You can pretend it’s for the kids, but who doesn’t enjoy meeting baby piglets and feeding newborn lambs? Here’s our round-up of farm stops near the motorway where you can pull in and entertain the kids with the joys of spring.
Spell-binding tractor rides, lots of lovely animals to meet and a huge indoor playbarn for burning off maximum energy. Almost guaranteed snoozes back in the car.
Free-to-visit paddocks adjoin the farm shop where everyone can meet the pigs, ostriches, chickens, ducks, goats, donkeys and ponies. Buy some food in the shop to really make sense and keep an eye out for the farm’s fantastic seasonal event throughout the year: the Easter Trail on the hunt for giant eggs is a regular hit.
Piglets, ducks, ponies and ride-on tractors, Kenniford Farm is a popular play stop and in spring you can glimpse the new arrivals through the piglet viewing window from the indoor play barn, open from 10am to 3pm.
The Moody Sow farm shop is next door to and part of Cefn Mably Farm Park, an expansive park where kids of all ages can enjoy feeding animals, the soft play barn, go-karts and real diggers. Entry is £4.50 on weekdays and £6.50 weekends and holidays. Family tickets for four cost £24.
In the Hertfordshire countryside, Foxholes Farm Park stands alongside tea room and gives kids a glimpse of life on the farm. The park opens from 30th March for the season, but head over between 30th March and 8th April to take part in squeak-worthy bottle feeding of lambs and kids (of the goat variety). £9.95 per child including access to the farm shop.
Not only a fabulous pub for a meal or coffee, they also have pigs in the garden. Kids will be kept quiet just watching them, and feed is available in the pub to cement your friendship.
Donkeys, sheep, ponies, alpaca, pygmy goats, den building, lamb shows and pop-up animal talks, there’s plenty at Sacrewell’s farm attraction to keep everyone amused. £10 for kids, £7 for adults; family ticket – £30.
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There are a whole host of animals to meet at Mainsgill, from the camels out front to the llamas, cows, sheep, piggies and lambs. And all free of charge, leaving you more in your pocket to spend on the goodies in the enormous farm shop and wonderful tea room.
Set on a hilltop overlooking the countryside, Broom House is a working farm where you can catch the animals as you enjoy the farm shop or coffee shop. Children can tire themselves out in the playhouse, sand pit and tractor park or by feeding apples to the pigs, but pay a little extra and you can make the most of the Forest Park alongside where older kids will enjoy a series of tunnels, slides and balance walkways. Open from March and well worth the £5.
A free-to-enter farm and environmental visitor centre in Newcastle where you can meet ferrets, chinchillas, tortoises, lambs, cows and piggies.
Take a peak at the pigs through the viewing window or marvel at the pygmy goats on their climbing frame – there are plenty of animals to meet at Moorhouse Farm, plus ride-on tractors, giant Lego and sand pit to buy parents enough time for a cuppa in peace.
As well as ponies, donkeys, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, sheep, goats, geese, ducks, cows and pigs to feed, Jimmy’s brilliant farm has animal encounters, playgrounds and a butterfly house for a full day that will leave you tuckered out. £6 for kids, £7 for adults and worth every penny.