“ Address: Preston on the Weald Moors / Telford / Shropshire / TF6 6DJ „
It is not often that I stop writing one review to start writing another one, but I was so excited about our lovely day out with two of our grand-children that I had to put pen to paper and share it with you all.
Hoo Farm is a family run business and is run by Carolyn and Edwards Dorrell who have lived there since 1988. The farm itself is over 100yrs old and the Dorrell family have made it into an award winning family attraction. I remember when it was Hoo Farm Country Park and there selling Christmas trees, I admit I did take my children down when it first opened its doors to show some of the animals, but I wasn't impressed in those early days, but it has come a long way since then and has gone from strength to strength introducing lovely walks and many different animals that all appear happy and well cared for. It is now a place you can visit time and time again with your children/grandchildren who will not only enjoy the wonderful array of animals, insects, reptiles and birds, but there is an adventure playground where your children can enjoy.
We arrived not long after it had opened at 10am, so we were one of the first families to arrive that day. The first thing our 3 year old grandson noticed was the bouncy castle situated in the play area by the entrance; for the rest of our visit he must of said can we go on the bouncy castle now Nanny every 5 minutes; believe me that was a lot of times during the day.
Our first surprise was when we came to buy our tickets, because I had looked it up online to check and I told my hubby the family ticket would be £31.00. The lovely lady behind the counter kindly told us that it would be cheaper for us to purchase them separately at the moment and we got them for £26.00 saving us £5.00. I was very impressed with her honesty as I would have just paid and would have been no the wiser.
Although Hoo Farm is settled within 32 acres of woodland and paddocks, we didn't have to walk around all of it, although by the end of the visit my feet, legs and back felt like they had. We were given a little map of the Animal Kingdom, which had some instructions on the back and a colourful leaflet letting you know what's on offer here. It is wise to look at the chalk boards around the farm as it tells you what is going on and the times etc.
We looked at the boards and saw that at 11am they did the bottle feeding for the baby animals; they also do events like sheep racing or goat racing, but these were not on during our visit, maybe next time. Whilst we waited for the bottle feeding we had a little walk round, as we were early some of the doors were still locked, so we just wandered about. The grandchildren loved this big plastic cow which was life size complete with an udder filled with milky water, a bucket underneath and a milking stool. They had loads of fun milking the cow, so much fun that our grand-daughter asked to go again later on.
In between our grandson asking for the bouncy castle we managed to get him to see the calves and the sheep. Still having a bit of time to kill before the feeding we took hubby for a quick coffee in the tea room and we took five minutes for the children to have a little drink and a fairy cake which they bought with them. Hubby was extremely pleased with the prices saying that for his coffee, sausage roll and my coke it was very reasonably prices and not over priced like many tourist attractions. The ethos here is very family orientated meeting everyone's expectations and not breaking the bank.
Rushing hubby to finish his coffee so we could get to see the lambs and the baby goats being fed, we set off to their pens. There were three pens and we stood watching them all starting to make noises to show it was time for feeding, we were about 5 minutes early even after rushing, so we watched all the baby animals of different ages and sizes clambering over each other in their eagerness. Just gone 11am three lads appeared carry buckets of baby bottles ready for the feeds, they asked us to all move around a fenced area, which we did; they then opened the gates which we were leaning against a few minutes earlier to sort out the little ones.
As there were a few of us they gave one bottle to every two children so our two shared, then they opened the first pen of baby goats, there was a mini stampede as they rushed to the fences guided by the keepers to get to a bottle. Our grandchildren loved this and so did I to be honest, next was the slightly older lambs which were still bottle fed, they were funny and the children laughed at their antics as they wanted to be greedy; the final pen was very young lambs and goats, our grandchildren were very lucky as they managed to feed three animals on this visit, as there were not too many visitors today I think due to heavy rain last night and the threat of it today.
