A featherdown week: camping in the Cotswolds

Hidcote BartrimIn something of a head-in-the-sand moment, we had a short break last week in the Cotswolds. A bit of time to unwind on a glorious glampsite (that’s a word, now, right?), admire the sunsets, wander round beautiful gardens and deal with the kids’ whinging as a parenting duo have a bit of quality family time together.

{We should have really been busy organising, for tomorrow we move house, along with all the weariness that brings, but enough of all that til another time…}

Featherdown tent

We stayed on a Featherdown Farms campsite, having really enjoyed our hol with them two years back in Dorset. It’s camping in name only: you live in a huge safari tent, with proper beds, mattresses and duvets, and a flushing loo. This year, not wanting to haul my gigantic seven-month pregnant body half-naked across a field to the shower block, I also insisted that we pay the £100 odd extra to stay in one their “frills” tents, which means the bathroom even has a hot shower (on mains water) that was actually better than our one at home. Yeah, it’s pretty blissful. The only downside is that the prices are, quite frankly, extortionate. We paid about £650, which is a lot for four nights in a field, no matter how nice the tent.

Still, this was the view of the field our tent was in at sunrise:

Sheep field, Cotswolds, UKand this was the view from the car park:

Cotswolds fieldswheat field

So, you know, it was probably worth it, in the end.

The other huge plus point, for me, if not the rest of the family, was that our campsite was part of the Hidcote estate, and in a field just behind Hidcote Manor, to which we had free access for our stay. I’ll write a whole separate post on the gloriousness of the gardens there, but I took every opportunity I could to wander in and look around.

Hidcote Manor

It was my first time visiting such prime Cotswold territory (we were just between Chipping Camden and Broadway which is, I think, pretty much peak Cotswold) and my god, it’s glorious there! I now see why everyone bangs on about it being so nice all the time. We were there in the middle of August, and there were certainly quite a few coachloads of tourists popping up everywhere, but I never felt completely overwhelmed by them (as I do in the centre of London sometimes…)

You can see the impact on prices, though. The Chipping Camden Co-op was noticeably more expensive than our local one in East Dulwich. It’s not often that I go on holiday and find the prices higher than London.

Burford
Burford

Burford

All the towns seem to sit on top of hills with the most magnificent views of glorious English countryside. I was particularly taken by Burford (above) as the main road that runs straight through the middle of town was a major thoroughfare and pulsed with traffic including lorries, tractors and huge combine harvesters as well as the cars and coaches. For some reason, that tickles me a lot more than a sleepy little village with only the occasional bicycle passing through.

As well as wander round honey-coloured Cotswold towns, we also took a day trip to Cotswold Wildlife Park.

Last time we went, I was bowled over by the planting and the kids’ playground. This time, perhaps because my expectations had been higher, I thought the planting was a little bit meh, for the most part, and the playground seemed to have simultaneously shrunk and become more over-run with bigger children. But I guess that’s all in the mind…

The walled garden was still spectacular though. I particularly liked the tropical section.

Tropical garden, Cotswold Wildlife Park

And it was interesting to compare the difference between the late summer annual planting with the spring display we saw on our last visit.

Walled garden, Cotswold Wildlife Park

Oh and the animals enchanted us all as much as before. I’m not entirely sure it’s great to keep either giraffes or penguins in the UK climate, but I have to admit I was pretty pleased to spend time close up to them.

PenguinsGiraffe

Of course, the only trouble is, I’m now slightly regretting our decision to move to another London abode and rather wishing we had decided to leg it out to the country after all. But peak Cotswold has definitely made it to the top of the list for the “possible places to move in 2018″…

Further info:

  • Featherdown farms have sites throughout the country (and Europe). More info on their website: www.featherdown.co.uk.
  • We visited the towns of Burford, Broadway, Chipping Camden and stayed in Hidcote Bartrim. It’s pretty flipping lovely all round the area, but if you have children then Broadway has a most excellent new playground (that took up an entire field), which might just tip the balance in its favour. It was also less noticeably touristed than Chipping Camden or Burford when we visited.
  • If the animals or gardens of Cotswold Wildlife Park tempt you, there is more on their website: www.cotswoldwildlifepark.co.uk.

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9 thoughts on “A featherdown week: camping in the Cotswolds

  1. Left hand side of the road, you probably had your back to it as it’s just out of shot. It’s very pretty, certainly, but there is very little to do, tractor watching aside. Shops are pretty much all aimed at tourists rather than locals, ergo tearooms and knicknackery a go-go but not a lot else. Bit of a shock after London, fortunately I just visited the parents there and wasn’t full-time! Interesting to hear about Featherdown – love the idea and apparently many of them accept dogs so the snoozing hounds could go with me! Best of luck with the house move!! Catherine

    1. Yes, I guess all the tea rooms and knock knack shops can’t really compete with proper shopping…

      Featherdown has definitely been good the two times we’ve been, albeit super pricey…

  2. The extra money sounds worth it if you have the convenience of a hot shower in your tent. We went camping a couple of weekends ago and whilst it was good fun, a loo and shower close by would have been lovely when it was dark and I needed a wee. Hope you feel nice and relaxed after your break!

  3. Once you’ve had a hot shower and flushing loo in a tent you’ll never go back! Never!
    The price of glamping has risen and risen to a point where it’s more expensive than a hotel – but

    Well by the time you’ll read this you will have moved – how very exciting!
    I hope it all goes well xxxx

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