So we are just back from New Farm at Carlton, part of the Featherstone Farm franchise and thought I would share with you my review.
My wife and I stayed here for four nights during the second week of the Easter break with our nine year old daughter and three year old son.
Getting to the farm is relatively easy and our sat nav took us to the bottom of the track leading to the farm. The track is around 1 mile long and was fairly bumpy in places so does need to be navigated carefully if you are in a car without good clearance.
Once there you are met by the family who throughout the stay were friendly, helpful and would bend over backwards to ensure the stay is pleasant.
We loaded up our belongings on a jeep like truck and the only comment here would be that this was not covered so if the weather was really bad it is possible that some of your stuff may get wet. Fortunately for us the weather was kind and after a short (350-400m) ride we were at our tent.
The location of the tents is quite sheltered but when going to and from the main farm (and shop) you do go across a quite exposed field and this was quite cold at times where the wind cut across the hill.
In terms of accommodation you get a tent that is around the size of a garage that is split into three rooms and a big cupboard with a bed in it. There is a main double bed, a room with two bunk beds and the main living area/kitchen.
Pretty much everything is supplied, including five boxes of wood and some candles and paraffin burners. If you require more than five boxes of wood you can purchase additional ones for £5 each and you can also buy coal for £5 per bag. The coal is useful to pile on the wood burner to keep it glowing overnight so that getting it to a good heat in the morning is easier.
If you get some smoke coming out make sure you clear the filter on the chimney (that sorted our problem out). Also you will need to keep the ash box clear (once every couple of days should do).
A minor criticism here is that for the price you pay I feel it would not have been too much to include a bag of coal and extra wood if you needed it. As it was the five boxes was just about right for our stay. All of this needs to be transported by yourself in a wheelbarrow from the main farm.
You get a wood burner with a stove on top and it is useful to keep this loaded with water in the big kettle and a couple of pans so that you have some ready at all times for hot drinks, water bottles and washing up.
If you forget this it is well worth heating up individual cups if you want a quick coffee at any point.
Everything else you need it there and you can also order meals for £35 from Hannah, which are delivered to your door in the evening. We had a Moroccan Lamb and a Beef Stew both of which comfortably fed a family of four and were exceptionally good. In between we also did the pizza night (£8.50 per pizza and £5 for a salad bowl) which is again worth doing so that you get to meet some of the other guests.
Additionally there is a pretty well stocked shop and you can use the power point there to charge any electrical items that you can’t get by without. The shop is based on you writing down what you take and paying when you leave.
The temperature was very cold for the first night, and if you are staying during cold weather, I would recommend bring a sleeping bag or two for extra warmth.
All linen and towels were fresh and clean and generally I think the accommodation was very quaint and homely. Again a couple of minor points firstly the light from the paraffin lamps and candles is pretty hard to read by so a reading light is useful. Again on this point the toilet is very dark until you open the external curtains in the morning so be prepared to take a lamp in with you.
Where the bunk bed is a ladder is provided but for us we only wanted to use the bottom bunk and as such it made sense to take the ladder out of the way. If you do this be warned there is a batten on the floor and you will certainly stub your toe on this several times during your stay. Indeed I still have a purple toe from the last occasion.
A final minor issue is the toilet where there is a strange bowl type effect at the back of the toilet where, inevitably a number two will sit and on occasion require numerous flushes to remove the offending deposit! The toilet whilst functional could be better implemented.
You do get six chairs a table and a couple of deck chairs but if you want some additional comfortable chairs you should bring these along. Outside you have a table/bench combination and a fire pit.
You can do pony grooming and participate in some of the going-ons around the farm, including checking for eggs in the hen coup (the kids loved doing this), rounding up goats (unplanned), feeding lambs, petting the small animals and feeding the pigs. Most of these are free but you do pay for pony grooming.
The big plus for families is that you can leave the kids to roam and play together in complete safety without worrying about them and in turn this gave us a much needed break. The kids absolutely loved this and whilst it was not a cheap holiday for us the benefit of this was worth the extra money.
So in summary, good fun, relaxing and ideal for the kids. Watch outs are the wooden batten on the floor for the bunk ladder, the slightly inefficient toilet flush system, the Hollister type lighting if you don’t bring any additional lights for reading but overall thoroughly recommended for families.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Less than an hour from the northern suburbs of London, New Barn is one of the latest additions to the Feather Down fold, nestling in the North Bedfordshire Wolds. ... more less