Those looking for a staycation with a twist this year need look no further than Farm Stay UK, which has launched a new collection of ‘Learn To...’ breaks for holidaymakers keen to brush up on their countryside skills. The collection was created after Farm Stay UK noticed more and more members diversifying their offering with experiences and courses to give a ‘hands on’ taste of farm life, making it easier than ever for holidaymakers to find a unique ‘stay and learn’ escape on UK shores.
From 4x4 terrain driving, falconry flying and pig-keeping to folk painting and dog training, the quirky collection has something to suit all tastes; providing the opportunity to enjoy a fun-filled rural getaway and come away with useful skills to boot. Learn to... Manoeuvre Muddy Terrain in a 4x4-Kirkwood Cottages, South-West Scotland
Head to Kirkwood Cottages in South-West Scotland and combine a working farm experience with the opportunity to learn off-road driving like a pro at the farm’s Terrain Driving Skills sessions. These sessions will teach you all you need to know to manoeuvre tricky farm terrain in your own 4x4- hit the mud and learn how to tackle hills (at angles!), ditches and fords, with the spectacular Scottish countryside as your driving backdrop. Kirkwood Cottages offers an array of other learning experiences too, from quad biking and tractor driving to foraging at their mushroom school. Plus, the 7 homely self-catering holiday cottages on offer are set on a 600-acre estate which guests are free to roam- making it the ideal spot for families, groups or those after a slice of blissful seclusion.
Prices for a 3 night stay in June start from £67pp based on 4 people sharing Roe Deer Cottage on a self-catering basis. Prices for the Terrain Driving Skills lessons are £45pp for 90 minutes. Learn to...Be the Ultimate Pig Keeper-Smallicombe Farm, East Devon
Aspiring pig keepers should look no further than Smallicombe Farm, whose Pig Keeping Courses offer the perfect opportunity to learn more about the skilled art of caring for these majestic farmyard animals. Head to this clutch of newly renovated self-catering barns on a small working rare breed farm in the heart of the Devon countryside and learn all there is to know about breeding and rearing rare pigs; including how to choose the right breed for you to make sure you’re master of the pigsty. The day’s course allows you to get hands-on with pig housing, feeding and pig husbandry, and is ideal for everyone from pig-newbies to avid pig keepers. Afterwards, guests can spend time enjoying the abundance of wildlife in the surrounding woodland or head to the nearby Jurassic coast, before relaxing in the peace and tranquillity of the cottage; enjoying views over the grazing animals.
Prices for 4 night stay in June start from £125pp based on 2 sharing the Hay Loft on a self-catering basis. Prices for the Pig Keeping Courses start at £65pp for a day-course, starting at 10am. Learn to... Teach an Old (or New!) Dog New Tricks-Polean Farm Cottages, Looe, Cornwall
Where better to train your dog than on a rural getaway in Cornwall? Located in Looe, Polean Farm is offering Dog Training Holidays to guests who bring their pooch along. The three one-hour tailored sessions include everything from agility training to pet obedience, after which you can see if the hard-work has paid off at the golden sandy beaches just 2 miles away. The cosy cottages have been newly renovated from 18th century barns for a characterful stay, plus, a free day’s dog sitting is thrown in so guests can visit local attractions at their leisure.
Prices for a 3 night stay start from £138pp based on 2 sharing The Mealhouse on a self-catering basis. Prices for the Dog Training Sessions cost £50 per booking (covering up to two dogs) for guests enjoying a week-long stay in one of the three dog-friendly cottages.Learn to... Live the ‘Good Life’ With a Smallholding Experience -Cwmcrwth Farm, Carmarthenshire
For the budding smallholder, Cwmcrwth Farm offers a popular Smallholding Experience, providing guests with the chance to learn the ins and outs being a smallholder before taking the plunge. Farmer Rob and his wife Fiona teach all there is to know about growing your own and life on the farm at this traditional Welsh smallholding just outside of Llandeilo in the Towy Valley, with guests able to combine the course with a stay at one of the farm’s stylish converted barn cottages. The ideal course for hands-on animal lovers, the sessions involve 6 hours of tuition over 2 days, covering everything from land issues to feeding and breeding... with a delicious home cooked lunch thrown in besides!
Prices for the Smallholding Experience start from £180pp based on two people sharing. Includes 2 nights’ accommodation, home cooked lunch each day and breakfast. Learn to... Free Fly a Hawk with Bird of Prey Falconry Experience -Nannerth Country Holiday Cottages, Powys
In the heart of ‘kite’ country in Powys, Wales is Nannerth Country Holidays- cosy cottages set on a 200 acre hill farm, offering a unique Bird of Prey Falconry Experience. Guests can learn everything there is to know about the ancient art of falconry from a team of professionals showing how it’s done; putting their skills to the test flying a Harris Hawk themselves amidst the beautiful backdrop of the surrounding woodland. After becoming a real falconry expert, guests can explore the farm’s oak woodlands, wildflower meadows and open moors, before returning to relax at the secluded 4* cottages.
Prices for a 7 night stay start from £138pp based on 2 sharing the Loft on a self-catering basis. Prices for the Bird of Prey Falconry Experience (4-5 hours) start from £50pp and include refreshments. Learn to... Perfect the Ancient Art of Folk Painting-Beechenhill Farm, Peak District
Keen art lovers can take a step back in time with a unique folk painting course at Beechenhill Farm in the Peak District- teaching how to perfect the art of storytelling through the medium of paint. Throughout the full day course, guests will learn how to create their very own egg tempera folk painting on linen - learning how to use local eggs mixed with pigments to produce their very own piece of art using ancient technique. Perched on a hill, this organic farm makes for a great tranquil getaway; with the Folk Painting Workshops available in the comfort of your own cottage if you prefer. It’s the perfect option for promising artists or those looking for something a little different this summer – with all materials (and cake!) included.
Prices for a 2 night stay in June start from £88pp based on 2 people sharing on a B&B basis. Prices for the Folk Art Workshops start at £30pp for a part day course or £55pp for a full day course.