“ Address: Bucklebury / Reading / Berkshire / RG7 6RR / England „
As the summer holiday approaches I have been trying to think of different places to take my daughters for days out, especially looking for places that are not too costly. If you live in the Berkshire area and have younger children, an excellent place to visit is Bucklebury Farm.
The farm is in the small village of Bucklebury which is probably about halfway between Reading and Newbury and is roughly six miles along the A4 from Junction 12 of the M4. There is a brown tourist signpost signalling where you leave the main road and then it is a couple of miles along some country lanes. There is quite a large free car park when you arrive.
The farm is quite small but having said that is home to a host of different animals including four different breeds of deer. These are Sika, Fallow, Red and Axis deer. The highlight of any trip to the farm has to be the free tractor ride that takes you up into the fields where you can see the deer at close range. You also get the opportunity to feed the red deer as they come up very close to the tractor trailer. It's a lovely experience and it's wonderful to see these lovely creatures close up. Apart from the deer there are lots of other animals including pigs, sheep, goats, rabbits, wild boar, llama, donkeys and Shetland ponies. Virtually all of these are very friendly and you can buy bags of feed for sixty pence and you are encouraged to feed them.
Children are also encouraged to look for all the different animals and they are given a card to stamp as they go about the farm. Every so often there will be a small wooden box next to a field with a stamp to press down on the card. There are eight animals to find but unfortunately not all of the stamps depict the animals that are in the field nearby. It's only a bit of fun though.
There are also a couple of nature trails and walks to go on. These are not ever so long and do have some information signs to point out what you can see. I felt that these were more aimed at adults than children though which I did feel was a bit of a shame.
There are some fabulous play areas at the farm too which my daughter and her friend really enjoyed. There is an indoor area with some soft play facilities and two rather steep slides. The outside area is brilliant with a wooden castle at its centre. There is lots of different things to play on and the girls could have happily played there much longer.
There is a small cafe which really only caters for drinks and snacks although there was a soup of the day on offer. Teas and coffees start at £1.40 which is quite reasonable and are supplied in card cups with lids which are easy to walk around with. There are a lot of picnic tables outside and if you are going to be there over lunch time you are probably advised to take a picnic with you if you want anything more than a light snack.
The toilets are clean but there are only three for the ladies and I guess a similar number for men, so if it is a busy day, I guess there is the likelihood of queuing. Hygiene is also given a high priority around the site and there are numerous hand washing stations around the site for all the times that you touch the animals.
There is a very small gift area (you could hardly call it a shop) and you definitely don't have to walk through it on your way out. I like this fact, because at other places you can be put under a lot of pressure to buy something - mainly from your own children.
I think that the farm is a lovely unspoilt place for a visit and it is well organised and laid out. My four year old really enjoyed it but I suspect that older children would not be attracted to the farm in the same way. There are probably not enough thrills and spills for some!
The farm is also reasonable value as it is possible to spend a good few hours there with small children. Prices have not been put up since last year which means that adult admission is £6.25 and concessions are £5.25. Under threes are free! You can also buy a family ticket (two adults and two children) for £21. You can even buy season tickets if you think you are likely to visit a few times in the year. Unfortunately we live a little too far away to do so.
Buclklebury Farm really is a lovely place to visit and I definitely recommend it for a day out with young children.
An all year round park with a range of attractions that will appeal to the entire family. Enjoy the deer park, the farm animals or watching your children have fun in the indoor play centre.