The stunning six-berth 'Skylark' Lodge at Brook Meadow viewed from across the campsite's well-stocked five acre fishing lake
Brook Meadow offers award-winning accommodation in a tranquil setting
“It’s certainly one of the most tranquil and best equipped campsites that we’ve ever stayed at,” suggested my daughter and son-in-law, who joined me for a weekend stay at the Brook Meadow camping, glamping and caravanning site on the Northants/Leicestershire border.
While they usually stay in their motorhome, this time they enjoyed the comforts of a spacious lakeside lodge at the privately-owned campsite on a 400-acre working farm located a stone’s throw from the village of Sibbertoft and a short drive from the East Midlands town of Market Harborough.
With more disruptive strike action planned throughout the summer months, it’s no wonder that so many families have chosen to remain on home soil for their holidays again this year. In the aftermath of the pandemic, Britain’s camping and caravan parks received a huge boost and none more so than the prize-winning Brook Meadow.
As proud winners of the 2022 Leicestershire Tourism and Hospitality Award, the farm’s dedicated 20-acre camping, glamping and caravanning area also won the prestigious nationwide 2023 Silver Medal at the Visit England Awards for Excellence held at a glittering ceremony on Wednesday 7 June at Warner Bros Studios’ Harry Potter World in Hertfordshire.
The site has actually been in operation since the early 1990s although it was transformed into a prize-winning venture five years ago when architect and interior designer Claire Hart returned home to rejoin her parents. Her ideas – which included major landscaping, adding hedges, natural play areas, a cowshed cinema and pizza nights – were just the start of the renovations.
Her father Jasper Hart created the site’s five acre fishing lake back in 1991 but when Claire became co-owner in 2018, she began to use her skills to give each of the four wooden lodges an individual identity.
Claire also erected a magificent one-off ‘Marabou’ Glamping Lodge alongside a Sunbird Safari Tent, all with touches of an ‘Out of Africa’ theme. Added to that is a vintage silver US-style Airstream caravan with its outside kitchen under a rainbow canopy... it all gives holiday-makers a great choice of accommodation.
We stayed in ‘Skylark’, one of the site’s nature-inspired lodges with its superbly-painted wall murals, while a huge veranda looks out across the lake. Skylark also features a magnificent well-equipped kitchen with an extra large central island which houses the oven with an induction hob, microwave, refridgerator and a separate freezer. In addition there’s also a washer/dryer and six-place setting dishwasher.
Alan Wooding experienced a peaceful weekend getaway at this beautiful campsite in the heart of the East Midlands
The boutique chic furnishings are all top quality and the two bedrooms – a spacious twin and large en-suite double together with a family bathroom – all make for a very comfortable stay indeed. There’s plenty of seating for up to six guests who have a choice of two large dining tables (one in, one out), plenty of easy chairs plus a settee which makes into another double bed.
There’a also a 42-inch television, around 20 DVDs, games and books, plus good WiFi connection. As we also had my daughter's dog Bella with us, the large completely enclose veranda was perfect for her to mooch around without the worry of her escaping.
Another nice touch by way of enhancing our Brook Meadow stay was the choice of a breakfast hamper delivered courtesy of Nicola from La Fête Fleurie (www.brookmeadow.co.uk/extras).
While there’s a choice of a Full English or a Continental, we chose the Special Bakery Basket at £10.50 per person which included Sourdough Baguettes, Croissants, Pains du Chocolate, Raspberry & Rose Geraunium Jam, Seville Orange Marmalade, salted butter, Artisan Apple Juice, French-style Coffee and milk along with a wild flower bouquet… and it was all rather delicious!
There’s also the opportunity to order a Cream Tea Hamper or a Flower Bouquet while on most Saturdays from May to October there’s the chance to enjoy an on-site wood-fired pizza although on our particular weekend visit, there was a Mexican-style takeaway instead.
For very special occasions, you can enjoy a Fine Dining experience courtesy of personal chef from Gourmand Pierre who needs to be booked well in advance.
And for an even more special treat, Yuko and her husband will cook an exquisite private Japanese-style Omotenashi dining experience for a minimum of six diners (and a maximum of ten) in your own lodge accommodation.
Staying at any of the lakeside lodges – Skylark, Kingfisher or Woodpecker – gives you automatic permission to fish on the eastern bank of the lake as long as you adhere to the rules (a licence, unhooking mat, barbless hooks, minimum 8lb line, etc). However certain sections are for syndicate members only – you'll spot the ‘all-nighters’ with their sleepy eyes, although comfy bivvies are commonplace.
While the campsite can accommodate large numbers of tents, caravans and motorhomes there seemed to be plenty of space, unless you were joined by family groups. There is a 10pm noise curfew ensuring that there’s no rowdy behaviour into the wee small hours.
There’s also the usual washing facilities and very clean toilet block while the Fishing Lodge is fitted with its full working kitchen for all to use.
You can also arrange to have a fire pit for an additional charge while as part of a working farm, guests can go egg collecting with Claire’s mother Mary or can settle in on a straw bale for a Saturday night ‘moovie’ in the cowshed.
Additional activities include taking a bumpy farm tractor tour with Jasper to see the animals or simply go fishing in the well-stocked lake which holds numerous large carp (mirrors, commons and ghosts to around 20lb) along with large tench, perch and decent-sized roach.
Claire Hart and her partner Paul with the National Silver Campsite Award at a ceremony at Harry Potter World
Several different camping styles on offer at Brook Meadow
Above and below, the eight-berth Marabou Glamping Lodge with its mezzanine bedrooms
Above is the Nuthatch Lodge which can sleep four and below, the 'Out of Africa' Safari Tent.
Above and below is the vintage US-style Airstream caravan with its contemporary outdoor kitchen.
Now let's see what else you can enjoy at Brook Meadow
Besides the caravan and camping site, Brook Meadow is also has an exclusive lakeside wedding venue. There is a ‘secret’ woodland wedding area which takes you straight into nature… and there’s even a tame barn owl which can perch on your wrist while you exchange rings!
For history buffs, the First English Civil War’s Battle of Naseby in June 1645 actually took place on what is now Brook Meadow’s Wrongs Farm land while right next door to the campsite is Avalanche Adventure which is a must for all thrill seekers.
Besides the usual quad biking, there are off-load racing buggies, a 4x4 driving experience in a large quarry while you can experience blindfold driving, amphibious vehicle driving or try a hovercraft. There's also clay pigeon shooting and archery.
Avalanche Adventure even has an ‘opposite direction steer’ buggy which takes some getting used to or you can get your hands on a series of diggers and JCB equipment. We called in on a special charity day in aid of the Air-Ambulance when people where getting the hang of a variety of bulldozers, cranes and heavy mechanical plant.
And if that sort of action doesn’t satisfy your curiosity, then in the very next field is the Coventry Gliding Club where you can arrange 20 minute trial flights from around £69.
The nearest town to Brook Meadow is Market Harborough, a quaint and historic place which was packed with shoppers and sightseers on Saturday morning.
We also called in at the magnificent Farndon Fields Farm Shop on our way into town to get something for lunch and were absolutely amazed at huge variety and quality of the fruit and veg and the equally impressive Artisan butchery and bakery departments. It’s certainly worth making a visit.
*Many thanks to Claire Hart and her family for our weekend visit, to Nicola at La Fête Fleurie for the hamper and to Anthea Yabsley at IDeal Public Relations for arranging our visit.
Brook Meadow, The Wrongs Farm, Welford Road, Sibbertoft, Market Harborough, Leicestershire LW16 9UJ. Telephone 01858 880886 or checkout the website at www.brookmeadow.co.uk