Ascension Day marks the start of the spectacular well dressings at Tissington. Dressing or decorating wells with colourful flowers to give thanks for our water is an ancient tradition that is peculiar to the Peak District, which goes so far back in time that no one can be exactly sure of it’s origins.
One theory is that the custom began in Tissington village just after the Black Death of 1348. The villagers were spared the ravages of the plague, and their immunity was attributed to the purity of the water.
Another theory believes the custom started later in 1615, after severe droughts throughout the area lead to loss of cattle and crops, except at Tissington where water flowed freely from the 5 wells in the village.
So maybe water shortages are not such a modern phenomenon, and we should all celebrate the gift of life through water, which we so often take for granted!
The wells are decorated by pressing brightly coloured flower petals and natural materials into a bed of wet clay, mixed with salt, on a backing board. These boards are erected around the wells in the village to give spectacular displays, usually based on a biblical theme.
Beautiful and bright well dressing at Tissington
The celebrations start with a church service and a procession through the village to bless each well, and continue for the next week.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit well dressing at Tissington
The designs are amazingly intricate and detailed. This year a firm favourite is the less traditional “Peter Rabbit” well. Find out more about the history, skills and meaning behind well dressings at Carsington Water from 24th to 26th May.
If you miss this there are plenty more well dressings throughout Derbyshire during the summer, so why not stay with us on a farm and see for yourself. A quirky but fascinating tradition that is “well” worth a visit!
The Good Samaritan well
We all love holidays. However, a considerable amount of people that take holidays each year, have only ever been abroad. This may seem strange, but it is in fact, surprisingly common. Therefore, aside from the trip to the airport to get on a plane to a foreign destination, many people have never seen what the UK has to offer.
If you are one of those people or you’ve perhaps not really ventured too far afield when it comes to the UK, you really don’t know what you’re missing!
From Cornwall to the far reaches of Scotland, the diversity on offer in the UK is truly amazing. You can enjoy a cosmopolitan experience in the city of Edinburgh just as easily as you can take it easy and watch the world go by on a farm in Wales, and yet, so many people miss our beautiful country because they just don’t know what’s out there.
An interesting counterpoint to this is the fact that many people actually visit the UK because they have a better idea of our countryside than we do. They want to soak up our unique culture and history, as well as a landscape that includes sandy beaches, pebbled beaches, mountains, hills, lochs, lakes, broads, forests, woodlands and gorges to name just a few! In fact, you really don’t have to go that far to see most of these delights and what’s great, is that they don’t require a two and a half hour check-in, endless waiting around and being stuck on a plane before you get anywhere.
In the UK, you can get out on the open road with a trusty map or satnav and find paradise just around the corner that fits the bill perfectly and the whole family can get involved.
When the sun’s shining you can choose a golden sanded beach, when the wind is blowing you can find a place to take the kids sailing, when it rains there’s plenty of museums, country houses and kids’ attractions to choose from and when you’re tired – there’s a perfect Farm Stay property to relax in.
So this bank holiday, instead of looking for a quick departure abroad, why not pick your perfect Farm Stay break in the UK and discover what our beautiful country is famous for!
Our members offer fantastic holiday accommodation, a very warm welcome and there are plenty of properties that can accommodate the dog, the kids and the grandparents, so you can find exactly what you want!
Oh and no passport required!
It wasn’t too long ago really (well a few decades) that being sent to the countryside on a working farm was considered good for the health but also safety. In fact, in the UK during the war many, many children were sent to farms for this very reason. These days though, the choice to be on a working farm for a holiday is more about the experience of enjoying country life and perhaps to live out a bit of a dream for many.
If you live in a city or town, you may have never even seen a ‘farm’ animal in real life. In fact there are thousands of people that are amazed by farm animals in real life, because in a city you just don’t get to see anything like it.
Therefore, in today’s blog, Farm Stay UK is going to run through some of the benefits and experiences you might just get if you make your next break a working farm holiday. If it inspires you, why not look at our accommodation finder and see what working farms take your family. Just keep an eye out for the little red tractor for members who offer working farm stays.
First off, having a break on a working farm is absolutely wonderful for children! Aside from getting them outside and away from TV or computer games, it’s actually a great experience for them to see animals up more closely and see how a farm operates. From watching cows being milked to collecting eggs, you cannot beat farm life as a rounding experience for a child of any age, but also as a great way for families to enjoy something together.
As we’ve suggested, many people have never seen farm animals so it can be quite awe inspiring to understand just how big pigs grow as well as the wealth of animals that can be seen freely roaming in the countryside such as deer, ponies and cattle.
A working farm holiday with Farm Stay offers a unique chance to see how our great UK farms operate every single day and luckily there are a number of options for accommodation. You can opt for self-catering with our Farm Stay members, or you might prefer to eat your breakfast in the farm kitchen so there’s plenty of scope whatever kind of experience you’re after!
