Our Feather Down Farm Weekend at Glanmor Isaf, North Wales
We recently spent a wonderful weekend in North Wales, close to Snowdonia on an organic farm, staying in a fantastic safari tent.
If you’ve never tried ‘glamping’ before, as we hadn’t, it’s a whole lot of fun, especially on a Feather Down Farm. It’s camping, but without ‘roughing it’ with proper beds, mains water and nice wooden floorboards! Our destination was Glanmor Isaf Farm in Talybont, Bangor, which was about a one hour twenty minute drive from our home in Manchester. A couple of evenings before we departed we received a friendly phone call from the farm to make sure we knew our route and a reminder to bring wellies and a few other essentials.
Our youngest two boys had been counting down the sleeps from about 20, so they were beyond excited when the actual day arrived. We picked up our eldest son, Alex from high school as soon as he finished on the Friday afternoon and headed straight off. On arrival we were met by Elin and Owen and their youngest son (like us, they have 3 boys). We were shown around the picturesque site and Owen ran through everything we needed to know, including how to get the log burning stove going. There is running cold water but no electricity in the tents, so the stove is important for hot water, cooking and warmth. I adored that big tin kettle! At night, light is provided by the gorgeous lanterns and tealight holders that are dotted around the tent.
The accommodation is utterly charming and rustic, and the secret inside the cupboard was a big hit with our lads…
While they argued over who would be sleeping there first, Paul and I checked out the other rooms – a double bedroom and a further room with bunkbeds, plus a flushing loo. Nice hot showers were just a stroll away in a nearby block and there was also a great little honesty shop. This proved to be a highlight for our boys over the weekend, they loved to pop in and take some treats, or ‘run an errand’ for us to pick up some cheese or milk. The would write on the clipboard whatever provisions they had taken and then we settled up at the end of our stay.
While we unpacked, the boys played on the tyre swing and had a good explore. Chickens were roaming free and they discovered two pigs in a sty and a couple of adorable lambs that they totally fell for and wanted to bring home with us by the end of the weekend. Can’t really blame them…
Owen showed the lads how to bottle feed the lambs as they were being hand-reared and this became another highlight of our stay. Morning and evening, they were invited to help with the feeding and looked forward to it.
That first candlelit evening in the tent was quite magical. No distractions such as TV or computer games. The boys drew pictures at the big wooden table and eventually snuggled up together in the cupboard bed, listening to David Walliams narrate one of his stories. It was lovely to hear their giggles – a rare evening of peace and harmony!
I had pre-prepared a casserole at home which we brought with us and heated up on the stove, as cooking from scratch would have taken much longer and we were all ready to eat by the time we arrived. But the farm also offer to cook you a hearty meal for your arrival if you so choose. They will also make up your beds if you wish. The bedding was lovely (the boys commented that it smelled really nice) and the beds very comfortable. We all slept well, but I should mention it is pitch black at night if you don’t leave a lantern on! I hadn’t thought about that in advance; usually at home if we wake in the night there is a street lamp casting a faint light, but in the countryside it is so dark. Our middle son woke up and didn’t know where he was!
On Saturday we had a lot of rain, but it was so cosy in the tent and we didn’t feel the need to go anywhere anyway. We were just soaking up the atmosphere and it felt very relaxing, even the sound of the rain on the tent roof seemed soothing. We’d got the knack of the stove (well, Paul had) so we weren’t short of cups of tea or hot chocolate. It brightened up considerably later so we took a walk. The setting of Glanmor Isaf is idyllic; a combination of rolling green countryside and yet with a pebble beach just a short walk across a field.
On our second day the weather was perfect. Breakfast was the freshest eggs we’d probably ever eaten and we even had a ‘double-yoker’!
We had plans for a trip out later on in the day, but first of all Owen took us and another family, plus two of his boys on the back of his quad bike in a trailor. We went across the fields to have a close up look at the cows and watch the sheep dog display his herding skills. It was really interesting, we learned a lot and definitely gained a better understanding and insight into farm life.
Back at the tent later, we reluctantly packed up and I had a last look around. As an interiors enthusiast, there were so many aspects of the tent that I just loved. The crates used as creative shelving was just one great idea and they provided ample storage for clothes and belongings.
The weekend was wonderful and memorable, especially for the boys. They keep asking when we can go back and I really hope we will one day, I’d love for us to go back both to Glanmor Isaf and possibly another of the Feather Down Farms (there are even some abroad). The tents can be booked for mid-weeks (Monday to Friday), weekends (Friday to Monday) or week long stays (Friday to Friday or Monday to Monday) but this June we took advantage of a special two night stay which suited us perfectly with having to get back for school on the Monday. So if you have older kids, too, or just want a taste of the comfort and luxury of ‘glamping’ you might still manage to grab a short weekend this month, and I understand there are possibly some further short breaks planned for later in the year around September-time.
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