Absolutely Mama rounds up the best in family-friendly outdoor adventures
Words: Helen Baron
Accommodation at Featherdown’s network of rural boltholes takes the form of log cabins with hot tubs or luxury tents with wood-burning stoves – glamping at its best. Outdoor adventures include collecting eggs, milking cows and reconnecting with nature in idyllic surroundings, with plenty of space for kids and dogs to roam (dogs are welcome at 16 of the 32 locations). Some farms have hiking trails while others are near beaches; some take part in farm tours or hold ‘pizza nights’, and several are in or near areas of outstanding natural beauty. The Featherdown concept combines the bonding experience of camping in the great outdoors with the comfort of a luxury cottage-stay. Those who can’t do without their mod cons can sleep easy – literally – with high-end mattresses, well-appointed kitchens and private bathroom facilities.
A two-night stay starts at £199; featherdown.co.uk
Simplicity rules at Fforest, which was founded on a dream of trying to recall ‘how simple looks, feels and tastes’. Across three sites on the Welsh Wales coast you’ll find accommodations to varying budgets and levels of comfort, all designed to maximise the outdoor experience through amazing views, ethically sourced natural materials and locally sourced indulgences. Outdoor adventures are facilitated by Heritage Canoes, whose aim is to help ‘kids grow up and adults stay young’. Keep an eye on the programme of special events, including midweek family breaks, sisterhood camps and supper clubs. Guests are encouraged to muck in, learn new skills and enjoy huge communal feasts out in the open.
Prices vary, check coldatnight.co.uk
Top of the Woods
Another Welsh wonder, in this case a campsite located close to Pembrokeshire National Park and Ffynone Woodlands. The remote beauty of the setting – which offers wild beaches, crumbling castles and bounteous wildlife – is offset by the eco-boutique safari lodges, each with self-catering facilities. Unless you choose the ‘pioneer’ option, that is, which comes with a covered outdoor camp kitchen instead. New for 2019 are a series of ‘nature domes’ featuring proper beds and geodesic window-walls: perfect for sleeping beneath the stars. There’s also plenty in the way of local activities, from horse-riding and kayaking to wild swimming in some truly stunning spots. On site you’ll find everything from bushcraft and yoga to gin-making (check the schedule for dates), while younger kids will enjoy the working farm.
Prices vary, check topofthewoods.co.uk
Want to get back to nature without compromising on luxury? Several hotels now offer a ‘treehouse’ experience and our favourite can be found at The Fish. Set within picturesque surroundings, you can choose from an ‘arboreal retreat’ beneath the canopy of trees or a hideaway hut with a view of rolling Cotswold hills. One of the huts even comes with its own paddle-boat plus access to a private lake and island. Special extra touches abound, and are designed to encourage guests to enjoy the outdoors: al fresco baths (both wooden and copper), private hot tubs, 400 acres of grounds to explore and plenty else to discover nearby. Don’t miss the feasting deck, where groups of 10-20 can enjoy a three-course barbecue feast.
Treehouses from £370 bed and breakfast for up to four sharing (two adults and two children). General rates at The Fish start from £150 bed and breakfast; thefishhotel.co.uk