The last week of the school holidays we headed across country to Kent for a couple of nights on the Isle of Sheppey. The Elmley Nature Reserve has been on my radar for a few years now, with my friend Hannah Bullivant sharing her styling and involvement in the Nature Sessions retreat there.
With Sheppey being the other side of the country, I always struggled to get over there, and was desperate to see it. My time came, when we were invited to stay at the newly renovated Kingshill Farmhouse. Oh my! What a beautiful place. Let me show you around….
The nature reserve is an internationally important site for the conservation of both habitat and plants, animals, insects and bird and so it is a SSSI, Special Protected Area for birds and Ramsar site (wetland of world importance). They have a huge number of rare and endangered species but Elmley is especially important for breeding wading birds and over-wintering birds. In 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.
Kingshill Farm sits right in the middle of the 3,200 acre estate and enjoys wonderful wilderness views. I knew it would be a magical place, but I really didn’t expect it to be bustling with such wildlife.
Kingshill Farmhouse is about staying in style and complete comfort. Georgina’s aim is to make sure you feel utterly spoilt but completely at home and relaxed. All rooms are utterly sumptuous and provide everything you could need. In keeping with the rest of Kingshill Farm, it is be true to the heritage of Elmley, and the eclectic style is authentic and laid-back. From each window you have beautiful views of the reserve, with birds flying to rabbits playing on the lawn.
The farmhouse has been lovingly restored, with wooden floors throughout, sumptuous individually styled bedrooms all with an en-suite – it’s like a very best boutique hotel, but you get the whole house to yourself. I must admit we felt utterly spoilt.
The weekend we were there it was a national heat wave. Temperatures in Kent reached 32 degrees c, it was hot! Luckily, we spent our time lounging on the lawn, watching the ‘world’ go by. Hares, rabbits, stoats, geese, pheasants, the most amazing black chickens, ducks – naughty ducks, which kept us entertained for hours!
The first night we cooked on the bbq, eating outside. The kids ran wild in the gardens, as we sat watched the sky glow pink. After dinner we wandered around the nature reserve, which the birds fly in to roost.
The farmhouse comfortably sleeps up to 14. The house has four luxury ensuite bedrooms. The top floor features a family suite with two additional bedrooms and a family bathroom. All rooms make the most of the huge Elmley views. We rattled around in the house, I think our own home would fit inside the kitchen alone! It felt so wonderful to spread out.
My favourite bedroom was the yellow one. Such a gloriously cheerful colour, with it’s huge super king sized bed and large freestanding bath. I could have moved in there.
Evenings were spent in the library room, a deep green coloured room, with sumptuous sofas and board games. This room is so inviting, a place to snuggle up. I can image spending a cold winters night in there by the fire reading.
Our second night at the farmhouse we were catered for. A delicious fish pie with seasonal vegetables arrived in a hamper. Piping hot and ready to eat. Followed by a lemon tart with cream. Now this is something I could get used to. The team at Elmley offer both evening dinner and breakfast delivered to your accommodation. Perfect for those who just want to relax and not cater.
The farmhouse is available for private rental, whole family get-togethers, weddings and company retreats. Gather, self cater and enjoy Elmley in privacy and style. Other accommodation on the reserve includes a cottage, several shepherd huts.
Staying at the farmhouse has really whet my appetite for Elmley. I’d love to attend one of their retreats, the Nature Sessions, and perhaps stay in one of their huts.
Elmley National Nature Reserve,
Isle of Sheppey,
Book online: www.elmleynaturereserve.co.uk
Collaboration Note: Thank you to Elmley for inviting us to stay for the purpose of this review. Thank you for supporting the posts that make this blog possible.