Bring the kids, bring the grandparents, bring the dogs, bring Aunty Mabel and Uncle Henry to a place in deepest Gloucestershire bursting with fun and freedom. How much fun? Well, a steam railway complete with station house and bridges is just the start. So, all aboard the Field Lane Farm Express for a trip down to sunny Gloucestershire.
Sleeping 12 adults and four excited kids in Dursley, this is a country farmhouse with bags of space for croquet, cricket and creating magical memories around the massive meal table, in the games room and in the indoor pool. Indoor pool? Oh yes. It’s a thirty-footer beneath beautiful beams awaiting the happy splash of family fun.
Wander gardens peppered with weeping willows, giant chess and cocktail-friendly cabana. Dine on the sun terrace and stay out around the firepit or come in for Netflix TV, books from the library and logs on the woodburner. Sleep in four-posters under 400-thread-count duvets. Wake, then and rinse and repeat until thoroughly happy.
We could talk about the pond, the lovely two acres of English greenery, the cabana and the firepit, but that would be ignoring the elephant in the room, which whizzes around a track. Book a ride on the one-mile mini-steam train that skirts the grounds complete with station house and bridges. Cameras at the ready.
Out in the grounds, the view’s awesomely English, with weeping willows here, a cabana there for late-night drinks, and a sun terrace with table for al-fresco dining. Play giant chess or croquet on the lawn and let the kids loose on the balcony fort with double swing and slide. Bring up to three dogs for a snuffle and a sniff.
Fun comes first, right? So let’s deal with the 30-foot-by-12 indoor swimming pool for splashing away an afternoon. Towel off and grab a drink from the fridge at the poolside table or burn off more energy on the static bikes.
Elsewhere, there’s plenty room here for a dozen adults, four kids and up to three dogs. Field Lane Farm is an oasis of traditional luxury complete with beams, logburners, rugs and window seats. Open the French doors from the open-plan living room/diner and let the outside in. Then it’s feet up, logs lit, drinks poured and Netflix on.
Party all you like in the generous spaces, but escape too, to the library for books and to the games room to while away the time on table tennis and table football while the kids discover the wendy house, tipi, easel and play table. Post your pretty pictures to Instagram over the superfast broadband.
Will you eat around the 14-seater dining table with the doors open to the garden, by the pool or out on the sun terrace beneath the parasol? And who’ll cook? If it’s you, an Aga and combination oven await plus wine chillers and fridge/freezers in the kitchen and pool kitchen.
If you’d rather marinate in the pool while dinner magically does itself, call up William’s Kitchen or private chef Sally Armstrong for a one-off celebration or fully catered break. Keep your feet firmly up with takeaways from The Ionian for wood-fired pizza, Domino’s pizza or delicious deli from Leaf and Ground Café.
Dig into Chateaubriand for two or lobster thermidor at child-friendly Calcot Manor Hotel and Brasserie, or try salmon en croute or crayfish filo at The Old Fox. Or eat fresh and seasonal at The Close at Tetbury on Norfolk chicken or Cornish orchard cured sea trout.
William’s Kitchen in Nailsworth will serve you salmon Wellington, seafood bamboo skewers or aubergine rollatini. Ask them about popping over for a spot of in-house catering while you’re there. Go vegan on the rooftop terrace at Karibu, Nepalese at The Everest, Italian at Amalfi or classy contemporary at Wild Garlic.
Ten bedrooms at Field Lane Farm sleep 12 adults and four kids in the supreme comfort afforded by 400-thread-count duvets, pillows and sheets. Be quick to bag four-poster rooms, TV rooms and Jacuzzi baths.
On the first floor, the master bedroom offers a superking oak tester bed with TV and shower en-suite, while bedroom two (Cheese) offers a kingsize four-poster bed with oak steps up to a private bathroom with clawfoot bath and shower. Bedroom three (Bean Counters) has a kingsize French bed and adjoining family bathroom with Jacuzzi bath.
Bedroom four sleeps one on a sofa bed with a family bathroom next door, while bedroom five is a double with shower room shared with bedroom six, another double. Bedroom seven offers a single bed with shared shower room. Bedroom eight is the biggest room, complete with superking bed, sofas, dressing room and en-suite with Jacuzzi bath.
Bedroom nine, The Tallet, provides a superking bed with private shower room, plus adjacent sitting room with double sofa and television. Bedroom ten offers a pull-down single bed and desk plus private use of the wet-room shower.
So many holiday homes are geared around hens and stags. That’s all well and good, but kids deserve a break, too. Field Lane Farm is set up to be family friendly and, with room for a dozen grown-ups and four kids, you can bring most of them with you. And don’t forget your best friend. Three dogs are welcome here.
Places don’t get much more child-friendly than one with a miniature steam railway whistling around the garden. Book a ride on the mile-long track and enjoy a spectacular journey that takes in bridges and a station house. Then it’s onto the lawns for a spot of croquet or cricket.
The fun stuff just keep on coming at Field Lane, and kids will lose afternoon after afternoon in the 30-foot indoor pool. Pack your inflatables. When you’re done, refresh with drinks from the American fridge-freezer. Towel off and head outside for the balcony fort, double swing and slide. Older kids can work out on the bikes and rower.
Back inside, the games room should keep them quiet for a while. Choose from pool, table tennis and table football, mess about in the wendy house and tipi, or just break out the board games. In the evening, get around the 55″ smart TV for loglit evenings watching Netflix and Amazon Prime streamed over the superfast broadband.