Mummy Diaries | Family day out at Barleylands Farm & Village

Little boy pretending to milk a cow
I genuinely can't believe I've never been to Barleylands before, nor even taken Alfie when we've been in Essex. We started New year with adventures and a day out, which I highly recommend. As well as being a farm park, there's also The Village at Barleylands: a collection of boutique shops and craft studios, as well as hair and beauty salons – and of course, the Tiptree Tea Rooms and Magic Mushroom restaurant.

Being January and obviously so open, it was cold, but we were always on the move so managed to keep warm – also going inside for a picnic lunch and a play, and later on a hot chocolate! When we visited, the Christmas Trail was still on with clues to find the letters (disguised as presents) that would spell out the mystery festive word. We soon realised the word was REINDEER – despite missing some letters.

It was difficult knowing what to do first, as there's so much to do and see, but we started off by following the map.

Down on the farm

There are so many animals to see, and when I booked the tickets, I had also purchased some animal feed (£1), so Alfie was able to feed the goats and sheep in the Animal Barn. On previous farm visits, it’s one of his favourite things to do. The goats were very greedy and butted each other out of the way to get more food. The sheep were much calmer, while the Kune Kune pigs were super cute, too.

Away from the Animal Barn, we also embarked on the Wildlife Walk, where we saw plenty of Bug Hotels, Bee Baths, and Hedgehog Houses. Sadly, there weren’t many insects – and then we whizzed around poultry corner, where there were chickens and pheasants.

Later on, I braved it and went through the walk-in aviary, which wasn't scary at all – just lots of small birds like Canaries, diamond doves and finches, all perched on branches and mostly feeding – so thankfully, flightless. I had to draw the line at getting close to any of the birds of prey though. We also saw:

  • Goats in the Show Arena
  • Servals
  • Meerkats
  • Exotic and nocturnal animals in the two-storey house
  • Guinea pigs
  • Lots of owls (surprisingly, with their eyes open)
Little boy feeding the sheep at the farm

Time to Play

When you’re finished petting, feeding, and seeing all the animals, there are plenty of playing areas and other facilities. Trust me, it will be hard prising your little one away! Barleylands Speedway costs £1, but kids can drive their own car around the track in laps – even racing their siblings or friends. Alfie loved it and wanted turn after turn. He also wanted a go on the Farm-ula 1, which costs £2 – these were much bigger cars, which I think could seat 2-4 people. We gave it a miss on this occasion.

There were also pedal tractors! Our local farm has these, and Alfie tries to ride them, but he’s not yet mastered pedalling – despite us buying him a pedal bike for Christmas. He was adamant he wanted to ride the tractors, but I think Ash spent most of the time just pushing it, and then got lumbered with the steering too. Alfie made it up the track to the play area and went straight to the bouncy pillows.

When we went to Marsh Farm, he loved the bouncy pillows, and really enjoyed bouncing again – although there weren’t many others on there. At this point, it had got quite cold, so while shoes were off, the coat stayed firmly on. Lunch called – and we ate inside, in the Showdown Shed. Here, there was a play area with foam balls – you could shoot from the canons or turn on the vacuums which sucked the balls up and eventually caused a foam ball shower! Thankfully, I got to relax with mum, and the boys went to play.

Later, we went to the indoor Play Barn, which had a larger soft play, and separate area for toddlers. Lots of slides, cargo nets and ball ponds. When we asked Alfie afterwards what his favourite part of the day was – this was it. To be fair, the hot chocolate with cream, and the Mars crunch slice was pretty dreamy too…

Little boy riding a motorised car around a track

Lots to learn – Discovery Centre

The Discovery Centre was a large museum, which documents the history of farming, the Barleylands site and the surrounding Essex countryside. As well as the old agricultural tools and vintage machinery through the ages, there were some really lovely interactive displays.

Alfie – of course – loved all the ones that were food related. There was an interesting one around “how much sugar is in your drink?” with a selection of drinks and the amount of sugar they contained – really bringing it to life. We also loved the “where does your food come from?” which was a large map of the world, with different food items attributed to the relevant countries.

A really fun day out for all the family – and such good value. I believe there’s an offer on for the remainder of January and ending on February 4th. We managed to purchase three adult and one child ticket for less than £30 – at only £7.25 per person. I think this is almost half price, so well worth taking advantage of.

While I would recommend packing a picnic, like we did – with indoor and outdoor seating areas – you must check out the Tiptree Tea Rooms! The one in The Village had a small shop, and while we didn’t go inside, I could see the condiments with their iconic labels from a mile away. Unfortunately, as we went on a Sunday, a lot of the shops were shut – and there were some ones that were a bit of me, including a wax melts shop, and a sweet shop! Another visit is a must-do.

Love, Lucy xx

No comments

Post a Comment

Enjoyed this post? Let me know. Leave a comment, or find me on social!
Love, Lucy xx

Professional Blog Designs by pipdig