“ Address: Anchor Lane / Ingoldmells / Skegness / Lincolnshire PE25 1LZ / England „
As part of our yearly trek on holiday (see previous reviews!), we do like to visit the place I will now review at least every other year.
The place I will now review is - "Hardy's animal farm".
Based on Anchor road on the A52 between Mablethorpe an Skegness, and literally 10 minutes drive from Chapel St Leonard's (our holiday destination) and the same from Fantasy Island, Ingoldmels, this really is set in what you initially think, the middle of nowhere.
Driving down the long and almost desolate road the only redeeming feature are hundreds of new caravans waiting to be shipped out to the again hundreds of surrounding sites.
The place sneaks up on you with there suddenly appearing a large sign with the farms name and a cute looking little piggy!
There is ample parking, all of which is free, but if you go around lunchtime, (like we did!), you will more than likely end up in the overflow carpark, which is simply a field!
To access the farm you must go through the reception area, which doubles as a gift shop which sells much, much more, but more on that later!
Since the foot and mouth incident there is a facility to wash your footwear on entering and leaving the premises, so be aware and don't wear sandals!
There is a counter where you pay your entrance fee, the prices being -
Adults - £5.95
Children - £4.95
Family ticket (2 adults and 2 children) - £20.00
Senior citizens - £4.95
Under 2's - free!
Upon paying for your entrance we always buy some bags of feed, these are only available at the main counter, the first time we went it was like we had committed murder as far as ours kids were concerned, with a very nice lady giving my kids some of her feed just to stop them from crying..... I would have just left them in with the pigs for a bit, they would have calmed down soon enough!
The bags of feed around 50p with a special price being in place for multiple purchases, these contain all the stuff that the rabbits, chickens and other farmyard birds eat and of course the perfect treat for the goats, and trust me, you will spend most of your time with them!
After waking into the farmyard itself you will notice the grounds are set out almost in a circle, this makes it much easier to start off with the attraction/pen to the right and working your way round the grounds.
I have to be truthful I can't remember which pen is first so I will name as many as I can remember -
This a large selection of different chickens, ducks, geese and most having babies with them too. As this is a petting farm, there really are not many animals out of bounds to the public, feel free to pick up and pet if you dare, or your nose can stand it!
There are obvious restrictions to the petting rule, these being towards new born chicks, un hatched eggs and anything in a pen with wire, these are obviously set up to protect the more vulnerable of the creatures.
Rabbits and guinea pigs,
These again are free to be petted, though even these should be used to the public, they do seem quite timid, with them mostly disappearing into their hutches when there are too many children around, there is again exception to the rules, there is usually at least one rabbit that has nerves of steel, my daughter got her picture taken with one last year!
This is quite an eclectic mix of animals, there are llamas, shire horses and some rare breeds of cattle, one that is really furry and beautiful to look at. These are housed in their own pen, though the shire horses are allowed out when the horse and cart rides are up and running.
You can again pet these animals but I would advise steering well clear of the llamas, they spit!
This is a lovely, informative if somewhat smelly pen! You can literally smell the pig pen from half the farm away! Upon entering the pen you are greeted with pens which are glass covered all containing breeding pigs, the male pigs used for the initial impregnation (there are specific favourites due to species and fertility!), piglets that have been separated from their mothers and finally my favourite the mother pigs with there newborn litters.
This is behind glass as most of these that have been mentioned would probably not be too impressed with a child picking a piglet up to pet!
Alongside all the different pens are information boards, these cover the life cycle of a pig and specific breeds of pigs.
You walk around this pen in a concertina fashion, with the very last thing you will view before leaving (and by this time the walk has turned into a canter due to the smell of manure!), you are faced with some of the biggest pigs I have ever seen, these tend to just lie there and snort occasionally.
This again is mostly behind either glass or within a wire cage. All birds have information boards there and there is an activity wall with questions and answer.
