There are some places that my kids will ask to go to time and time again. One of these places is Willows Activity Farm, near St Albans. The farm is running a Summer Spectacular event over the summer holidays, featuring an A-maiz-ing Maze, and we went to check it out.
I’ve written about Willows a few times now. We have both been invited to review it and paid for our own tickets to go numerous times. Simply, we love it there. It’s a fun packed day out for young children (and there’s enough to keep older siblings amused too). It’s pricy but there’s enough going on to entertain you from 10am to 5pm. Plus all activities are included in your ticket price (except animal feed). It never gets so busy that there are queues and crowds. We love how they change the farm for their school holiday events, adding decorations and special shows and activities.
All year round, you can meet and feed farm animals as well as hold a guinea pig. The latter may sound simple but it’s a massive draw for my kids. There’s a number of play areas including a relatively new Peter Rabbit themed playground, sand pit, zip wire, bouncy castles, gold panning, mini JCB driver area and fairground rides. The playgrounds are great for pre-schoolers with some things, like the huge climbing tower pictured below, being for older ones.
Peter Rabbit Adventure Playground
The Peter Rabbit Adventure Playground is really sweet with indoor and outdoor play equipment based on the famous tales. I think my kids prefer this to the World of Beatrix Potter attraction in the Lake District. It’s certainly more hands on! You can easily spend an hour or so exploring the different zones.
Indoors there’s Woolly Jumpers, a huge softplay with separate areas for babies, toddler and big kids. Older ones can enjoy huge slides and even stomach churneing vertical drop slides for the thrill seekers. For younger ones there’s also Cotton-Tail Village, an indoor area made up of two play streets. The streets are filled with role-play scenarios such as a vets, hairdressers and shops, all with props and dress-up.
We used softplay to dodge the rain during our visit and sheltered from another shower whilst on the tractor.
We’ve visited Willows during winter and also on a much hotter (too hot, remember those?) summer’s day and the mix of indoor and outdoor activities is a blessing. The farmyard area, where you can feed animals and hold a guinea pig, is also under cover as are small parts of the Peter Rabbit play area.
Shows & Character Meets
For the Summer Spectacular (and other special events throughout the year), the farm has a programme of events on throughout the day. These include goat racing, summer sports day races, live shows with Peter Rabbit and his friends and ‘meet the animals’ talks. We went to one of the animal talks to learn all about the farm’s Jersey cows.
The shows are repeated throughout the day. We watched the things that were on when we were in a particular area instead of trying to stick to a schedule as we prefer to go with the flow.
Food & Drink
We took a picnic for this visit (there are plenty of covered picnic tables) but we have eaten in both the main cafe and the softplay cafe before and the food isn’t bad at all and fairly reasonably priced.
The A-Maize-ing Maze
At the far end of the farm you can take a ride on Tristan the Tractor – past the pumpkin patch which the kids are already looking forward to visiting at Halloween. Next to the pumpkin patch is the A-Maiz-ing Maze, the star attraction for the summer!
We were a little nervous about attempting this as we had got completely lost in the Maize Maze at Wivedon Hall in Norfolk the week before. In the name of research, Seren and I though we should at least attempt it. We were pleased that clues inside this maze were easier to find! There were also several exits dotted around the maze so you can come out and head back in again. Seren was thrilled with her sticker at the end of the maze, almost as much as a farm cat wandering over to say hello.
Watch the video to see more of our day at Willows and find out what Seren’s favourite bit was!
Find Out More About Willows Activity Farm
See the Willow’s Activity Farm website – www.willowsactivityfarm.com – for more information on tickets and events. My top tip for tickets is to book in advance online and save a few pounds doing so.
The summer spectacular event runs until the 3rd September 2017. The next event is the Potato Shindig from the 4th to the 24th September, where you can dig up a bag of potatoes to take home!
Thank you to Willows Activity Farm for inviting us to review the Summer Spectacular event. We do visit Willows fairly regularly, paying for our tickets and always have a great day out.