Despite it being so close, we have never tried Odds Farm before, we've always been put off by the price. The cost for adult entry is £12.95, children £11.95 and under 2's go free. For those on a limited budget, with so many other free/cheap activities nearby, it has never come up high on our to do list.
However, with our lucky free ticket burning a space in my diary we found we were quite excited for our family day out. We arrived on Saturday at just after 10:00 when the park opens and found it very easy to find a parking space, unpack the car, load up the pram and make our way in. There was very little queuing to get into the farm and we were able to purchase animal feed for £1 a bag.
Once inside it became clear that this was as much a play area as a farm. There was a huge outdoor adventure playground to the left, and some pedal tractors in small areas to the right. Lily headed straight to them and had to be dragged away after playing for 15 minutes so we could head to the feeding barn.
On reflection, I wouldn't have gone to the barn first. It was packed with what seemed like every other visitor and with Lily being so small, she couldn't get close enough to easily feed the animals, getting quite overwhelmed. The staff there though were incredibly friendly, advising us about the importance of hand washing and introducing Lily to 'Benjamin' the goat.
They had plenty of cute and cuddly rabbits, guinea pigs, goats and sheep. The animal feed was just for the goats and sheep and there was plenty to go round. We didn't stay long due it to being so busy and came back later when it was much quieter. By then Lily was a lot more outgoing and she got to spend more time feeding the animals than being pushed out of the way by boisterous older children with rude parents (mini rant over).
After the barn we found that there was still plenty more to see and do and visited the pigs, cows, goats, chickens and donkeys. Lily led us in, and then out, of the 'adventure maze' and we all had fun in yet another log play area. We had hoped to watch one of the first attractions of the day, sheep racing, but Lily unfortunately wasn't keen and Ollie decided that it was the perfect time to go for a poop. Typical. So instead we headed back to the tea room and adventure play barn.
The food was lovely. Both Matt and I opted for hot meals (chicken goujons with chips and salad for me, vegetable lasagne and salad for Matt - in case you were wondering) and were impressed by the quality of the ingredients and how tasty it was. Lily went for the children's 5-item lunch bag which was a tad expensive at £4.95. As we hadn't paid entry we didn't mind spending out £20 for lunch, but if we were to go again then we may bring our own picnic - there were plenty of facilities both outside and under cover.
The soft play in the barn was impressive with self contained areas for babies and toddlers as well as a huge frame for older children and some great slides. As we didn't think Lily would like being dropped down a death slide we kept to the simple one which still proved to be great fun. The only way to drag her away was to bribe her with a tractor trailer ride!
Tractor and trailer rides are included in the price and are on the hour, every hour. I really enjoyed it and Lily thought is was a 'great adventure'. Unfortunately, Ollie was asleep by that point and so Daddy pulled the short straw, staying behind with the pram. We then headed back to the feed barn and also took part in the Pig's Lunchtime demonstration.
We wrapped up our day with HUGE, delicious ice creams (£2.50 for one scoop, £3.00 for two) and headed home through the gift shop. I felt that there was still tons more we could have done but both children had worn themselves out so there was little to be gained by dragging them round. If you have older children, or children with more stamina than mine, you could easily spend the day there and really get your money's worth. I'd like to think that we'll be heading back at some point as I'd like to see more of the attractions like the sheep racing, cow milking and egg collecting. They have lots of seasonal fun throughout the year, including bottle feeding animals, lambing and a Santa's grotto so it's definitely worth considering buying an annual membership from £7.00 a month if you live locally.
For more info about Odds Farm you can check out their website here.