Farm stays are great way of getting away from the hustle and bustle and enjoying a slice of rural life. Grown ups have a chance to relax in the country air and children get the exciting opportunity to take part on a real a working farm.
We visited Poppinghole Farm in Robertsbridge, East Sussex which is just a stone's throw from the South Coast. With four attractive converted barn cottages as well as a swimming pool, it is totally equipped with everything you need for a mini-break with added luxury that both children and adults will enjoy.
Family breaks with young children are a great way of making wonderful memories and our East Sussex farm stay will be a firm favourite. We travelled home with a little Farmer wannabe requesting the nursery rhyme song ‘Old Mac Donald’ on loop in our car!
Best time to go: Probably the best time to visit is in the spring when days are getting longer and warmer, daffodils are popping up and there is an abundance of new life with plenty of lambs, pigglets, ducklings and little chicks to coo after.
Home to many animals the friendly, working farm allows you to get fully involved. Four legged residents include a flock of Texel sheep, pure-bred Sussex cattle, Gloucester Old Spot pigs, horses, a variety of chickens, and a friendly collection of extremely gentle sheep dogs.
The owners were very happy for us to help them collect eggs from the hen houses for breakfast, groom the horses and - as we visited in spring time - we were lucky enough to to bottle feed the hungry lambs in their rural environment twice per day.
A luxurious bonus to the farm is the 10-meter indoor swimming pool housed in an oak-framed barn. The water is heated by a ground source heat pump to a warm 32 degrees. Also in the barn are changing rooms, a plunge pool ideal for children as well as a Jacuzzi for the grown-ups. Every morning we got the place to ourselves and by the end of our stay our children’s water confidence had soared. Our two-year-old felt very grown up in his very own toweling robe that had been specially supplied for him. Alongside the pool is an Elemis pamper room offering high quality treatments.
The Equetrian facilities are a high priority at Poppinghole so if you are a rider there are experienced instructors, woodlands with safe hack trails and jumping paddocks to take advantage of. You can even take your horse on holiday with you if you’re lucky enough to own one.
And for fishermen - or for some parent and child bonding time - there are two lakes stocked with Carp and Tench
Accommodation consists of four modern and well-presented cottages surrounding an attractive courtyard. We had a first floor, two bedroom, en-suite apartment with a balcony over looking the fountain. An open plan living area meant we could cook whilst supervising our little ones. It was well equipped with linen, towels and Elemis hotel-style toiletries.
Facilities: The kitchen had all the practical mod cons like a dishwasher and microwave. Baby equipment included a high chair, toddler feeding utensils and a travel cot, and the separate laundry room came in handy, especially with a toddler. The complex felt very clean, well looked after and private from the rest of the farm.
East Barn forms the first floor of an oak framed Sussex-style barn. It has two ensuite bedrooms and a sofa bed in the lounge.
Old Spot is part of a thoughtfully converted Cow Byre. It has two ensuite bedrooms and a sofa bed in the lounge.
Saddleback cottage is also part of a thoughtfully converted Cow Byre. It has one double ensuite bedroom and a sofa bed in the lounge.
Lovers’ Retreat is a smaller secluded cottage that offers a double bedroom with en-suite bathroom.
The luxury cottages are totally equipped for a self-catering stay. On arrival you are supplied with a free welcome pack of good quality bread, milk, teabags, coffee, sugar, jam and butter from the Poppinghole Farm Shop. You can also order additional local supplies prior to your arrival or during your stay. The farm is easily accessible for supermarkets to deliver online orders.
How to get there: Located just outside the historical village of Robertsbridge, East Sussex, Poppinghole Farm can be easily found just off the A21. It is close to National Trust Bodium Castle and approximately ten miles from the South Coast.
Other attractions include, Battle Abbey, Rye harbour and Bedgebury Pinetum.