If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I was back at Elmley Nature Reserve recently for the opening event at their newly renovated farmhouse. I last visited Elmley in spring last year at which point the farmhouse was little more than an empty shell, knocked back to bare bricks with plenty of propped up ceilings.
The transformation is impressive, considering little more than a year has passed sinceI saw it with bare bricks and no ceilings indoors.
The farmhouse is the largest Elmley's accommodation options. Of course there is a little of something for everyone there, from the farmhouse to a newly renovated cottage, shepherds huts and tents. Though it is fair to say that the farmhouse is the most luxurious.
Elmley's owners, Gareth and Georgina Fulton, have created a wonderful retreat from the everyday at the nature reserve. If you do stay, and have the chance, do ask Gareth for a nature tour. He shares his knowledge of the reserve and the wildlife that live there with such enthusiasm that you would be hard pushed not to enjoy it.
ABOUT KINGSHILL FARMHOUSE
In Gareth & Georgina's words...
The 18th Century Farmhouse sits at the heart of the 3,300 Elmley National Nature Reserve, on isle of Sheppey, just one hour from London. But with miles of wilderness views it feels a world away.
The house, which is so named because King James II was locked up on the site in 1688, had fallen into a state of disrepair.
The renovation has been in the planning for over 7 years and has been a project of passion for the Fulton/Merricks families along with the design team, which includes Dunn Architects and Francesca Rowan-Plowden, Interior Designer. The renovation itself has been a year-long project.
The aim was to restore the house to be an incredibly comfortable and special house, while keeping the unique character of the house and its surroundings. As with all at Elmley the views are a priority with reinstatement of large Georgian sash windows and even windows in the showers! The house has been designed to have a comfortable and homely yet eclectic feel, with both vintage finds and bespoke pieces.
Along with gardens which flow onto the Reserve, it has a large high spec kitchen, dining room, three separate reception rooms, four ensuite bedrooms on the first floor and the second floor features a family suite of two bedrooms with a shared bathroom.
The house can be hired as a private whole house rental, taken with the other accommodation on site for private events or for limited nights a year it is available on a B&B basis.
Elmley's cottage has also been renovated with a large, open plan living area downstairs and uninterrupted views across the nature reserve. One thing that is impossible to capture in these photographs is the peace of the reserve. With a two mile drive from the main road to reach the accommodation, there is a definite sense of escape that goes with visiting Elmley.
DINNER IN THE BARN
One of my favourite spaces - perhaps ever - there is something absolutely magical about the light in the barn. Despite being a large space, it still feels intimate. It is also available to hire for events throughout the year.
My home for the night, I love the huts at Elmley. I have seen inside all but a couple and each is wonderful. I must confess that I actually asked to stay in one of the huts on this occasion as it is, for me, a true escape when I have some time to myself. With neighbours close by but not immediately next to each hut, and the same uninterrupted views across the nature reserve, this is truly one of my favourite places to stay.
While I was there, we had some amazing storms overnight, and watching them roll across the marshes from the comfort of my hut is a memory I will enjoy for a while to come.