Danny MacMillan

The Macs Farm,

An innate understanding of their clientele, formidable drive and resilience are some of the key factors behind the success of The Macs Farm, Ditchling, East Sussex.

With 18,000 organic laying hens supplying a mixture of wholesale and retail customers, Danny and Susie MacMillan also operate a thriving camping and events business on-farm.

Having gone from 20 tent pitches to almost 120 in the space of six years, the diversification has grown in scale and added many other facets during that time. Danny, who, as a builder, has converted some of the old chicken sheds into modern and attractive event spaces, has been the driving force behind the physical transformation of the farm.

And with Susie spearheading the marketing and her keen focus on their customers, The Macs Farm, situated between London and Brighton, has built a real reputation in the area.

Danny says: “Coming from a different trade, I was able to look at the farm and assess the margins and where we could add value.”

With a mixture of glamping, camping, events, education and kids clubs all sitting alongside the organic egg business, the MacMillan family welcomes more than 40,000 people to the farm every year.

But agriculture remains a key selling point for the family, with many of the chickens proving to be a real hit with campers and part of the wider experience the site provides.

With a discerning eye on the commercial opportunities their customers provide, Danny and Susie run a series of events throughout the year, including rum and reggae nights, sausage and cider nights, barn dances and the Wild Meadows Weekend, which includes live music, local food and much more.

“We cannot keep all our eggs in one basket when it comes to the income streams,” says Danny, with Susie adding they have also planted thousands of trees on the farm in the last few years as it seeks to reinforce its environmental credentials.

With all campers and glampers booking online and paying before they arrive, The Macs Farm has struck a winning formula in south east England.

What the judges said:

With immense passion and enthusiasm, Danny and Sue MacMillan have created a unique and bespoke camping experience which caters for the discerning needs of their clientele. With a razor sharp commercial focus and insight into the needs of their customers, the husband and wife team have transformed the former pig farm into a bustling tourism and events destination which harnesses the location’s agriculture roots to maximum effect. Having adapted and emerged from the pandemic stronger than they went in, this is a truly inspirational business story.

On winning, Danny said: 

“We feel ecstatic to have won this fantastic award.

“It has been lovely to get out and be with people and to see those who have worked so tirelessly also win awards.

“We have worked really hard to change things within our business, and we have just had to keep on going.

“We have to be inventive and have changed how we have done things. We have worked long hours but by getting this award we feel that this is now all starting to pay off.

“The atmosphere in the room is amazing, it is on fire in there. Having Jeremy and Caleb is the icing on the cake.

“Farming needs to be heard loud and proud.”