You know me, I’m one for a baller holiday *throws dollar bills in the air* – but of course, doing it on a budget because I’m not P Diddy. Ha – Do you appreciate my ‘topical references there?’, I’m old these days, so don’t know what young people are listening to anymore. Seriously. There was a time I knew all of the songs in the charts/on the radio – but now I don’t know any of them. What happened?
Anyway, back to my point. I’m always up for travelling thousands of miles around the world, spending my hard-earned cash in Thailand, Hawaii, California etc but sometimes, and in the case of my recent trip to Cuckoo Down Farm in Devon, staying close to home is the best holiday ever. The UK rocks and we sometimes forget it.
I’ve been around the world, and I’m telling you, parts of the UK, when it’s sunny, rivals most over countries when it comes to beauty, food, events, people… you name it.
Cuckoo Down Farm
I know its first world problems and all, but I hadn’t been away with my boyfriend for coming up a year – and even then that was in Disney with my whole family.
We went to Cornwall on a trip a while back and adore the West country, and actually met in Plymouth Devon while studying at university, so thought why don’t we go to Devon for a long weekend? Get out of the London smog, eat some amazing food and see some friends from years ago?
I’m a bit of a city slicker (I like 5* luxury, nightlife etc), while my boyfriend is a country bumpkin – so thought we’d mix it up and go glamping at Cuckoo Down Farm? Glamping if you’re not in the know is ‘Glam Camping’ – geddit? Because let’s face it, I’m not putting up my own tent. I didn’t like doing it when I was 19, and I’m certaintly not going to like doing it now.
What is Cuckoo Down farm like?
Becky and her farmer husband John have been running the glamping ground for around 10 years – so they know what they’re going. We were met by Becky when we arrived and it’s professional, but also super friendly.
We parked up and she introduced us to the shared space by the parking spot (which is away from the main camping ground, so it’s idyllic there – and not cluttered with cars etc). The shared space is where the electricity is. I’m not going to lie, totally packed a hairdryer, straightener and iron (to my boyfriend’s annoyance), but nope – no electricity in the tents. You had to charge up there. I suppose you could get ready there if you wanted to do your hair etc, but I embraced the frizz.
There’s a toilet, showers, sinks, mirrors and a million phone chargers in the shared area – so you’re covered. It’s really nice too – not like those grim communal areas you get in some camping grounds.
When booking, you choose between a safari tent (that’s what we stayed in) and a yurt. One safari tent even had a hot tub. These tents are straight up luxurious. You’re really not roughing it too much, but are also out in the countryside. Like, it is a tent – but you also have a double bed. haha.
Ok, so we drove to our safari tent in the meadow, where there are four luxury safari tents (which are massive!) and two yurts. It’s all really spread out, so you’re not on top of each over. It’s quiet and just so beautiful.
You have the meadow, but you’re also on a working farm (you can take a tour, and if you have kids, go on a horse ride). And behind you are some woods you can explore with a stream running through it.
We dropped off our stuff, and drove straight out to the local village to buy a load of cheese, meat and wine (and marshmallows because the first thing the boyfriend did was build a fire!), so we could watch the sunset. It was amazing.
I couldn’t get over how beautiful the tent was. There was a living room/dining room section, with a massive table and chairs and sofa. A wood burner to keep it warm (it got really cold in the night without it), a kitchen area with a gas hob, big sink, a shower, a toilet (though that was outside) and TWO bedrooms. There was just two of us, so it was huge but you could get six adults in easily (I’m thinking it would be good for hen-dos!).
Becky came around to make sure everything was OK and left us a guest book with loads of suggestions of things we could do in the area. We took all her restaurant suggestions (you’ll see below) and ate SO well.
How much is Cuckoo Down farm?
You can see the whole price list here, but here are some examples.
You stay in four-night slots and in June for example, our tent was £372.30 (with all fees) – that’s £93 per night, which is just £15.50 per person if you fit six of you in, or £23.25 if there is four of you.
