Mary Arden’s Farm is located a few miles out of Stratford-Upon-Avon. It is one of the stops (stop number 10) along the City Sightseeing bus route from Stratford itself. We recently visited and took the hop on hop off bus to get there. It took around 25 minutes from stop number 1 where we alighted at 9:30am to stop number 10 where we disembarked. You can stop at other places along the way and also on the way back.
Mary Arden’s farm is quite honestly the most picturesque farm that I have ever visited and it was so much bigger than we were expecting it to be. Mary Arden’s farm is also known as Mary Arden’s house. You can visit her house and also Palmer’s farmhouse within the grounds of the farm. Mary Arden is the mother of William Shakespeare. Palmer’s farmhouse was for some time believed to be the home of Mary Arden and was even restored as such. It is a far nicer house than the one that is now named Mary Arden’s house.
Review of Mary Arden’s Farm near Stratford-Upon-Avon
I honestly thought that Mary Arden’s farm was her old house with a few animals in residence. It is actually bigger than a lot of farm parks in my home county of Lincolnshire. Not only that but it is incredibly beautiful and we loved the fact that there were a lot of staff members dressed authentically. It felt like we were stepping right back to the 16th Century.
What’s On at the Farm
You arrive at the reception desk where you pay and you are then handed a leaflet about the farm. This includes a map and information on what there is to see and do. There is also a board as you step outside which lists which extra activities are on that day and at what time.
The day we were there they had two Goose herding sessions (that selected children can join in with), three falconry displays, various talks, animal meet and greet, a tour of Palmer’s farmhouse, plus Tudor crafts throughout the day. There was also the opportunity to take part in archery which was very authentic.
The Farm Itself
There’s a few courtyard areas with animals and other extra activities. In the first courtyard there was a lady dressed up and preparing fruit and vegetables. We also found some donkeys, a fun sign to pose behind, plus a stage and some toy horses for the kids to play with. This is also the area for the cafe where they serve hot and cold food and drinks. They have plenty of seating inside and outside.
To the left of this area there is a pond with geese and ducks. It was a real treat to see some ducklings and goslings. The geese and ducks are free to wander around the farm as they please. There was an old cider press and this is where you will find Palmer’s farmhouse.
Palmer’s Farmhouse is the 16th Century house that was once believed to be the home of Mary Arden. It is a real treat to wander around. It is most certainly Tudor in style with bowing floors, black and white walls and so many authentic rooms inside. There was plenty to see inside and we also found two authentically dressed ladies preparing dinner. They were very friendly and informative.
Mary Arden’s House
It took some time for the trust to realise that her home, as labelled today, was actually the home of Mary Arden and not actually Palmer’s farmhouse. The house is pretty but compared to Palmer’s it is no way near as attractive. The exterior has added brickwork and is not as authentic to its tudor age. The inside has information boards rather than made up rooms. The gardens outside the house were very pretty and extremely well-kept.
I loved the courtyard area around the back of Mary Arden’s house. There was an authentically dressed man who does the falconry displays. He was busy in his barn and he had a barn owl that you could have a photo with, for a donation. Also in the courtyard there was a huge chess board plus animals and a workshop.
The Rest of the Farm
Moving on from here we found the daily falconry display (this changes location in bad weather). This is also where you can have a go at archery, as mentioned above. This then leads to more animals in a field and a playground. It wasn’t a massive play area however there was plenty there and it was all wooden and good quality. Jamie especially loved the horse and cart that you can play on.
As you walk towards the willow tunnel you will pass more animals. The kids were having a great time running backwards and forwards in the tunnel.
Moving on from here there’s more paddocks with animals in, which you can also feed if you have purchased food.
We had to get back into Stratford-Upon-Avon for afternoon tea so we only spent half a day at the farm. We honestly could have spent a lot longer. The farm itself is relatively large but if you include the two houses and the different activities that are on during the day you could certainly spend a full day out here. I would highly recommend a visit to Mary Arden’s Farm. It was totally not what we were expecting.
Mary Arden’s Farm is located in Wilmcote, Warwickshire, which is just a few miles from Stratford-Upon-Avon. There is a car park on site and you can also get the tourist bus to the farm from Stratford town centre. The farm is open for most of the year from 10am until 5pm however it shuts over the winter. Please follow this link for up to date information.
You can pre book your tickets online. Doing this you will make a saving of 10% on the door price. Online you pay £13.50 per adult and £9.00 per child. This ticket allows you further unlimited visits for no extra cost for the next 12 months. Dogs are not allowed at the farm due to the free range birds.
Disclaimer: We were provided with a press pass by Shakespeare’s England for the purpose of this review (and others). All words, opinions and photos are entirely my own. Please do not reproduce without prior consent from myself.
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