Elmley Nature Reserve Shepherds Huts

Eclectic accommodation and seasonally-inspired dining on a National Nature Reserve in Kent, with an abundance of wildlife right on your doorstep.
  • Sleeps: Varies
  • Bedrooms: Varies
  • Bathrooms: Varies
  • Minimum stay: 1 nights

For nature lovers, a visit to Elmley offers something nowhere else can: the chance to stay in an amazing, family-owned National Nature Reserve. As the only reserve in the UK that allows guests to extend their visits to overnight stays, Elmley gives you the chance to wake up to wildlife right on your doorstep – a truly unique experience, particularly if you also indulge in a guided tour.

With a selection of beautiful accommodation on offer, you can look forward to an unforgettable escape to the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. Only an hour from London, Elmley offers remote and peaceful meadows, marshes and waterways which are a haven for wildlife.  In fact, the marshes are renowned as one of the best places for conservation in the UK.

Photographers, artists and writers have been inspired by Elmley for centuries, and the landscape is even said to have inspired Dickens himself when writing Great Expectations; no surprise, then, that Elmley was used as a filming location for the onscreen adaptation!

History lovers will also be enthralled by clues of Elmley’s past, and the many stories that are dotted around the reserve, from the Old School House that once housed 200 Victorian workers, to the 17th century farmhouse which was used to detain King James II when he tried to flee Protestant England in 1688.

The luxurious accommodation you’ll discover is a perfect match for Elmley’s magnificent surroundings. Look forward to a glamping experience in one of the well-appointed newly-decorated shepherd’s huts, all of which have en suite bathroom facilities (with delightful VERDEN toiletries) and charming kitchenettes.

Samphire and Little Owl offer breath-taking views across the Swale Estuary and the reserve. Both feature a large window at the foot of the bed to watch the owls fly by.

For a romantic retreat, a stay in Vanellus is perfect, while The Saltbox is a stunning retreat that offers a fully glazed end to offer the most magnificent views of the reserve – you’ll almost feel as if you’ve brought the outside indoors with you! Though with an al fresco bath to laze in, you may not feel like going inside at all.

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At a glance

  • Unique opportunity to stay on a family-owned National Nature Reserve on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent
  • Six shepherd’s huts available, most sleep families of four (Samphire and Little Owl are for 2 people; king-size beds and pull-out beds, suitable for 2 smaller children in The Saltbox, The Ferryman’s and The Damson; Vanellus can accommodate 1 small child).
  • The two self-contained cabins each sleep 4 guests (2 adults and up to 2 children, under 10), while during the summer months you can stay in a sumptuous collection of furnished bell tents that each sleep 2-4 guests.
  • The 17th century farmhouse offers more traditional, upmarket accommodation in six bedrooms, exclusively booked as a whole house with your choice of a serviced stay (housekeeping and host service) or non-serviced.  Elmley Cottage sleeps 10 guests in four bedrooms.
  • Perfect for a romantic grown-up escape, nature lovers, photographers, artists, history lovers and foodies?
  • In Summer the on-site Kingshill Barn is home to a café, bar, restaurant and courtyard. Meals and hampers can also be delivered to your chosen accommodation.
  • A selection of guided wildlife and photography tours are available.


  • Family Friendly


The Saltbox, Ferryman’s, and Damson: each hut sleeps up to 2 adults and 2 young children, king size bed, bedding & towels, kitchenette, pull-out bed/hammock (only suitable for under 6s), wool throws, hot water bottles, bathroom, rain shower, bath robes, outdoor shower and bath.

Martha’s Hut: kingsize bed, sofa bed for 2 small children (under 10), woodburner, tea-and-coffee-making facilities, mini fridge, full bathroom with shower, towels, bathrobes, VERDEN toiletries, outdoor bath, firepit.

The Roost: kingsize bed with reclaimed timber frame, sofa bed for 2 small children (under 10), woodburner, tea-and-coffee-making facilities, mini fridge, full bathroom with shower, towels, bathrobes, VERDEN toiletries, outdoor bath, firepit.

On site: communal bathroom facilities with individual shower huts and VERDEN toiletries, meal hamper delivery, guided wildlife and photography tours, wellness treatments, options for private chef hire and additional activities/services (these options are available to guests staying in houses only).

Local activities

Nature trails, bird-watching, photography, holistic treatments, historic sites, swimming, coastal park.

More information

A truly beautiful space, The Ferryman’s showcases sunrise and water views in the reserve, sleeping up to two adults and two children with a king size bed, pull-out bed, outdoor shower and bath, and rustic luxe décor. Meanwhile, Damson is nestled in the old orchard area of the reserve, surrounded by fruit trees.

Or how about a bespoke-crafted cabin, instead? Each sleeping two adults and two small children, the ultra-luxurious havens each boast a dreamy outdoor bath, fluffy bathrobes, and a soft-glowing woodburner inside, along with tea-and-coffee-making facilities and a full bathroom. The largest cabin, The Roost, also boasts a kingsize bed with a gorgeous reclaimed timber frame.

Stay in Elmley Cottage or the 17th century Kingshill Farmhouse if you prefer traditional accommodation.  Perfect for birdwatching, Elmley Cottage sleeps up to 10 guests in four bedrooms.  Kingshill Farmhouse boasts six elegant bedrooms that are ideal for larger group stays (exclusive whole-house booking only, on a serviced or non-serviced basis). 

During summer, there’s a wondrous selection of furnished bell tents to choose from, which are ideal for couples and small families seeking a more rustic experience. Simply choose your favourite location… woodland or meadow-facing for families, or adults-only Acorn Corner tents, with views of the Swale Estuary. Woodland tents even feature electricity, taking holiday convenience to new levels.

What about dining?  Choose a self-catering stay or treat yourselves to meal hamper-deliveries that include delectable breakfast baskets and picnic lunches, and wholesome, piping-hot suppers; all prepared to seasonal recipes with locally-sourced produce from the Garden of England.  And if you fancy a change of scenery – or a chat with newly-made friends – the Linhay is a wonderful rustic barn that boasts plenty of comfy seating, a selection of books and games, and a warming wood-burner.

Whether you spend your stay exploring the reserve, discovering the secret beach, photographing the wildlife or indulging in a wellness treatment before sipping a freshly-mixed cocktail, one thing is for sure – your visit to Elmley will undoubtedly be a truly special experience.

Things to note

Minimum 2 night stay at weekends only.

Please note that although most of the huts sleep 4, the second bed is really only suitable for children under 10. One child can sleep on an extra bed which can be supplied in Vanellus. The Damson, The Ferryman’s and The Saltbox have a pull-out bed and a hammock to sleep up to two young children. A travel cot can also be supplied. The Roost and Martha’s Hut have a sofa bed which is suitable for 2 children under 10.

Please note that for safety reasons, the wood-burners in the huts cannot be used if children are staying.

Where you'll be staying

Sheerness, Kent

What the guests of Elmley Nature Reserve Shepherds Huts say

‘Our stay at Little Owl was fantastic- the hosts were so
friendly and out Shepherd’s Hut was brilliantly kitted out. They really did put
the glam in glamping.’

‘What a brilliant find! We had a wonderful night away
celebrating a birthday. Gareth and Georgina made us feel very welcome, they
greeted us warmly and showed us the ropes. We had a lovely long walk on the
beautiful reserve followed by a home cooked meal (definitely book one!)- the chicken pie and crumble were delicious. We
made a fire in the outdoor pit- enjoying a late glass of wine under the stars
in the middle of a freezing March! The hut was toasty and warm, beautifully
finished off. We’ve already started telling our friends about it…’

‘We absolutely loved our stay at Elmley Nature Reserve.
It struck the perfect balance of complete privacy and rustic isolation with the
option of little luxuries. If you want to switch off from city life less than 1
1/2 hours via train from London, then this is the place to do it.’

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