Reviewed by Melody Floyde
I visited Pennywell Farm with my partner and our two sons aged 4 years and 18 months. It is situated just off the A38 between Plymouth and Exeter and was very easy to find by following the brown attraction signs. It took us approximately 30 minutes to get there travelling from Exeter. There was plenty of free parking available on site.
On arrival at reception we were greeted by friendly staff and given a brightly coloured A3 day planner sheet which had a map of the farm and details of everything we could do on one side, and space to note down all the times of the activities and rides throughout the day on the other. This was such a great idea as it meant we had everything we needed in one place and knew exactly what there was to do and how to find it. The boys were given stickers with their names and ages on and we also bought some bags of animal food (£1 a bag) so that we could feed the animals and birds. We were also given a card for our eldest son to get stamped each time he did an activity, and when he had collected six stamps this would entitle him to free entry (with a paying adult) another day in the season.
On leaving reception we first entered the pets’ area where there were a range of small animals such as rabbits, chicks, mice and rats for us to stroke and hold, we then went into the main farmyard. After checking the activity board we found that there were different hands on activities to try every half an hour and four rides included in the entrance price.
Our 4-year-old was very keen to try the goat milking so we headed into the main barn for the activity which was very well organised and informative. He was very happy that he managed to get milk out on his first attempt! We then stayed for bottle feeding which he also loved as he got the chance to feed a baby goat.
We then decided to go for the tractor and trailer ride, which was a short trip around a circular route. On the ride we were given a check sheet and asked to look out for various animals which were hidden in the hedgerow, this made the ride more fun for our boys and they both really enjoyed it.
It was then lunchtime and as we had brought a picnic with us we were really impressed that picnicking was obviously very welcome at Pennywell and there were lots of places to eat your own food both inside and out. There was also a café and takeaway available if you wanted to purchase food.
We headed to Noah’s Picnic and Play Barn, there were plenty of picnic benches inside and also a takeaway outlet serving hot drinks and snacks. The only downside for us was that it was freezing inside the barn and we really felt it could have benefitted from some kind of heating on a cold day or at the least the doors being closed. After eating the boys were keen to play in the barn and tried the bouncy castle and skittles.
After lunch we headed to the Pennywell Theatre to watch the big show, which this weekend was a fantastic juggler called Matt Pang who was really entertaining and talented and it was good to be able to sit down for a while and warm up. My partner even got picked to help him with one of his tricks!
Next was the Red Rocket ride for our 4-year-old which he loved so much he went on it twice. Followed by a ride on the Rainbow Railway which was aimed at younger children and our 18 month old really enjoyed it.
We then visited ‘Goatarama’ to feed the goats and ‘Funky Fowls’ to feed the birds which we all enjoyed before heading to the show field to watch the Pig Racing which was great fun.
We had afternoon tea in Henny Penny’s café which had a great range of yummy cakes and was reasonably priced and also had toilets and baby changing facilities. These were very clean and well maintained as were all the toilet facilities on the site.
We then headed back to the main farmyard to visit the miniature pigs for piggy cuddles before reluctantly heading home.
Overall we had a fantastic day at Pennywell Farm. We were really impressed with the range of activities available which were all included in the ticket price. We spent about 5 hours at Pennywell and there were still lots of things we didn’t have time to do so we will definitely be back later in the year when it’s a bit warmer and the boys will be able to play on the outdoor play areas too.
Tickets: Day tickets – £13.95 Adult / £9.95 Child | Season tickets – £59 Adult / £49
For more information or to book tickets visit www.pennywellfarm.co.uk.
Pennywell Farm, Buckfastleigh, Devon, TQ11 0LT | 01364 642023