New online aid to plot rural getaways

On the farm holiday accommodation providers expect a new website will help them to build on what has been a success year in the rural hospitality business.

A new website service contains everything a tourist might want to know about the countryside.

Developed using grant funding from the Government, a website managed by farm tourism body Farm Stay UK launched this week which lists farm shops, rural tourist attractions, accommodation providers, country pubs and rural events across Britain, all in one place.

It is designed to help visitors plan their entire countryside break on one website -

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Farm Stay’s chief executive Andy Woodward said that the website delivers what fans of the countryside have always wanted but, to date, have been unable to find.

“Staying in the country gives you great views and fantastic places to stay, but we want to make sure that visitors go to a local farm shop to buy food for dinner or plan a great countryside experience at a local farm attraction. They may also want to visit a stately home, have a day out at the races or a gentle roam around a market town – all of which the website can help them do.

“We anticipate that this website will very quickly become the go-to source for all things countryside and will encourage visitors to spend money in the rural economy.”

Visitors to the site can search for anything from holidays where families can feed farm animals to secluded retreats with hot tubs. Using a postcode finder, it also displays nearby attractions and events taking place during the selected dates.

Caroline Barker, is the proprietor of Cundall Lodge Farm’s bed and breakfast near Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire and has been a Farm Stay member of 15 years.

She offers three rooms for guests at her and her husband David’s working sheep on the banks of the River Swale.

Mrs Barker believes the new online resource will help rural businesses to build on what has been a successful year for tourism in the region.

“The weather we have had this year, and the Tour de France passing through the region, as well as the economy showing signs of picking back up again - everyone across the board is reporting a good year.

“I know how people have got into programmes like Countryfile and rural breaks are a market that people have really got into now, so we should all be working together in the countryside to promote all the farming attractions and beautiful places to stay - this new website joins up all the dots.”

Funding for the website came from the Department for Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs through a Rural Economy Growth grant. It was developed with help from the National Farmers’ Retail and Markets Association and the National Farm Attraction Network.