Rankins Farm

UK England South East England Kent Maidstone

  • Children’s playground
  • Campfires allowed
  • Campfires Allowed
  • Good walks nearby
  • Walking
Family-friendly pod glamping beside a 30-year-old plum orchard, with far-reaching views across the Kent countryside

It’s only natural, when your farm has been around for almost 400 years, that it sees its fair share of change. Over the centuries Rankins Farm in Kent has gone from the hunting grounds of a local Earl, to a series of sheep farmers, to today’s owners, the Sunnucks family, who have been custodians of the place since 1963. Apple, pear and plum orchards, were the Rankins staples when Tony and Sarah took over, but it wasn’t until they converted an old barn in 2006 that they began to realise the next generation of opportunities for the place. A few years later ‘Glamping at Rankins Farm’ was born. A wise choice if you ask us.

Set in the heart of Kent, with the High Weald to the west and the Kent Downs five miles east, Rankins Farm is a family-friendly pod glamping site with far-reaching, southwesterly views across the Beult Valley. But this is no valley in the steep, dramatic sense. The land around the farm is imperceptibly sloping; a gloriously flat, sweeping space, with a huge paddock set aside for ball games and a playground for children to clamber on. The pods themselves – six in total – are lined out in a neat, picnic-bench-fronted row with gravel pathways leading up to them, while, behind, a 30-year-old plum orchard extends in a bushy L-shape around the field.

Built in 2018, the pods feature all mod cons. There’s under-floor heating, plush en-suite facilities and a compact kitchen area with a fridge, sink, hobs and a microwave oven. If the weather turns sour, close the floor-to-ceiling glass doors and enjoy the views above instead, where a Veltech television has been mounted on the wall. Not that Rankins Farm is about squirrelling yourself away. Outside, every pod has a cast iron campfire pit (with a swivelling grill pan for cooking) and games like giant jenga and badminton are available to borrow. Tony and Sarah can even help arrange bike hire, if you want, helping you get out and explore the local area.

In terms of where to start, there are plenty of options. History lovers will undoubtedly want to visit the famous fortifications of Leeds Castle, which is only 20 minutes away. Built on a lake island formed by the River Len, there’s been a castle here since as early as 1086, with today’s structure, sticking out into the water, as magnificent as any château in the Loire Valley. Sissinghurst Castle is also 20 minutes away, Bodiam Castle is half an hour and Hever Castle 45 minutes, while the nearby town of Maidstone (a five-minute drive) is home to a couple of good museums. For many, though, a walk in the surroundings is all that’s needed. A ramble in the Kent Downs, a stroll in Maidstone’s Mote Park or a picnic at Bedgebury Pinetum, home to one of the world’s largest conifer collections. You might even be allowed to take some Rankins Farm plums for dessert.

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Details

Facilities

All pods are en-suite (shower, toilet, washbasin, heated towel rail, toiletries, towels e.t.c.) and sleep up to 4 people on a double bed and a pull-out sofa bed (bedding and linen provided). Each pod has underfloor heating and a compact kitchen space with a microwave oven, 2-ring hob, sink, fridge, pots, pans, crockery, cutlery and utensils. There is also a fire pit for BBQs and campfires outside, with wood sold on site. The "Blistering Beast" for communal use – an amazing wood-burning pizza oven that can also be used for roasting or cooked breakfasts (and then all sit together in the new wooden gazebo and enjoy your surroundings). WiFi throughout the site. The glamping site has a small adventure playground and a boules pitch, with games such as giant jenga and badminton also available to use. Tony and Sarah can also help arrange electric bikes to hire if guests want to cycle around the area

Suitable For

Glamping only. Dogs are not permitted. Hen parties, stag parties and large single-sex groups by prior arrangement only.

