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Fair Oak Farm: Meet The Owners

Nestled in the beautiful Sussex High Weald, Fair Oak Farm has been a holiday destination since 1995, albeit with only a few rooms available to let. We began our journey at the farm in 2006 (see cheesy photo) with the conversion and redesign of barns into boutique holiday accommodation. Since then, our family business has organically grown, going from strength to strength.

When looking for a family home to accommodate three generations we found Fair Oak Farm and discovered the stunning location by chance. We started the small family run business from scratch on day one. We only had dial up for internet and we were one of the first businesses in and around Mayfield village to have a website. We had learnt as we went, often working 20 hour days, 7 days a week, managing to juggle day jobs, building work, day to day management of holiday accommodation, the livestock and farm animals. Somehow, during this time we had three beautiful children.

Since then, we’ve come such a long way, both in terms of personal development and continuously tweaking every little detail, reinvesting time and money, striving to continuously improve the guest experience.

When we launched our innovative eco-lodges in 2011 they became the number one destination for tree houses in the UK and put Fair Oak Farm on the map. It took us two years to get planning permission. A decade later, now that they are proven and cropping up everywhere, our new Grand Eco-Lodge Tree House took just 8 weeks to get planning consent.

Since offering the estate with exclusive use for private retreats and group holidays in 2015, the farm has become a multi-awarding winning business, welcoming guests from all over the world.

The refurbishment of our central barn, the availability of our delightful shepherd huts and the addition of our beloved Grade II Listed farmhouse meant we could offer exclusive use of the accommodation to groups for private retreats. The addition of a treatment studio, sauna and the occasional use of a huge, open plan barn for practising yoga, pilates, fitness and dance classes, make the farm an ideal retreat venue.

Combining our passion for country life with our backgrounds in property design and build, event management and hospitality inspired us to create a unique and beguiling mix of charm and style. There was no master plan and it is a concept that naturally developed over many years, providing a truly unique setting and guest experience for all types of retreat.

In 2017 we were nominated by National Geographic as one of their unique lodges of the world - at the time, one of only fifty on the planet and one of four in Europe. We've won a number of regional, national and global awards including Muddy Stilettos’ ‘Best Boutique Stay’ award in 2017 and 2019, the coveted Sussex Life ‘Outstanding Customer Service’ award and the global Travel & Tourism award for ‘Best Private Country Retreat’.

Despite the awards, Fair Oak Farm will, under our watch, always be a private, unpretentious rural escape. No egos. No clicky-finger service. No-one breathing down your neck. A home from home in the countryside, you can truly relax in.

Never ones to rest on our laurels, upcoming additions to the retreat venue will include our Oast house with roundel that is unique to this region and our new Grand Eco-Lodge Tree House. Just like our other lodges, the new Grand Eco-Lodge Tree House will have outstanding, uninterrupted valley views from your bed!

We're very aware how fortunate we are to be the custodians of somewhere so very special. Although more and more larger properties have become available in a growing market for group accommodation, we are very fortunate that no other property on the planet will ever be available to rent as a whole with such a unique mix of stylish buildings in the countryside. The combination of an historic Farmhouse, converted barns and outbuildings, Oast house, lodges, tree houses and shepherd huts cannot be replicated, let alone in this setting and an hour from central London. This is perhaps why we're able to largely rely on word and mouth for our marketing and still not have enough days in the year to fill the demand.

We’re proud to have created an environment in which we can prioritise our ethical values of social and environmental responsibility, whilst supporting local producers and services to help make your stay truly special. However, it is providing the setting for wonderful, life-long memories, seeing the happiness it generates and meeting such interesting, kind and inspirational people that we are most grateful for.

We are fortunate to have the kindest people and friends we could hope for around us. We're grateful for every day we're able to do we what do here. A huge thank you to everyone who is a part of our journey.

Ian, Penny & family

Photos from 2006


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