Ok, so I have left the best in my opinion, for last! When wandering around the farm you will see a few goats wandering around at will, these are the only animals that seem to have that freedom within the farm enclosures.
When you enter the pen you are faced with around 20 adult goats and whole array of kid goats. These have the most character of all the above mentioned animals, and the second they realise you have come with food they will not leave you alone until every last scrap has been emptied out of the paper bags, with one goat actually eating the bag as well!
Believe it or not the kid goats don't mind being picked up and "snudged" as my kids would say!
This enables some really lovely photo opportunities and the kids (the human ones not the goat ones), seem to react really well with them, my kids seemed to double in confidence after visiting this pen.
There is also an array of other animals on the farm, various breeds of cattle, which can be seen without walking if you opt for the tractor ride/ horse and cart ride (depending on what is running at the time of your visit), the picking up point being in front of the tea room, and running every 15 minutes.
The other animal is should mention was my husbands particular favourite, the Shetland pony. There was around five in a field the last time we visited, and they were super friendly and seemed to actually enjoy a bit of attention, with the one my husband started petting actually lying down and roll half over like a cat that wants it's tummy tickling!
One thing I would like to mention is how after "petting" all these delightful animals it is advisable to wash your hands, there are two large free standing toilet blocks, complete with disabled access, baby changing facilities and a vat of antibacterial hand rub for after washing your hands. These are always clean and well kept, a surprise considering how many people go through them and how muddy peoples feet are after visiting straight from the pens!
There is a large adventure playground also available in the grounds for the children to go and play on whilst the adults grab a coffee and a sit down.
The playground is a large wood affair with various slides and climbing nets, these are all surrounded with the obligatory wood chip flooring.
Alongside this area, there is also an area for the toddlers that visit, this is much smaller but ample enough for the few that don't voyeuristic enough to try and swing alongside the older children, my son is one of those that insists on challenging anyone twice his age to a trek around the older child's play equipment!
The tea shop offers the usual tea, coffee, squash, cans, sweets, cakes etc I do think that some food is on offer but a very limited selection, I think there was sandwiches and chips, with me and the hubby sticking t a hot drink and cake, but the little 'un's sticking to a Tango ice blast. (Anyone that has never heard of those it is a posh mans slush puppie, but looking more like liquid candyfloss, very nice!).
All the prices are slightly inflated, but not too over the top.
Finally on the way out you must visit the gift shop. There are all the usual suspects available to buy, car stickers, cups, pencils, rubbers, keyrings, a selection of cuddly toys mimicking ones that you have just seen in the flesh and games and toys.
Also available are some more special items, free range eggs, laid by the chickens and ducks on the farm. Marmalades and jams, made locally by this farm and surrounding areas, gift sets all including locally sourced or produced items, these are of course a little more expensive but I always get my Nan the selection of breakfast jams, she loves the ones I get from here!
This is a lovely farm that I can quite happily spend ½ a day visiting, there is plenty to do, it is educational and fun, and something much more than the obligatory "usual" things you would do at the seaside!
For more information visit - www.hardysanimalfarm.co.uk
Opening times -
Open 10.00am - 5.00pm
7 Days a week Easter to October
Hardy's animal farm,
Telephone - 01754 872267 0r 873351
Email - our email@example.com
Hardys animal farm is a working farm situated near the coast at Ingoldmells Skegness not far from the Butlins Holiday camp.
There is a large selections of animals for you to see at the farm but it is also a working pig farm.
The park has a large free car park with plenty of space for cars and coaches. There are also dog kennels situated at the edge of the car park if you have a pet with you.
To enter the park you go in through the large well stocked gift shop where you can purchase small bags of feed for the animals.
The park has a large adventure playground area for children aged from about three years old and there is also a smaller climbing frame with a rope bridge and slide for younger children. There is also a large picnic area with some benches for those taking their own food.