I genuinely think that’s really good value for money for what you are getting.
A yurt only fits in four people and is cheaper at £290.70 for four nights. That’s £72.60 per night and divide it by four – £18.
What we did in Devon
You could easily sit on the deck of your tent in Cuckoo Down Farm for the whole time you’re there, but we love exploring, so hopped in the car and drove to the main seaside towns to see what was going on, because basically, nothing makes me happier than being by the sea.
Plymouth and Mount Edgecumbe
Our first full day we drove to Plymouth which was about an hour away. I absolutely adore Plymouth and think it’s just one of the best places in the UK. Sure, parts of it can be a bit rough and ready, but at the same time, it’s steeped full of naval history (which is weirdly up my street), the Barbican, the Hoe, beautiful islands, craft and boutique shops – and it’s pretty cheap too.
We parked up at the Barbican, strolled around there, ate a crab sandwich, got an ice-cream (all sea-side essentials I’m sure you’d agree), then caught a boat to Mount Edgecumbe.
I personally think it’s one of the most beautiful places on earth (Grand Canyon who?! haha) and the boat trip will take you about 20 mins from the Barbican and will set you back £3 each way.
There’s a beautiful stately home, an orangery, maze – honestly, it’s heaven there. We were doing the coastal walk, but genuinely my worst nightmare happened. I get super anxious about being late. Like, freak out and shout at people holding me up kind of anxious. So anyway, we’re walking up the coastal path and my boyfriend pipes up with ‘Looks like we’re going to get a parking ticket. We’re never going to get back in time!’ The panic set in.
The boat the other side of the island that would take us back in time was leaving in 20 minutes and if we half ran it, we *might be able to do it*. So I was rushed up a bloody big hill, rushed across this island with me swearing, sweating and calling my boyfriend all sorts of names, but incredibly got on that boat with seconds to spare! ha.
So yeah, think about how long you’re going to pay for parking if you go off exploring. Could have been an expensive mistake!
Sidmouth, Seaton and Lyme Regis
The next day was a little miserable and cold, so decided to drive along the coast, stopping at all the little seaside towns and doing a spot of shopping.
What I love about these places that if you’re a big shopper like me, you can go to loads of independent stores, with lots of crafty bits and pieces you can’t get anywhere else – and it’s a million times cheaper than they are in London and other big cities.
I bought some glass work which I can’t put on here because it’s for my mum’s birthday and some art which will be going up on the wall in my kitchen.
Oh by the way – now realise Lyme Regis is actually in Dorset, but didn’t at the time!
Eating in Devon
Food and produce in the West country and in Devon is second to none. There are so many incredible spots to eat where the food is local, ethically and surprisingly cheap.
We even stopped at a load of farm shops (which are AMAZING in Devon – and huge) and would buy loads of little bits to munch on when driving or back the tent. I even bought some pink sweet potato moonshine!
Some restaurants we tried and I would 100% recommend are the Rusty Pig which if you’re into pork, you’re going to be thanking me – the fry up is better than any other one I’ve had and I’ve spent eight years trying out some fancy ones in London. Go here.
The Holt in Honiton was brilliant. Amazing staff, great local food. Yum!
We spend our last night at Hix Oyster and Fish House and it was amazing. The best meal I’ve ever had was sea bass on the beachfront in Sorrento a few years ago – and this came so close. Maybe it beat it… I don’t know. There wasn’t the Italian sunshine helping out. It was perfect.
My thoughts on the trip
We’ve been back a little while now and my boyfriend keeps talking about what an incredible little holiday it was.
Cuckoo Down Farm was amazing (you really should go), Devon is just beautiful and there is so much you can do there.
You can make it as cheap or as expensive as you like too. We pushed the boat out in the evenings going to nice restaurants, but if you fill up your tents, pop to Sainsbury’s and pick up food to cook – it will be a super cheap holiday.