Some farms offer a wealth of experiences as part of your stay which could include a tractor or trailer tour, animal feeding, grooming and more!
All our Farm Stay members offer a warm countryside welcome of course and should you want to book will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about your stay and the activities available.
Always bear in mind the right clothes though! As you can imagine even in the driest conditions it’s good to pack a pair of wellington boots and suitable outdoor clothing to make the most of being on a working farm and so that you can adhere to any safety regulations.
Hopefully we’ve given you just a little bit of inspiration for your next break in our blog! With May Bank Holiday just around the corner why not think about a getting away with Farm Stay on a working farm for memories that will literally last forever?
A wonderful delight to see – lambs enjoying the Spring sunshine in a field of wild daffodils – narcissus pseudo narcissus
The wild and wintery snow has finally disappeared and Spring is on its way at last. Many of our farms throughout Derbyshire are in the middle of lambing. Stay in one of our fabulous farmhouse properties and watch the new born lambs gambolling and enjoying the sunshine – this one is “sitting pretty” in a field of glorious wild Daffodils, narcissus pseudo narcissus, at Mercaston Hall.
Article featured in the May issue of Countryside magazine.
One thing we are completely blessed with in the UK is bank holidays! While other countries do enjoy time off and different public holidays, the UK is one place that has more than most! Therefore, in today’s blog we thought we would take a look at some great bank holiday weekend destinations and hopefully inspire readers to escape for a short break with Farm Stay.
The May Day bank holiday (usually the first Monday of May) and the Spring bank holiday (usually nearer the end of the month of May) essentially give us two glorious weekends that are three days long! The origin of our May Day Bank Holidays are a little unclear to be honest but it is thought that they originated in pre-Christian Europe and over time, have become part of a cultural routine that differs for everyone.
The May bank holidays inspire activities the length and breadth of the UK and you’ll find plenty of traditional celebrations taking place in towns and villages everywhere. From Morris dancers to Maypoles and sporting events, many people really embrace this cultural experience, meaning that where ever you want to be for the bank holidays, you’ll be able to find some entertainment with ease.
The May Day Bank Holiday activities all over the UK are often seen as the beginning of summer too, hopefully making us all feel a little more cheerful and energised!
This year’s bank holidays are on Monday 6th of May and Monday 27th of May and as you’d expect offer an array of things to do for the whole family on a Farm Stay break.
Scotland boasts a considerable number of bank holiday events which include cultural events at galleries, museums and in town / village centres. Things like the Spirit of Speyside Whiskey Festival always draw a good crowd, but there are also plenty of craft fairs, music nights too, so as you can imagine there really is something for everyone!
If you’ve always wanted to escape to Wales, then the Bank Holiday weekends can be the perfect time to experience a beautiful part of the UK. The rural areas of Wales at this time usually mean that flowers and foliage are coming fully into bloom, giving what some would consider the most picturesque and stunning scenery you’ll see anywhere.
Of course, there are plenty of places to visit elsewhere in the UK. If you like your gardens then Kent can be a great place to go for a long-weekend. If you like your history then you may like Hever Castle or Leeds Castle (yes it is actually in Kent) and as Kent is known as our ‘garden’ you won’t be surprised to know that there are plenty of stately homes and houses with stunning gardens to enjoy. If you’re looking for something very traditional for May Day then Whitstable and Rochester in Kent have some great events going on this year.
Whatever you want to enjoy over the May bank holidays, Farm Stay members will be delighted to welcome you. Whether it’s a B&B, self-catering or a working farm, be assured that you’ll receive a very warm welcome, great food and hospitality and a chance to enjoy a great long-weekend away!
Why not check out our accommodation search now and see where you might end up with Farm Stay in May!
The UK may not be the largest country in the world but it does boast some of the most beautiful landmarks. From Lands End to John O’Groats there is a wealth of history, wildlife and stunning scenery that caters to everyone’s taste.
So in today’s blog we thought we would give you a bit of inspiration for your next break, by highlighting just some of the most iconic places to visit. And remember, there are Farm Stay properties all over the UK, so if you one of our featured places takes your fancy, there will be a Farm Stay property close by.
The Roman Baths – Bath
An amazing complex of thermal spas and an Ancient Roman bathing house, the Roman baths are in the beautiful city of Bath. They were discovered in the nineteenth century and are considered to be one of best preserved Roman sites in the UK.
Benefiting from the hot springs that come in from the Mendip Hills, the Roman Baths are at an average temperature of 46 degress Celsius but do rise on occasion when the pressure is high!
As a popular tourist attraction, the Roman Baths provide amazing insight into the lives and culture of the Ancient Romans and visitors should be warned – while the outside looks very small, the inside is a bit like a Dr Who’s tardis! Therefore expect a visit to last quite a while!
