New Barn Farm Feather Down Farms
Part of the hugely successful Feather Down Farms concept, New Barn Farm is camping for those who like their creature comforts – rustic decor and outdoor living but with comfy bedding and all mod cons thrown in including a hob, wood burner and coffee grinder. Feather Down takes pride in the details, making sure you always get a jaw-dropping view, the eggs are always ready to be collected from the chicken coop; and fresh bacon and milk is only a larder trip away. This leaves you more time to concentrate on enjoying yourself and making the most of your surroundings. You don't need a tent, as they come pre-erected, fully furnished and look somewhat close to a rural pop up palace. Feather Down use redundant land from farmers, build the tents, and then let the (more authentic) farmers look after you.
New Barn Farm has a surprisingly remote feel considering its proximity to London and the M1. Alive with the usual farm residents – pigs, pygmy goats, horses, ponies, donkeys, ducks and chickens – here you'll get a proper farm education. Offsite, the gentle undulations of the Ouse Valley provide a scenic backdrop to off-road cycling and walking for the whole family, and you can start both right outside your tent in Blackwell Hole. There are also dedicated areas of open-access forestry and lakeside country parks nearby.
FacilitiesEach family-sized safari tent has three rooms: a double bedroom, a bunk room and the main living space within which is a cute cupboard bed suitable for younger children. The living space also has a fully-equipped kitchen, a wood-burning stove, dining area and a sofa and each tent has a private en-suite, flushing toilet. There is running cold water to both the hand basin and the kitchen sink. A private hot-water shower is not quite en suite but private and just outside your tent. There is also a sheltered veranda outside with two deck chairs, a picnic table and outdoor cooking area with a barbecue. The site also has a pizza oven with a shared eating area, an honesty shop, space for games and play equipment.
Dogs – No. Big groups, single-sex groups – By arrangement only.
The animals on site provide some entertainment, right where you are. To explore off site, how about hiring bikes from the farm? The gentle undulations of the Ouse Valley provide extensive opportunities for walking and cycling. In the nearby village of Olney, Emberton Country Park (nine miles away; 01908 252570) has some family-friendly routes around lakes, glades and meadows with cafes and play equipment too. Box End Park (10 miles from New Barn Farm; 01234 846222) offers water-based fun on two purpose-built lakes. There's an aqua park playground (suitable for ages six and up) or, for older kids and adults, the opportunity to water ski, wakeboard or enjoy open-water swimming. There's yet more extreme action at Twinwoods Adventure (0134 816350) where there's a climbing wall, indoor skydiving and more. Woburn Safari Park and Whipsnade Zoos (0344 2251826) are both possible day trips by car (22 and 40 miles from site respectively).
Food & Drink
A great selection of local produce and home-cooked meals can be bought from the onsite honesty shop. For any extras, head to the Crossways Vegetable Stall or the Hill Farm Shop (01234 781405), both in nearby Sharnbrook. While here, stop off for a delicious slice of victoria sponge at The Cake Shop (01234 781021). Meanwhile, back in Carlton, The Fox (01234 720235) is a pretty thatched village pub that is popular with locals.
PricingPrices from £265 for 4 nights.
New Barn Farm, New Barn Farm, Carlton, Bedfordshire MK43 7LX
From the M1 northbound:
Leave at junction 14 and take A509 towards Newport Pagnell. Follow the signs for Olney A509, once you pass through Olney, turn right at a roundabout on the B565. Continue until the A428, then turn right towards Bedford. After 1 mile, take the first left after the Three Cranes pub, then left again past the shop. Follow this road to Carlton. The farm is opposite the playing field and bus stop, on the right-hand side. The farm is one mile up the hill.
From the M1 southbound:
Leave at junction 15, turning left onto the A45. Follow for 2 miles until you reach the turn off for the A428, Bedford. Once you reach Turvey, follow the directions above.
Leave Bedford on the A428 to Northampton. At Turvey, take the first right to Carlton, then follow directions above.
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