After all that excitement we trotted off to the shop to buy some animal feed, so we could feed some more; there are notices around the farm letting you know what you can and can't feed. I did buy three bags of food, but as we tried to give some to the chickens who were totally not interested whatsoever, there was a little girl whose mummy wanted her to have some, so I gave them our spare bag. We moved on and saw the Llama, the alpacas, the ostriches and then loads of hungry goats, the children and I loved feeding them, they were very greedy and the kids were laughing so hard as when I wasn't looking properly one of them grabbed the whole bag of food from my hand eating it all and the bag as well. All the food gone we washed our hands and looked at some more animals before moving onto another area. Be careful of the water pressure on these taps, it came out so fast splashing everywhere, but this only added to the excitement for the grandchildren so I really didn't mind, we just laughed it off.
Our grandson impatience for the bouncy castle was still very loud, but he just had to wait as there was more to explore and I was leaving the play area to last. We spotted some motorised cars on a little track which were £1.00 per go, so we put the grandchildren in one each, but our grandsons little legs were not quite long enough to reach the pedal comfortably (well he is only 3yrs old), so grandpa had to push him around the track. He soon got bored, because he wasn't able to control it himself so we popped into a couple of rooms to see the insects, tortoises, snakes, iguana's etc, then went to where they hens were and the baby chicks, which just so happened to be next to another little track with 3 wheel bikes on and go carts. The children both loved these bikes as they pedalled around the track and the bales of hay but there for obstacles. I did smile at our grandsons ingenuity when he got off one bike ran forward and jumped on around as it got hard to pedal.
We moved on and followed the Fairy Trail, this is a beautiful woodland walk, where they had set up little areas, to show you what a Badger Set would look like, a rabbit warren etc, they had a little fairy station with gnomes and fairies, it was very cute, mole homes and lots more; mainly you were fairy hunting and you would find them hiding everywhere. Our grand-daughter really enjoyed looking for the fairies. There was a sign as you entered the walk saying turn around three times when you see a fairy, but we missed the sign for some reason so we didn't do this; my friend at work told me about it after our visit, she mentioned how it made it even more fun for her daughter, who is a little older than my grand-daughter.
After this lovely walk we looked at parrots, owls, ducks, and foxes and more; they even have wallaby's. It was feeding time so you could see the foxes and the owls with small animals hanging out of their mouths, this didn't seem to bother the children one bit, I think it just added to the excitement of them seeing the animals up close.
After a quick visit to the toilets, which were clean and adequate, our grandson finally got his wish and we headed for the bouncy castle. Sadly when we got there it was still very wet from last night's heavy rain and it was closed, the sign said it would be open later in the afternoon and there is a small charge of 50p per turn (which lasts around 5mins I believe). There were other play things so he soon got distracted and went tearing around all the play area, on the swings, see-saw, the small merry-go-round thing; there were three large trampolines available and as one was empty they both had a go on this and loved every minute. In busy times you are limited to 5 mins at a time on these.
The play area like the rest of the animal kingdom catered for all ages, from babies right up to the older child, our two loved every minute and tried most of the items; we ended our visit with a lovely pony ride with we paid £3.00 for each child, they were kitted out with a riding hat and one of the staff walked around the circuit with a parent and the child on the pony. Our grandson especially enjoyed this and wanted to go round again.
The children were given some pocket money by their mom so we popped into the gift shop which was full of all the usual gift ideas relating to the animals and more children based gifts. They picked one item each a furry rabbit and a toy quad bike, their £2.50 each did not cover it, but nanny came to the rescue and made up the rest.
Another of the kid's favourites which I nearly forgot to mention was the chipmunks, which ran around the activities in their cage entertaining the children, who were positive that Alvin was in there with them, even naming some of them from the film.
It is well worth visiting here and taking your children/grand-children for a lovely day out; I know we will go again. Watch out of the events boards as they also do all kinds of races with some of the animals, you can even dig for gems. There is a play room for the older children which has a pool table, table tennis and air hockey etc. Santa also comes here at Christmas time along with his reindeer so we may be back later this year with the grand-children.