Nearby

As the landing point for European invaders, Kent is home to heaps of castles, a handful of which are within easy reach of Rankins Farm. One of the best kept is Leeds Castle , a mere 7 miles away. Dating back almost 900 years, the castle has undergone a series of makeovers, from a Norman stronghold to a Tudor palace, to a privately owned home during the Jacobean era. It also served as a place of detention for Dutch prisoners of war in the 17th century and a hospital in World War II. Today, the 500-acre estate greets over 200,000 visitors a year, with activities during school holidays. Moated Bodiam Castle, built during the hundred years’ war, is a half-hour drive and still retains such features as wooden portcullis and a look-out tower that you can climb, with guided walks available. Hever Castle , childhood residence of Anne Boleyn, is also 45 minutes away, while the 460-acre Sissinghurst Estate (18 minutes drive) is more renowned for its gardens than the building itself. For further culture, it's a 15-minute drive from Rankins Farm to Maidstone, home of the Maidstone Museum , where highlights include a Solomon Island canoe and an excellently preserved Egyptian mummy, and the Tyrwhitt-Drake Museum of Carriages  from horse-drawn sleighs to the original ice cream cart. Maidstone's town park, Mote Park, is also great for families, with two children’s play areas, a free BMX track and a host of walking and cycling trails. For a real breath of fresh air, though, drive the 25 minutes to Bedgebury Pinetum, home to one of the world’s largest conifer collections and a fantastic place for family picnics or to Bewl Water, an 800-acre site that's a boon for wildlife lovers (be sure to bring your binoculars). The Kent Downs AONB is also on the doorstep, with the Pilgrim’s Way the best known of the local walking routes through the area.

Food & Drink

Supermarket deliveries to the glampsite are welcome if you want to use the pods kitchen facilities. Located a mile up the road on Linton Hill, The Bull (01622 743612) shares the same spectacular views as the farm, and is the ideal place to enjoy a drink in summer. The bar serves cask and keg ales from Shepherd Neame, and there’s a cosy restaurant too (traditional carvery on Sundays). For gin aficionados, Stile Bridge (01622 831236), a mile in the opposite direction, offers tasty food, cask ales and wines, as well as its impressive gin collection. There's a patio in summer and a roaring fire inside in winter. If you like your booze straight from the source, though, The Musket Brewery (01622 749931) in Linton (1.2 miles) started production in October 2013 producing fantastic Real Ales using the finest malts and Kentish hops.  They have now opened The Armoury which is open on a  Friday (16:00–20:00ish!) and Saturday open 11.00am - 20:00ish! For wine, try the Hush Heath Winery (01622 832794), the only English vineyard dedicated to the production of rosé sparkling wine. A range of tours and tastings are offered to visitors all year round, with guests invited to try the wines and ciders, and dine at the estate’s pub, The Goudhurst Inn (01580 211451).

Opening Times

February–November.

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The Owner Says

Rankins Farm, a peaceful holiday destination in the heart of the Kent countryside. Owned by the Sunnucks family since 1963, the estate was a working farm until 2017, and now provides first class accommodation for visitors to this beautiful county, with a small amount of top fruit farming still going on. Whether you are planning a weekend getaway or a fortnight’s holiday with the family, you’ll find a wonderful experience waiting for you at Rankins Farm.

Accommodation

6 en-suite glamping pods, each sleeping 4 people (2 adults and 2 children).

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Location

Contact Rankins Farm, Rankins Farm, Linton Hill, Linton, Maidstone, Kent ME17 4AU

Getting There

Leave Maidstone in a southerly direction following sign posts for Hastings on the A229 (Sutton Road and Loose Road). Drive through Loose village on the A229 to the Linton crossroads. Continue straight on down Linton Hill, passing The Bull pub on your right hand side. After ¾-mile turn right into Rankins Farm (if you reach the Stile Bridge pub, you have gone too far). Go up the main drive and follow the farm road round to the right – there are signs directing you to the glamping site car park.

Staplehurst station and Marden station are both around 5 miles from Rankins Farm but from there you'll need to take a taxi.

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Why book with I Love This Campsite?

  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
  • Instant booking confirmation
  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

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