To celebrate our 12th birthday we're giving away TWO romantic weekends away, one in our newly converted Hay Barn and another in one of our award-winning luxe eco-lodge tree houses. Both lodges, built with sustainability in mind, are nestled in an ancient tree line overlooking glorious Sussex countryside, yet only 1 hour from central London. Each lodge comes with kitchen, shower room and spacious, open-plan studio space with queen sized double bed.
Yes, we know we told that weekends are chocka-block until 2019... but we've been a bit crafty and held a couple of our lodges back which we're giving away for our 12th birthday. Find our posts on Facebook and Instagram and follow the instructions... it really couldn't be simpler... and two lucky couples will be resting up for a blissful break in stunning Sussex countryside this Autumn.
All you have to do is answer this question: "How many guests stayed at Fair Oak Farm in our 12th year?"
Winners will be announced after our 12th birthday, in early September. We won't know the correct answer ourselves until then!
We can't quite believe it's been 12 years since we took over Fair Oak Farm... what a journey! We are so, so proud of what it has become. It's been hard graft (to say the least) but absolutely worth it to stay independent and true to our values.
It is quite possible that our environmental plan, our insistence to have trusted suppliers with similar values and ethics to us, our use of sustainable construction and land management methods and materials matter more to us and our valued guests than most, but it makes us who we are today, uniquely appealing to those that know what really matters to us and 'get' our approach.
It means we've never really had to actively market. We just never have and yet every year we are booked further and further in advance. Staying true to our values has meant a longer journey but the right interest often seems to land on our lap, usually pre-filtered with those already on our wave length. We have had the honour of hosting some real heroes of ours and some truly inspirational people; business leaders with real influence in the way in which is world is shaped now and the future, known and unknown protectors of the planet, world-famous architects, musicians, a wide range of charities and organisations that literally save lives around the world, organisations that change the behaviour of human beings and the way we impact the planet. Beautiful, incredible people. Meeting these people, developing friendships and being provided the opportunity to host them, giving them the privacy and true comfort they're after... well, there can be no better reward for our efforts.
When we started out, renting a holiday home in Sussex meant dusty pink carpets and frilly curtains. Being a creative part of the movement towards a new standard of boutique holiday accommodation over the last decade has provided us with a level of management experience and a relationship with our valued customers you just couldn't obtain any other way.
We should probably shout about the various awards in recent years but, in truth, guests who enjoy our ethos and style, seem to find a way of discovering us and that keeps us more than busy enough! We are very grateful though. In fact, one of the highlights in recent years has been the nomination from National Geographic... an unexpected honour. To be noticed for some of our more sustainable and ecological approaches to running our independent family business, often over-looked by the mainstream, was an unexpected honour which we are very proud of.
Of course, some things haven't changed in the 12 years we've been here. The medieval village of Mayfield recently topped the list of most desirable villages in Britain. Obviously. At least a dozen times a year somebody tells us that our little lane, in the valley between Witherenden Hill and Mayfield is one of, if not the prettiest / nicest / most desirable lanes in the county. The valley we're in and surrounding countryside provides unbeatable beauty. Much of it is privately owned by large estates, such as Glynde estate, the Rausing family estate and pop-legend Roger Daltrey, all of whom are exceptional custodians of their protected land. And within the grounds, our alpacas, free-roaming peacocks and other farm life continue to be a part of our guest experience.
Words and photos provided by custodians of Fair Oak Farm, Mayfield.