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Feather Down Country Retreats (Layer Marney Tower)

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The Country Retreat tents are set in a piece of private woodland behind the main hall and are all equipped with proper working showers and flushing toilets as well as comfortable mattresses and over 45 square metres of living space with the private hot tub next to each tent to make sure you enjoy the great outdoors on this remarkable estate in full relaxation.

Drive barely an hour out of London, past Tiptree, home of Wilkins jam, turn off before Roman Colchester and you'll find a surprisingly wild and haunting part of East Anglia. As the road gets narrower and narrower, you’ll catch sight of Layer Marney Tower, its brickwork and terracotta glowing in the sunshine. It is the the tallest Tudor gatehouse in England and during your stay you’ll get to enjoy the fantastic views of the coast, from its summit.

From on high you may find it harder to spot your encampment - nestling in the birch, ash and alder trees that you’ll share with pheasants, woodpeckers, muntjac and owls. Some of the encampments look onto red deer in adjacent fields - the Marneys were given a licence to make a park for hunting back in 1267.

In modern times, countries and cities have vied with each other to build the tallest building. Alas ‘twas ever thus, even in Tudor times. The Marneys followed the example of their monarch, Henry VIII who believed that a home should reflect the magnificence of its owner. As Lord Privy Seal and Captain of the Bodyguard, Henry Marney got caught up in the craze and duly set about rivalling Cardinal Wolsey’s work at Hampton Court. The result was the tallest Tudor gatehouse in the country. The building work continued after his demise in 1523, but was brought to a premature end in 1525 with the death of his only son John.

These days you'll be given the warmest of welcomes by Nicholas and Sheila Charrington who now run the estate, together with their four children.

Open from 4 April to 31 October

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Terms and conditions

Please read the park terms and conditions below and the Pitchup.com terms and conditions.

Additional terms

Bookings can only be made by persons over 18 years of age.

Force majeure on the side of Feather Down Farm Days exists if the implementation of the agreement is entirely or partially, temporarily or permanently, prevented due to circumstances which are beyond the control of Feather Down Farm Days, including threat of war, staff strikes, blockades, fire, floods and other disruptions or events.

If you leave your tent in an improper condition, additional (cleaning) costs may be charged.

You must take up any complaint with the farmer immediately, in order to allow us to solve the matter as soon as possible. Should the complaint not be settled to your satisfaction, then you have the option, up to one month after departure from the farm to lodge the complaint in writing or by email with Feather Down Farm Days.

Remember that you will be staying on a working farm with live animals and potentially dangerous farm equipment amongst other hazards. Also you must be aware that some of the camp equipment (such as the bread oven) may be dangerous if misused. Whilst we and your host farmers take great care to keep you safe, accidents can happen and neither we nor the farm are responsible for such accidents. It is your responsibility to supervise any children. If you notice that any equipment looks faulty and/or unsafe you must inform the host farmer as soon as possible. We strongly recommend that you take out travel insurance against the risk of accidents and your stay being cut short.

It is permitted to receive visitors during your Feather Down farm stay. These visitors must report themselves to the farm on arrival. There is a charge for visitors of £20 per car.

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