Willows Activity Farm


Weather: Bright and blustery - blows away the cobwebs but drove us indoors after about 20 minutes. 

Logistics: Drove there, it's 2 minute drive from junction 22 of the M25. Just don't input the postcode into your sat nav as you will end up on a private road that has been invaded so many times they have put up a sign telling you to bugger off. Use your brain and read the signs as you go around the roundabout (unlike me). Once you're inside everything is walkable. Warning: exit is through the gift shop - be prepared to pick up yet another bit of plastic tat or lose part of your life force to the enraged children who now believe you only exist to thwart their every desire.  

Activities: ALL OF THE THINGS! There are animals to feed and touch (natch, it's a farm). It has fairground rides - including a carousel, which is very important for a good day out with the 3 year old. We all enjoyed the spectacularly bumpy tractor ride. There's a tent that offers a range of arts and craft activities. There are lots of temporary seasonal activities organised all year round as well which are lots of fun. The best bit is all of this is included in the entry price. 

Special Mention: Our personal favourite bit is the air cannon room (Captain Chicken's Egg Dodge) where children gather balls from ground, bring them to the cannon and then watch their parents shoot at each other. Much cheaper than marriage counselling.  Some people were actually letting their kids have a turn. Amateurs.

Playground: Pleasingly varied, and it's nice to have indoor and outdoor options; inside there's a soft play, a toddler zone with mini world role play stations and the aforementioned air cannon room (I cannot emphasise enough how much fun this is).  Outside there's lots of wooden bits for climbing on - it's that kind of worthy, 'healthy exercise trail' design that looks far more fun than it is. Give me a day-glo coloured metal climbing frame any day. Mind you, there is a very good zip wire so its not all bad. To be fair, it seemed designed for older children so it might come into its own in a few years, I suppose. There didn't seem to be a huge amount of outdoor play equipment that catered for our 3 and 6 year old but it's not a huge issue as there's so much else to do. 

Coffee: Lukewarm despair in badly designed crockery.

Food: Too pricey to get more than a swift shot of energy in the form of badly baked cake but they were't fussed about us eating our own food in the seating area so I consider this a draw. I'm sure a picnic outside on a sunny day would be glorious.

Grounds: The farm is really well designed with lots of opportunities for exploring new things and learning about farm animals. The petting zoo is really well run and the animal food is £1 a bag for the larger animals. 

Accessibility: There are smooth paths accessing most of the farm, though it is very hilly.  I'm not sure if the tractor ride is wheelchair accessible. There are so many different areas and activities most kids are likely to find something they want to access.

Overall: Recommended - this is a full on, proper day out with enough to keep the kids busy for hours.