Church Farm is absolutely my new favourite place and we've been here a fair few times over the past year or so. It's so close that in all honesty there's not really the need for us to stay over, but we never want to leave at the end of the day so I'll usually book for us to camp.
We've stayed in our tent a few times, but with the weather being a little cooler it's great to have the option of their wooden lodges. They're also perfect if you're not a hardened camper, don't have all the gear, want to stay with a group of friends who are not campers or just want to get a flavour of camping for the first time.
Given that they have toilet and shower facilities on site, an absolutely superb cafe serving breakfast and lunch and an exquisite pub - The Jolly Waggoner - over the road serving excellent meals, you really can just chuck your clothes and bedding in the car and be done with it. No extra camping paraphernalia is required, making it ideal for a last minute getaway.
There's a number of cabins dotted around the farm in various different woods, but both times we've stayed in a lodge we've booked into Beard's Oak which is a young wooded area with small and sapling trees. There's a number of cabins in this location so perfect if there's a group of you staying, although both times so far we've had the whole area to ourselves. Other cabins are more secluded in other woodland areas of the farm but be aware that access by car is not alway possible to the remoter ones, depending on how wet and muddy the ground is.
The cabins themselves are very basic. Each one comprises of a comfy double bed (bring your own pillows, sleeping bags or duvet and sheets. Some are large enough for families and have single camp beds too - check online. There's a wood burner in each lodge, a blind on the window for privacy - not that there's generally anyone around, but it keeps the morning sun out too.
If you want to take your own gear, there's room for it - we've had 3 of us, a camp bed, the dog's bed, our portable toilet and our camping stove as well as all our overnight bags in one comfortably.
The first time we stayed in a lodge it was February and bitterly cold with snow on the ground. We snuggled up under duvets in our onesies with hot water bottles, but after 20 minutes of the wood burner pumping out heat, we were all stripping off layers it was that toasty.
From Beard's Oak you can hear the owls hooting, you might catch the sound of the sheep in the fields and in the morning you're likely to glimpse a pheasant or two strutting around.
An overnight stay will cost you £8.50 per adult and £5.50 per child (under 5s free) in camping fees, plus between £20-30 extra for a cabin. Camp fires outside your cabin are allowed although you do need to pay £10 for permission and logs and kindling are on sale in the farm shop.
We love our cosy nights in the cabins, perfect for a romantic night away, a family adventure or a group trip. Head over the road to the Jolly Waggoner for a great meal, local ales, vodka made on the farm and a cosy fireside welcome.
In the morning, head over to the Farm Cafe for a hearty breakfast (including vegetarian and gluten free fry ups) before visiting the animals on the farm.
What to take:
A torch and battery operated nightlight (we take our Ikea battery fairy lights which are excellent and last ages longer than any camping lamp).
A portable loo is good if you want to avoid the trek to the compost loos or the flushing loos on the main farm complex in the middle of the night.
What not to take:
Electric gadgets will be useless as they're not mains connected.
If you're cooking for yourself, due to bio security reasons you can't take meat from external sources on site. Buy bangers from the farm butcher's counter or save yourself the hassle and dine out at the Jolly Waggoner or in the farm cafe.
Linking up with Time Travellers.
Linking up with Time Travellers.