A fantastic day out and highly recommended.
~~2010 Prices ~~
Children under the age of 2 are Free
Family Ticket (which is 2 adults and 3 children) £31.00 (I can see where I went wrong now).
They do offer season tickets so that you can come as often as you want over the calendar year. They also cater for school trips and group visits if you want to make contact please take a look at their web site for these offers - www.hoofarm.com
~~Forthcoming events in 2010~~
Halloween - between 23rd October - 31st October they are open between 10am and 5pm and they feature the Haunted Manor, Forgotten Child, Deserted Bride and more. They have a Devils Derby Sheep Race and a fancy dress competition, a witch hunt and more to get the kids excited with some scary fun.
Christmas at Hoo Farm runs from Sat 27th November through to Christmas Eve - I have heard lots of wonderful things about Christmas here and I am really looking forward to visiting, they put on nativity plays with the animals as well, Santa has his own log cabin, you can see the bears in the factory and see the Santa school and walk through the enchanted forest, visit Santa ice castle, a very exciting visit for all.
They do advise to make advance bookings to see Father Christmas so that your children don't get disappointed.
March 20th - 12th September 2010
It is open every except for Mondays (apart from the Bank Holidays) from 10am to 6pm, last entry being at 5pm. They do not hold sheep racing on a Friday, something to note if you wish to see the event.
Autumn opening runs from Sept 16th - Oct 22nd 2010 and it is only open from Thurs to Sun from 10am - 5pm last entry being at 4pm, the sheep racing at this time of year is only on the weekends.
It is closed from the 1st - 26th November as it gets ready for Santa's arrival.
The address is
Hoo Farm Animal Kingdom and Christmas Tree Farm
Put HUMBER LANE for your Sat Nav reference.
Phone number is - 01952 677917
Fax - 01952 677944
Web site - www.hoofarm.com
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Directions from M54 motorway, get off at junction 6 and head toward the Princess Royal Hospital, you should pass Tesco's and the retail park which is clearly visible from the motorway island. Follow the hospital signs and then go straight over at the island for the hospital taking you the Shawbirch Island which has a petrol station on your left. Turn right here and Hoo Farm is signposted from here.
It still sells 1000's of Christmas trees every year which are all freshly dug and cut.
The Animal Kingdom is wheelchair and pushchair friendly; there are also disabled toilet facilities and baby changing station available.
There are specially designated areas for picnics; they do ask you not to eat around the animals and not to feed the animal's human food as it could make them ill.
There are hand washing stations dotted all over the farm reminding you to wash your hands after touching or feeding the animals (with specially provided animal feed, which you can buy from the shop at 50p a bag).
You see staff moving around all the time and they are only too happy to answer any questions you may have.
Disabled and coaches are parked near to the main entrance and there are a couple of large car parks a short walk away. These are quite rustic, as they have no tarmac.
There is not much more that I can say, other than this place is a must to visit and is great value for money. It cost me well over £70.00 to take us all to Sea World last month and this visit cost us just £26.00 and we had loads more fun and spent more time here. I really do highly recommend a visit if you live near, you certainly won't regret it. Our grandson enjoyed it so much he finally gave up on the bouncy castle (which didn't open before 2.30pm) and he fell asleep in the car very connected on the way home.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.
When "our" sheep, number 5, romped home at the Sheep Race, we left proudly clutching a winner's rossette- we had staked a whole pound on said sheep- and it was the perfect end to a rather animal-filled day at Hoo Farm.
It is fair to say that I have visited rather a lot of children's farms since having kids - it is generally a good bet for a day out, though I probably have seen one bored pig too many in my time. I hadn't been to Hoo Farm before but spent a lovely day there recently, mid School holidays, and found it to be one of the better ones in terms of value and enjoyment that I have been to.
