We’ve never been to a farm before. At least not one that’s specifically been designed for entertainment and family days out. In the country where I come from, a farm could just be a small village house. There will often be an old lady, living there, who would take the sheep out every morning to the nearest clearing, and bring them back home in the evening. My great-grandmother was like that. I still remember her and the time we spent every other weekend helping her (not me and my sister specifically, but my parents and grandparents). Thanks to that kind of life, my sister and I had the opportunity to see close up chickens, pigs, sheep, a donkey and some geese, to look after them and even give names to a few.
It is not like that anymore, and it definitely is not like that for our children. There’s no easy way for them to see farm animals, look after them and do all the other boring chores related to having animals at home. I suppose that kind of explains why such places came to be. And there’s quite a few of them all around the UK. In addition to the animals, these places also offer entertainment in the form of farm-themed playgrounds, tractor rides, cafes, etc. An occasional visit can be a good change for a family day out, but as such places are not quite cheap, they can certainly add to the cost of living here in the UK.
I was researching places we can go to, close to where we live, that offer a different type of experience for our little ones. This one popped up as a very popular destination that had lots of activities, all of which I thought our toddler will enjoy and our baby won’t mind. So we set off.
It is situated in a very nice area and is quite well organized. Prices are not cheap, but I guess for an occasional thing it is okay. There were also quite a few families there, even though we went on a long weekend, which only goes to show it was a good place for a sunny day out.
The first thing that inevitably cought our eyes was the playground. It had so many relevant activities, like a couple of old tractors, a farmhouse with a slide, a harvester, a train and … a wooden castle. These were not too special, but because they were so different from what our son was used to, he really enjoyed them.
To entertain the little hearts they also had a giant jumping pillow, which for some reason was of no interest to our son. The Fun Bus, however, was a completely different story. It’s a red double-decker transformed into a softplay on the inside with a slide between the two floors. Unfortunately, it was very hot inside it and, to be honest, the equipment was in a very bad, although seemingly safe, shape. I wasn’t impressed and tried to sneak us both outside as soon as possible.
Silly me, managed to get The Little Boss out by pointing to the mini tractors just up the hill, which were available to ride on. Sadly, the more interesting ones were too big for K, and the little ones had peddals, which made them impossible for his little weak feet to get going. He ended up riding at the back of one of the little ones, while I was struggling to make it move, as we were definitely out of proportion. Thankfully, there was nobody to take photos, and there were a couple of other parents in the same situation. We had a laugh at each other before giving up altogether.
There were not too many animals on the farm, but they were kind of enough. They seemed to have at least a couple of most of the more common ones like pigs, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, ponnies and donkeys (I might be missing something out), and had various activities to participate in with each of them at different times. We got a very nice timetable for all the animal interactions available when we entered the farm.
The deer safary
That was like the highlight of our visit, even though it was one of the first things we did. You get to ride in a trailer, pulled by and actual tractor, and see the deers in their “natural” environment. They, the deers, had a vast area separated with a fence from the rest of the farm to run around in. And there were sooo many of them. The gentleman who drove the tractor told us a lot about the animals and their “traditions”. Most of the terms I did not memorise, but it was very interesting to learn about their lives. Also, we got to feed them and turns out they are very gentle creatures. They only have teeth at the bottom and don’t bite, so even the children could give them food, without any worries. We never got off the trailer, but were very close to the animals and even our little baby girl seemed impressed.
Farm cafe & shop
We also had a cheeky little lunch at the cafe, where they make some veeery good burgers. My husband got one and it looked so delicious that even our little son was ready to give up his favourite jacket potato for it.
On our way out we bought some eggs, which came from the chickens on the farm, that we had the next day for lunch and were delicious. They also offered venison meat, but we didn’t feel courageous enough to try it, especially after having fed the animals ourselves.
There were other activities that we could have done, but our little ones got tired from the heat and it was time for their afternoot nap, which they do not ever want to take, but always need. Usually, when the time comes one can see in their tired little eyes. As soon as we got them in the car they both fell asleep.
Have you been on a farm like this? Can you recomend any other where we could go to (preferably in the South-Eastern part of the UK)? Let me know in the comments below.