This is a sponsored post with Feather Down.
As a family we love to travel and have been fortunate enough to visit some wonderful places over the last few years. So when Feather Down invited us to stay with them this June at their Northumberland site, it’s safe to say we didn’t hesitate to say yes. I’ll be honest with you, I hadn’t heard of Feather Down before and was surprised to learn they have 70 luxury glamping locations throughout the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland. Feather Down combines luxury glamping with life on the farm and for our family like ours who loves the outdoors, it sounded like the perfect combination.
Prior to our visit I had received a phone call from the owners of the Northumberland Feather Down who were so warm and friendly and there to help with any last minute questions we had. Meg was really helpful with details of things to remember, items I wouldn’t ordinarily have thought of, and I thought it was such a lovely personal touch to make us feel right at home before our arrival.
When we arrived at Feather Down the farmer, Guy, met us at the car and greeted us like old friends. As the children sleepily stepped out of the car, rubbed their eyes and took in the vast surroundings of fields and animals, their little faces lit up with excitement. There is nothing better than that first breath in the countryside and the feeling that you’ve escaped all of your worries, even if just for a weekend.
Before taking us to the tent Guy showed us to the Pantry, an honesty shop where you can find locally and regionally produced products. Each guest has a clipboard where you write down everything you have used during your stay and at the end of your visit you simply settle your bill before you leave. The Pantry is also the only place where you will find electricity for anything you may need to charge and the door has a combination lock so you can be sure you personal items are safe.
Opposite the Pantry is a picnic area and pizza oven where Meg and Guy plan on making pizzas throughout the Summer for their guests to enjoy. This is such a lovely idea and a great way to bring all of the guests together in the evening.
There is also a notice board which is updated daily showing important information about the weather, the crossing times to Holy Island, and fun facts about historical events taking place on that day. I thought this was such a lovely idea and again adds a really personal touch.
No cars are allowed in the field with the tents, something which I think is a great idea, especially with children running around, so we put our cases in a wheelbarrow and in true farm style, trundled our way to the tents!
As we approached the tents I was instantly impressed at the size of it, especially compared to our previous experiences of camping, but I was soon to learn that glamping is a very different experience altogether!
We were lucky to stay in the Canvas Frills Lodge, with a living space of 50 metres squared and furnished for a maximum of six people. To the outside the tent had a lovely decking area with a picnic bench, deck chairs and canopy.
Unfortunately we knew that the weather forecast was not great so we had reluctantly accepted that we may not get to enjoy the outdoors quite as much as we had hoped, but I can imagine in the sunshine the decking area would be somewhere to sit way into the evening just taking in the view and enjoying the peace and quiet.
The tent also comes with a charcoal BBQ which again would be perfect in the sunnier weather. From the outside Feather Down really did seem to have thought of everything, but as we opened the tent door we realised that the really impressive part was still waiting.
If I could bottle the look on the children’s faces as we unzipped the tent door there would be no bad days ever again. Honestly, their eyes went so wide and they literally shrieked with excitement as they pushed past Gaz and I to run inside and explore. Unlike any glamping experience we have seen before, Feather Down has created something so beautiful and in fact, so magical, that it felt as though we had been transported into a whole new era.
Every single piece of furniture inside the tent is made from rustic wood and the craftsmanship is admirable. To one side there is a large sofa which was lovely and cosy and the throw was perfect for snuggling up in later at night.
To the other is a large dining table and chairs, big enough to seat six with two hanging candle arbours which the children were fascinated with! The whole area is lovely and spacious with plenty of room to walk around and for the children to play.
There is also an open plan kitchen area with a sink and running water as well as all the pots pans, crockery and cutlery you could possibly need during your stay. The great thing about Feather Down is that you don’t need to bring anything from home, it’s all right there waiting for you.
On one wall there is a coffee grinder, still in keeping with the rustic feel of the tent, and fresh coffee beans are available to buy from the Pantry. I loved how much thought had been put into the kitchen and making sure our glamping experience was as stress free as possible.
Through a curtained area we found the main bedroom with a proper double bed and the bedding not only provided, but the bed fully made up on arrival. There is also adequate hanging and storage space so you can unpack and feel right at home.
All towels are provided too which is such a bonus, there’s nothing worse than having to pack your own towels which leaves little room in the case for anything else. I think those little extras make such a huge difference!
Through to the second bedroom we found bunk beds, something the children were very excited about. I found this room to be the warmest room in the tent as it had no external walls and was so lovely and cosy, especially for little ones.
But the children’s favourite ‘room’, and one which I would have loved at the same age, was hidden away behind two wooden doors in the living area which opened up to reveal a double bed!
If you’ve ever seen the film Santa Clause The Movie, it felt as though we had stepped foot into Santa Clause’s bed and, as big fans of the film, the children were beyond excited by it. So much so that they instantly asked to put on their pyjamas and climb inside!
As well as having no electricity, Feather Down has no wifi either and although we were looking forward to a tech-free weekend, with the children having slept the whole journey in the car, we agreed to a film on the iPads before bed. Sometimes you just have to choose your battles!
And finally, the part which had me breathing a huge sigh of relief, the tent also had a bathroom with toilet, sink and hot shower! With three young children a toilet is a must and yet the addition of a shower was a real luxury.
For those staying in Feather Down tents without the bathroom you will find communal toilet and shower facilities instead but for us, I was truly grateful for that bathroom at 3am when the children were up and down needing to use the toilet.