Hoo Farm is situated near Telford, directions can be found on the website at www.hoofarm.com, it is fairly near to Legomery and is signposted with a brown sign of the A442, though not well signposted as it turned out; we did get a little lost as it was further down a lane of the main road than we thought possible with no more reassuring signs, so if you are not local and have a satnav I would take one on your visit. The farm is not really accessible by any other means of transport than by car, but on arrival parking was not a problem even on a busy day. The farm opens at 10 and closes at 6 at peak times.
The farm is spread out over quite a large site, and there is a lot to see. I would think that it is called "Animal Kingdom" as there are a few less run-of-the-mill animals like Ostriches and Parrots along with the normal farm fare. There were a few fish and reptiles in what looked like domestic tanks in all honesty, but the farm animals were well cared for and seemed to have spacious pens. I felt a bit sorry for the rabbits in the "Bunny Beauty Parlour" who seemed to be let out of quite small cages only to get groomed by rather over-enthusiastic children with a whole 2 brushes between them. There are other more positive opportunities to get hands on with the animals, with lambs to be bottle fed and deer and the like to be fed with food that can be purchased at the farm.
For your own feeding needs there were plenty of picnic areas, there was also a cafe which seemed to have a range of food, though we only tried the icecream, which was on the pricey side.
Other opportunities to spend your money included 2 shops, one of which had a very good range of pocket money toys, and there was also a bouncy castle, at 50p for ten minutes on the day we visited. Pony rides were extra too, but there were other hands on events like the egg experience, which we weren't able to do as time didn't allow, that were free. My children really enjoyed the pedal around ride ons in a barn. There were also 3 large trampolines, a play area and also little cars and the like to sit in on the way round and some "interesting" gnomes and animals of the ceramic kind dotted around the enchanted wood walk. Of course the main attraction is the animals.
In the main we really enjoyed our visit, at £6.50 for adults and £6.25 for concessions and children (free return visit voucher for children with entry) it is, in my opinion, one of the better value farm parks I have been to. Some of the playground areas did look a little tired though, hence me giving the farm 4 stars, and I would have liked to see some of the smaller animals like hamsters and rats in nicer conditions.
The children really enjoyed the day and there was plenty to occupy under tens - I would think less for slightly older children. If you are going to visit I would suggest packing a picnic and arriving early in the day as it did get quite busy in the mid afternoon.
Overall Hoo Farm is a good place to visit with children, and I would visit again.
Hoo Farm Animal Kingdom.
Hoo Farm is situated on Humber Lane in Preston-on -the -Weald Moors, Telford , Shropshire.
It's open from 21st March to the 24th December (2009 calendar). Opening times are 10am until 6pm (between 21st March to the 6th September) and 10am until 5pm (for the remainder of the year). Note - it is closed on Mondays (except Bank holidays) during local school term time.
This place is an excellent family day out, and quite good value aswell. Prices are £6.50 adults, £5.95 children, £6.25 OAPS, under 2 years free and family tickets £29.00 (for 2 adults and 3 children).
There is so much to do here, it is far more than just a farm. Of course there are the usual variety of farm animals to see and stroke - some of whom like the hens roam freely and are happy to be handled. Other activities include animal feeding and supervised handling, and sheep/ ferret and goat racing (very entertaining - worth seeing!).
There are also other types of animals to see, including wallabies, giant tortoises, deer, chipmunks and reptiles amongst many others.
One of the main attractions for us is that it is very child friendly, with plenty to keep the kids occupied. It is easily a full days outing.
There are some optional extras (for a small charge) such as pony riding, bouncy castle, kiddy car/motorbike riding, pool table and air hockey. However there are also a number of free activities available, including indoor ball pit and soft play area, a few different outdoor play areas, trampolining and go - kart racing.
There is also a shop and cafe on site, though I have to say that both are quite small and easily get congested. Likewise there are a number of picnic tables for outdoor dining, though again I would have to say that when it's busy it's difficult to get a table.