There is a large cafeteria that serves a very good range of hot and cold food with everything from sandwiches to a full roast dinner. All the meals are freshly made and home cooked. You can also buy desserts, confectionary and ice creams. The cafeteria has a large seating area inside with high chairs available and there is also a patio area for those wanting to eat outside.
The first animals you come to are usually some sheep in pens but there may also be some roaming around. There is a large fenced off area with rabbits and guinea pigs and some of these have gates so that you can enter and touch the animals. We usually go in June and can often see newborn rabbits and guinea pigs in this area.
The next area is the Goat house where there are usually loads of adult and baby goats in pens and roaming freely, be careful though because they will steal your bags of feed and try to nibble any clothing or bags they can get hold of. The goat house is very large and you can walk through and come out of the other end.
There are some vintage tractors sited around the farm that you are free to sit on or climb on and take photos. There is also a large selection of vintage ploughs, some old combine harvesters and other farm machines that are very interesting.
There is a big shed housing animals and these can change but last time we went there was a shire horse, some Jersey cows, some ponys, a donkey and a llama. The walkway goes through the middle of the pens inside the shed and you are able to touch and stroke some of the animals. Be careful though because some do bite.
There is a large aviary housing mostly different breeds of chicken but there are also albino peacocks and some ducks in there. On the walls can be found posters with information about birds and even a display of different birds eggs.
There is a large pond that has many different species of duck and goose on it. The whole pond is fenced so there is no danger of children falling in or being unsafe. You can often see ducklings on the pond or in the surrounding bushes.
There is a llama pen near the pond with a selection of llamas in it but you are warned that these animals can spit so be careful!
There is a walkway round the edge of the fields that contain bigger animals like the Highland cow, ponys, sheep and horses. You cannot go into the fields but as the animals think you may have food they often come to the fence to see you.
There is a large working pig breeding unit where you can see piglets with their mums and see the whole process from birth to fattening. The unit has specially glazed pens so you can see inside the pens where the pigs are kept. There are also some rare breed pigs that can be seen on the farm that are not part of the working farm.
There is a small shed that has some old farming implements and last time we went there were some chinchilla in there too.
There is a tractor ride that runs every 15 minutes at certain times of the day. You sit in a large trailer or cart that is then pulled either by a vintage tractor or by the shire horse. The ride takes you round the farm and out to see the highland cows and other larger animals in the fields. There is a small charge for this ride.
The gift shop sells all sorts of things from farm related toys to cup and mugs featuring the Hardys logo. They also sell locally produced sweets and jams and other confectionary gift items. Free range eggs laid by the hens on the farm can also be bought here. My children always find something that they can't leave without!
There are toilets and hand washing facilities at the farm and there is also a baby changing room. In my experience these facilities are always clean and tidy.
I have been to the farm three times as we always spend our holidays in the Mablethorpe area. I really enjoy our visits and there is plenty to keep you occupied all day. The food is reasonably priced and the meals are a very generous size. We find it easier to eat there than take a picnic. We live on a farm ourselves and our children are mad about all things to do with farming and animals so they love this farm. The last time we went my eldest children were four and two and they both really enjoyed it. I would say it is perfect once your child can walk as it can be a bit boring for the baby stuck in the buggy although they can still enjoy a goat nibbling their fingers and being able to see the animals.
I would recommend Hardys to anyone visiting the area as I don't think it is expensive for the amount there is to do on the farm.
Information from the website - www.hardysanimalfarm.co.uk
Anchor Lane, Ingoldmells, Skegness, Lincs.
Tel: (01754) 872267
Open every day 10:00 till 5:00, Easter to October
Adults: - £5.25
Children: - £4.25
Family (2Adults & 2 Children) - £18.00
Senior Citizen - £4.75
Under 2's Free!
I could not find directions on the website and I have no idea how to get there myself but if you have a satnav you could find it easily. Also if you go to the route planner on www.theaa.co.uk you can print off the directions and the map from there.
Let your little ones get to know the farmyard gang!