Willows Farm Village
Reviewed by Louise Howton and Family
We went to the farm on a Saturday during the Spring Special. On going to the farm I didn’t see any signs on how to get there so we got a bit lost, but eventually found our way the first sign I saw advertising the farm was the road you have to go down to where it is. But on getting there it was quite busy but there are quite a few car parks to choose from so lots of parking spaces. There was about 3 people on the gates so we got in within a few minutes, I didn’t find the young girl on the gate that served us very helpful she didn’t explain anything to us and I had to ask for a map of the park and the show times, but the lady on the other gate seemed to be explaining to the people who she was and offering them feed for the animals.
As we walked through the gate we had a good view of the park and saw that there was a lot to do so we would clearly have the whole day sorted out. We got there just before the goat racing so we headed over there to place our bets, sadly none of us won but the atmosphere was good and if you choose the winning goat everyone who won got a badge. Then we walked around for a bit and headed over to Tristan the tractor which was the one thing my son wanted to go on as he loves tractors (typical boy), the trailer had a top to it so no chances of getting wet which is good, luckily the weather stayed dry all day anyway, once we sat down right at the front near the tractor so my son could get a good view, it started singing nursery rhymes as it took us on our adventure, we went through a few muddy puddles which all the kids on the trailer seemed to enjoy, we went through the woods and saw a few animals I thought this was a great tractor ride our son wanted to go again but we decided to go and explore the other things.
We decided to eat in woolly jumper which is the soft play but has a café there it was quite busy but managed to find a table, and it was nice and clean as they were on top of cleaning the tables as soon as someone left which is great, the food was quite expensive but probably the same as the other farm/ soft play restaurants we have been to before, and they were quite quick we had bacon baguettes and didn’t wait to long for our order seeing as it was lunch time everyone seemed to get served very quickly, and our son had the choice of 5 things in the chillier which I thought was a good thing as then the kids can choose what they like instead of a set menu , there were around 5- 6 different sandwiches to choose from, little sausages, little bags of fruit, mini savoury eggs, and a few other things and also a few nice things like jaffa cakes, little mini chocolate bars and you also got a drink included in the price. Then my partner and son went to the slides and to burn off their lunch, the soft play was good for all ages as there was a baby area, a toddler area and the big climbing frame, we played in there for about half hour then went out to the horse display (this was on for the Spring Special) the had a cleaver pony who could count and who knew his colours so was quite educational for the children.
There wasn’t a wide range of animals to look at but there was so much to do you forget that you are at a farm, there was a bit inside that had little baby chicks, rabbits, guinea pigs and little piglets and you could hold the rabbits and guinea pigs if you wanted to. There was a wide variety of hand basins around the park that encourage the children to wash their hands after feeding or touching the animals. We also watched the sheep shearing which was on for the Spring Special. There is also a lake you can walk around which would be good on a nice sunny day.
There is always something on to go and watch and most of it is inside so even if it’s raining you can find something to keep you occupied there are puppet shows, story times, goat racing, sing-along, an animated chicken show, and falconry display to name a few, and if you stay after 4.30 there is a children’s disco which is different.
Outside there is climbing frames, slides and swings, a workout play trail, trampolines, a zip wire, a tree house with a slide, then a few fairground rides, a bouncy castle and slide, and also diggers in the sand with spades and buckets to play with, and the young drivers zone where the children can wizz round on different size diggers (tiny ones for toddles, medium ones and ones that are a little bit bigger)and there is a petrol pump so they can fill up on their way round this was so popular that we were waiting on a free digger for a while but was worth it to see the excitement on my sons face once he got one. There was panning for gold where you get a gold medal for collecting 8 pieces of gold. There is also captain chickens egg dodge where you can shoot people with soft balls (always remember to where you goggles) and they can sting slightly so probably not good for the younger children.
You are able to purchase an annual membership for the park which gives you newsletters, invitations to exclusive events, special offers and discounts. They run activity day camps during the summer holidays for children aged 3-12 where they look after your children having fun for the whole day including lunch and a hot meal in the evening starting from £39 a day this needs to be booked in advance. They also cater for children’s parties where you have your own party host, choice of hot or cold food, and a helium balloon and party bags for the children for £16.50 per child. They also do educational and group visits for schools and clubs where they have curriculum linked activities.
This is by far the best farm we have been to with so much to do whatever the weather, it was so spotless you couldn’t fault it really, the tables in the restaurants were clean and the toilets and baby change were immaculate. The only downside was that some of the shows were on the same time as something else, and we couldn’t fit all the shows in on one day along with everything else we were doing but the plus side to that is when we next go we can see all the shows we didn’t see this time. It’s probably a bit more expensive than some of the farms but well worth the money. We will definitely be going back again I can’t wait for the summer spectacular in July.
For more information or to book tickets visit www.willowsfarmvillage.com
Next event is Summer Spectacular 21st July – 2nd September 2012 – Find your way out of the A-maize-ing Maze in time to take part in our Summer Sports Day Races!