Reviewed by Cheryl Wesley
We arrived at Farmer Palmer’s, in Poole, Dorset, on a cloudy March Saturday. We followed the satnav and towards the end of the journey there were also sign posts to let us know we were heading in the right direction. There is a free car park provided and even 2 kennels for dogs, for those on holiday who can’t leave their pets behind in the accommodation.
We arrived at 10.15 and everything was already up and running as the doors open at 10am. My children (3 and 2) headed straight for the barn where the covered bouncy castle is. It’s a personalised Farmer Palmer’s castle with cows and a slide this kept the children occupied for 20 minutes and would have for a lot longer had we not decided to visit the barn next door. This barn is where the demonstrations take place, we fed the baby lambs their bottles of milk and stroked pepper pig and her piglets. Afterwards everyone was directed to the area where you wash your hands, I was very happy to see that warm water was provided!
We next went to the Straw Barn which is basically stacked straw bales with plastic slides coming off them. The smaller stacks had ladders for the little ones to get up them but the larger stacks required us to lift them up to the top as we did not want the 3 year old to run out of stream and the 2 year old did not want to miss out! The floor of the barn is covered in a very thick layer of straw as a soft landing from the slides. Although full of straw, the barn, including the straw was very clean.
From the straw barn you can see the Toy Tractor area which holds more than 30 tractors in different sizes for different ages. It’s the size of a tennis court where the children have freedom to drive their tractor in whatever direction they choose. There is plenty of seating in this area so I popped into the cafe and grabbed a coffee and tea for the adults. You don’t get a cardboard cup for your hot takeaway drink, they allow you to take the mug out with you!
We decided to head to the hen house (Farmer Palmer’s cafe) early and grab some lunch, so glad we did as by 11.45, the place was rammed. One of our children had chicken nuggets and the other fish fingers, both with chips and beans, my husband had chilli and chips and I had a ham and cheese toasted panini with salad and chips, the cost for this was £16.65. The pricing was reasonable and the food did not disappoint for the price and location. There is a good variety of hot and cold food for sale from picnic lunches to jacket potatoes along with a range of hot and cold drinks.
After the children had eaten they begged to go into the soft play area which can be seen from the restaurant. They spent a good hour in there running around and having a great time. We later sampled the homemade cakes and they were a massive hit.
After our lunch we walked around the outside animal pens, and this was our only negative of the day, most of the animals did not have a sign, the children asked about the chickens and what type they were, they asked the pigs names and we were not able to tell them! All the animals were happy to see us and trotted up to the fence to say hello. There is a variety of animals, you do of course have your lambs and pigs but also a barn owl, Rheas and Alpacas.
We also hit the pedal go karts at this time where we decided to have a boy’s v’s girl’s race. They were quite hard to get going but once started we enjoyed riding around and saying hello to the sheep as we passed them!
The sand playground had everything a child needs to be entertained, swings, slides, see saws and a fireman’s pole! This area also has a few small toy wooden houses which my little girl loved running in and out of shouting hello through the windows!
Before we left we popped into the little farmer’s fun barn, new for 2015, wow so glad we did! This is a lovely barn for the littlest explorers, there’s plenty to keep children up to school age entertained, my children enjoyed running behind the wooden huts and going up to the big slide at the end. There was also, little tykes climbing equipment, mega blocks and sensory equipment.
Throughout the day there are activities held for you to enjoy, most as expected are to do with the animals, meet and hold a guinea pig was a favourite for our children, you can also pay an extra £1 for a tractor trailer ride or even £2 for a deer safari. We had intended to go on a tractor ride but we lost track of time with the kids enjoying the different play areas! I also wanted to go to the cow milking demonstration but apparently the children’s urge for going back on the bouncy castle could be put off no longer.
In total we spent nearly six hours at Farmer Palmer’s and had a very enjoyable day out, there is a lot of sitting and chatting and watching for mum and dad whilst the kids play and also a lot of areas where you can join in. It’s got a good balance. It’s very much worth the price you pay and we shall definitely be heading back to finish all the areas we did not get round to doing. There’s a woodland walk, a play field and even a maze in the summer months! So much to do and not enough time/ energy with the little ones to do it all.
A massive plus for Farmer Palmer’s has to be is its staff, they were all so cheerful and helpful. The facilities where clean and we never had to queue. All areas of Farmer Palmer’s were clean and tidy.
Needless to say our children had a very enjoyable time at Farmer Palmer’s and are already asking to go back and play. We would give it 4.5 out of 5 as previously mentioned more information is needed on the outside animal pens!
Tickets cost: £4.40 (child aged 2), £8.75 (child 3 years +), £8.75 (adult), £32 (family: 2 adults, 2 children). Annual passes start from £19 to £40 per person.
Open daily from 10am to 5.30pm (until 25 October, then until 4pm until 20 December).
For more information visit www.farmerpalmers.co.uk.
Farmer Palmers Farm Park Ltd. Wareham Road, Organford, Poole, Dorset, BH16 6EU