Sunninglye Farm Feather Down Farms

UK England South East England Kent Tunbridge Wells

  • Dogs welcome
  • Groups welcome
Family-friendly safari tent stays just outside Royal Tunbridge Wells

As part of its natural evolution, this family-run farm on the Kent/Sussex borders is quietly adapting in a way that protects and enchances its wildlife, while still being home to sheep, horses, pigs, cats, dogs, a miniature horse, a gypsy cob and a donkey. Surrounded by woodland on all but one side, the owners have brought seven Feather Down tents to a shady hilltop copse, where each tent enjoys extensive farmland views.

It's a fantastic place for young campers. The farm's fields are all grass and campers are free to explore every nook and cranny. Children can play in the tractor-wheel sandpit, miniature treehouse and various swings, which are all dotted between trees. Owners Jo and Gill have even devised the 'Sunninglye Challenge' – a fun but educational farm trail which will occupy the kids for a couple of hours. It'll take them round the farm and teach them about it as they go, with a certificate for those able to complete it.

Each tent has its own camp fire, where you can cook if the wood-burning stove proves too tricky to master. The owners are happy to provide guests with logs, but it's much more fun to go and collect your own from Rushet Wood, the small area of open woodland near the tents.

Nearby Rocky Field is home to the farm's naturewatch hideout, where badgers, foxes and deer can be spotted. Further on, you’ll find a pond for net-fishing. For more of a challenge, request a raft-building experience and spend the afternoon trying your best not to sink into the mud. If you're a fan of organised fun, it's an enjoyable experience, and Jo can even make you a brunch box to keep your energy levels up.

After a day spent exploring, sustenance will be a priority and there are plenty of options onsite, from home-cooked meals, to home-baked cakes and ingredients for pizzas to be cooked in the bread oven.

Details

Facilities

You can spend an hour grooming one of the Sunninglye's ponies, learning general maintenance and stable duties. Alternatively, request a kayaking experience, where you can take sit-on-top kayaks for a trip down the river Medway.

Each tent comes with a starter supply of candles, bin liner, toilet roll and first wood box. There is an onsite honesty shop for necessities such as extra toilet rolls and candles. Each tent has a kitchen sink for fresh drinking water and a flushing toilet, plus a BBQ, picnic table and an area for a camp fire. Showers are in a separate block, a short walk from the camping field.

Suitable For

Dogs (on leads and booked in advance) – Yes. Big groups, single-sex groups – by arrangement only, please call 01420 80804 to discuss your requirements.

Nearby

There are more stately homes, castles, churches and gardens in the surrounding area than in any other part of the UK. Take a trip to Leeds Castle (01622 765400) in Maidstone, which was named the 'loveliest castle in the world' and is surrounded by 500 acres of beautiful parkland.

Closer to home, there's plenty to do in historic Tunbridge Wells all year round. The historic Pantiles and Chalybeate Spring that marked the beginning of Royal Tunbridge Wells are not to be missed.

Marle Place Gardens (01892 722304), in nearby Brenchley, is a hidden gem. Explore 10 acres of formal privately-owned gardens, plus many more acres of woodland and orchard.

Food & Drink

There's one pub in the village, the Brecknock Arms (01892 750237) which and stocks a full range of the Harveys ales and home-cooked food. A much wider selection of culinary options can be found in nearby Royal Tunbridge Wells. Pulpito (01892 525565), a Spanish tapas bar, serves fresh dishes such as grilled octopus with paprika and The Black Dog (01892 549543) serves some of the best breakfasts in town. Cherry Gardens Farm (01892 862307) has a fantastic selection of homegrown produce in its farm shop as well as local honey and home-made jam. They also offer a pick-your-own service during the summer months, where guests can stock up on raspberries, blackcurrants, blackberries and Victoria plums.

Opening Times

Easter-end October.

Accommodation

No availability showing at Sunninglye Farm.

Location

Contact Sunninglye Farm, Sunninglye Farm, Dundale Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN3 9AG

Getting There

From M25:
If coming from the west, exit the M25 at junction 5 and keep in the left-hand lanes for the M26. Take the first exit, signposted A21 Sevenoaks and Hastings. If coming from the east, exit the M25 at junction 5 and keep in the right-hand lanes for the A21 to Sevenoaks and Hastings, you will now join the A21.

Follow the A21 dual carriageway for approximately 11 miles until the road converges into a single lane. Continue straight ahead, through the roundabout, then take the third exit at the next roundabout, signposted Frant Station. Follow Dundale Lane for 2½ miles, over a small bridge and past a small lodge on your left. The entrance to the farm is approximately ½ mile on the left – there's a sign attached to a large oak tree to mark the entrance.

From A26 South:
Take A26 North through Crowborough heading towards Tunbridge Wells, until the road converges into a single lane. After approximately 1½ mile, bear right at the crossroads, along Bunny Lane. At the end turn right onto the A267 towards Frant and take the 2nd left in the village by the shop. Continue straight ahead at both junctions and follow the lane to Bells Yew Green, approximately 1½ miles. Go straight over the main road and follow the lane for 1 mile. Take the right-hand fork at the junction, signposted to Kippings Cross. The farm is 1 mile further along this lane on the right-hand side.

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