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Review: Brook Meadow, Leicestershire, UK

Brook Meadow provides lakeside holidays on a working farm. An idyllic collection of luxurious lodges and exciting glamping options provide peaceful rural escapes along the Leicestershire / Northamptonshire border. Close to the village of Sibbertoft and the town of Market Harborough, the farm devotes 15 acres to holiday accommodation.

Back in 1645, the Roundheads’ New Model Army gathered in a field now known as Cromwell’s Corner after the battle of Naseby during the English Civil War. Now the volleys of musket-fire and swords clashing are long forgotten in today’s tranquillity.

Award-winning Brook Meadows welcomes visitors all year-round. As well as the lodges dotted around a five-acre lake, Nuthatch is a compact heated cabin sleeping four.

Almost a trip to the Masai Mara, Marabou captures the Out of Africa spirit of a stylish tented safari with its four-poster bed and room to sleep eight. Sunbird, a safari bell tent and a little smaller, sleeps two adults and two children.

Recently arrived is a gleaming Airstream Caravan. As the website says, the Steve McQueen of caravans, where you can “live the stream.”

The welcome

Entering the farm, reception and shop, are on the left, to collect keys.

The lodge

A striking green sofa picks up the Woodpecker theme of the pine-timbered lodge with spacious decking overlooking the lake.

Claire Hart’s interior design flair brings rural charm to the two-bedroom lodge with botanical and ornithological themed wallpapers and cosy rugs. Even the lights in the lounge are shaped like birds in flight.

Featuring a dishwasher, fridge/freezer, oven and microwave, a well-equipped kitchen flows around a kitchen table that seats eight.

Bedrooms, one with a king size bed and the other with twin beds, have plenty of storage. Both have blinds and curtains to muffle the birds’ dawn chorus.

A chic bright bathroom has a full-size bath and a walk-in shower.

The facilities

The on-site shop is convenient for groceries, ice-cream and a range of greeting cards designed by Mary Hart, the resident textile artist. It is also the place to stock-up on marshmallows for toasting over fire pits that can be hired.

Brook Meadow is renowned for its family friendly thinking and children love the organic playground. Plus there’s an area where canine members of the family can run around off lead.

During Spring, Summer and Autumn the Cowshed Cinema, with straw bale seating shows “moo-vies” on a Saturday night. Literally until the cows come home. Once it gets too cold in the fields the cows want their shed back. A gourmet food truck provides wood-fired pizza for cinema-goers.

Hampers, from La Fete Fleurie, can be ordered in advance to enhance the luxury. English breakfast comes in a wicker basket including bacon, eggs, sausages and tomatoes. Alternatively, there is a bakery basket.

Or you opt for a continental breakfast hamper of granola, yogurt, compote, bread, croissants, cheeses, charcuterie, honey, butter, milk and coffee. Order a Cream Tea for the afternoons.

For a completely indulgent evening arrange for a chef to come to your lodge or Marabou to cook for you. Pierre Gouramand or the husband and wife team of Omotenashi Private Dining will help to design your ultimate dinner.

The location

Explore the area with the recommended country trails, including a walk through to Foxton Locks, for a pub and a tea shop at a junction of locks.

Other walks take in the Jurassic Way, the Hemploe Hills or a stroll to The Red Lion pub in the nearby village of Sibbertoft.

If you can’t make one of the Battlefield Tours run by the Naseby Battlefield Project, their website sums up what they claim are “Arguably the two most important hours in English history … Breakfast Followed By War. Lunch Followed By Democracy.” Perfect preparation for a visit to the nearby Naseby memorials.

This is historic battle territory. Many historians argue that 1485’s Battle of Bosworth Field, where Henry Vll’s Lancastrians defeated Richard lll’s Yorkists, was the beginning of modern times. Decide for yourself on the battle’s significance at the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre.

Other nice touches

Children can collect eggs from the hens with Mary, the farmer’s wife. Or you can buy free range eggs from the shop. Locally, Mary is known as the Hen Whisperer.

The farm has been owned by the Hart family since 1913 and Jasper is proud to give visitors a guided tour of the farm estate in his vintage 4 x 4.

