Feather Down

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Layer Marney Tower

Essex, Colchester

★

Rated with 9.4

(148 Reviews)

Escape to a simpler life with Sheila and Nick

Discover Layer Marney Tower, an Essex surprise, the tallest Tudor gatehouse in England. You will be staying with Nick, Sheila and their menagerie of animals. Nick will introduce you to his farm animals, Peggy and Darcy the beautiful black horses and the rare goat-like Castle Milk Moorit sheep. Your cosy canvas hideaways are nestled in in birch, ash and alder trees that you’ll share with pheasants, woodpeckers, muntjac deer and owls. All in all, it's the ideal spot for a family holiday in Essex.

Surprising Essex

Layer Marney Tower is well placed for you to explore some little-known gems of the Essex coastline, one of the longest of any county in England. If you like bird watching, Abberton Reservoir is just a ten-minute drive away. Colchester the first city in England, founded in Roman times is well worth a visit, both for its history and for its zoo, recently voted one of the best in the country. Oyster lovers will already know all about Mersea Island. Constable country is a short drive away at Dedham Vale, where you can see where the Haywain was painted, one of the most famous paintings in the National Gallery.

What to do at Layer Marney Tower

During your stay, you will have free access to the tower when it is open where you can learn about the ups and downs in its history and get a stunning view all the way to the sea from the top. For the adventurous, rent a bike, go on a tractor ride or climb up the farm’s spider web frame, the choice is yours! All tents come with a hot tub, a truly indulgent way to get back to nature. When the sun sets, grab some marshmallows from the honesty shop and gather around the campfire. Treat yourself to pizza or make a stew over the open fire. After a long day of exploration, you can collapse into your comfy bed for a good night’s sleep at one of the best places for a family holiday in Essex.

What can you expect?

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    Hot tub

  • •

    Honesty shop

  • •

    Pizza oven

  • •

    Dogs not allowed

What animals with you find on this farm?

Sheep

Chickens

Deer

Horses

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You too?

What our guests like

  • ✓ Close to the coast
  • ✓ Animal menagerie
  • ✓ Close to London
  • ✓ A campfire place next to every tent
  • ✓ Wildlife haven
  • ✓ Historic monument

Our canvas hideaways

Hot tub available

Buitendouchehottub

Canvas hideaway with private outdoor shower

  • •

    6 persons

Tenthuisje farm douche

Canvas hideaway with farm-house shower

  • •

    6 persons

Tenthuisje binnen douche

Canvas hideaway with en-suite shower

  • •

    6 persons

Check A unique experience
Check Back to basics
Check Live in nature
Check Have adventures together
  • •

    Including wood for the wood-burning stove

  • •

    Including welcome package with bed-linen, towels, candles, matches, washing-up liquid and other basic items

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Going without electricity is our greatest luxury

Pizza night

The farmer will usually fire up the pizza oven during your stay. Everyone gathers round to tell their stories of the day’s adventures and invent pizza toppings you’ll never find on the high street

Ask the farmer

The farm tour is a must if it’s on offer. But you don’t wait till then. The farmer will be delighted to tell you more about what goes on at the farm at any time.

The farm shop

It’s great for the basics and usually even better for local produce and low food miles. And every Feather Down farm shop operates on an honesty basis.

Options during your stay

Farmers Stew
Farmers Stew
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You will receive the recipe, ingredients and cooking utensils to prepare a delicious Farmers Stew at your tent, enough for 4-6 people.

Fruit Box
Fruit Box
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Recommended!

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Upon arrival, a fruit box with fresh seasonal/regional fruit will be waiting for you in your tent.

Private Chicken Coop
Private Chicken Coop
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Rent your own private chicken coop, with two chickens and enjoy your very own freshly laid eggs.

Hot tub
Hot tub
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Treat yourself by booking a hot tub! You can use it throughout your stay. Remember to bring your swimsuit!

Meet your hosts

Sheila and Nick

We are Nick and Sheila and together with our team (and our menagerie of animals), we will welcome you to the beautiful Layer Marney Tower.

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Dip into your private hot tub, spoil some chickens and let our place be your escape from modern-day living.
Layer Marney e1551180097791

Nearby

Mersea Island

Colchester

The Essex salt marsh coast

What do our guests think?

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Average rating
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9.4

Mrs Wright

22/10/2021

Excellent site, super friendly & helpful hosts and set in a beautiful location. My kids loved feeding the animals and the regular visits from the owners dogs. Hot tub was a winner with us all. The honesty shop had the basic essentials and there are larger supermarkets approx. 10 mins away in Tiptree.

10

Mr Gladstone

22/10/2021

The best way to disconnect from the day to day and enjoy a simpler life in beautiful surroundings

10

Mrs Owen

23/08/2021

Great family fun

8.8

Mr Grech

23/08/2021

Nick and Sheila saved our summer! Wonderful glamping in the stunning grounds of their Tudor stately home, complete with lush gardens, deer park, farmyard and chapel. Friendly vibe, gorgeous setting. Top marks all round!

