Whether you are from the town, city or a rural village, one of the most popular attractions to visit this year continues to be a working farm. The combination of cute animals, recognisable farm residents and play features means there is something for kids of all ages, even if the best part is the donkey ride! Here we look at some of the best around the country.
1. Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, Bristol
Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Bristol is a great combination of farm animals and exotic zoo animals with the added benefit of play areas for the kids and even the chance of taking up the keeper experiences. It is notable for having the largest elephant habitat in the UK as well as primates, reptiles and birds. There are also plenty of familiar farmyard animals including cattle, donkeys, goats, sheep and horses.
2. Folly Farm, Narbeth
Folly Farm has been voted the best family attraction in Wales a number of times and is a good balance of farmyard animals, exotic animals, adventure playgrounds and even some exhilarating rides. It is found near Tenby in Pembrokeshire and has six different zones to explore. There is also the only giraffe in Wales to see as well as vintage fairground rides for the younger visitors.
3. Warren Mill Farm, Cowbridge
Just outside the village of Cowbridge in the Vale of Glamorgan is Warren Mills Farm. The farm covers some 10 acres and is home to animals such as rare breed sheep, ponies, llamas and alpacas and even wallabies. Cute guinea pigs are available for a cuddle and even Red Squirrels can be seen. For those who like a spot of angling, there is also a fishery on the site.
4. Cefn Mably Farm Park, Cardiff
Cefn Mably Farm Park is just a 15-minute drive from the centre of Cardiff and is a great place to visit no matter what the weather. As well as the farm animals to see there is a touch and hold area and a conservation area with ponds. If the weather turns bad, there is 600 square feet of heated barn play area and another large undercover area as well.
5. Vauxhall City Farm, London
Finding a farm inside London is a little unusual but this is what is offered by the Vauxhall City Farm. The farm offers a range of animals from the tiny mice to rabbits and geese right up to sheep, cows and even three alpacas called Tom, Ben and Jerry. The farm is free to visit and works with local schools to help provide a glimpse of the countryside to city kids.
6. Bocketts Farm, Leatherhead
Bocketts Farm is near Leatherhead, Surrey and is a great combination of play areas and animals, both inside and outside to avoid weather problems. Kids can watch a pig race, ride a pony or take a trip on the tractor as well as feeding many of the animals and have a cuddle with one of the cute rabbits. The farm is a working farm so there are often baby animals to see as well while the play areas including two indoor play barns and an outdoor adventure trail.
7. Cotswold Farm Park, Cheltenham
The Cotswold Farm Park is near Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and has over 50 breeds of animal living within its boundaries. These include cattle, goats, pigs, sheep and horses and also many rare breeds. It is run by Adam Henson, famous for his work on the BBC’s Countryfile program.
8. Wellsfield Farm Park, Stirling
Just two miles from Stirling is Wellsfield Farm Park, offering animals and play area for kids of all ages, as well as those with special needs. There are play areas for different ages and indoor ones as well as outdoors. Kids can enjoy pony rides as well as a bird hide, mini beast zone and even a nature trail to spot some of the local wildlife in their natural environment. After the animal spotting, there is also an assault course to use the last of their energy.
9. East Links Farm, Dunbar
East Links Farm is near Dunbar in East Lothian and allows kids to get up close with a number of different animals as well as handling some in the small animal barn. The farm has various paddocks to explore as well as a four level Fortress play area, go-karts and a ball blast arena. Bigger kids can try the climbing wall while the little ones can make use of the soft play area and the pedal tractors. There is also a train safari to tour the site and animals to see including cattle, sheep, pigs, deer, rhea and even wallabies.
10. Briarlands Farm, Stirling
Briarlands Farm is near Blair Drummond, Stirling and is a great outdoor attraction to occupy the kids. There are plenty of chances to feed the animals that live on the farm as well as a toddler trike track and play frames as well as jumping pillows and even a tractor go kart area. Bigger kids can try the zip wire and the mazes while there is a craft area for when the weather turns nasty.
11. Acorn Farm, Kirkby
Acorn Farm is near Kirkby, Merseyside and offers a great selection to see and do. One of the most popular attractions is the small animal petting area, where kids can get close to a rabbit or guinea pig, hold a chick and even try milking one of the goats. There are also horse rides available and seasonal events meaning that it isn’t just a summer visiting spot.
12. Swithens Farm, Leeds
Swithens Farm is near Leeds and combines a working farm and farm shops with a play barn. Depending on the time of year, animals to see include pigs and piglets, cows and calves, rabbits, ducks and even two micro-pigs. The play barn is great to run off energy and if the weather isn’t so great.
13. Church Farm, Stow Bardolph
Church Farm is a rare breeds centre working on restoring rare breeds of farm animals such as the Swiss Valais Blacknose Sheep and the Suffolk Punch horse. There are also plenty of fun activities including pig racing and animal encounters such as feeding the young farm animals.
14. Sacrewell Farm, Peterborough
Sacrewell Farm is near Peterborough and combines beautiful countryside, a range of animals and a new state of the art play barn. There are nature trails to follow where you may spot red kites and brown hares as well as famous Shire Horses that appeared in the film War Horse. The farm also works on rare breeds of pigs, sheep and goats.