The travelling companions you choose are important. They have the power to take a holiday from good to great, so only your favourite people (or pets!) need apply.
But what about your holiday neighbours? A long-awaited escape can be made all the more delightful with the addition of a few friendly faces, human or otherwise!
Staying on a farm or countryside location conjures immediate thoughts of fresh air, wide open space, and warm hospitality that’s refreshingly down-to-Earth. And with cared-for resident animals as your neighbours, you could be in actual rural heaven.
We’ve made sure each of these carefully-selected rural stays include everything that makes a country break so wonderfully life-affirming. Big skies and mesmerising sunset views, hearty meals served on-site or close by, and plenty of gorgeous green space to get lost in.
You’ll also have the opportunity to meet the lovely resident animals, whether for grooming and feeding, learning more about their natural habitats, or simply for cuddles!
So if you’ve been longing to live a fresher, simpler life that involves getting up to watch the sunrise, then collecting freshly-laid eggs from friendly chickens, grooming horses, and perhaps even feeding a cute spring lamb, these are the perfect stays for you.
Author: Nina Jervis
Main image: Feeding the alpaca at Hush Hush Glamping, Powys
Presteigne, Powys, Wales
Naturally luxurious pods set on lush, wildlife-steeped Welsh farmland, with jaw-dropping views of the Radnor Valley.
Bedrooms: 1 or 2 per pod
Sleeps: 2 or 4 per pod
Guests can book to meet the alpacas, get up close and feed them breakfast & learn a little about how we care for them. The experience starts at 8:30am on the morning of their departure day and lasts for approx 45 minutes. Cost is £7.50 per person, which is in addition to the cost of the stay.
Arrieta, Lanzarote, Spain
Luxury Lanzarote eco-yurt accommodation set within a friendly family-run finca, where nothing is too much trouble!
Finca de Arrieta offers donkey rides to small children and guests can feed our resident donkeys and chickens.
Hasketon, Suffolk, England
Unwind amongst wondrous wildlife and amazing accommodation luxuriously inspired by the Great Outdoors, with unspoilt Suffolk countryside as far as your eye can see.
We are delighted to introduce our friendly farm animals to guests staying at Secret Meadows. These include a number of hens, pygmy goats, a pet pig, a small conservation herd of Red Poll and British White Cattle, as well as our lovely Anglo Nubian goats. Guest are able to enjoy experiences with the animals in a number of different ways: Hen Coop Hire £29 - our most popular 'hire' package includes a couple of friendly hens in a private hen coop at guests' glamping accommodation. Meet the Animals £44 - 1.5hr experience for up to 8 guests, suitable for all ages. Get to know the animals, help to feed them and learn more about caring for them. Goat Walking - our Anglo Nubian goats make the perfect companions for a stroll through our beautiful nature reserve. After the walk, guests are able to spend more time with them, feeding and brushing them, and learning more about these incredibly friendly and fascinating creatures. 4 people (max 2 adults) including 2 goats £49.46. 5 people (max 3 adults) including 2 goats £59.76. Lastly, our animals can be visited in their pens by our guests at any time during a holiday at Secret Meadows - the animals love to have visitors and there is no charge for this. For more info, visit property website!
Stamford, Lincolnshire, England
A historic, lovingly converted riverside retreat on the edge of the Fens, filled with welcoming warmth and surrounded by wildlife-steeped countryside.
We have chickens, guinea pigs, llama, horses and a Shetland pony – on site and for visitors to meet.
Tighnabruaich, Argyll and Bute, Scotland
A sumptuous trio of architect-designed rural retreats, breathtakingly secluded between sea and ancient woodland on Scotland’s unspoilt west coast.
Bedrooms: 2 or 3 per lodge
On the farm we have two donkeys, Barney and Louis, 2 pygmy goats and a small herd of Hebridean sheep. Then we have Hay hay our cockerel and his hens! 60 acres to wander around and meet the animals, take them a carrot, partial to apple, and love attention. Also wild animals abound in the autumn - a time of transition for them. Our red squirrels are hoarding nuts, otter regularly seen on the shore.
Widegates, Cornwall, England
A unique, expertly handcrafted back-to-nature escape that showcases some of the best sea views in Cornwall.
We have 40+ free ranging chickens on site - all of them have names (and yes I can identify them individually believe it or not!) - we offer the chance for people to meet them, have a cuddle / collect their own eggs etc.
Bude, Cornwall, England
An original glamping concept, lovingly created by a family who fell in love with glamping and the Great Outdoors...and set about creating a luxury en-suite glamping alternative for their guests.
We have onsite goats and a pig/chickens that we offer free animal feeding.
Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland
Get up close and personal with life on a friendly farm, in a handcrafted hut beautifully set amongst rolling Scottish countryside.
Bedrooms: Open plan
Sleeps: 2 (+2) per hut
We have sheep, cows, pigs, chickens and just recently got a pony who loves visitors to just happen to have carrots in their suitcase!
Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, England
A unique wildlife escape in the Forest of Dean, including vast open grounds and an exotic animal rescue centre!
Enjoy watching the exotic and farm animals in the owners’ private animal rescue sanctuary from the shared viewing areas.
Lauder, Scottish Borders, Scotland
An award-winning selection of five-star retreats with hot tubs, enticingly set amongst acres of scenic, wildlife-steeped farmland in the big-sky Scottish Borders.
Sleeps: 2-10 per unit
At airhouses we have some lovely friendly animals for guests to meet. You can just wander around the steading saying hello to Dylan and Lily the rescue donkeys, Fred, Grace and Marshmallow the very friendly goats, Coco and Beans the crazy new pygmy goats, Orlando and Obama the alpacas and Snuffle and Truffle the pigs. You can also say hello to our chickens, Hebridean Sheep, the eight Shetland ponies and also Rupert and Obi the horses. A little further afield is our friendly highland cow Apple, and our rare, breed shetland cows. All the animals can be fed with some feed you can purchase in the shop, or all love a cut up carrot! If you want to learn more about our animals and have a go at looking after them, you can join Damian on his morning feed rounds. He will tell you all about the animals and you can feed, water and help with their wellbeing. This is a free but bookable activity at airhouses, available in the school holidays on Saturday morning and at other times by arrangement.
Cartmel, Cumbria, England
A fun and completely unique stay in luxury self-catering stable, complete with a beautiful horse for company, set on a friendly farm in the Lake District.
Breakfast and dinner buckets, and a luxury grooming kit are provided for you to get to know your friendly stable companion a little better. Book a carriage ride into the village, or arrange to meet the rest of the farm’s horses. Experienced equestrians can arrange a hack and non-riders can book an Experience Day where they can groom the horses, get to know them and even learn how to carriage drive!