Elmley Nature Reserve, Isle of Sheppey
Who needs to leave the country for a safari holiday when you have Elmley Nature Reserve waiting in Kent for you - the only National Nature Reserve in England where you can spend the night.
Ok so we are not talking lions and tigers and bears (oh my) but since 1991, Elmley Nature Reserve has been deemed a National Nature Reserve and is an internationally recognized site for the the conservation of rare birds, plants, animals and insects. During the winter months, the sky can be filled with tens of thousands of wildfowl, which make an unforgettable sight of cloud-like murmurations and flocks in formation.
Let the hands-on Geography lesson begin here for you and your family, the ultimate romantic getaway if you wish to leave the younger generation behind or an alternative break-out space for a forthcoming work away weekend.
With 3,300 acres, Elmley provides the perfect place for your little ones to explore and get closer to nature. It’s a family-run farm with approximately 700 cattle grazing the pasture each year plus chickens, ducks and tractors to admire!
There’s plenty of accommodation to choose from – whether it’s Kingshill 18th Century Farmhouse that provides a homely but luxurious stay or Elmley Cottage, a new open plan space with incredible views on three sides of this charming cottage.
It is also worth considering the Ferryman’s Hut overlooking the Elmley Ferry crossing with wonderful water views and prime viewing point for neighbouring owls and hares or bell canvas tents during the summer months, plus some very cute (and nicely done) Shepherd’s huts. Plus with massages available at your hut, why would you ever want to leave?
Big plus point is that they know how it can be tricky travelling with children so they are well set-up for families – baby and child equipment is available on request – and they can deliver home cooked meals to your hut, giving you the freedom of self-catering without having to cook!
THE FARM HOUSE
The elegant 18th-century farmhouse stands proudly amongst the untouched wilderness and vast blue skies of the reserve’s 3,300 acres. This upmarket 5-bedroom hotel, is a proper grown-up affair, off-limits to the under 10’s, it is luxuriously decorated yet filled with home comforts.
Expect tea or coffee delivered on a breakfast tray to your door in the morning, enjoy a hearty ‘Kentinental’ breakfast in the Elmley kitchen, order an aperitif to the drawing-room or just luxuriate in the oversized beds, rainfall showers or roll-top baths in the well-appointed rooms.
Enjoy an excellent dinner of seasonal and local produce, with an intimate supper club feel, before retiring to the firepit to dream away under those endless starry skies.
If it’s peace and solitude that you are after then Elmley has this in abundance too. Enjoy long, quiet walks across the rugged countryside with a day trip ticket.
Why not book one of their nature tours? Be guided to see the best wildlife activity of the season with the Elmley Tour Experience. Feeling daring? Take the 4X4 Land Rover Experience – binoculars at the ready! Or budding photographers and nature enthusiasts can embark on a Photography Walk and whilst being patient can capture pretty special moments of the amazing wildlife they have at Elmley.
If you wanted to share this gem of a place with your family and friends, then you have the perfect set-up for a party or wedding with the rustic Kinghill Barn. It has all of its original features intact, and completed with twinkling fairy light canopies surrounded by a wide-range of accommodation for all of your nearest and dearest. Just expect a few extra wildlife guests in the congregation!
We can highly recommend Elmley for family celebrations, friend’s gatherings, or why not take over the whole place and hire the huts too. It could also work for an alternative work space for companies looking to immerse themselves in nature or to gather for yoga retreats – a wonderful hideaway is awaiting you.
Elmley National Nature Reserve, Elmley, Isle of Sheppey, Kent ME12 3RW
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