Sunday 7 July 2013

Featherdown Farm - a Review - Lunsford Farm Hastings UK

Linking up to Country Kids

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

I was a lucky lass Autumn last year, 
and as a result of my blog post about MumsNet BlogFest 
(that post had 1,000 page views not including the ones who read it on the home page) 
I won a 3 night stay at a Featherdown Farm of my choice, 
as long as it was not school holidays.

I booked it for Aaron's birthday weekend, but once I told the husband and he discovered there was no electricity he would not go.  I said you can "charge your phone at the shower block" to which he said "shower WHAT?"....

Anyway there was NO WAY that Aaron and I were missing out, so I asked Anya Harris (also known as Older Single Mum and/or The Healer) to accompany me.  The "tent" sleeps 6 and it would be me, her, + her 2 boys + my Aaron.  Perfect!

This was what we saw on arrival:

Got even MORE perfect as Anya, without me knowing, had her eye on the double bed, and I had my eye on the double bed in a cupboard.  She was thrilled that the master bedroom was not my bag and I couldn't jump into the cupboard and shut the doors quick enough.  To her it looked claustrophobic; to me it looked like somewhere I would like to spend a week!  To put it in perspective, it is tall enough that my 3 year old and her 4 year old CAN jump up and down on the bed in the cupboard without hitting their heads on the roof of it, and that they did - jump I mean!

See it's a big cupboard:

Throughout the whole weekend we had a natural flow where we would do different things, that together would mean everything got done.  It wasn't a case of "you cook, I'll wash" it was more like an unspoken "I don't want to cook, oh thank God she's done that, I'll wash!" :-)

So we hit the ground running with me making all the beds (they provide good quality linen and quilts/pillows), while Anya put away all of the food she had brought.  Looked so homely once the shelves provided were full and dinner was made, candles were lit.  Oh I made that sound so easy.... rewind.... making dinner requires the lighting of a fire in a wood burning stove which is ULTRA easy once you know what you are doing.  This took *coughs* a while for us to master.  So much so, that now we know how to do it, we want a "Take Two" of the holiday - ha ha!

The tent looks so gorgeous at night when all the candles are lit:

What was so lovely was the way the boys would run outside in the morning in their PJs.  There was a hill that they would run down, which had a separate steep hill you could climb back up.  Down there was a clearing (a "dell") with lots of things to do, if you had a child's imagination.  None of the children on site got bored of it.   This is Aaron and Anya's son coming up from it in their PJs Saturday morning:

This is the steep way back up, (below) where you climb using that blue rope.  Aaron tried many times but I would not let him. He could not physically do it, yet Oscar (who visited us on Monday - my friend Andrea's son - they live in Hastings and I have not seen her for 10 years) at aged 4 and Anya's little one at aged 4 had no bother.  Aaron being that 1 year younger must make the difference.

it's steeper than it looks - especially that bit near the top where the rope goes out of sight. Was very easy for aged 4 and up though!

All of the things to do down there have been built by previous guests.  If you have kids from 3/4 and upwards the dell becomes your childminder LOL! 

The dell!

I am sure I have the word dell right but just checked despite us saying it all weekend:
A small valley, usually among trees.
We were blessed with the location of our tent.  We were nearest to the dell, nearest to the seasaw (outside our window) and had fab sea views too.  See even the non-steep bit is steep for Aaron and look how close our tent is.  That one right there:

 We only needed look out the window of our tent to see them playing like this:

My favourite part of the holiday was definitely our day trip to Rye on Saturday.

We both came away thinking it was a Cathedral we visited but I have done some research online now and it is called St Mary's Parish Church.

If you visit Rye you must visit the church and climb to the top to see the spectacular views.  Lots of steps and ladders to climb, and make sure you have reins if you have a little one.  The views are well worth a visit:

