Safari tent glamping on a Cotswolds farm, within strolling distance of the National Trust's Hidcote Manor & Gardens
It’s often said that The Cotswolds offer visitors the very essence of England. If that’s true, then the holidays at Hidcote Manor Farm distill it even further. This farm, on a Cotswolds estate, is surrounded by thatched-roof cottages, walled National Trust gardens and rolling chalk hills, while a delightful footpath leads you through Kiftsgate Court to a 350-year-old honey-coloured pub, a 35-minute walk away. The market town of Chipping Campden lies four miles south and Shakespeare’s birthplace nine miles north. It's England in a perfectly packaged up form.
Hidcote Manor is a Feather Down farm; part of a network of farm stays offering off-grid holidays in roomy safari tents (or ‘tented cottages’ as the Feather Down team likes to call them). Lit only by candles and oil lamps, the rustic but homely accommodation is invariably lovely, with log burners, en-suite loos and cute kids’ cupboard bedrooms as particular highlights. And while the well-set up accommodation varies little from location to location, the on-site experience is as unique as the farms you’ll find it on, with hosting left in the capable hands of Feather Down’s partner farmers.
Here, that farmer is John. His family have farmed this 300-acre mixed farm since the National Trust took over the site during the Second World War. Their interest was in the garden designed by Lawrence Johnston, which surrounds the house. Now open to the public as a popular visitor attraction, farm stay guests have free access included with their stay. A short walk away, in a field on the edge of Hidcote’s farm is where you’ll find Feather Down’s safari-style tents. There are just five, each sleeping a maximum of six people, meaning guests are always outnumbered by the 450 sheep who graze in the surrounding fields. Come in spring and you may even have a chance to help with bottle feeding some of the lambs.
From here, you can follow long-distance footpaths, including The Heart of England Way, across fields to the popular market town of Chipping Campden (the walk takes an hour to an hour and a half, depending on your fitness). Jump in the car and, to the south, all of the Cotswolds is yours to explore and, to the north, is Stratford-upon-Avon. With the half-timbered cottages of its high street, the canal boat-studded river bank, Shakespeare’s birthplace and Ann Hathaway’s cottage, there’s plenty to see and do. And when the action is over there it’s back to the farm for the final scene. It’s a romantic one where the main players sit outside their safari tent and look over what Shakespeare himself might have called: “This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England”.
Gloucestershire Gl55 6 Lr, England, United KingdomTo respect the Host's privacy, the precise address of this land will be provided after booking
Hosted by Feather Down Farm ..Joined in February 2021
From the host
Accessible from both London and Birmingham, Hidcote Manor Farm will be irresistible to lovers of the Cotswolds. The tents are a stone’s throw from the honey-coloured limestone hamlet that clusters around the gorgeous National Trust gardens of Hidcote Manor.
This is Feather Down’s first farm in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is a family- run farm with John representing the third generation of Rightons. The family first arrived after the war as the house and its lands were reverting to the National Trust. Hidcote Manor Garden was created by the American Lawrence Johnston in the first half of the 20th century as a series of outdoor ‘rooms’, and features a riot of colour.
Hidcote Manor is a picturesque farm that is haven for wildlife and host to skylarks, lapwings, and finches. There are badger setts around the farm and their inhabitants can be glimpsed in the summer evenings if you’re quiet enough. The farm covers just under 300 acres – half arable, half pasture – where the 450 breeding sheep graze. Lambing takes place in late March and early April, when help is needed with bottle-feeding the little ones. Unfortunately though, this does mean that visitors’ dogs can’t come along.
Take the time to have a look around the estate's Hidcote Gardens (01386 438333) during your stay, access is included with your stay. This is, of course, the Cotswolds so there are plenty of pretty villages and towns to explore. Chipping Campden, home of the arts and crafts movement is one of the closest, just a four-mile walk away. Broadway, ‘the jewel of the Cotswolds’, is a little further off by car. Attractions within a 20-minute drive of site include The Cotswold Falconry Centre (01386 701043), Batsford Arboretum (01386 701441), Bourton-on-the Water’s Birdland (01451 820480), model village (01451 820467) and the combined motoring and toy museum (01451 821255). Stratford-upon-Avon is just 10 miles from site. There, you can visit Shakespeare's birthplace, Ann Hathaway's Cottage, visit the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and perhaps enjoy a cruise on the River Avon.
Food and drink
There's a cafe within the National Trust-managed Hidcote Gardens next door serving coffees, cakes and light bites. For something more substantial, you can work up and appetite on a two-mile walk to Mickleton and pay a visit to The King's Arms (01386 438257) in the High Street which has a beer garden. For fish and chips, try Russell's in Broadway and for campsite supplies, there's a convenience store in nearby Micleton and plenty of shops in Chipping Campden, four miles from site.