Last weekend, we had one of those short breaks that feels like a proper holiday. It was my first experience of glamping but it definitely won’t be the last. What a wonderful way to holiday. All the benefits of camping like being outdoors in the fresh air and that happy, tired feeling at the end of the day. Yet at the same time, you live in the lap of luxury. Comfy beds with snug, warm duvets. A toilet and hot shower, kitchen, dining table, wood burner and a sofa. Better still, Fountain Violet Farm is such an idyllic location that I considered moving in permanently.
About Feather Down
Feather Down offer glamping holidays on working farms. They want people to experience the countryside life without having to go through the difficult bits of camping. No shared toilets or roll out mattresses on the floor. In fact, you have the luxury of a self-catering cottage with all the good parts of camping thrown in.
The idea started in the Netherlands more than 16 years ago. Unsurprisingly, visitors loved it and it spread to the UK as well as Belgium, Ireland, Switzerland, France and Germany. Feather Down glamping holidays are ideal for children and families due to their proximity to the farm. Visitors can have a tour with the farmer and get involved in various activities.
Staying at Fountain Violet Farm
Fountain Violet Farm is an idyllic location at the top of a hill in Kingswear, Devon. The farm itself is an organic chicken farm, supplying free range eggs to local businesses. The view down to Dartmouth Castle and the sea is absolutely stunning. This new Feather Down location is bound to be incredibly popular. It has just four canvas frills lodges, each of which will comfortably sleep six people.
All beds are comfortable with lovely thick duvets. The girls chose to sleep in separate rooms with Libby sleeping in a double bed in a little snug that was a bit like a large cupboard. Lia chose the top bunk of the bunk bed room. It was the first time she’s slept on the top bunk and the first time the girls have had their own room anywhere.
The well equipped kitchen is served by both a gas cooker outdoors and a wood burner inside. A large dining table takes pride of place opposite the sofa in the living area. Deck chairs and a picnic bench outside are ideally positioned for family meals or just relaxing and taking in the view.
Behind the lodge was a small forest school area used by the local primary school. The girls were able to play in their mud kitchen. A short walk away was a park with a big slide down the side of a hill. The honesty shop had all the little essentials including wine and Earl Grey tea.
The locality of Fountain Violet Farm
We received a warm welcome to Fountain Violet Farm, with some lovely fresh eggs on the table. The owner was happy to answer all our questions and point us in the direction of a quiet cove where we could spend a day swimming in the sea and paddle boarding. This was about a 20 minute walk from the farm along the coastal path. A slightly shorter walk in the opposite direction along the coastal path was the ferry to Dartmouth.
The cove we visited had no facilities, the closest toilets we were aware of were back at our tent. The advantage of this was that it also had no people. A couple of small groups arrived and stayed briefly while we were there. For the most part though, it was just us. We packed a picnic and walked from the tent down to the cove. What looked like a small castle sat alongside the beach. Calm, tranquil water was ideal for exploring both by swimming and on the SUP.
Both girls had a paddle in the water and played around on the SUP in the shallow area. My husband explored a bit further on the SUP and I went for a lovely swim into a cave. When the children started to get chilly, we ate our picnic before heading back to the tent for a warm shower.
Whilst Dartmouth is a short walk from Feather Down Farm, you do need to catch the ferry over. It’s £10 for a return journey with the car and I think it was £1.50 per adult and 50p per child for a single journey as a foot passenger.
Dartmouth itself is a beautiful, bustling little town. It is understandably quite touristy, with lots of lovely restaurants. Despite two of us being vegetarian, we ate at Rock Fish sea food restaurant. Vegetarian dishes were available including on the children’s menu. Libby was particularly impressed with the battered halloumi. My husband had monkfish and was raving about how fresh and tasty it was. Service was excellent and it was very child friendly, with lots of families eating there early in the evening like us.
Feather Down Glamping at Fountain Violet Farm: The verdict
When I review a location, I try my best to give a balanced view of it. Anyone thinking of visiting needs to know the bad points as well as the good. This time though, I’m struggling to think of a down side. I could have happily spent a week or even longer at Fountain Violet Farm. The pace of life slows down. We walked miles with the children and spent virtually all our time outside.
Phones can be charged at the honesty shop but there are no plug sockets in the tent. I saw this as an advantage. A chance to leave my laptop at home and bring a book instead. Clearly I forgot that I’ve still got children so I wouldn’t have time to read it. I think if there was one thing I would change about Fountain Violet Farm, it would be lovely to be able to take the dog. However whilst this location isn’t dog friendly, other Feather Down glamping sites are.
We would definitely visit Fountain Violet Farm again. In fact, it would be nice to visit in colder weather. There’s something cozy about being inside with warm duvets and a wood burner while the weather outside is horrendous. As for glamping, I’m a complete convert. For more information on this and other Feather Down locations, head to their website.