Obviously with Feather Down tents having no electricity, lighting comes in the form of oil burners, candles and lanterns, something which I thought was so special and really added to the excitement for the children. Each tent comes with a starter set of candles and tea lights and you can buy more throughout your stay at the Pantry.
Instead of a fridge, each tent has a cool box which uses frozen hot water bottles to keep your food and drink chilled. There is a freezer in the Pantry where you can find fresh hot water bottles as and when you need them, and you simply place your used one back in to be frozen for the next person to use.
As for heating, that comes in the form of a wood burning stove which doubles up for cooking throughout your stay. On arrival our stove was already burning away for us and the tent was lovely and warm but the following day we really struggled to get it going and Meg kindly came out to do it for us. That was something I will really take away from our stay, that nothing was too much to ask of Meg and Guy and as far as hosts go, they couldn’t have been lovelier.
Each tent comes with a crate of logs and you simply help yourself to a new crate each day of your stay. Should you need more you can buy these at the Pantry but even for us, with the weather so awful, we didn’t make it through even one crate per day.
That first night we all slept so well, I think a combination of the excitement and the fresh air completely knocked us out in the end and we woke the following morning excited to explore more of the farm and Northumberland itself.
I can’t lie, the weather was hideous – torrential rain, windy and cold – but us Northerners are used to it and we still put on our wellies and raincoats and had a great day out at Holy Island visiting Lindisfarne Castle. I’ll be sharing more about that in our next post! Typically, as we got back to our tent and the children dried off, the rain stopped and Meg called to ask if the children would like to go with her to feed the animals. As you can imagine, I’ve never seen them get their wellies on so fast!
As a primary school teacher, Meg has a real way with children and our three just fell completely in love with her. She was kind, patient and made them burst into fits of giggles, and I just know that these are the moments they will really remember from their stay.
Seeing the children get stuck into the farm was so lovely and reminded me of my own childhood, growing up with a Grandad who had a farm, and the fun we used to have. Sometimes it’s the simple things like watering the plants or running wild in a field that bring the most fun and Feather Down gives you every opportunity to really embrace those moments.
The children loved seeing the cows and the sheep at the fields at the top of the farm and Guy promised us that the following morning he would take us out in his Landrover on a tour of the farm so we could see even more of it.
There was just enough time for some wheelbarrow rides before bed and you could hear the sound of their laughter a mile off. It was the perfect ending to our day and yet there was just one last treat in store….
….marshmallows on the fire! Sitting there as the light began to fade, no television on in the background, no screens glaring or toys littering the floor, I realised that when you take all of that away and only have each other, they are the happiest moments, no doubt about it.
That night we all got into bed with big smiles on our faces and happy hearts and I know it sounds cliche but lay there, in the little “cupboard bed” with Harry, I felt like the luckiest person in all the world.
The following morning we woke to a big surprise – the rain had stopped!! We were up and out bright and early ready for our tour of the farm and as excited as the children were, Gaz and I were also super excited to learn more about farming too.
Meg and Guy met us at the Landrover with their pet dog who came along for the ride. We all piled in the back as Guy told us a little more about the farm and how it had been in his family for a long time with him only recently taking over and making the move up from London.
As we drove through the fields there was so much to see and with every new crop or animal Guy had an interesting story to tell. It was a real eye opener for Gaz and I to learn more about the crop cycles and the work that goes into farming so many of the products we pick up so easily at the supermarket.
At several points on the tour we got out of the Landrover to explore the field by foot and Guy told us about each individual crop and gave the children a chance to look at them close up and learn more about the harvesting process.
For me this kind of farm tour is the best way for children to learn and regardless of whether you stay at Feather Down, taking your children to a farm where they can see where their food comes from is so important!
In the next field we we faced with a herd of cattle, all reared to be sold as meat, and Guy talked us through this process in detail. Guy sells the majority of his cattle to Marks & Spencers and he spoke very highly of them and the ways in which they have such strict rules about where their beef comes from. Not only do they visit his farm directly, but each cow has its own individual passport so they can see exactly where it has come from.
Guy also talked us through the different breeds of his cattle and how he was part of a preservation project for rare breeds which he spoke very passionately about. I have never really thought about the different breeds before, nor how they affect the types of beef we eat, so this was a real eye opener and we could have stood chatting about it for hours!
It was also interesting to discover that after five years we had finally found something Harry was afraid of! He wouldn’t budge from the Landrover and simply watched from the window, although later claimed it was because he just loved the Landrover too much to leave!
There was just enough time to visit a couple of the barns and see some of the farm vehicles before our tour was over. Out of all the exciting and interesting things we did during our stay in Northumberland, later, the children declared the tour their favourite.
I can’t even begin to tell you just how much we enjoyed our stay, from the luxury of the tent to the warm welcome from Meg and Guy, it was everything we had hoped it would be and more. I can’t fault our stay, nor would I change a single thing about it (only perhaps the weather!) but after a rough few weeks with the children unwell, and a lot of stress at home with DIY and big projects in work, this was exactly what we needed just to get away from it all. Feather Down is the perfect place to relax, recuperate, and most of all enjoy some family time together and I am already excited about planning a return visit.
You can find out more about Feather Down or book your own Feather Down break over on their website at https://www.featherdown.co.uk.
** We were invited to Feather Down for a complimentary stay and were compensated for our time. All words and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. **