On Monday we ventured to Marsh Farm again. I recently reviewed one of their special character days, and we wanted to go back as they were opening a few attractions to the farm ready for the holidays, and do all the things we didn’t have time for last time.
Monday was one of the first nice days of the summer holidays, well at least where we are. So we were expecting the farm to be busy, however we managed to park really easily and there was no queue to get in. The young man who let us in to the farm again was friendly and made us feel special, we brought our Yippie Yo along knowing it was going to an outdoorsy day and some of the activities we wanted to do weren’t on paths, and he commented on the trailer and even on our way out of the farm a few hours later he said good bye and commented again on the trailer and remembered us. Now this could have been because we were the only family with a trailer, but it just made us feel slightly special.
This time we decided to buy animal feed for each of the children. It is £1 a bag, however it is a really big bag of animal feed. We wanted to try out the maize maze however as it is only open at certain times we decided to look around the farm and do the afternoon session.
On the first part of the farm we were pleasantly surprised to see the Crazy Golf open to use. We walked in and was very surprised that the crazy golf was FREE, yes you read that right FREE. Just chose your putter and your golf ball and off you go. There are 18 holes and the courses are all decorated with some beautiful wooden carvings. There are also old tractors to decorate the golf area, which the children loved to look at. The courses vary, in shapes and obstacles and is well laid out. It bulked out the day and we spent around half an hour doing the golf.
There are 2 slightly negative things I would like to quickly input;
1- The area is unmanned. We were lucky that we went when it was a quiet day, however there were children not being supervised who were just running around and going onto the holes you were playing. I know this is not the Farms fault and they do clearly state to supervise your children, but it did make me wonder how it will work in the busier days, whether it will be manned and when there are 18 families in then they start to form a queue or if it will be a free for all.
2- The path between each hole is raised, some of these are rather small, and also you have to climb over wooden logs to get in and out of the golf greens so is not wheelchair friendly. We were lucky and brought the Yippie Yo so could pull this around the middle of the courses however people with normal pushchairs were just leaving them near the main entrance as it isn’t that pushchair friendly. We were told the area is still having some work done to it, so maybe a pushchair park is being added, or the centre of the courses will be a more suitable flooring for pushchairs and wheelchairs but I am not sure.
Even with those slight negatives the kids LOVED the golf and again it was a brilliant addition to the farm.
We then decided to look at some of the animals. Which most had just been sheared. Again all the animals were beautifully looked after and looked like they were all happy. The variety of animals were good. The children enjoyed either feeding the animals with their hands or by using the feeding slides in certain enclosures.
We decided to not bring a picnic with us this visit and try out one of the eateries. We chose the restaurant with the play area inside as well. The children had a wonderful time playing on the soft play while we went up and ordered the food and waited for it to be cooked. The majority of the tables are for a family of 4, if you have a bigger family the tables you require are under the play structure. Dad is claustrophobic and being under the play area didn’t worry him in the slightest. The service is friendly and the day we went the food arrived quickly. SB decided to have the kids packed lunch box, this is a drink, sandwich and a choice of 3 snacks, while the rest of us had various hot meals. All children’s meals are cost the same and the portions are good. I had the gourmet burger and Dad had the all day breakfast, and considering you are in a soft play area in a farm, the food is good and reasonably priced. For our 5 meals + drinks (only the kids lunch box includes a drink) it cost around £30. There are plenty of highchairs located by the till point. The area is clean and tidy and again the staff are helpful and friendly.
We looked at the schedule of the day and realised we could make one of the animal talks. We ran to the theatre and sat down and learnt all about Guinea Pigs, Rabbits, Rats and Ferrets. The boys got slightly bored as they brought each animal (except the rat) around to be stroked, however the presenter was very informative and fun. The kids laughed and learnt a lot about the various animals. We were half way back but the children could still see and hear perfectly. As they went around with the animals you didn’t feel rushed to stroke it and they had a laugh with you. So if you want to get up close and personal with the smaller animals I would highly recommend the show!
I think one of the reasons MO started to get fidgety was the fact that the area although was large as the show went on more people came in, as more people came in so did the noise. We had to leave slightly early for his comfort, so just remember if you do have a child with sensitivity in these areas just sit nearer the back door. Everyone got a stroke of the animal so you won’t miss out, it just means you can exit quickly if needed.
As we had a bit of time before the Maize Maze opened we decided to have a little walk around and try out the play areas.
There are various play areas around, however if there is one area you go to go to the play area just by the tractor rides. It is HUGE. It is all connected and has numerous slides and activities for the children to do. I have never seen such a big climbing frame. All 3 big kids enjoyed going all over the climbing frame for about 30 minutes and didn’t want to leave so again, if you need to kill some time before the next show or as adults you just want to sit while the kids play go to this area. Just be warned that we only found slight shade by the bird building, there are tables but only some had sun umbrellas.
In the goat and duck area, there are some amazing bug hotels and the children loved seeing the fact the farm had used the sheep wool as one of the layers, this intrigued our MO for a while.
Finally it was 2 pm and we could venture to the Maize Maze. You enter and get the choice of taking you pushchair or leaving it in the maned shed. We took our Yippie Yo in as we didn’t want to leave it and have to carry BBG as we could have been in the maze for awhile. Certain parts I could hear Dad struggling behind us but generally it was ok to get around. The floor is uneven and you are walking on flat corn maize plants so I would say it is not pushchair friendly unless you have an all terrain one. The paths are extremely thin and with the floor I would say this activity is not wheelchair friendly.
You are given a flag on a large stick on entry and are told to keep this high and to wave if you get lost. You do laugh and think it is silly however trust me the maze walls are so tall you really can’t see where you are. Around the maize there are emergency exits. If you wave your flag as you need to get out or are lost a member of staff will come down to help you out of the maze.
Around the maize there are 2 towers you climb up and can see where you are and where you need to get to. The 2nd tower, on the day we visited, had a member of staff who advised how to get back to the exit. Near the beginning you also go across a bridge and find a very friendly scarecrow who offers some story telling and a few directions to help you along your way. There is a pushchair route around the bridge if you can’t climb stairs.
We were in the maze for around 45 minutes and the kids loved every minute of it. Not one of the kids asked if we were nearly at the exit or utter the words ‘I’m bored’. Just due to this fact I would highly recommend the maze activity.
The maze is not a permanent feature and is set to close 3rd September.
Marsh Farm although today’s review had a couple of non wheelchair friendly points, I believe the farm is extremely disability friendly. They have a changing space which are rare to find, most areas are disability friendly and all the animals can be seen at any height you are looking from. The space and activities I have found to be brilliant for my autistic boy and he can spend quite a while at the farm before getting overwhelmed. There are also plenty of spaces he can go to calm down.
I still think this is one of the best days out for my particular family, and would highly recommend a visit. The fact we have been twice in 6 weeks and the children have enjoyed both visits as much as the last just shows what a brilliant place it is! I am looking forward to the pumpkin picking in October and hopefully meeting Santa in December. Make sure if you plan to visit, to check out the website, to see if they are having any character days or if there are any special events being held. From what I can see these are well organised and worth going to.
I was given a family ticket to go to Marsh Farm in exchange for a review however all opinions are 100% my own.