Imogen and I went over to Belmont Children’s Farm in Mill Hill for a midweek treat last week after being cooped indoors with illness for a few days. Like a lot of toddlers, she is very happy around animals and I fancied a small farm trip for a few hours, not one of the bigger activity farms.
It reminded me a lot of the city farms we have been to (Hackney, Surrey Quays, Mudchute) but with a larger area, that you only see if you take a tractor ride, and rolling hills in the background as opposed to city tower blocks. It has the same purpose of bringing a community farming experience to city dwellers. I liked that the main animal areas were compact and easy walking distance for a toddler. I did take the buggy with us out of habit but I could have easily left it in the car.
We got to the farm at around 10am and we had about an hour or so to wander before going on a tractor ride. We bought some feed too and found chickens (lots and lots of chickens!), horses and goats to feed it too. I soon realised that Imogen didn’t like feeding the animals with the feed (but loves picking up straw to feed them) so I ended up feeding them. We also saw sheep, wallabies, cows, a little deer, a pig and alpacas.
As it was midweek during term time, the farm was quiet with a few toddlers and pre-schoolers and their parents. The same – lovely and helpful – guy took our entry payment, served in the cafe, made the food and drinks and rounded us up for the tractor ride. At one point I thought he was going drive the tractor too but a couple more staff popped up to do that!
The bumpy (which Imogen loved) tractor ride took around 15 minutes and we saw more animals grazing in the fields, went past the pig sty and also saw some horses practicing jumps!
After the ride we opted for an early lunch. The cafe specialises in waffles which looked amazing (you can visit the cafe without paying to enter the farm) though boringly we went for the fish finger kids meal and soup for me. The kids meals come with a colouring and sticker pack and there are a couple of TV screens with a little farming video showing on loop. After she’d had enough of lunch Imogen found a stack of magazines to reorganise over and over again whilst I finished mine.
After lunch we headed to the Petting Session and Imogen held a rabbit which she loved. It was the softest rabbit ever and was happy to sit on Imogen’s lap whilst Imogen stroked her. We were the only ones there and after we’d finished, they locked the room up which upset Imogen a bit as she wanted to go back and see “my pet rabbit”. I did wonder if we should have stayed in the room a bit longer and held another rabbit or a guinea pig but I got the impression the handling guy wanted to leave and do something else.
I managed to distract her with more animals and we saw a chicken that had escaped the pen and was wandering up and down the pathway and Imogen also had her finger pecked by another chicken when she put her fingers through the pen. I don’t think I resisted telling her “I TOLD YOU NOT TO PUT YOUR FINGERS THROUGH” as I’d said that at least 500 times. She was upset but soon cheered up by the escaped chicken.
We left around 1pm ish and she fell asleep on the way home, which doesn’t always happen these days! She was full of tales of the farm later on and excitedly told Seren and daddy about her pet rabbit, having her finger pecked and the escaped chicken. I think we will take them there with us (I’ve had to promise S who doesn’t like us having adventures without her) one day and try the waffles too.
Belmont Farm is open 7 days a week throughout the year. We paid £9 for me and £5 for Imogen for entrance plus £2.50 each for the tractor ride. See their website for more details – http://belmontfarm.co.uk/
Read more of our farm visit posts – Santa Spectacular at Willow’s Farm, Hackney City Farm, Apple Day at Forty Hall Farm, Surrey Quays Farm and Godstone Farm, Surrey.