Hay fever. Animal allergic reactions. Arachnophobia. Delicate pores and skin. I ought to have paid extra consideration to my private hindrances earlier than saying that I favored the sound of sleeping within the hay barn at Wolfseggstall, a small natural farm in Austria’s japanese Tirol. It regarded so winsomely interesting on the vacationer board web site, with photographs of cherub-cheeked poppets in toddler-size lederhosen beaming from neat piles of golden hay. What nice enjoyable for all of the household! What an antithesis to fashionable life!
Austria map
However within the gloaming exterior the extra sensible than romantic-looking barn, I used to be having second ideas. The farmer pulled again the doorways to disclose a tractor surrounded by mounds of hay and cobwebs, so many cobwebs that they hung down in grassy clumps like Spanish moss. The scent of diesel mingled with the pong of the pigs. Sylvia, our farmer host, laughed, “Oh sure, there are spiders right here, in all probability 1000’s of them!”
Our eyes grew large. I requested our children, aged two and 4, in the event that they wish to sleep there. “By no means, ever!” So I used to be left to politely reverse out of the scenario and agree that we’d spend all our nights, as booked, in our condo within the farm’s cute chalet-style guesthouse.
So the bucolic pleasure of sleeping in a hay barn was not for us – though Sylvia and her husband Georg insisted plenty of older youngsters adore it, spending evening after evening on the bales. However there have been loads of different causes to return to this beautiful little farm.

Chalet keep … the picturesque farmhouse at Going
Set on grassy slopes under the putting massif of the Wilder Kaiser – a mountain chain whose crags are stated to resemble the profiles of previous kaisers – this small-scale homestead fulfilled our need for a calming break in a beautiful setting, with a couple of animals and farm actions to entertain the youngsters.
There was a shed of pigs to feed (“too smelly!”), a pony to journey (“bit scary!”), eggs to gather from the hens (very thrilling), and numerous rabbits and guinea pigs for petting, stroking and presumably a bit an excessive amount of squeezing. A whole immersive Outdated Macdonald expertise this was not, however we aren’t large animal folks, so it was sufficient.
These craving for a extra full-on farm stick with all of the manure mucking, butter churning and trotter fiddling that may entail will discover an enormous selection in Urlaub am Bauernhof , the Austria-wide assortment of two,350 audited farm stays.
We opted for farming-lite, spending the primary afternoon (and plenty of extra, too) on the lengthy veranda, letting the sunshine and good Austrian white wine sink into our souls whereas the kids made circuits of the swings and sand pit, the ride-on tractors and the ropes dangling from apple bushes, wandering over often to talk to Flora the horse or giggle on the smelly pigs.

Gemma’s youngsters at play on the farm. {Photograph}: Gemma Bowes
In fact our condo, in a separate constructing to the household’s previous chalet, was relatively plain and practical, however an awesome breakfast of the farm’s personal bread, cheese, milk and eggs was served within the communal eating room, and it was a jolly base for ventures into what’s a incredible area for households.
We have been simply exterior the small resort of Going (yeah, all of the jokes), which with neighbouring Ellmau, Scheffau and Soll make up the Ski Welt ski space in winter, with Kitzbühel not distant. The Wilder Kaiser might lack the excessive peaks of the western Alps, however its silvery limestone faces, skirted by pine forest, have a dramatic magnificence, and in an excellent stroke, the area has constructed nature-based amusement parks on the tops of the ski lifts to entice summer time guests.
We rode Ellmau’s cable automobile to 1,555 metres to play at Ellmi’s Zauberwelt (a reputation our children nonetheless chant with pleasure seven months on). It’s an in depth playground of slides, sand, diggers, water play and a spooky treasure path with audio results.
Likewise, Söll has Hexenwasser, a witch- and water-themed park the place broomsticks substitute skis within the gondola ski racks on the way in which up. We deserted our sneakers to observe a barefoot path throughout the mountain, hobbling over pebbles, squelching by means of troughs of oozy mud and paddling by means of streams, making an attempt to get the youngsters to skip a minimum of among the 60 water play options.
Substantial parenting efforts made, we rewarded ourselves with beers on the mountain inns, and even these had the youngsters’ pursuits at coronary heart. At dwelling, a child-friendly pub would possibly imply minimal damaged glass on the ground and a few bashed-up board video games, however the Wochenbrunn was an actual bobby dazzler. Handily positioned above our farm, it had deer, mechanical tractors to journey, a chalet playhouse, a large trampoline, and a climbing wall.
We parents sat on the sunny terraces overlooking the valley, guzzling pitchers of beer and plates of Käsespätzle (tacky noodles) and Kaiserschmarren (fluffy shredded pancakes). Can this be transported again to Peckham please? My life could be a lot improved.

A cute llama makes a rustic stroll far more enjoyable. {Photograph}: Gemma Bowes
One factor we do have in Peckham – or a couple of miles away on the Horniman Museum’s animal stroll – is llamas, however being handed a result in take our very personal beast for a stroll from Koglhof llama farm was a really completely different prospect. Disobedient however with irresistible Disney eyelashes and fluffable fur, Samba was attractive sufficient to get the youngsters to finish a two-hour group llama trek into the forested foothills, which didn’t look so completely different from a Peruvian hilltop that misty day.
Maybe we might be animal folks in any case. We had definitely discovered to understand journeys again to the farm to pat the animals as relaxed interludes inside jam-packed days. After dinner we’d take darkish walks underneath the celebrities earlier than falling asleep within the heat air, listening to moos and neighs – however undisturbed by ticklish desires of tarantulas or the sound of sneezing.
• The journey was offered by the Tirol vacationer board. The Wolfseggstall farm’s two-bedroom flats begin at €38pp per evening (4 sharing), excluding meals. For particulars of this and different Austrian farm stays go to farmholidays.com. The closest airport/practice station is Munich, a 90-minute drive away. Automobile rent was offered by Sixt . For extra data, see visittirol.co.uk, austria.data and wilderkaiser.data
In search of a vacation with a distinction? Browse Guardian Holidays to see a variety of incredible journeys
This text incorporates affiliate hyperlinks, which suggests we might earn a small fee if a reader clicks by means of and makes a purchase order. All our journalism is impartial and is under no circumstances influenced by any advertiser or industrial initiative. By clicking on an affiliate hyperlink, you settle for that third-party cookies might be set. Extra data.