“ Address: Flatmans Lane / Downholland / Ormskirk / West Lancs / Merseyside L397HW / UK „
We took our 22 month old to Farmer Teds a few months ago. She loved it. The best thing was the toddler play area, as I wanted to get her used to using her upper body. I have always felt this was weak, as with having hard floors, our little one missed out on crawling. I was impressed enough to buy a few year round tickets. I probably bought them too soon, as I soon realised, some parents dont care what their kids do, or if they play in the wrong areas. The most common words I hear in the under 4 section, is a lame 'Come on out of there, your too big' This falls on deaf ears, as over 4's basically put my little girls life in danger, by jumping off the blocks, or even somersaulting, or climbing the netting way above my baby. Its as though that's all the parenst have to say, to make themselves feel better, and if the kid hurts my baby, then it would be the kids fault. No it wouldnt, and Farmer Ted should be policing this under health and safety rules. My little girl has already had a block thrown at her by a 6 year old. All good fun in the over 4's section, but not for a baby. The assistants dont care, and certainly dont police it. So I am left coming at 10 in the morning and leaving before 11, when all the rough mums come in, with their badly behaved kids going beserk. Thats a shame, because the odd time, my little girl can play with other 12 month - 3 year olds, and has the time of her life. The rest of the farm is really just like going to a busy park. The novelty of the animals is good for a few weeks. I probably wont renew just because the toddler section isnt policed and dangerous.
This review is about a working farm in Ormskirk in the North West, which I visited recently with my partner and 20 month old son.
It is actually more than 'just' a farm and is described on its website as an interactive children's activity park.
The farm has been awarded '2008-2009 Best Small Visitor Attraction for Lancashire' by Blackpool and Lancashire Tourist Board.
The farm opening hours are:
10am to 6pm daily
But it is closed on Tuesdays during Term Time.
Prices vary according to the time of year and there are extra charges for special events such as those put on for Halloween or Christmas.
Weekends, School Holidays and June to September:
Under 1 year - Free
Under 3 years - £4.00
Over 3 years - £6.50
Adults - £4.50
Family (2+2) - £20.50
Senior Citizens - £4.00
Week Days at all other times:
Under 1 year - Free
Under 3 years - £3.50
Over 3 years - £4.50
Adults - £2.50
Senior Citizens - £2.00
We went on a Saturday in September and paid £13.00 for the three of us, which I felt was quite expensive. However, if we were to go on a week day in October it would cost £8.50 which I feel is more than reasonable, considering the range of activities available. We spent four hours there and but for Littlest HonestBob showing signs of over-tiredness we could have filled another hour quite happily.
Farmer Ted's Farm Park consists of several out buildings and Marquees which house a variety of live stock including several types of pigs, goats, ponies, a Shire Horse, chickens and llamas as well as household pets such as guinae pigs and rabbits. Outside there are fields of sheep.
As well as the livestock there is also a large outside play area consisting of swings, several climbing frames of differing sizes with straight and curly shoot slides and a large web-style climbing frame.
There is also a large undercover sandpit which comfortably holds about 20 toddlers plus digger toys and various wheelbarrows, buckets and spades. Another under cover area houses an arena for ride-on tractors, sit-n-ride size for smaller toddlers and pedal style for larger kids.
The park is aimed at 3-8 year olds but I know my 9 and 10 year old would have loved everything about it and would have taken advantage of all the facilities, and my 15 and 16 year olds would have enjoyed petting the animals and 'assisting' their younger siblings in the play areas (who doesn't love to make a sandcastle??!!).
While we were there the farm workers put on a milking display within the animal barn, here there is a staged seating area where various talks are given and, I assume, where school parties are also taught. This barn also has several picnic tables and an icecream parlour (this was not open when we visited).
As well as the outside play areas there is a large indoor play area consisting of a soft-play section for under 4 year olds with a small slide and various padded shapes to haul around, build structures from and generally fall safely upon. The larger play area for over 4 year olds houses several padded platforms to climb on, swinging balls to avoid (or deliberately collide with!) and a long slide. The indoor play area is situated inside the barn that also houses the restaurant so you can sit and have a coffee and a slice of cake whilst the little ones exhaust themselves a little more. Within the play area, which is enclosed by a barrier operated by staff to keep children secure, are several comfy sofas so you can be closer to your child while they play. Socks must be worn in the play area but can be purchased from the counter should you forget to take any with you.
Toilets are available in the restaurant and there is a baby changing table (the pull down from the wall variety) in the ladies toilets. I'm not sure if similar facilities are available in the mens room. Sinks are provided in the animal barn and there are signs all around to remind you to wash your hands after contact with the animals.
The restaurant provides a good range of food, much of which is sourced from the farm shop 'The Worral House Farm Larder'. The menu includes the farms own sausages, chicken 'fenceposts' (breaded goujons to you and I!), gamon, bacon and beef meals as well as a small selection of vegetarian meals, sandwiches and soup. I had hamburger and chips and it was huge, the meat was very tasty and the chips chunky. My partner had a ploughman's lunch however, and was not impressed due to there being very little pickle and bland cheese provided. Little HonestBob helped himself to our meals! The food was not cheap so I would recommend taking a picnic with you. There are several picnic tables in the inner courtyard, within the animal barn (maybe a little too smelly for some!) and around the outside play area.
Other activities on the farm include tractor rides around the farm and go-karts, a facility that I know older children would enjoy.
Littlest HonestBob loved his day out. The weather was glorious so we made good use of the outside facilities but so much is available either indoors or undercover that I know rain would not have spoilt our day. Finding the farm was a little difficult, but I put that down to poor AA routeplanning. I actually found the place by chance in the end (apparently it should have been on our right but my route placed it on the left!!). We will definitely return again soon, this time with the older sproglets and I think I may make a sneaky weekday visit with just littlest HonestBob and myself even sooner (but don't tell the other half 'cos he'll sulk!)