We were looking for a free day out over the summer as funds were running low. It needed somewhere for the kids to let off a bit of steam yet with something to attract their interest.
Up near Lincoln, in Lincolnshire, you will find Bransby Horses. It is a non profit organisation which means it is free to visit but they do rely entirely on donations. They have a nice shop in the reception area and all proceeds from items bought here go towards Bransby horses. So at the end of our visit this is how we made our donations. You don’t have to donate, however buying the kids a few bits at the same time is a great way to do that. It is a family friendly place to visit.
Our Visit to Bransby Horses
My Google Maps sat nav on my phone did a super job of getting me to Bransby. Although near Lincoln it is rather in the middle of nowhere. Once there you park outside their new looking reception building. In here you will find some toilets, the shop, a café and their visitor centre. They are open 362 days of the year from 10am until 4pm. The café closes at 3:30pm.
They have over 400 horses, donkeys and mules most of which you will be able to meet out in their 600 acres of paddocks plus stables. They run special event days such as adoption days, pony grooming and kids craft days. Their main walkways around the paddocks are wheelchair and buggy friendly making this a great place to visit for everyone.
These horses are spoilt and rightly so. They have some really lovely enclosed paddocks. Sometimes they are off in the distance, other times they are by the gates waiting for attention.
The Horses and Donkeys
Because they are constantly working with rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming their horses and donkeys life is always on the go at Bransby horses. While we were there they had a vet visiting so we had to proceed with caution around the main courtyard. You have to remain quiet and respectful of the animals. Our boys were excited to see each other and ran around a little bit crazy. A member of staff had to tell them off a couple of times. But once reigned in, so to speak, they were a lot calmer and enjoyed seeing all the animals.
Quite a lot of the horses and ponies are shy of people. They will often put on their stable door or paddock if they are wary of people. You can usually tell which ones want a chat or a stroke as they will be waiting for you. There are plenty of walkways to walk around and the Shetland ponies were my absolute favourite. Plus this character below who was quite possibly the friendliest horse I have ever met.
You are not allowed to feed the horses or donkeys any carrots etc. Mostly because they are keeping an eye on the diet of some of them. Where they had the ponies already in grass paddocks the boys would often pass them some grass over. They liked to feel that they were helping them.
The Play area
There is a small wooden play area for the little ones with a few picnic benches nearby. This was a great spot to let off some more steam and they spent quite a long time in here. We virtually had to bribe them out!
Look out for more picnic benches dotted around the place. There are plenty of great spots to stop for a picnic or a rest. We took a picnic lunch so I can not comment on the food in the café.
As well as horses out on the paddocks they also have some in the stables. You are free to wander around, lots it would seem in our case. There’s a bit about virtually every horse in there so you can learn their name and a bit about them.
We passed quite a few pleasant hours at Bransby horses. More than we were actually expecting to. It’s a lovely place with modern facilities run by a highly commendable charity. I would certainly recommend a visit.
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