As an icon of the UK’s industrial revolution, the Ironbridge Gorge spans an area of about five and a half square kilometres. It has been a World Heritage site since 1986.
The name Ironbridge Gorge refers to the world’s first iron bridge, which was built here back in 1779.
If you visit this wonderful place today, you can be sure that the historic value will be fascinating and highlight just how important the UK was during the 18th century.
You can see the bridge but also a number of other sites such as homes, factories, mines and foundries too, so it’s definitely worth a visit.
There are an amazing ten museums all telling a different story from the area, which makes it a great day out for families!
No visit to Scotland is right without experiencing the delight that is Edinburgh. An amazingly cosmopolitan city, Edinburgh boasts an infamous castle steeped in military history and it also hosts the Edinburgh Tattoo every summer.
Young and old will enjoy this stunning city with its various ghoulish ghost tours that run every day and for a really immersive experience, The Real Mary Kings Close should not be missed. Buried beneath Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is a secret warren of hidden streets, frozen in time since the 17th century.
Stonehenge and its magical stones is mystery at its best. While lots of theories have tried to suggest what this circle of stones may have been used for, no one actually knows.
Stonehenge was built somewhere between 3000BC and 1600BC. Each stone weighs an amazing four tonnes and without the technologies we know of today, it’s a marvel to try to imagine how our ancestors managed to build the structures.
Stonehenge is managed by English Heritage and while you cannot touch the stones, during opening hours you can walk around the circle on a pathway with a free audio guide.
Chatsworth House in Derbyshire is a stunning English country estate that has been the home of the Dukes of Devonshire since the 1500s.
Aside from having over 100 acres of gardens to explore it also has a farmyard and a fantastic adventure playground, making it a great place for both young and old! It also boasts one of the largest private art collections in the UK!
Well hopefully we have wetted your appetite for a Farm Stay break to one of these wonderful places. Where ever you feel like visiting, book your May break with us and enjoy all that the UK has to offer!
Well the weekend has finally arrived and many people will be on their way to a countryside break. The length and breadth of the country, Farm Stay members are welcoming guests to their bed & breakfasts, farmhouses, campsites and holiday cottages so we are keeping every single thing crossed that the weather at the very least stays dry!
Whatever you have chosen as your holiday of choice with Farm Stay, we hope you love it and really enjoy all that your hosts (or you) have planned during your countryside stay.
Some members have Easter Egg hunts planned and a whole array of great activities for the young and the not so old, which is absolute testament to just how wonderful a countryside holiday really is in the UK.
Don’t forget the clocks go forward on Easter Sunday – something we’ve all got used to over the years, but at least Easter Monday should help lessen the blow and welcome some wonderfully light evenings from Monday!
If you haven’t quite decided what you might be doing on your break then do remember to take a look at our ‘Things to do’ finder, where you really will find a great selection of activities for the whole family. From a visit to a nature reserve through to a day at Farming World, you’ll find things going on everywhere.
And if you’ve not booked an Easter break this time around, aside from lighter evenings and milder weather, Spring brings with it the May Bank Holidays, so why not take a peek out our accommodation finder and find your ideal break in 2013 with Farm Stay and enjoy some truly British rest & relaxation.
We look forward to seeing you soon and have a wonderful Easter!
Worcestershire Farm Stay member, Helen Hirons from The Durrance B&B near Bromsgrove runs a Big Breakfast event in conjunction with Bromsgrove Young Farmers every year in aid of her local Primrose Hospice and Cancer Research UK. This year was a record and they raised a fantastic £3023 by serving 480 breakfasts, bringing the total raised over 10 years to £25,444
Everybody gets to enjoy a hearty breakfast using sausages, bacon, black pudding, eggs and so on from local suppliers, just the kind of thing you can enjoy when you stay in one of our Farm Stay B&Bs or Self Catering holiday cottages in Worcestershire.
Easter is just around the corner, lambing is well on the way and there is lots to see and do in Worcestershire so why not treat yourself to a short break and unwind in our lovely county.
Derbyshire and the Peak District is one of Britain’s most treasured National Parks. It is an area of outstanding natural beauty, with a breath-taking variety of landscapes, from the beautiful limestone dales of the White Peak to the wilder gritstone and shale of the Dark Peak to the north. The land is shaped by a network of dry-stone walls, and countless moorland sheep graze the upland meadows and dale-sides.
Derbyshire and the Peak District is a superb location for a short break or holiday at any time of year. We offer a range of high quality holiday accommodation; self catering farm cottages, cosy contemporary log cabins and homely farmhouse B&Bs.
You will experience a warm welcome, with exceptional breakfasts using homemade and locally sourced produce wherever possible. We are proud of our extensive local knowledge which ensures your visit, however long or short, is unforgettable. Whilst in the heart of the countryside many of our properties provide wireless broadband access to keep you in touch.