As published at www.standard.co.uk
When the crowded tube and the London air pollution start to get a bit much, there’s a place not far from the city where you can recharge on oxygen and self-nourishment.
Green Farm is a small farm estate in the Kent countryside, a gem amidst more than 12,000-acre ancient woodland – and only a 37-minute train ride from London St. Pancras.
The tranquillity of the farm immediately hits you when you arrive, as you realise that no train or siren will disturb you here.
Setting foot in the house is like stepping back into 15th century England. Although most of the home has been remodelled, several structural pieces of the house dated back to 600 years.
The owners bought the house on an auction in September 2008, but it took them a year-and-a-half to make it livable. Although the overall ambience of the house is old-English, the gentle modern touch of the interior makes the house homely and comfortable.
Staying at Green Farm is more like staying with friends than being a guest – something most people experience who book in here.
Food and drink
Every day, we’d indulge in hearty but healthy breakfasts, lunches and dinners on the farm. And, in between meals, everyone is free to use the kitchen to grab a snack and relax sipping on an afternoon tea.
Then when it comes to the holiday let, everything is self-service, so make sure to bring some food and drink along. However, upon request, the owners are more than happy to arrange a chef for special events.
During the day there’s plenty of time to wander around the woodland, breathe in some fresh country air and release some of the stress that’s built up over the past few months.
There are spa treatments on offer too: try a deep tissue massage to get rid of all the tension in your muscles and a detoxifying body wrap, which includes a head massage.
It’s not a farm fun without the animals, however. Feeding the baby lambs, the cattle and poultry really brings the country experience to life, and for many urbanites, this may be a whole new world.
“That’s what we want to do with inner city kids, encourage them to come down here and sense that freedom, to be active outdoors, learn where food comes from and understand about eating naturally,” owner Martin said.
A quite unique event took place one of the evenings that saw guests coming from all around the country. Musician Sam Lee, who sang the lead song in Guy Ritchie’s latest film, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, hosted the Signing with the Nightingales special event.
The Nightingale birds’ songs are so unusual and unusually beautiful that musicians such as Sam find it inspiring to collaborate with them. However, because the highlight of their concert is around midnight, we walked into the forest during those late-night hours — and without any artificial or natural lighting. We merely relied on our eyesight adjusting to the dark.
“It’s a very powerful experience,” Sam Lee told me. “People don’t get out to nature enough. And this isn’t only a way to get out to nature, but to listen to music in such a way that is so unusual; in the dark, in the forest. These are all things that are out of our comfort zones, so when people get there, they have total life-changing experiences.”
The owners of Green Farm organise a variety of events throughout the year from yoga and fitness retreats to painting classes, gardening workshops and there are opportunities for hen parties and wedding celebrations as well.
So, whether you want to escape the city for the weekend, explore some ancient woodland with the family or have a girls’ wellness getaway, you’ll be surprised how many adventures can fit in a long weekend.