Depending on the time of year you go there are also different events happening: lambing, sheep and goat grand nationals, halloween and christmas activities. It's worth checking on line first at;
www.hoofarm.com or telephone 01952 677944.
Another plus point is that you are given a free return voucher for all full paying children (when accompanied by a full paying adult), so you get to visit again at a discounted price!
Overall this is an entertaining and enjoyable day out for all ages, and is by far one of the best farms we have ever visited.
Hoo farm is a family run, country side farm attraction, set in over 32 acres of beautiful woodland, in the heart of Shropshire. The farm plays host to wide array of different animals and attractions and is no doubt a fun family day for all.
First opened back in 1991, the farm has gone from strength to strength each year attracting thousand of visitors from far and wide.
Hoo farm is only about ten miles away from where i live and i have visited on numerous occasions, as events change with the season. but it is open from march to December.
All year round activities and animals to see include-
Pony rides- Weather permitting, there is a always 3-4 ponies that your children can ride, being lead around a enclosed paddock with trained people.
Deer feeding- Let you children get up close with these amazing animals, and let them help the farmer feed them, they can also get to feel there skin and antlers as they grow ready to be shed in the winter.
Meet the small animals- A couple of times during the day, the farm workers bring out some of the smaller animals into the petting area, these include snakes,rabbits, ferrets giant land snails, and tortoises., and allow children to stroke and feed them.The farm workers also tell the children a little bit about the animals- their backgrounds, what they eat, and how they sleep.
The egg experience- This is a great hands on experience for all children, they are invited to collect eggs from the chickens and hens beds, and they get to stroke them too. Staff are always there to supervise and ask the children who has the biggest egg, and how many different colored egg's there are.
Ferret racing- They race through a purpose built racing pipeline, and it's anyones game as to who wins, but these ferrets never give the game away.
Sheep racing- This has caused quite a stir across the county, and people flock to see the sheep steeplechase,they race around a specially designed course and have to jump a variety of purpose built fences with names like-Darner's Ditch, Spinner's Chair, Fleecer's Brook, Woolly Leap and Stable Turn. Before the start of the race you have the chance to 'bet' for your favorite sheep for 50p, and if they win at the end, you'll get a special rosette.
Other events include-
Battery powered mini tractors
soft play areas
The wild wood and fairy forest
And a Air rifles range.
Other animals to see are
Llamas and deers
Foxes and owls
Parrots and birds
cows and calf's.
Hoo farm also celebrate the different seasons, and theres always something new to see or do, the lambing season starts in march to April.
Sheep and goat grand nationals are in May
Summer fun starts in July until August.
Halloween starts from 11th October to the 2nd November, with a whole range of events including witch hunts, fancy dress- both people and animals, and specially decorated barns.
Christmas world starts on the 29th November until Christmas eve when the farm closes foe the winter- Have the chance to meet Santa in his log cabin, and visit the enchanted forest on your way, let your children take part in there daily nativity plays with real animals, and also why not pick up a Christmas tree on your way out??
~Opening times and prices~
The park opens at 10am everyday and is closed on a Monday except for bank holiday, Halloween and christmas.
Under 2's are free and children are £5.25 but get a free return pass. Adults are £5.75 and OAP'S are £5.50.
Or you can have the option of getting a season ticket £27.00 adults £25.00 children, this allows you free access all year round.
No dog's are allowed only guide dogs, and there is toilet facilities at the main entrance, along with a baby changing room, and disabled toilets.
If you get hungry during the day, there is a tearoom and cafe where you can get light meals, snacks and drinks.
And if you want a small memory of your day there is also a gift shop, that sells gifts toy's, games etc, and even batteries for your camera.
I would recommend Hoo farm to everyone as theres so much to do, we come here every couple of months, because the girls enjoy it so much, i would also recommend to make a day of it, because trying to get round everything in a couple of hours is a nightmare, we normally take a picnic, and make the most of the day, the staff are always around and are very friendly and will try to assist your needs where ever possible.