Feather Down Farms: a weekend stay on a farm


A couple of weeks back, we picked up the children from school on a Friday afternoon and drove all the way to the very south of Belgium. Reason for our trip was a weekend stay at a Feather Down farm, or in other words, we were going ‘glamping’ on a real working farm.

Feather Down is a concept that originated in the Netherlands (where it is called ‘Boerenbed‘), and for years already I had been toying with the idea of going. The idea is so simple, and so cool: offering people the chance to re-discover ‘simple living’ by staying in a ‘tenthouse’ with no electricity and hot water (except for the shower — this is clamping after all), encouraging them to rewind, to slow down. Plus, giving them the chance to actively experience farm life; to physically work on a farm, alongside the farmers, to put their muscles to work and get their hands dirty.

After our arrival at the farm in Belgium in the evening, we immediately stepped in the mud, and of course the bag with wellies was left forgotten on the doorstep back in Amsterdam. But we were welcomed warmly by the farmer’s wife who, herself a mother of three children, quickly provided us with proper footwear in a variety of sizes. Then, we transported our suitcases in the wheelbarrow (which we were handed for this purpose) to the tenthouse, which looked terrific, but was freezing! No central heating and no electricity — we were lucky to arrive before sunset so we could see what we were doing. But an hour or so later, the candles and oil lamps were providing a cosy light, and the fire was roaring in the wood burning stove.

feather down farms

After a fairly comfortable night (although we did get a bit chilly!), Saturday morning started with a breakfast we had ordered from the farmer’s wife the evening before. She baked her own bread, and together with fresh milk from her cows, fresh eggs from her hens, homemade jam from her garden and drip coffee we made on our stove, we had a copious breakfast. Which was a needed source of energy, because we were going to sample a tast of farm life immediately after breakfast!


The coming hours we tended to the animals — feeding them, adding fresh straw, and giving a bottle to the lambs and calves who had lost their mums or had trouble nursing. All of this is the job of the farmer’s wife, while her husband is out on the fields, taking care of the even heavier labour.


I thought it was interesting to see that the looks of this working farm are perhaps not picture perfect, but after having spent time working alongside the farmwife for a bit, one quickly sees that the welfare of the animals is what is of the utmost importance. It is so much work to take care of them! The work really never stops, and I quickly understood that there is simply no time to keep things more than functionally tidy or pretty. And actually, a bit of mud is a lot of fun, and the surrounding fields and wild spring flowers growing in little corners are so pretty.


The tent-houses, which are apparently always the same at all the Feather Down farms, are tastefully designed, with walls made of fruit crates, zinc countertops, copper taps, and enamel kitchenware. There are proper beds with duvets, a comfortable couch, and lovely antique chairs around the wooden table. Outside, each tent is equipped with a picnic table and a couple of lounge chairs. Everything is really well thought through, and even though you are meant to live a simple life here, you are equipped with all the means to do so comfortably.


We also helped to milk the cows, which is a nearly 3 hour job that takes place twice a day. The farmer’s wife really involved us in the process — we were actively milking cows here, checking the quality of the milk, cleaning and disinfecting the nipples, operating the milk machines… (Sara and Pim became quick pros and even ran the operation themselves for a little while!)


How fun was this day full of labour — we were all so hungry. After we lit the fire, we cooked a simple bean dish on the wood burning stove that I used to love as a child. A one-pot dish which only needs a few ingredients: diced bacon fried with onions, mixed with canned brown beans, brought to taste only with a bit of pepper and served with a side of apple compote. We all devoured it.


The Feather Down Farm tents are set up in the middle of the fields, so it’s a true outdoor experience. Waking up in the morning in the middle of dew covered fields is so romantic, and it was relaxing to hang out on the field, where there’s a simple wooden swing and slide set up but is otherwise left empty.


Being outside the entire day, helping alongside the farmer’s wife and cooking on a wood burning stove (which means making a pot of tea or coffee takes close to an hour) made us forget the rush of city living very quickly. Tamar chopped wood, we milked cows, cuddled lambs, calves and kittens, washed the pretty enamel dishes by hand (first we heated water on the stove, of course), we trotted through the mud and demure, we ate hearty and simple, tasty food. We definitely unwound and spent great quality time together, but what I loved most is that the children got a true tast of farm living, the hardship and the wonders of it!


There are now Feather Down farms in America, South Africa, France and Germany besides the ones in the Netherlands and Belgium.  We definitely would love to go again!

xxx Esther


Comments (16)

May 19, 2016

We often stay at Featherdown Farms in the UK and the children love it! I would say a head torch is a good thing to take, especially if you go later in the season when it’s darker in the mornings.

Esther in Amsterdam
May 20, 2016

True! We brought a flashlight and it was handy! x

May 19, 2016

Gaspar looking so tenderly to his kitten :)) Sweet! Amazing parents you both are, oh my!

Courtney in London
May 19, 2016

What a cool concept! It’s such a great opportunity to escape the city for a weekend. And I love all your photos! So fun. xx

May 19, 2016

Wow, the Farmer’s Wife sounds like a farmer herself! Impressive!

Esther in Amsterdam
May 20, 2016

Super impressive!! And she is so lovely and patient. x

May 19, 2016

What wonderful memories you’ve created with your children! You’re such a lovely Mummy! May I ask Esther where Sara’s yellow jacket is from please? A x

May 19, 2016

(The yellow one, please) xx

Esther in Amsterdam
May 19, 2016

Thank you for your sweet comment!
Do you mean Ava’s jacket? We got it at Monoprix in France a few years ago. It rolls up really tiny in one of the pockets, super handy! I think they stock similar jackets every year. xx

May 20, 2016

We’ve been mulling over this idea for sometime. Now I’ve seen your photos, I’m convinced. Glamping here we come!

Esther in Amsterdam
May 20, 2016

Yay! Enjoy!! x

May 20, 2016

Such a cool concept! And lots of beautiful photos from which one can really “feel” the joy you were having! Would you mind telling me where you get this lovely and cosy looking pullover from that Casper is wearing? The older ones are wearing some from Babaa, I consider, but Casper´s is looking different and very special. Thank you! I hope you and Ava had a wonderful birthday… XoX Nina

Esther in Amsterdam
May 20, 2016

Hi Nina,
Casper’s jumper is from Omibia ( — indeed a very different and special brand. (And yes — the others are from Babaa. We really needed those cosy jumpers as it was seriously chilly at times!) xxx

May 25, 2016

[…] This looks like a holiday in heaven… love Babyccino and their visit to a Feather Down Farms. […]

Melanie Reed
May 27, 2016

We just stayed at one in the UK a few weekends ago, and had great weather and a day trip to Bournemouth Beach and long walks in the New Forest, it was Gambledown Farm, Feather Down. We took 3 tents so our single friends could be in one (and sleep late) and the friends with kids could enjoy the early mornings!

June 1, 2016

Wat heerlijk! Bedankt voor de tip, Esther. Dit staat nu met stip op ons lijstje!

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