How about taking Alpaca’s for a walk? We had a big tick on our family bucket list the other day when we did just this. We had such a lovely and memorable day out to Charnwood Forest Alpacas on the Leicestershire/Derbyshire border. They are located south east of Burton-on-Trent and west of Loughborough, just a short drive from the M1.
Our Day Out to Pukka Pacas – Charnwood Alpacas
Our four year old was up bright and early at 5:30am on the day of our visit. It’s always a sign to knowing just how excited he is about doing something! He was virtually spontaneously combusting over breakfast and in the car on the way there. He is such a lover of animals and we’ve always loved the calm nature of Alpacas.
The location of Charnwood Alpacas is on a working farm. They also have quite a few horses out in their fields and a few chickens. They offer a range of day out experiences. We were booked in on the 60 minute alpaca walk with sparkling afternoon tea (£49 pp). Other experiences are 90 minute walk with alpacas (£35 pp), cria watch (baby alpaca) experience (£20 pp), alpaca care and ownership days (£65 pp), adopt and alpaca (£20 or £60 adoption packages) and more.
They recommend that you arrive 30 minutes before your experience so we did just that and sat in their Chilli Bean Kitchen with some drinks for a while. We then handed over our voucher in exchange for wristbands and purchased a 50p bag of food for the alpacas. As well as the cafe with seating inside and outside they also have on site toilets. There is also a small shop.
Our Alpaca Trek – Sparkling Afternoon Tea and Alpaca Walk
We were met in the courtyard by a friendly lady who took us all into a barn for a pre walk briefing. She had a microphone for the whole time so it was easy to hear her which was great. We all sat and listened to a talk all about alpacas and what to expect from the walk. It seemed that alpacas are rather full of personality and a lot are very set in their ways.
The talk was really interesting and rather amusing. You have to hold their rope with two hands, you need to try to keep up with the pack or else they will leg it back to it (I can vouch for this!). They love to eat so can be very eager for their food and other alpaca’s food. There will be one leader who will lead all the way round, they make talking noises and much more. Everyone was allowed to feel the alpacas foot and we were stared down by this particular alpaca. They are such characters and each so different yet similar.
Please note that children under 10 can not walk their own alpaca but they are more than welcome to help walk your own alpaca and there is no extra charge for this. No pushchairs are allowed on the walk. After the talk we were all then handed our own alpaca ready for the walk. I walked with Jamie so we both had a rope on our alpaca. They do have names but honestly I forgot it, sorry! There was a lot of ooing and aahing. They are so cuddly and adorably cute. Not all of the alpacas like cuddles but luckily we had been given an alpaca that loved them. It was also rather fond of its food! I regret not taking photos of my son at this point as he didn’t want to later on.
My son was so adorable walking our alpaca. I don’t think he had paid a huge amount of attention to the dos and don’ts as we soon ended up at the back of the group because he kept letting it stop to eat. He often walked in front of myself and our alpaca, taking the ‘lead’.
He was also often chatting to our alpaca and offered it many words of encouragement. It wasn’t just a walk holding a bit of rope with an alpaca at the end of it. Everyone was having fun laughing at their different characters, trying to keep up if they decided to trot or run or keeping them in check if they started to eat the grass. It was quite a challenge really.
We weren’t walking for a full 60 minutes as the trek also included a stop in the woods for photos with our alpacas. This was near the end of the walk so it was very welcome as it was a relatively hot day and we’d had a bit of a moment that had made us both very hot. We’d stopped at the bottom of a hill to hand my Mum our alpaca food. Our alpaca went a little mad and was also now desperate for some food. Because of this we ended up way behind. When the alpaca finally realised it ran at break neck speed up the hill back to the pack. My goodness can they run!.
We really needed a stop in the woods after this! It was so funny! I think the run had made our alpaca even hungrier and it was not impressed with posing for photos and instead just wanted to eat. It even tried a nudge of my Mum’s handbag in the hope of more food. Jamie loved helping him find fresh leaves to eat. After our stop in the woods we headed back to base and part 2 of our experience was waiting for us.
Sparkling Afternoon Tea – Charnwood Alpacas
After our trek came our sparkling afternoon tea. We could have shared with the little fella however he eats a lot so we bought him a kid’s sandwich box. We were brought a glass of bubbly for myself and my Mum. Everyone else who had been on the walk were also sat in the same part of the cafe, which was nice and friendly. The food wasn’t ready for our arrival and we did have a bit of a wait. It was however well worth waiting for. I don’t have a bad word to say about the food that we were served.
We had 4 different delicious sandwiches. There was cucumber and mint yoghurt which was a lovely surprise, egg mayonnaise, smoked salmon and ham and mustard. Another nice surprise was a bowl of homemade sweet potato chips served with banana relish dip. After that we had a fabulous and still warm scone with cream and jam. Which of course my son also had to try. Following this we had the cakes which were all very good. There was a carrot cake, chocolate brownie and a light lemon cake.
The sparkling afternoon tea experience would make a great gift. Especially for someone’s birthday, an anniversary or a wedding gift. To be honest you don’t need a special occasion as an excuse to do something this fun! We all loved it. All three generations! My Mum said after that she’d love to do it again. I have to agree! If you would like to book on the same experience please head on over to the Charnwood Alpaca’s website.
If you would like to see more of our day out to Charnwood Alpaca’s I also made a video of the highlights of our Alpaca walk. Please watch below.
Disclaimer: We were provided with a complimentary Sparkling Afternoon tea and alpaca walk for two for the purpose of this review. All words, opinions and photos are my own and must not be reproduced without prior consent.