Well my view of the farm would be:
  • Denise and Andrew are both very friendly, efficient and warm natured.  They both take pride in their work.
  • The camp site has a perimeter so you don't wake up to chickens or cows outside your tent.
  • The camp site is spotless as is the whole farm.  Andrew has a particular method of sustainable ethical farming, that makes you feel as if you have left civilization for a few days.  You are being nurtured by the fertile soil as much as the animals themselves.  If you are anything like me, you take it for granted whilst there but have a HUGE lump in your throat when it comes time to say goodbye.
  • It really is GLAMPING.  Bed linen, duvets and pillows.  Running water. Real beds. A toilet.  Tent that is high enough for you to stand up.  Wooden floor.
  • You arrive to fire lighters, kindling, and logs.  We had to replace the kindling and the fire lighters far too soon as we were doing the fire wrong, but they should last you the whole weekend.  The logs are free.
  • The honesty shop is great.  It is nearly a 10 minute walk, but it is along a gorgeous country lane and I used it as a chance to chill out.  Aaron simply loved having a shower with Mummy in the wet rooms, and due to it being Summer and the underfloor heating being on in there, I also had a steam :-)
  • The ONLY things that made it stressful for me, was wanting tea/coffee as soon as waking but having to wait while we lit a fire.  Experienced campers in neighbouring tents simply had a gas thing that has one hob, where they could quickly boil water for hot drinks or pasta.
  • I also got stressed about the fact that charging my phone whilst showering would only give it minimal power, but my friend Andrea said you can get solar chargers, and we certainly had more than enough sun for that.
  • Suffice to say, it would be a stress free holiday if we were to do it again, knowing all of this.
  • Also, you can pay £5 per person to have beds made up on arrival, and you can even book a jacket potato and warm drinks to greet you on arrival.
  • I would highly recommend booking the BBQ box.  There are BBQs on site for your use.
  • What makes Lunsford Farm stand out compared to other Featherdowns is (1) the sea views (2) the fact that there are 4 tents on site and not 10 (3) Andrew's historical and local knowledge (4) How immaculate the farm, and site are.
  • The Farm Tour is on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. and I would really recommend it.  You get to see things that you otherwise wouldn't and again feel transported to another world, like something out of Lord of the Rings.
  • Speaking of that, the walk to Hastings beach has to be experienced.  I spend time in Ireland every year and I have never been in such an unusual field.  Andrew's non chemical farming methods really do give it a different vibe that makes the soil come alive in such a healing fertile way that IS tangible.
Aaron Saturday morning, enjoying the sea view from our tent

Always on the run!

A meditative moment during the farm tour
Till all the boys joined him ha ha:

I've seen pictures of other Featherdown Farms (they're all different) and I think the farm yard animals are closer to your tent, but we liked our version.  We had 3 boys with us, and they loved the seasaw, the open space, and the dell.

We spoke to a couple who have done Featherdown 5 times (each time a different one), and the dell was by far the favourite of their boys.  I asked them.

On our last night we had a camp fire down near the dell, and every member of all 4 tents was there.  It was a lovely way to come together at the end of the holiday and I am grateful to the heavens that Anya saw sense and stayed that last 3rd night.  Would have been awful lonely without her.

I know all 3 of our boys will remember this holiday for years to come, but if for some reason they don't I will just show them this :-)

Please watch my video below and let me know what you think.

I will put all of my photos in a G+ album so that you can see them all - not today though. Not sure I have included the best above....

Aaron and I outside St Mary's Parish Church in RYE!
Wish I was in this photo but I was taking it. Beautiful ha? Sausages and eggs on Sunday morning!
Oh and I have a friend who lives in Hastings who I had not seen for 10 years.  She came to visit us on Monday morning and I got to meet her little boy, who till now I have only known via Facebook. Him and Aaron even got to share a deck chair in the sun :-)

Your tent comes with 2 deck chairs, although I can't promise you the spectacular weather we got :-)

Liska xx


  1. What a great review! I loved looking at all of the photos of campground. My son would adore this kind of camping. We will be going camping this week in 100 degree heat in Texas.

  2. What an unusual but fun way to camp, it must be quite an experience to go without electricity for a while! You all looked like you had a fab time and there was obviously lots of things to do on site, and the fact you had lovely weather was great. Thanks for sharing your outdoor adventures with Country Kids.

  3. Wow it looks great and Aaron looks so so happy in those pictures. Mich x

  4. Gosh, what an awesome post - says it exactly as it was. Thank you so much for inviting us. :) xx

  5. That looks and sounds even better than you let on last time we spoke. :-)

    So glad you went and had a good time!

  6. Beautiful pictures.Its absolutely great.Thanks for sharing.Please continue to share.

  7. The Farm looks amazing! And what a great, comprehensive review - the words and pictures really make it come to life. I especially like the dining table shots, with the delicious looking fruit and bottle of wine....glad you had such a good time. :-)

  8. Lovely review! Great photos and the video covers literally everything! x


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