Adventures

Sunday at Hackney City Farm

3rd August 2016

For a city so humungous and busy as London, it’s really quite cool that there are so many pockets of greenery and wildlife. From the large Royal Parks such as Greenwich Park to the garden squares to the nature reserve at Camley Street and the Skip Garden both in King’s Cross. There are also several city farms and recently we had a mooch around Hackney City Farm and stayed for brunch too (we’ve already been to Surrey Quays and Mudchute Farms).

A couple of times a year we have a ‘big’ day out at one of the adventure farms that are dotted around the M25. These are great fun but pretty full on and tiring. Back in the spring we realised we hadn’t seen any baby farm animals yet but couldn’t face a big farm trip so jumped in the car one Sunday morning and drove down the A10 to Hackney. There is no parking at the farm (it’s half a mile from both Hoxton and Cambridge Heath Overground stations or a mile from Bethnal Green tube station) but on Sundays you can park in the surrounding streets.

For 30 years, Hackney City Farm has offered the local community the opportunity to experience farming in London’s east end, by offering a range of workshops, volunteering sessions, social enterprises and community groups. On Saturday mornings there is a Mini Farmers Club aimed at children aged 8-17 years old. The sessions teach children about nature and allow them to get to know the animals under the careful supervision of our livestock worker. During term time, the farm runs children’s pottery sessions and hosts a baby music class.

The farm is small but there is enough going on to keep a toddler and preschooler (and their grown-ups) amused for about an hour. Imogen loved following the chickens and rooster around the farmyard and both girls loved seeing the two new baby lambs, who were a bit shy.  We also saw pigs, rabbits and geese in and around the courtyard and more pigs, donkeys, sheep, ducks  and goats in the outer bit of the farm.

We didn’t realise at the time but we ended up leaving the farm to explore a bit of Haggerston Park which is right next door, before coming back to see more animals.

By about 11.30am we had worked up an appetite so headed to onsite restaurant, Frizzante for brunch. Frizzante is run separately from the farm and is based on the Agriturismo’s in Italy where the farm restaurant offered all produce grown or reared on the farm. Though not all of Frizzante’s ingredients are from the farm, they do use local and smaller suppliers and all meals are prepared freshly on the premises.

We arrived at the perfect time, as by the time we had sat down and ordered, there was quite a queue at the door. Andy ordered the Canadian Brunch with toasted banana bread, bacon, eggs and maple syrup and I opted for the Vegetarian Brunch (picture from Instagram below) with eggs, mushroom, roasted tomato with oregano, spinach, homemade baked beans & toast. The girls had scrambled eggs on toast.

The food was really tasty and came reasonably quickly too. The service was patchy, one guy was really good but one waitress was pretty awful and begrudgenly fulfilling her duties. She was pretty dismissive when I flagged her down to ask for sauces and a highchair but the other good guy stepped in quickly to assist. The only negative thing I would say is that the cafe is more on the grubby / shabby side of shabby chic. The food was great though and I was impressed with how well the girls sat and how much they ate.

After food, we explored the garden bit of the farm. 

Before heading off to a playground we had spotted in nearby Ion Square Gardens to run off energy before the drive home. The playground was great for preschoolers though it isn’t fenced off from the rest of the gardens so runaway toddlers need to by sharply supervised!

Though the swings were cordoned off with a metal barrier which I haven’t seen before, super useful to stop kids running towards the swings. We did think about stopping off in Victoria Park on the way back, as I keep hearing how great it is but we will save that for another time.

Hackney City Farm – 1a Goldsmiths Row, London, E2 8QA
hackneycityfarm.co.uk
Open Tuesday to Sunday (and Bank Holiday Mondays) from 10am-4.30pm
Entrance is free but donations are very welcome

Frizzante – 1a Goldsmiths Row, London, E2 8QA
frizzantecafe.com
Frizzante is open Tuesday to Sunday 10am–4.30pm and also open 7pm-11pm Thursday and Friday nights

Haggerston Park – Audrey St, London E2 8QH
Open 7am to dusk
www.hackney.gov.uk/haggerston-park

Ion Square Gardens – 69 Warner Place, London, E2 7DB

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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12 Comments

  • Reply Sian 6th August 2016 at 10:36 pm

    Lovely Hackney City Farm!

  • Reply Fiona Cambouropoulos 7th August 2016 at 8:42 pm

    I do love the look of this city farm. Is it new? My sister lives not far from there but I don’t remember seeing it. Such a great introduction to animals and the countryside in the middle of London and the animals look very happy and well groomed. The food looks good too. You really could be anywhere looking at your photos, amazing to think how central you are. A great looking day out with the play park too, I’m sure I have taken my kids to that one in the past.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

    • Reply Sian 8th August 2016 at 9:02 am

      Thanks for your comment Fiona! The farm has been there for years (about 30) but I think it’s maybe getting better at pushing itself out there. There are a few city farms in east London and they do an amazing job of bringing a slice of the countryside to Londoners and teaching them skills such as planting, harvesting, metalwork, pottery etc etc.

  • Reply Merlinda Little (Glimmer of Hope) 8th August 2016 at 4:14 am

    Awww lovely photos. So clear and crisp! I love seeing them. The places that you had visited looks gorgeous but its the smile of your girls that really made the photos so priceless =) #countrykids
    Merlinda Little (Glimmer of Hope) recently posted…JumpMy Profile

    • Reply Sian 8th August 2016 at 9:02 am

      Ah thank you Merlinda – that is a lovely thing to say!

  • Reply Steph 9th August 2016 at 7:33 am

    Oh wow looks like a cool place to visit! Lovely photos, looks like your girls had fun 🙂 #countrykids

    • Reply Sian 12th August 2016 at 9:34 am

      Thank you!

  • Reply Sarah | Boo Roo and Tigger Too 9th August 2016 at 9:46 am

    I visited here with my children a few years ago and had an amazing time. So lovely to see that space has been utilised for something other than yet more houses or shops
    Sarah | Boo Roo and Tigger Too recently posted…High Lodge, Thetford ForestMy Profile

    • Reply Sian 12th August 2016 at 9:34 am

      Yes, not more flats! Glad you enjoyed it too.

  • Reply Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love) 10th August 2016 at 10:14 pm

    Looks like you had a lovely day. I love places like this in the middle of the city where you can step into a small pocket of the countryside and see different farm animals. #countrykids

    • Reply Sian 12th August 2016 at 9:34 am

      They are real gems in the city! Thank you.

  • Reply Sarah (Mumx3x) 12th August 2016 at 12:19 pm

    Hackney City Farm sounds amazing! I’ve never heard of it before but would love to visit! I really like the idea of there being a farm in the middle of London’s east end. It ooks like you all had a lovely day. Great photos, too! #CountryKids

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