Anglers should bring their fishing tackle as the lake is well-stocked with carp, perch and tench.

Access arrangements are excellent. There is ramped or level access to the properties and reception, plus wide doors for wheelchair access.

The cost

A four-night midweek stay in a lakeside lodge at Brook Meadow, sleeping up to four, costs from £110 per night based on two people sharing. Add £15 per night for each additional person.

Or a four-night self-catering midweek stay in Marabou, sleeping up to eight, costs from £145 per night based on two people sharing. Add £15 per night for each additional person.

A Celebration of Christmas Retreat of floristry and entertaining workshops, plus a visit to Chatsworth House, runs from 27th to 30th November 2023. Costing £150 for the course, accommodation at the lodges starts from £110 per lodge per night based on up to four sharing on a self-catering basis.

The best bit

There is plenty to keep families and adventurous souls occupied on and around the farm. For some adrenaline-fuelled Top Gear moments, Avalanche Adventure, adjoining Brook Meadow, offer quad bike or Land Rover safaris. Off-road racing buggies slip and slide along dirt tracks.

Driving amphibious vehicles over land and water seems relatively simple compared to the potential mayhem of the hand-eye coordination challenge of reverse-steered buggies.

Stepping back to medieval skills, channelling your inner Robin Hood, visitors can try their hand at archery or axe-throwing. Clay-pigeon shooting and air rifles provide more contemporary experiences.

The final verdict

The Hart family provide a warm welcome to lakeside breaks in the heart of stunningly beautiful countryside. Brook Meadow leads the way in blending peaceful rural escapes with action-packed days.

Disclosure: Our stay was sponsored by Brook Meadow.

Michael Edwards

Michael Edwards is a travel writer from Oxfordshire, UK. Although Michael had his first travel pieces published nearly four decades ago, he is still finding new luxury destinations to visit and write on.

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  1. We’ve stayed in a few lodges as we like the freedom and the rural settings. None of them has been anywhere near as tastefully decorated as this. This one takes design to another level.

  2. An African safari tent really is the last thing that you would expect to see in the Leicestershire countryside. Staying there must be quite an adventure.

  3. One of the lodges would be ideal for us. My husband and son could spend all week fishing whilst I sat on the decking reading.

  4. It’s a part of country that I don’t know at all so I had no idea that there was so much military history around. My 2 boys would love it.

    1. There’s not much to see at Naseby, just an obelisk and another monument, which is a pity as it’s one of the most important turning points in English history. But 8 times a year there are tours of the battlefield.

      In complete contrast, Bosworth has got a fascinating heritage centre. As well as all the exhibits it has short films of four characters who tell the story from their point of view which is really poignant. You know that they’re not all going to survive the day.

  5. A stay on a working farm would do my kids good. They live such an urban lifestyle that it would be nice for them to be reminded that eggs come from the chicken before they get dropped off by the Tesco delivery man at our house. I’d much rather see them racing about in country fields than glued to their phones.

  6. There’s obviously been a lot of creative thinking going on here, some real out of the box thinking to make the most of the facilities. The moo – vie cinema is pure genius.

  7. Over the years we’ve learnt that hotels and our kids don’t mix. Other people’s kids may be happy to sit quietly at a table in the restaurant and wait for the next course. But not our kids.

    Taking our kids to this type of self-catering accommodation works well. It looks as if there’s plenty of room for them to run about and let off steam. Luckily they’re at an age now where they are sensible enough to stay away from the lake.

  8. A nice little reminder that you don’t have to go to the seaside for a holiday or a break. Views across a lake are equally as calming.

  9. Since we’ve been retired – the best decision that we ever made – we’e kept an eye open for self – catering accommodation in late autumn and early spring. We’ve had some great holidays for some very competitive prices. And so far we’ve been very lucky with the weather. We’re never going to get 7 days of wall to wall sunshine at those times of year but we usually get a couple of decent days for some good walks.

  10. There are quite a lot of these lodges around now. We stayed in one in Cornwall last summer and had a very nice holiday though the finish inside was nothing like this one.

    The lodge reviewed here has a lot more style about the decor than the one we stayed in. On top of that it’s located in a part of the country that I’ve never visited.

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