10

Ms McAllister

20/08/2021

Fantastic! The place & hosts are amazing

10

Mr Moran

16/08/2021

Okay, but spoilt by the new wood fires! all they did was smoke and you couldn't cook on them.

8.8

Mrs Morgan

13/08/2021

Fun time had by all! Great way to escape the big smoke!

8.8

Ms Gunn

09/08/2021

Wonderfully relaxing. A real switch off. The kids kept themselves amused with ping pong and nature walks, I read 3 books! 🙏

10

Mrs Kelly

09/08/2021

As a family we had a great time forgetting modern technology and back to basics spending quality time together. The children enjoyed having the chickens and caring for them.We visited so many lovely places around Layer Marney. Lovely relaxed place with stunning surroundings. Thank you, The Kellys.

10

Mrs Hand

02/08/2021

An escape from modern day living. Great quality time with our teenage daughters.

7.5

Mrs James

02/08/2021

beautiful views. Very relaxing

8.8

Mrs Koorts

02/08/2021

Having been a guest at featherdown farm 3 times previously (all different locations), I had a pretty good idea what to expect. And in many respects Layer Marney Farm didn't disappoint! The location of our tent was perfect, with beautiful views and tucked into the woods just enough so that we had the sun at the front throughout the day. The hot tub was a real bonus and we enjoyed it throughout the stay. The only downside being that the water/plastic inside became rather smelly as no chlorine is used to keep the stagnant water fresh. If there is a natural way to keep the water fresh throughout, it would improve the experience a great deal! The honesty shop was very basic and I felt didn't offer the variety that other farms have offered. It would have been nice to have been greeted by the hosts as I've found that a very personal touch in the past! In fact, we never met them throughout the stay. Overall a great experience up until the day of departure when the manager Chris demanded that we leave by 9.30am (our welcome pack stated checkout by 10.30am), and complained to us that it wasn’t fair on staff to be expected to get everything ready for the next guest. This ended our stay on a really negative note and it would help if there were better communication between owners and staff at Layer Marney Tower. We do appreciate its harder with Covid regulations. Many thanks once again. This is a brilliant concept.

8.8

Mrs Toms

30/07/2021

Brilliant getaway, highly recommend the hot tub and cowboy supper. Lovely hot shower too! Our chickens laid every morning and the setting immediately in front of the deer was fab!

10

Mr Smith

30/07/2021

We did not know what to expect as this was our first clamping experience. We were so pleased with what we found and we had a wonderful experience. We had two little ones with us (3 years and 1 year) and they found so much to enjoy, some of it for the first time in their young lives. The facilities were really good and provided everything we needed in every way. Our daughter and her husband and the granddaughters are all very keen to go clamping again - they really enjoyed the experience. We would all like to give our thanks to Christine who checked us in, showed us how to work everything, was there if we had questions and helped us if we had special needs. She was brilliant and a credit to the support team at Layer Marney Tower

10

Dr Cannon

18/06/2021

I booked the entire campsite for my family and we all enjoyed a very relaxing and social weekend. The hot tubs were a huge hit, as were the rental chickens, and everyone remarked on how comfortable they found the tents. We really didn't have to think about anything which made our stay that much easier.

10

Mr Lucas

11/06/2021

Really great all round experience

10

Ms. Spillman

31/05/2021

restorative

8.8

ms clayton

28/05/2021

super relaxing, beautiful view over the deer - completely re-charging

10

Miss Neale

07/05/2021

Lovely relaxing weekend, our children. Love the animal feeding with Nick in the morning.

10

mrs Elliott

23/04/2021

We really enjoyed our stay at Layer Marney. Spending time in the great outdoors, back to nature with a few home comforts. The kids loved the hot tub too.

10

Mr Lammert

16/04/2021

Absolutely enchanting

10

Mr Zell

16/04/2021

A wonderful experience. Much needed quality family time in beautiful surroundings and in a luxurious tent.

10

mrs Jackson

12/04/2021

fabulous moment of nature

10

Ms Cordell

23/10/2020

The site was absolutely beautiful. Being so close to Layer Marney tower, watching the deer in the morning & allowing the children the freedom to explore the woods was wonderful. The tent is very well equipped. Trying to boil water on the stove quickly is not something you should attempt (we may take a little camp stove next time!) but it’s all charming & the beds were clean, firm & comfy. We’ll definitely be back.

10

Mrs Chase

16/10/2020

10

Mrs Chetiyawardana

02/10/2020

Lovely!

8.8

Mrs Earl

02/10/2020

What a lovely place. It rained pretty much non stop but even in the rain there was so much fun to have. We fed deer. Sheep and goats, collected eggs, explored a Tudor tower and cooked sausages over a wood stove. What a magical weekend.

