Estate can conjure up the feeling of being a laird. The sheer variety of wildlife will draw you here: from deer sheltering in the ancient pine forests, to Osprey deftly picking out wild trout from the loch.

If you decide to venture off the estate you can learn the history of the Dukes of Atholl at nearby Blair Castle. From the secluded farmhouse to the old Post Office with views over Dunalastair loch – the only difficult decision is which accommodation to choose for your first visit. Amongst the things on offer are four-poster beds, log fires, accommodation for up to 8 people, free trout fishing and for those who need their fix of modern day life – sky TV.


5 Upper Shadymore – Shropshire

Does relaxing in a beautiful wooden hot tub, next to a fresh water lake sound appealing? How about larking about on a floating trampoline in the middle of that lake or a spot of fly-fishing? Or waking up in a farmhouse, then venturing out as the mist rises to go wild swimming? These are amongst the exciting things that Kevan and Jo Fox have to offer on their delightful farm in Shropshire.

Upper Shadymore Farm’s design comes from its original use as a deer park that was created by Robert of Stapleton in 1284. The park still has two herds of fallow and red deer that can be seen on the 200-acre farm, alongside other animals throughout the year; from pedigree sheep and their lambs in the spring, to beef cattle and Black Rock and Speckledy hens.


6 Doverhay Farm, Porlock - Somerset

Have you ever dreamt about the life of a wandering shepherd, following his flock to fresh pastures and living his life by the changing seasons? Bedding down in a shepherds hut, in a small orchard, with views towards the moor may be as close as you can come without upping sticks and changing career.

The cosy Shepherd’s hut at Doverhay Farm can give you this experience, with its wood burning stove and peace and privacy. It’s not quite as basic as shepherd’s huts once were, with its state of the art eco toilet and solar electricity, but the lack of television helps to take your mind off the modern conveniences that you have left at home.

The hearty farmhouse breakfast (sausages and bacon from the rare breeds on the farm) sets you up for walking the countryside in the footsteps of shepherds from days gone by.


7 Humble Bee Farm Wigwams, Scarborough – North Yorkshire

A wigwam in Scarborough you say? It’s not your typical rural farmhouse break – you get a lot closer to the farm yard animals when sleeping in a wooden wigwam, set in a 320 acre farm, and get to leave your modern luxuries and conveniences at home.

You can follow the signposts from the farm and walk along the Yorkshire coast or jump aboard the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and take a journey back in time traveling through the heart of the moors.

If you would prefer a bit more luxury you can stay in one of the cottages – a 200 year old barn conversion. Two of the cottages have hut tubs and all three have wood burning stoves. Both wigwams and cottages are open 12 months of the year.


8 Lower Haythog Farm, Pembrokeshire – Wales

Lower Haythog has built up a reputation for providing a warm, friendly, hospitable atmosphere. The accolades and awards that the hosts have received are vast and well deserved. The farm is set in 250 acres of countryside and the perfect place from which to explore Pembrokeshire.

For the keen ornithologist Skomer nature reserve isn’t far away. Historians can explore Tenby and visit the remains of the medieval town wall at the entrance to the old town. The bedrooms have all the modern facilities and their own private bathroom. The delicious home cooked meals are served in the cosy oak beamed dining room.

There are also self-catering cottages on the farm - which have been carefully converted from a 16th Century stone carthouse and stables.


9 Church Farm House, Bircham – Norfolk

Is a holiday with a royal connection what you are looking for? If so, then a farmhouse B&B located on the Queen’s private Royal Sandringham Estate is the perfect treat. You can eat like a prince, with produce straight from the garden - from organic vegetables to free range eggs and wake up to the smell of home made bread wafting through the house.

The stunning Norfolk coastline with its sandy beaches and pretty fishing villages is only 10 minutes away and the surrounding rolling countryside is interspersed with footpaths and lanes to explore.


10 Botelet Farm, Liskeard - Cornwall

Botelet Farm has been looked after by the Tamblyn family for 150 years - the rural way of life hasn’t changed much – with cattle and sheep grazing the wild flower meadows and historic farming practices still going strong. Although the site of a Monoglian yurt or a few tents pitched on the rolling farmland can remind you which century you are in.

Natural mineral water is pumped from deep below the orchard, try the seasonal organic breakfast and why not relax with a therapeutic massage or a spot of reflexology. You can opt for a night in the organic B&B, relax in one of the beautiful historic self-catering cottages or stay a bit closer to nature in a yurt or tent.

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