Glamping at Freshwinds Farm in East Sussex was not initially in our summer holiday plans for this year. However, like so many others, our original trip was cancelled, so a staycation in the UK seemed like the next best option.
The Chimptrips are regular campers but decided after an extended stay with friends that we wanted to avoid packing all our camping equipment, and started planning last minute glamping in East Sussex. We wanted a good campsite near to Rye, Battle, and Hastings, as we’d not explored this area previously.
In fact, we were lucky enough to find 2 glamping sites near Hastings that fitted the bill, so we did 2 nights in each. Our first was in a bell tent at Brakes Coppice Farm near Battle and the second was in Owl Yurt at Freshwinds Farm in Pett.
Read on for our review of first-time glamping in Sussex and discover how we got on for the first time in a yurt.
Getting to Freshwinds Farm
To access Freshwinds Farm, you must drive through a typical narrow country lane, with limited passing points. We were desperately hoping that there wouldn’t be any oncoming traffic and we were in luck.
When we arrived, a lady scarecrow welcomed us at the reception office. She could offer no help other than advising us to ring the farmhouse. Being deep in the countryside, the mobile reception was poor, so I walked back to the farmhouse to meet the farmer who showed us to our yurt.
We weren’t sure what to expect from Owl Yurt (or even what a yurt is), but our first impressions were great.
We had our own private corner of the farm and a magnificent uninterrupted view over the Sussex countryside. Our pitch was spacious and surrounded by trees, so we couldn’t see any other guests.
The yurt itself was on a wooden veranda with a kitchenette area, dining table and chairs. We also had our own wooden shower hut and a separate composting toilet.
There was a firepit with large tripod grill for cooking and a double gaz burner in the kitchenette. This area was fully equipped with kettle, pans and all the kitchen utensils we would need.
Inside the Yurt
Upon opening the wooden door of the yurt, I found the inside to be just as pleasing. It had a double bed, a wooden dresser, a log burner, and 2 fold-down beds for the kids. There was plenty of room to stand and space for our bags.
Owl Yurt had no electricity, but a skylight in the roof of the yurt provided a lot of daytime light. There was also a solar panelled docking unit for charging phones (phew!) and powering two lights.
The Garden at Freshwinds Farm
Still excited at the prospect of our first glamping experience in a yurt, we went off to explore Freshwinds Farm. First stop was the garden, which was ablaze with colour. Hollyhocks, sunflowers, and dahlias filled the beds, making a perfect English summer garden.
However, as we looked beyond the flowers, we noticed the garden had far more to offer than just pretty flowers.
So you’ll be wondering, what’s so special about the Freshwinds garden?
Firstly, scarecrows. Life-size scarecrow ladies, wearing their Sunday-best proudly guard the vibrant flower beds.
Secondly, magic. Freshwinds garden has its own frolic of woodland fairies. In fact, it is a paradise for our magical flying friends. They have living accommodation in the fairy palace and fairy yurt. Outside the fairies have their own garden with meticulously painted toadstools, ladybirds, and an insect hotel.
And lastly (but, by no means least) Freshwinds is a working farm. So, of course, there are animals. In the garden area, we visited tortoises, rabbits, and guinea pig. There’s also a new pond, where we spotted frogs swimming between the lily pads.
The Farm Trail
As we passed through the garden, we joined the farm trail which led us on to bigger animals. I just wish I’d had my camera ready for the boys’ first encounter with a rather cross donkey!
The farm trail loops round the farm, passing by more fields with goats, pigs, sheep, and cows.
It’s a circular walk, leading to the Fairy Walk, which runs along the banks of a stream. Here you’ll find more fairies living in the trees, an enchanted wood and guidance on how to perform spells. However, you must watch out for the witch and hobgoblins!
The boys loved the walk, declared it “the most awesome trail ever” and immediately went back for a second loop.
Cooking on the Campfire
Having explored the farm and taken time to enjoy a glass of wine looking out at the view, we decided to start the fire to cook on. However, this was not as easy as it looks. The boys collected kindling wood, but it was all a bit damp and our logs were not catching. After much perseverance, we eventually cheated and added some coals that we had brought (just in case). Soon we had a roaring fire, but it was way too hot to cook dinner on.
Unfortunately, by the time we had everything in order, I’d drunk the wine, and it was pitch black. We had firelight and lanterns, but it was impossible to see if the kebabs were edible. Eventually, hunger prevailed. We took our chances and ate. (I’m still typing to tell the tale, so I’m guessing all was well).
Our second evening of fire building was significantly more successful. We learnt to prioritise slightly better and even managed to eat before it got dark.
Sleeping in Owl Yurt
Sleeping at Freshwinds Farm was blissful. I went to sleep with the sound of an owl hooting and awoke to the donkey braying. Oh, to connect with nature!
I must admit I braced myself as I headed to our private shower hut. However, I needn’t have worried. I soon discovered it was the warmest, most refreshing shower I’d had in ages.
Things to do near Freshwinds Farm
Freshwinds Farm is also convenient for accessing local beaches, such as Camber Sands and Winchelsea and there are a few great castles in the area.
Alternatively, if you want to stay more locally, you could take a walk at the nearby Guestling Woods.
We loved glamping at Freshwinds Farm. The attention to detail with the scarecrows and fairies made it a very special experience and the kids made numerous trips to visit the gardens and animals.
Although at first, I wasn’t too keen on using our very natural eco-toilet, I soon got the hang of it. Even so, I was very happy to discover a flushing one up near the garden! Plus, the shower was so good, it really made up for it.
Freshwinds Farm is in a great location for visiting nearby towns, beaches and castles.
Furthermore, it was great being at one with nature and away from the crowds. Just perfect for social distancing.
As a first time glamper, the best thing about glamping is the lack of camping equipment. At the end of our stay, we were up and away and didn’t need to sort out any damp tent or put all the kit away when we got home.
Have you tried glamping yet? Please comment below:-
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