UK Retreat Experience - Elmley Nature Reserve
We have been lucky and have booked Elmley on the hottest day on the record. We have checked in at 3pm and could have jumped straight under the outdoors shower to cool down. Then we had some fire pit cooked dinner, then the storms came and we were hypnotised by the view of lightnings getting near, lying in our bed, snugged up in warm blankets, with the biggest nature tv you could imagine - a window taking the entire side wall of the hut. The rains passed and we came back to our fire pit, roasting some marshmallows, drinking wine, and spotting the forks of lightnings drifting away into the far distance.
Elmley is the only place where you can actually stay inside of the nature reserve. The land used to belong to Oxford University, but then was sold to a private family that has put a lot of effort in restoring the natural habitat for birds. This is not the only unique selling point of this retreat. The Fultons, who now own the reserve, not only have managed to get it the status of a National Nature Reserve, but they are the only farming family that owns one in UK. Elmley is a 3,200-acre estate on the west of Isle of Sheppey, only 50 miles away from London. The reserve is a flat grass land, cut through with countless mirrors of ponds and small lakes, as well as small serpentines of creeks and streams. The reserve is home to a large number of endangered birds, including avocets, owls and marsh harries.
Georgina and Gareth Fultons have moved to the reserve 5 years ago and their main task was to attract more visitors. They have created the retreat on the old farm. The retreat now offers sold shepherds huts, which bring glamping to a different level. The highest specs of interior design impresses a lot. The brass splash backs, beautiful wooden framed beds, amazing natural textiles made by local craftsmen and dyed with organic natural dyes, woolen blankets in natural colours. The huts have simple kitchenettes, where you could prepare simple meals, but the retreat also offered delivery of home made meals. Two of the huts have outdoor showers, one has an outdoor bath tub. Each one has iron fire pit and comfy chairs from which you can contemplate the vast nature before your eyes, and get constantly bothered by the ducks, chickens and rabbits that cruise shamlessly between them all.
Just this year, they have also opened a newly restored cottage with 6 bedrooms, one amazing large kitchen, two dining rooms, and three lounges. The interiors are very luxurious, English country style with a very modern twist. Bathrooms with free-standing bath tubs, all overlooking the marshes of the reserve. There is quite a good offer of spa treatments you could have at your room. We won’t say more at this stage. Just check their website yourself, and browse through our pictures. Then, just book a stay, even if just for one day!