Where is Willows Activity Farm?
Willows activity farm is a children’s activity village located less than 5 minutes from Junction 22 of the M25 near St Albans in Hertfordshire. The farm is themed with Peter Rabbit and friends and this is evident on the approach to the car park when you are met by character pictures along the roadside. Charlie our son was so excited to get in and going, especially after seeing the Peter Rabbit movie over Easter. There is good signage to the farm from the road and once onsite there are lots of free parking places. We went at the start of the May half term whilst they were running a Spring Special event.
After parking the car, there is a short walk to the entrance, with 3-4 booths to purchase tickets. Getting entry was very quick and we were provided with an event programme showing a full day of Spring special activities with Peter Rabbit shows with his family and meet and greets throughout the day. Along with all the usual activities available at Willows farm. The map clearly shows where all the activities are located using a numbering system.
Entry prices vary depending on whether you go on a week day, or weekend, or during a special event. (e.g. The Spring Special) From £14.50 – £21.00 per adult. I didn’t see a family booking rate. Best Rates were booked online in advance. Annual memberships are also available and a great way to save money if you are local and would visit the farm on a regular basis.
What is the farm park like?
First impression when looking at the farm was that it was quite small and we would get through everything quite quickly – how wrong we were! There is so much to do and see, that Charlie our son was kept amused for hours. Plus with the special programme for half term, it’s nearly impossible to do and see everything in one day.
I noticed quite quickly how family friendly Willows farm is. Toilets are large enough to take in a buggy, and a large number have baby changing facilities rather than there being only a couple.
There are no steps across the site making it fully accessible for both buggies and wheelchairs, although in some areas the terrain can be a bit uneven. I also observed how clean and well-kept the grounds and activity areas were, and we saw more than one litter picker throughout our day. Well done Willows.
The farm village is really aimed at six-seven year olds and under. It’s ideal for little ones as there are no older children running around bumping into toddlers. The Spring special consisted of regular shows with Peter Rabbit, and or his friends (Squirrel Nutkin, Lily Bobtail and Cotton tail) along with live demonstrations of sheep shearing and Animal Encounters.
Charlie loved the shows and went to the front and took part – they are very much aimed at the younger children. There are also meet and greets set up throughout the day, but unfortunately we missed these.
There are as couple of eateries onsite – one under cover , a canteen style which was very clean and spacious. Plus a Farmhouse BBQ along with a couple of huts selling ice creams, drinks and doughnuts. We didn’t eat at any of these as we bought our own packed lunch, but we did buy drinks and ice creams. Although the price was more expensive than the high street, it was no worse than other days out. There are lots of picnic spaces around the site, and an indoor area. I was really impressed that the outdoor picnic tables had a roof structure around them, offering protection for the family from the sun, these were also themed with farm animals – another lovely touch from Willows.
We tried to fit in as many of the special activities that we could, but spent most of our day on the activities that are there all year round. Favourites were Tristan the Tractor, Panning for Gold, The funfair rides and inflatables and The Peter Rabbit Adventure playground.
The tractor ride with Tristan the Tractor and Tilly the trailer is a five minute tractor ride around a field, with a few big puddles to go through – the ride was bumpy but great fun, Charlie really enjoyed it. The driver was very friendly, you could stay on for another ride as long as there wasn’t a large queue.
Panning for god involved taking a pan and sifting through the sand and water looking for a little piece of gold. If you collected five or so, you could take them to the hut and collect a certificate/prize. It was lovely in the hot weather seeing the little ones with their hands in the water – they were loving it.
The Peter Rabbit Adventure playground was probably the highlight for me – it was all lovely and so well thought out and planned. You could visit Mr McGregors Garden (If you dare), listen and guess the sounds of musical instruments in the Jeremy Fisher music pond, play on the Peter Rabbit secret tree house and have fun in the Mrs Tiggy Winkles little house with her kitchen and laundry. All the little ones in here were having an amazing time, so much for them to see and do in a small area.
Our final favourite was the farmyard. This was inside and you got the opportunity to both feed and hold some animals. You can buy animal feed at the entrance to the park with a credit card, or inside the park with cash. Two bags for £1. You can feed donkeys, shire horses (there was a warning for only adults to feed these as they are so large) and sheep.
Throughout the farm you can also feed the animals, but inside you could get up close to them. There were also little puppies who were so cute, all snuggled up in their pen. The little ones get an opportunity to hold a Guinea Pig. It was quiet whilst we were there, so Charlie was able to take his time. The Guinea Pigs were obviously used to being held as they were very still and well behaved. On leaving the farm area, and dotted around the farm are handwashing facilities with hot running water, soap and paper towels, with lots of signs encouraging hand washing. These areas once again were clean and well maintained.
If it rains or its cold, there are a few indoor areas. A JCB area where you can ride on pedal powered JCBs in a big area with ramps and tunnels, a little village with a row of shop fronts and an indoor soft play area. The day we visited it was a lovely sunny day, so we stayed outside. I did pop my head into the JCB area and it was so hot in there we didn’t last long. I did hear the soft play was cooler, but we didn’t go in.
All in all, we had a lovely day at the farm and would certainly recommend it to anyone wanting a wonderful family day out with a young family. Willows have thought about what works well and how to make the day as stress free as possible and it shows. Thanks for a great day.
Here’s a few more photos from their day out to Willows
Willows Activity Farm Herts | Things to See and Do | Day Out Review
Disclaimer: Katie and her family were provided with a family pass for the purpose of this review. As always all words, photos and opinions are entirely her own.