Thanks to a growing global interest in agritourism, there’s never been a better time to book a staycation in the great British countryside.
Forget damp rooms with lumpy beds – a new breed of farm stays include luxury barns dishing up the freshest possible food.
Tyddyn du Farm, Porthmadog, Wales
Animal magic: Pygmy goats and alpaca at Tyddyn du Farm
Five-star luxury suites aren’t something you’d normally associate with a working sheep farm in the heart of Snowdonia National Park, but these converted cottages and barns offer the finest goose-down bedding, flat-screen TVs and pretty gardens overlooking nothing but countryside.
Animals are the real draw, with guests welcome to enter the petting field to join in the feeds. Besides the usual farmyard suspects of ducks, chickens and sheep, find adorable pygmy goats, Shetland ponies and Tedi, a carrot-guzzling, fuzzy brown alpaca. Excursions off the farm include coastal strolls, forest walks, downhill biking trails and, if you really want to delve deep into the local landscape, head underground at the Llechwedd Slate Caverns for tours of the old slate mines.
Rooms based on two adults sharing from £110 per night, snowdonia-farm-holidays-wales.co.uk.
Coombeshead Farm, Lewannick, Cornwall
Dried hops hang from wooden beams in the restaurant of this farm deep in the Cornish countryside, where chefs Tom Adams and April Bloomfield serve up seasonal dishes straight from the fields – such is the focus on farm-to-table food that you’ll rarely find fish or shellfish here. The menu is ever-changing but the meat is the star of the show, with an accompanying vegetarian menu.
The five farmhouse rooms aren’t huge but are comfortable and offer pretty meadow views – just what you need after exploring some of the surrounding 66 acres of woodland and oak-lined streams. Don’t leave without buying a loaf of home-made sourdough from the bakery.
Double bed and breakfast £180, coombesheadfarm.co.uk.
The Hop Store, Ledbury, Herefordshire
Inside The Hop Store in Herefordshire, which is surrounded by 150 acres of meadows
GREEN SHOUT OUT
… to San Francisco International Airport – the first in US where buildings generate more electricity than they use. Solar roof panels feed excess power back into California’s grid.
Fling open the old barn doors and feel as though you’re stepping back in time – to The Hop Store’s hazy halcyon days as a grain barn.
Now, it sits on one of the last remaining hop farms in the UK, surrounded by 150 acres of rolling meadows, apple orchards and sheep-dotted pastures – as well as hops, of course. There’s nothing homespun about the amenities, though.
After a stroll through the delightful Malvern Hills, sip a complimentary home-made cider and kick back on soft sofas in front of a crackling fire. Don’t worry, there’s a ride-on-tractor, swings and basketball hoops to keep kids busy.
Sleeps four. £675 for a short break, £895 for a week, uniquehomestays.com.
Inchie Farm, Stirling
Retreat to this B&B’s charming family room or double room on the glittering shores of Lake Menteith for cinematic Scottish landscapes and heaps of family fun on a working farm.
Order a full Scottish breakfast, served with home-made jams and marmalade, before choosing between pony trekking, rainbow trout fishing on the lake, exploring Stirling Castle, climbing nearby mountain Ben Lomond, taking a boat trip to the surrounding islands, cycling in the stunning Great Trossachs Nature Reserve or osprey-watching during breeding season (March and April).
Relaxation is waking up to the morning sun flooding through your south-facing windows and brewing a cup of tea with a square (or three) of the farm’s own buttery shortbread.
B&B from £35 per person per night, inchiefarm.co.uk.
Hush Hush Glamping, Kinnerton, Wales
Bucolic bliss: The Hush Hush Glamping pod in Wales with its view over the Radnor Valley
This delightful wooden pod is the only guest accommodation in 90 acres of family farmland, making it the perfect romantic weekend getaway with only rolling hills, alpaca, sheep, hares and deer to keep you company.
The pod is equipped with basic crockery and cooking utensils, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, fresh milk, butter and free-range eggs.
Wake up to sprawling views over the Radnor Valley and Black Mountains and, if you can tear yourself away from the cosiness of your pod, head down to one of the walking routes skirting the nearby towns of Kington, Presteigne and Llandrindod Wells.
The Elan Valley Mountain Road, previously featured on Top Gear, makes a picturesque drive. Settle down to a pub lunch at The Harp Inn at Old Radnor or The Cider Barn at Pembridge or, if it’s raining, simply curl up with a film in front of the wood-burning stove.
From £60 per night, hushhushglamping.co.uk.