I’m a little behind on writing this but just over a week ago we took our little ladies for a family trip to Pennywell Farm near Buckfastleigh in Devon. We had a really wonderful day and were truly blessed to have the weather on our side the whole day. Upon arrival, the friendly staff will asked for our littles names and then presented them with a sticker so that all the staff could easily communicate with them throughout the day. Willow loved that everyone knew her name, and at only two and a half she didn’t realise it was because of the sticker she was wearing. Such a lovely personal touch and definitely helped to get our little involved.
The first activity we came across as we entered the farm was the Pets Area, a really wonderful little spot where we could have a cuddle with a super soft Bunny, Guinea Pig or tiny Chick. There are always team members on hand to help you cuddle the animals correctly, Willow wasn’t too keen on holding one this time but was more than happy to talk to them and give them a stroke. The member of staff on duty was also kind enough to get her involved with feeding the pets and gave her a carrot to put in each of the enclosures, it was so adorable seeing how excited she was to feed the little animals.
Next, we fed some very excited goats (why are they always so hungry?!?) and Willow even fed them a handful of feed herself much to her amusement. We also had a chat with a very large horse and a few friendly alpacas, not to mention the cute little tortoises exploring their little paddock. In this area there is also a large chalkboard, this board shows the times and activities on that day from Egg Collecting, Pond Dipping, Bottle Feeding and Pig Racing.
This poor pig was two days overdue, I definitely think she looks how us Mum’s feel when our due dates have passed!
On to my highlight of the day cuddling a little piglet, this little fellow was crazy cute and made the sweetest little squeaky noises. There are small blankets hung all around the ‘Piggy Cuddles’ Barn so if you’re feeling confident you can pick one up (carefully) for a cuddle, or ask a team member to pick one for you. I’m not sure how long I cuddled this little one for but I didn’t really want to put him back. I had a thoroughly interesting and informative conversation with the pig handler about piglets and pig pregnancy. Their current pregnant pig was two days overdue the day we visited, and the lady advised me this was the equivalent of us being two weeks overdue, poor little plum, she sure looked ready to pop.
Brilliantly, there are hand washing stations throughout the farm so you can easily wash your hands without having to find a bathroom. So important when you have a toddler constantly asking for snacks. This brings me nicely onto the lovely little ‘coffee hut’ situated amongst the main barns.
We stopped in the ‘coffee hut’ for a quick drink and snack (or in Toddler’s case a HUGE cookie) to refuel before heading to the play areas for a good run around. There is also a restaurant on site where we enjoyed lunch a little later in the day, they serve a selection of hot and cold foods and the staff couldn’t have been more friendly or helpful if they had tried!
Willow had such a fun time riding the push-a-long and pedal tractors. There were so many to ride and it was all under cover on a flat smooth area, giving much needed shade from the sun on a hot day or shelter from rain on a wet day. We probably could have spent a lot longer riding around on these but there was so much more to explore.
Next we headed to an area specially designed for the ‘Under Fives,’ there were trampolines to bounce on (I think Hubby had more fun than Willow on these!), sand to dig, bikes to ride, playhouses to explore and cars to drive. To say there was plenty to keep little ones occupied would be an understatement. The whole area was surrounded by a small ‘fence’ and plenty of benches so we could take a break from running around, also ideal as it gave me a spot to feed Tot.
There’s a wonderful indoor picnic area which was beautifully air conditioned- greatly appreciated on a warm day like the day we visited. Again we found plenty of things to entertain both the little ones and us in the barn, a huge bouncy castle, a bowling alley, a small carousel ride and a little soft play area to name a few. Next time we visit we will definitely bring a packed lunch, having now seen the amount of seating and high chairs available there really isn’t any need to buy food on site.
With help from Daddy, Willow completed the assault course in lightening fast time.
We took a little time to stop by the chickens and explain to Willow about chickens and eggs, I’m not sure she fully understood what we were going on about but she seemed interested. I was fascinated by the chickens, especially this dude above, have you ever seen such a ‘cool’ looking chicken?!?
By far, Willows favourite part of our day, the ‘Rainbow Railway,’ she spent a full half an hour riding the train around and around and around. Out of season they only open the train for a set few hours throughout the day and this time we headed over for the opening at 2.30pm. The ride was to be open from 2.30pm till 3pm, and as it was so quiet the member of staff let Willow stay on the full duration. At times she was the only child riding and she loved it! I couldn’t get over how attentive the staff were on our visit, and this member really went out of her way to make sure Willow was having a great day. I hope she realises how happy she made a little train loving toddler that day.
Before leaving we made sure to have five minutes at one of the play areas, Willow was one very happy little lady on the ‘curly’ slide. I love that the play areas were so suited to small children, and being plastic they felt really safe too. She probably would have loved to spend the whole afternoon going up and down and we may have had to use a little bribing to coax her away and back to the car.
We had such a fun family day at Pennywell Farm, although I’ve visited in the past I hadn’t really taken note of everything available for the younger children. Its so refreshing to visit somewhere with so many activities and equipment for Under Fives and we didn’t even do everything they had on offer during this visit so we’ll definitely be going again, especially whilst Willow is still little as under three’s go free! We were lucky that we went on a dry day but I think we would have enjoyed ourselves just as much on a wet day too. Everything was so easy to access, even with a pushchair! If you’re in South Devon and looking for a day out, then I would highly recommend popping here for the day.
Can you recommend anywhere for a good family day out with a Tot and Toddler?