With my eight-year-old son, Bertie, and 86-year-old nan in tow we headed off for a weekend of electricity-free fun. When you arrive at Hollings Hill Farm near Malvern, Worcestershire, you already feel a world away with the gorgeous view even before you step out of the car. We were greeted by Grace, one of owner Faye’s four children who happily showed us up to our accommodation. We grabbed a wheel-barrow to cart our bags up to the field and Grace quickly gave us a tour and showed us how everything worked.
She explained that we’d need to build a fire to get the inside cooker working, another outside if we wanted to cook over the campfire and a third to warm the hot tub up.
Using my skills picked up as a Girl Guide, we soon had a warm meal, and most importantly for our youngest camper a toasty hot tub to dive into.
The Canvas Lodge itself was much more roomy than I had imagined.
There were two bedrooms, one with a double bed and the other with bunks, and off the main bedroom was a ‘cupboard bed’. My son loved this and I’m sure it was one of the highlights of his trip. Climbing up the steps to clamber into his ‘secret’ den looked like great fun.
The living area was large too – family-sized sofa and a cool chest as we had no electricity for a fridge – and a large farmhouse-style dining table. The kitchen was well stocked and had everything we needed for our weekend stay.
We also had our own private shower and luckily for us we didn’t have to heat our own water for this. It was connected to the gas so we got a nice warm shower at the turn of a tap.
We were staying on a working dairy farm – actually across the county border in Herefordshire – surrounded by animals.
Faye’s youngest son Freddie introduced us to the chickens that were in our field and told us we were welcome to any eggs they laid during our visit.
He also said we could let the birds out to wander throughout the day and even more importantly he’d be back to help us round them up in the evening.
The hens really did have the run of the place – they’d often pop up to the lodge as I was adding another piece of wood to the fire to say hello. They obviously enjoyed seeing some new faces too as we were treated to three lovely eggs by our plucky girls.
On Saturday evening, Faye had made us a farmer’s stew with instructions to leave it on the campfire for around two to three hours. So while my nan got organised peeling the veg, I was tasked with keeping the fire going – in the torrential rain!
Luckily, the casserole pot was large enough to protect the flames underneath and eventually the weather eased off and dinner was saved.
The next day Faye invited us to a tour of the farm which we gladly accepted. Twelve-year-old Freddie again amazed us when he revealed the birds he’d hand-reared during lockdown.
He also showed us his beautiful – and rare – white peacock which wasn’t a fan of the rain so we didn’t get to see his amazing tail feathers in their full glory.
Faye told us that 80% of the farm’s milk went off to Muller while the other 20% was sent to Waitrose.
The technology involved in looking after the animals was so clever, including a cow nutritionist monitoring their feed and cameras in the maternity unit so the team can help as soon as a mum goes into labour.
Faye and her family were expert hosts and throughout our stay one of them would pop by to make sure we had everything we needed.
And they made my nan’s trip by telling her she was the oldest camper they’d ever had on the farm.
Glamping is great fun and Hollings Hill Farm really does have that wow factor. It’s certainly quite a treat to sit in a hot tub and look out across the Malverns as a week-old lamb and his friends gambol in the next field.
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed