Farmhouse for 4 - the joys of a rural holiday

family holidays ukThe loaded estate car follows the signs through the old sleepy village, before travelling further on into the beautiful countryside, to the village's rural outskirts. A bumpy ride along a dirt track brings them, bang on time, outside a charming looking old stone farmhouse. The smiling owner is waiting outside ready to let them in.

farmhouse to rent for self catering holidays for 4The family dump their luggage in the pretty terracotta tiled hallway, as the owner leaves, reminding them that tea is ready in the kitchen. Ahead is a wooden staircase, obviously leading to the three bedrooms, one of which has a king-sized bed. To the left are two doors. The first takes them into a spacious, comfy looking sitting room with large open fire, overlooking fields and an idyllic scene of cows munching grass in a meadow. They investigate the second door and find themselves in a dining room with seating for eight. Just off is a bright yellow painted, fitted kitchen, with Aga and a table set for tea and home-made cakes. A door leads to a vegetable and herb garden.

As the parents settle down to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the light filled conservatory with a view of horses grazing in a wild-flower meadow, the kids, excitedly, head off outside to explore. To the side of the farmhouse they find an enclosed kids play area and a little further down a patio bathed in gentle afternoon sun. On their way to the paddock, where the owner has promised them horse riding, they see in the distance the river where dad has promised to take them fishing. They meet a couple of goats in a side field, who amusingly, seem determined to make a meal of the little sister's hat.

After an early dinner, the whole family takes a stroll alongside the woods that border their farmhouse. The silence of the evening is broken only by the hoot of an owl hidden away from view and the sound of little rabbits scooting in and out of the undergrowth. The family return full of enthusiasm and plans for a cycle ride, next day, along a nearby trail that leads to a spot where hen harriers are said to nest. In the afternoon, on their return journey, they plan to sit by the river to enjoy a picnic and fly their kite.

Farmhouse holidays are on offer the length and breadth of Great Britain and Ireland. Each promises spacious comfortable accommodation with all mod-cons and wide open spaces where the kids can run themselves ragged or ride their bikes safely away from traffic. Those based on working farms give children an unrivalled opportunity to see farm animals: cows, pigs, sheep, at close quarters. At harvest time there is the added fun of watching hay-making and the combine at work in wheat fields.

The countryside offers much more than a glimpse of rural life. Outdoor sports and activities take place in the fresh air. Find out more about active family breaks and discover the countryside.

Farmhouse holidays can be as active or relaxing as you chose, and offer an opportunity for the whole family to spend quality time together, having fun in the open air.

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