Katherine Macalister says Featherdown Farm offers all of the luxuries of home out in the fresh open air

I don’t do camping. Not now. Not ever. I have tried it.

We bought the kit and did some practice runs and you know it really wasn’t that bad.

But that whole packing up your house, putting the tent up at the other end, washing up, communal showers and then taking it all home again thing wasn’t for me.

Put it this way, snails have got it sorted.

Mr Greedy however is a fan.

He wanted to camp more on the condition that I didn’t “loll around in the tent and read all day”.

The compromise? Featherdown.

The perfect solution.

Their luxury tents, which sleep six, are already erected on carefully selected working farms around the country, and boast a loo, dining table, candelabra, sink with running water, wood-burning stove, soft duvets, sheets, beds, shall I go on?

We chose the Isle Of Wight, Locks Farm to be precise, as it was quite near Yarmouth where the ferry gets in from Lymington, and arrived by 7pm on a Friday night thanks to the efficient Wightlink ferry – not bad considering we picked the kids up from school first.

Lovely farmer John gave us a guided tour. His family have been here since the 18th century.

He showed us the honesty shop, which has all the provisions you might need, the showers and wood pile, and then we carted our stuff to our tent by wheelbarrow.

I say tent, but it’s more like a log cabin with a canvas roof, and every effort has been made to make them as homely and comfortable as possible.

There’s a a fire pit, barbecue, a picnic table, and even our own chicken coop, plus communal swings and an oven for pizzas and roasts that gets fired up twice a week.

We got there in enough time to cook our sausages and eat them watching the sun go down.

Instant relaxation.

Once the sun goes down down, the welcoming warmth of the wood-fired stove and oil-fired lamps beckon.

The silence that descends is so relaxing that it’s hard to keep your eyes open, but the duvets are soft and warm, the beds comfy.


In the morning the first job is to light the stove for hot water, tea and breakfast.

The girls went on the 8am feeding tour with farmer John.

It’s all part of the experience; feeding the cows and chickens, running about in the fields, choosing our own chicken for our coop.

We explored the farm, went down to the river and could easily have spent the day there, but chose to explore the IOW instead, heading up to Ryde for some crazy golf and amusement rides.

From there we headed to Seaview for a lunch on the front overlooking the sea and spent the afternoon on a nearby beach, where The Pig has just bought a hotel apparently.

Farmer John had bought lots of steaks from the butcher when we returned, so we went back to our tent for a feast of locally-sourced meat with new potatoes and salad, which tasted extra good cooked on our Featherdown barbecue.

It was therefore with great sadness that we packed up our luggage on Sunday, stripped the beds, paid our bill and headed home on the ferry.

Wightlink do an excellent service, and having departed from Yarmouth we were back by 6pm, devoid of the strains of the past few months.

Oxford Mail:

  • Featherdown’s Locks Farm

And I remembered farmer John saying to me as we left: “People often turn up here looking rather stressed, but once they leave they are always much more relaxed.”

It worked for me, and luckily Featherdown Farm offers a variety of packages of a full week, a long weekend or weekdays only, so you can pick and choose what suits you best.

I for one will be back, as soon as possible, ready to wrap up warm and sit in the candlelit darkness listening to the owls hooting past.

As for the kids, they forgot what technology was in those few precious days and just enjoyed the indisputably real life going on around them.

I can’t recommend Featherdown Farm enough, and while I can’t vouch for the remaining portfolio, Locks Farm is a little gem.

Whether travelling by foot or by car, Wightlink Ferries’ three mainland ferry ports are perfectly placed for easy access to the Isle of Wight for day trips.

Those travelling by car (seating up to seven) can enjoy day return rates from £49.

Family foot passenger day trip ticket are from just £37.50 for up to a family of five and overnight return rates are from £65.50.

For some inspiration on where to stay from the ferry company see wightlink.co.uk/stay.


Prices at Locks Farm start from £269 staying in regular canvas lodges. Find your ideal farm and/or country retreat then contact the Featherdown office on 01420 80804 to chat through your choices and to book, or visit featherdown.co.uk

For ferries visit wightlink.co.uk or call 0333 999 7333