Newest Review: ... of which look very fun! You can view the guinea pig village and rabbit mountain, as well as the rare breeds mentioned above. There is... more
All the fun of the farm
Jimmy's Farm (Wherestead)
Member Name: kat1234
Jimmy's Farm (Wherestead)
Advantages: lots of animals. clean, visitor friendly, nice restaurant
Disadvantages: yucky toilets, layout unclear
We were looking for somewhere to take our baby son for a few hours in the summer and were surprised to find how little there was that was suitable for very little children in the local area. After some research on the internet, we decided to go to Jimmy's Farm which is located just outside Ipswich in Suffolk.
SO, WHO IS JIMMY?
Jimmy Doherty, the owner of the farm, is a television presenter for the BBC and a Farmer. Jimmy's Farm was a television show about his Essex Pig Company. He is also known for being a friend of Jamie Oliver's.
VISITING THE FARM
The farm is located in Wherestead, about 5-10 minutes from Ipswich. The farm is well signposted and can be located using the postcode IP9 2AR. The farm is open 7 days a week from 9.30am until 5pm. The farm has a farm shop, butchery and restaurant which you can visit without paying any entry fee for the farm. Entry to the nature trail area - which contains the majority of the animals is charged at £4.50 for adults, £3.50 for children up to age 16 and under 2's are free. Alternatively, a family ticket can be purchased for £15.
There is a large car park provided with lots of spaces - this is essentially a field though so I am unsure what this would be like if you visited in the winter months.
There are various animals located on the farm that you can see in close proximity. Bags of food are also available at the entry kiosk (for a small fee) and some of the animals can be petted and fed. There are various species of pig on the farm - Essex Pig, Saddleback Pig and Gloucestershire Old Spot Pig. There are also Pygmy Goats and Jacob Sheep.
There are also four different breeds of cattle - Red Poll, Highland Cross, Galloway and British White. There are also ducks, chickens, rabbits and a butterfly house (though this is seasonal). There are also peacocks roaming around the farm.
THE NATURE TRAIL
The nature trail covers the majority of the farm and the animals. There is a woodland trail ( the ground here can be quite boggy!) and a pond. Various animals are homed here and each have quite large enclosures with homes in - some of which look very fun! You can view the guinea pig village and rabbit mountain, as well as the rare breeds mentioned above.
There is also an adventure playground here to keep the children occupied for a few minutes and let off some energy. When open, the butterfly house is also located here and this homes various species of butterfly as well as some tropical fish. You can also view chickens and ferrets in this part of the farm.
SHOPS AND RESTAURANTS
Located on the farm is a farm shop and butchery. I did not visit the butchery part but did have a brief look at the farm shop - this sells home grown vegetables as well as other locally grown (not just on this farm) produce. There is also a deli counter which sells cheese, olives and pates. The shop is quite small but there was still plenty in it without it being too cramped. The shop is a great idea if you are worried about food miles!
There is also a restaurant on site that is made from a converted barn and has a real rustic appeal. We visited the restaurant but just for drinks so did not sample from the menu - which looked fantastic . The service we received was great, they were busy so it was a little slow but still, very friendly. The restaurant was also very clean.
The menu looked lovely, including: Slow Roast Rare Breed Pork, Jimmy's Rare Breed Cheeseburger and Homemade Pie of the Day. The prices looked reasonable and are very easy to understand, for example all mains cost £11 and all starters £5.50. There is also a special children's menu.
We located the farm easily, despite not being familiar with the area - it is well signposted from the A14. There was plenty of car parking available and, as it was a dry day, the car park was not difficult to negotiate at all. Once at the farm, we felt a little unsure as to where we needed to go. We were immediately faced with the shop and there were a few barns with animals in that we walked around for a bit, but there did not seem a lot there apart from the restaurant. When we saw other people heading in the other direction and followed, it became clear that the shed like kiosk we had passed was the entry to the nature trail area. In hindsight, there were signposts - we had obviously just missed them, so maybe they could have been a little more prominent.
We paid our entry and had our hands stamped so that we could be readmitted to the area if we left it - the toilets and restaurant are located outside of the paying area. The first are we came to was essentially a large field - and this is where a lot of the animals are located. The ground here was generally good and, where it was more boggy, metal runners had been added to the ground - this made the area pretty pushchair friendly - a definite positive for us! It was very pleasant to just walk around and see the various animals in their enclosures and being able to pet and feed a lot of them too was a bonus. Although it was quite busy when we visited - with school parties as well as a lot of visitors - there is a lot of space to move around and look as the farm is over a large area and the enclosures are large too.
Once we had walked around this large field area, we were unsure really where else we were to go - I felt that a few more signs pointing you in the right direction or the provision of a site map on admittance would have helped a great deal. We couldn't help but feel like we were missing things. Eventually, we walked through the woodland and located another field with the pigs and cows in and the butterfly house.
We didn't take our son into the butterfly house because a) we were unsure how buggy friendly this would be and b) it probably would have frightened him somewhat! I did have a quick peek in there too and saw some really lovely species of butterflies. We visited on a rather warm day though and, as this is very much like a greenhouse, it was very hot and stuffy in there so I didn't want to stay in there too long anyway.
Our visit lasted around 2 and a half hours and this included drinks in the restaurant and a trip to the toilets - effectively two toilets in an out building. These are for both sexes too and the baby change is located in one of the cubicles so I didn't find these facilities very adequate. Coupled with little toilet roll, hand towels etc, a very low grade experience! I think you can make your visit last a little longer than that, particularly if you have young children who will undoubtedly want to spend time on the adventure playground provided. This looked fun, modern, well built and safe.
MY OVERALL OPINION
We enjoyed our visit to Jimmy's Farm. It is very visitor friendly and clean and I will definitely be taking my son again once he is a little older and fully able to appreciate the animals. There are one or two improvements that I would personally like to see to improve the overall experience - better toilet facilities and increased clarity to aid visitor's navigation of the park. The other facilities, notably the restaurant, are very good. In the summer, there are also outside stands that sell ice cream and drinks so that your wait is reduced, this is a nice touch.
There is a good variety of animals on the farm too and a visit here can be educational as well as fun - there are some animals here that children would not get the opportunity to see very often. The only thing that I would say is that this is advertised as a 'working farm' and, from the produce in the shop it clearly is. However, there is not enough opportunity for you to see the working side of this farm, in my opinion.
The price paid for entry is very fair - there are enough animals to warrant the fee and you can spend a good couple of hours here. The price of drinks and food etc at the restaurant is reasonable and not overpriced like it can be at some attractions. Don't get me wrong, it's not cheap, but I wouldn't expect it to be. The shop is pretty pricey but you do tend to pay a premium for fresh produce like this anyway.
I think the enjoyment that you get out of the day does depend to some extent on the weather as it is very open and, on a wet day, I can imagine it becoming very muddy and boggy. This is a lovely place to take young children as it is so vast they can run about and let off steam without getting in other people's way, they can also get up close with a lot of the animals. I would definitely recommend a visit.
Summary: nice place to visit
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