The perfect countryside escape is only a tube ride away…
We were invited as part of this year’s National Unplugging Day to take a weekend break at Home Farm Glamping in Hertfordshire. We jumped at the chance to go off the grid with a mini digital-detox and run wild through the woods, living a simpler and more basic lifestyle for a few days. Home Farm was just a 30-minute drive from us and interestingly, reachable by the tube from London by Stanmore station. The kids were so excited, I thought they’d climb out the windows as we pulled up.
Set in 100 acres of greenbelt farmland, Home Farm is truly a magnificent plot and the with hosts 3 bell tents and 4 yurts that accommodate between 2 – 7 people. The tents are spread out in a semi-circle with a croquet green and a shared camp fire in the middle. Behind the tents there is a ‘Private Fishing Lake’ which is about a 20-minute walk all the way around, so serene and peaceful you could be anywhere, and the best part is that you are aloud to take your fishing Tackle to do some fishing on your own in the lake.
We arrived on Friday evening and were immediately greeted by Jess Gibbs, the founder of Home Farm Glamping. Jess met us with a huge smile, a clipboard and a funky wheelbarrow for our belongings, which the kids found very entertaining as they begged to hitch a ride.
Our tent was called ‘Lucy’ and slept 4 people comfortably, we had a double bed, a single bed and a single chair pull-out mattress. The décor inside all of the tents is simply stunning and Jess’s vision for a ‘comfortable, hotel quality’ stay in a camping environment is reflected in the furnishings and her eye for detail. The duvets and bed linen are of an extremely high quality and despite camping in early May when the temperature at night is pretty cold to the point of bringing bobble hats, we were as snug as bugs in a rug!
I made sure I packed my Sidney Cravat Bogs boots which were perfect footwear for the long grass and mud as they are 100% waterproof with Neo-Tech insulation and Max-Wick to keep feet dry and warm. Extremely comfy, stylish and not to mention extra funky. I received quite a few comments about them.
Dinner was provided for us in the communal barn on Friday night and Clare our host, was simply awesome, the kids immediately took to her and her beautiful smile just lit up the room and immediately put the guests at ease, nothing was too much trouble for her.
Once we’d finished eating, Jess set some chairs up around the fire pit and sat talking to my 10 and 7-year-old about all manner of things, the atmosphere felt perfectly relaxed.
On arrival, each party are handing a box containing all of your cutlery, crockery, glassware, torch and even skewers and a pot of marshmallows ready to toast on the open fire. There is one fire pit in the communal barn, one big fire pit in the middle of the plot and the staff will help you to make your own outside your tent, if you are looking for a more private affair.
Saturday morning, we woke fairly early as the natural light floods into the tent. It’s beautiful and the natural noises of the wildlife is a welcoming sound. We made our own breakfast and ate in the communal barn. The kids were completely taken with the dressing up box and played ping pong over their hot chocolates.
The day was spent with them running wild through the grounds, exploring, stopping to chat, playing hide and seek and basically doing what kids do, revelling in their natural curiosity. It really was wonderful to see my 4-year-old son romping through the grass with the older two. Bristling with excitement and being free. For some reason, he was completely fixated with the two log cabin shower facilities called ‘George’ and ‘Jabba’ (Jabba the Hut – get it?). Again, top notch facilities that are of a high standard and just like your bathroom at home. A lot of thought really has gone into making their customers feel special.
We decided to take a walk around the fishing lake and then explored the nearby Aldenham Country Park which has amazing 55 acre reservoir you can walk round, free entry on foot it is within easy walking distance of the glamping site. (there’s also a petting zoo) before setting off into Borehamwood for a Chinese meal. The kids were so well-behaved as they were just so happy to be out and about and free to roam. The staff at Home Farm Glamping made a huge effort to engage them all in conversation and they simply blossomed. My youngest son, made sure I pulled him around in the wheelbarrow which was an often hilarious but extremely tiring sight.
After returning from our meal, I let them roam for a while longer and then we were invited to make our own fire and toast some more marshmallows. Me being such a worrier, found the longest stick I could possibly find (about as tall as me) to keep them back from the fire.
Settling them in on Saturday eve was a breeze as they were absolutely shattered, we talked about their best bits so far and the ‘Fire’ and ping pong was definitely up there.
We woke slightly later on Sunday morning around 8.30am, the kids were so disappointed to be leaving but we just couldn’t stay due to their father leaving for Africa on business the following day. I explained to them that Home Farm is only a 30-minute drive from us and we’ll go back for a mini-break again soon.
As I always travel with my hula hoops, I even managed to teach Clare how to hoop and left one behind for her to practice with. Our parting gift for such a fabulous weekend living like nomads. I know my son was particularly sad to be leaving as he really bonded with ‘Mike’ who helped around the farm with all sorts and was in my son’s eye, ‘Chief Fire Maker’. He even got the kids to do a chant to the fire god to get the flames to grow, much to their delight.
I did have a brief conversation with Jess as she was exceptionally busy and commuting to the Farm from her home in Brixton each day. Jess was so warm and welcoming, you couldn’t be anything but drawn to her and her determination to make her dream for Home Farm Glamping the best that it can be is inspiring to say the least and we really wish her the very best in her efforts to make it a place to make happy memories.
Read our interview with founder, Jess Gibbs in our Inspiration & Aspiration section of MyFamilyClub.co.uk
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More information on Home Farm Glamping
Address: Home Farm Glamping, Aldenham Road, Elstree, Hertfordshire WD6 3AZ