10

Mrs Preston

25/09/2020

Amazing weekend break - was lovely to spend so much time outside and watch the kids make fires and play. Lovely accommodation and place to be.

10

Mrs Barber

18/09/2020

Tranquil

10

Dr Medhurst

28/08/2020

A comfortable stay. Great time had cooking on the wood stoves. Children loved the freedom around the site and the visits from the dogs.

8.8

Ms Murray

17/08/2020

We had a really great time with the animals and playing in the tower and seeing the dolls houses - we enjoyed it all very much

10

mrs ratcliffe

17/08/2020

Perfect stay for relaxation

10

Ms Roles

10/08/2020

Yes

10

Mrs Parker

10/08/2020

A lovely, and very convenient, break away from London. It's an excellent site. Great to have a lodge amongst the trees, to offer some shade from the hot sun. The hot tub was a great addition - even though it was often used unheated due to the heat wave. Very friendly staff.

10

Mrs Mahwing

07/08/2020

Relaxing, fun, comfortable

10

Mrs Parker

03/08/2020

A lot of little and often unexpected luxuries made this glamping experience magical for us and our grown up children- The Stone sink, the novelty of building a fire to heat at least one of the stoves for The giant kettle, the plump warm beds, the constant hot water in the outdoor shower with its view across the fields, access to Layer Marney Tower itself- I could go on! This has been a wonderful staycation and we will be coming back. Thank you.

10

Mrs Billyeald

27/07/2020

A disappointing Featherdown Farm experience.This is our eighth stay at a Featherdown Farm franchise. Our second stay during the COVID pandemic, the two experiences couldn’t have been more different. See Featherdown Farm at Shilvingham Farm, Weymouth for our other review.This site offers no pizza night or farm tour. There is no contact with the owners unless you need them for a specific reason. It lacked the normal farmer, host / camper relationship. It isn’t really a farm, more of a country house with a few token animals.The honesty shop has the bare minimum, if you’ve been to other FD Farms, don’t expect to be able to get anything beyond marshmallows and chopped tomatoes! No milk, eggs, butter, meat, ice cream, bread, etc. We bought nothing!Thankfully, because of Covid, weddings are not on at the tower this summer, so we weren’t disturbed by the loud music that others have described in their reviews.Layer Marney Tower was a pleasant site. The gravel access road that runs between the tents was a shame, as it was quite noisy. The facilities to entertain the children were limited. There was a room in the barn with activities. But actually it was a bit disappointing a table tennis table with a lot of squashed balls and tatty bats, one badminton racket, no shuttlecocks, and some tired looking books.The owner feeds the animals each day at 8am, which we only made on the first day. 8am seems very early to be up, ready and up at the tower to join the rounds. I understand animals like to be fed early, but being on holiday, and with children going to bed later than normal, means it was difficult to get there for 8am. If you missed this round, there is no further access to the animals. No egg collecting, no petting animals. There are three goats in a pen at the courtyard you can pet over the fence.The chicken coup is right next to the children’s small play area. We didn’t stay long at the play area as the smell from the chickens was over whelming. I am completely used to the smell of animals and I keep chickens, so I am not exaggerating- the coup was pretty grim, and the chickens looked in poor condition. I thought they might be ex-battery hens? The whole place needed a good deep clean!The small wooden play area for the children at the tower kept the children occupied for 10mins, not very interesting, but better than nothing.The tents were clean and tidy, but the worktop and table were made of bits of gnarly wood which food and spills got into all the nooks and cracks, totally impossible to clean, a breeding ground for bacteria, not great in these COVID times! Normally the worktop is a smooth metal or plastic covered top, easy to keep clean, and the table just normal smooth wood.The tents were missing the curtains to both bedrooms, which when you are with friends or extended family, offer no privacy, slightly hill awkward trying to get dry after the shower or get dressed.The folder in the tent, was very sparse of useful information. No information on local attractions, or places to eat, see and do. The telephone number for the owner was wrong.My overall opinion would be, it was a pleasant stay, but not what I have come to expect from the Featherdown experience. Read less

6.3

Mr Graeme

27/07/2020

We enjoyed every minute, from start to finish. Christine, who greeted us and the owner, Nick, were very helpful and pleasant. A well run holiday experience with out any haste. Our chicken coup was the highlight for the children, with eggs to collect every day. The out side shower was great fun, everyone enjoyed the experience. .........A family picnic type bench outside would have been an added bonus....we had great weather and would have eaten all meals out side.......... Can’t wait to visit again, thank you team

10

Mrs Gardner

20/07/2020

Relax and chilled! Just what the family needed.

10

Mrs Lovelace

04/07/2020

A perfect, relaxing break, surrounded by nature and fresh air - just what we needed after 3 months of home lockdown thanks to Coronavirus. Thanks for Nick for the lovely farm tour and for being so patient with our 5-year-old son.

10

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