Talk to the animals – petting farms for children

Spring is in the air and there are lambs, chickens, ducks, piglets, goats and alpacas to meet. GoMunkee has pulled together a list of farm experiences for young children in Kent and East Sussex. These are all open in some capacity with Covid restrictions in place.  Check availability and book advanced tickets with each venue before setting off.  After a year of lockdown, the kids will love farmyard encounters with four-legged or feathered friends.

Parents, grandparents and small children will be bowled over by this menagerie of the cutest miniature animals, which include micro-pigs, baby alpacas, miniature donkeys, ducks and bantam chickens.

Huckleberry Woods is set in delightful countryside near Faversham.  It was recently opened by husband and wife team Belinda and Bill Neal, when the pair decided to introduce their house-trained micro pigs Princess Pandora, Trotsky and Lord Truffles to a bigger audience.  The piggies now get taken for walkies on leads, trotting around a short route through the orchards with mini humans in gleeful tow.

Cot-Hoy, Lower Road, Buckland, Faversham ME13 0TP

With none of the usual hustle and bustle, a two hour visit to Huckleberry Woods provides a smaller, more relaxed and personal experience for young and young at heart.  This charming, rustic, low tech, family-run experience, is a million miles away from the commercialism of other days out. 

After walking the piggies and meeting the animals, there’s a summerhouse for tea and relaxation for the full-grown adults, while the little ones can let of steam in the play areas.

PRE-BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL

www.huckleberrywoods.co.uk

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A hugely popular farmyard activity day out for little ones, where they can run about, explore the adventure trails and encounter and pet friendly animals, including piglets, lambs, cuddly rabbits, hamsters, new born chicks, goats and horses. There are various take-away food stalls across the site and plenty of picnic sites if you wish to take your own.  Subject to coronavirus, look out for events in the Spring, during the holidays (pig racing anyone?) and at Christmas.  The soft play areas are closed.  The centre is closed on Mondays.

ONLINE PRE-BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL.  

rarebreeds.org.uk

Highland Farm, Woodchurch, Ashford  TN26 3RJ ​​

Kent Life is an open-air museum next to Allington Locks on the east bank of the River Medway.  It’s a real working farm where heritage and family sit side by side in 28 acre grounds.

The farm showcases and breeds traditional farm animals – and the Cuddle Corner is always popular with the little ones who can stroke goats and, in the Spring, get among the chicks, lambs and piglets. At Kent Life, children can encounter sheep, cattle, pigs, horses, donkeys, poultry, rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, ducks, geese and alpacas. 

Lock Lane, Sandling, Maidstone  ME14 3AU

There’s never a dull moment at Kent Life and events for children and adults take place all year round. 

ONLINE PRE-BOOKING ESSENTIAL

kentlife.org.uk

Druidstone Park - Canterbury

Due to CV19, Druidstone Park remains closed.

druidstone.net

Honey Hill, Blean, Canterbury  CT2 9JR

At the time of updating this post (27 April 2021) The Hop Farm website is indicating a fairly full list of events and activities.  Check first.  Advanced online booking required.

The Hop Farm Family Park is jammed with attractions and activities for young children. Attractions coming on-stream during 2021, as lockdown restrictions ease, include the ever-popular Giant Jumping Pillows, Driving School, Magic Castle, Bumper Carz, Outdoor Adventure Play area, children’s rides, live magic shows and discos from the entertainment team in the Big Red Barn.  

The Animal Farm features donkeys, horses, goats, sheep, chickens and more for cuddly encounters.  Watch out for special children’s events during the holidays.  

thehopfarm.co.uk

Maidstone Road, Paddock Wood, Tonbridge  TN12 6PY

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Enjoy a great family day out at one of the most popular attractions in the South East.  Children can meet farmyard favourites, including cows, pigs, donkeys and pygmy goats.  In the zoo there are exotic animals, where there’s a special animal child-friendly environment.  Drusilla’s welcomes the recent arrival of Halina, a baby sloth, born at the Park.

Kids can experience close encounters with meerkats, red pandas, owls, lemurs and anteaters and can help feed the penguins.

Alfriston, East Sussex  BN26 5QS

Animals are only half the fun.  GoMunkee says ‘Go! at Drusillas’.  Go Wild! Get Wet! Go Safari! Amazon Adventure, Eden’s Eye Maze and Hello Kitty Secret Garden – perfect for youngsters seeking a theme park experience.  Look out for events during the holidays.

drusillas.co.uk

This family-run farm is home to lots of animals and wildfowl which have been carefully chosen for their variety, character and good nature. Blackberry Farm’s helpful team of friendly staff are always on hand to talk to children about the animals.  

Families who visit during the Spring months can meet piglets, lambs and other newborns – and watch them get bottle-eed.  Kids can run about in the huge outdoor play area.  Blackberry Farm has closed (for now) all its indoor places under new guidelines. This includes Clucky’s indoor adventure play barn and sensory zone.  As restrictions ease, Blackberry Farm will be running animal handling sessions, tractor rides, farm walks, face painting, pig feeding sessions and pony rides on a daily schedule.  

There’s a great picnic area and The Garden Barn café serves of fresh, locally-sourced food all day.  Current restrictions apply.

Blackberry Farm is open all year round, and has seasonal and holiday activities and events throughout the year. 

blackberry-farm.co.uk

Whitesmith, near Lewes, East Sussex  BN8 6JD

Knockhatch is an all-time favourite with exotic and farm animals aplenty to delight children – wallabies, tortoises, emus, donkeys, goats, guinea pigs, miniature ponies, llamas, meercats, rabbits, racoons, a skunk, a raccoon, deer, owls and more.  Many animals can be petted and animal feed is sold at the entrance gate for 50p for the farm animals.  Animal keeper, owl and meerkat experiences are available.

Hailsham Bypass, Hailsham, East Sussex  BN27 3GD

As lockdown eases, there’ll be access to a vast indoor play centre, and outdoor activities which include crazy golf, go-karts, jumping pillows, laser games and a pirates’ paddling pool.

knockhatch.com

THE LLAMA PARK REOPENS 19 MAY 2021

Thirty three acres of countryside are there to be enjoyed by the whole family, and you can even take a llama on a walk with you.

Get up close to the wildlife – llamas, alpacas, reindeer, donkeys, Jacob sheep (and lambs), horses, Kune Kune pigs (and piglets), turkeys, geese, chickens and peacocks.  Buy animal feed for £1 and feed the animals on your close encounters.

The Llama Park is proud of its tea room and coffee shop which serves delicious home-made cakes.  There are picnic areas, a playground for little children, and playhouses in the woods as well as a shop.

llamapark.co.uk

Wych Cross, Forest Row, East Sussex  TH18 5JN

GoMunkee is full of good ideas for seeing and doing more things with children. Please register to stay up-to-date on everything that’s going on. Click and explore. Oh, and please like us on Facebook. Thank you very much.

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