Newest Review: ... is reasonable and consistent with other similar attractions. Activity Farm Upon paying we were given a leaflet with a map of the farm ... more
Longdown Activity Harm
Longdown Activity Farm (Hampshire)
Member Name: buzzard_cad
Longdown Activity Farm (Hampshire)
Advantages: Fluffy animals, play areas for children
Disadvantages: Car park, crossing the road, price, shoddy buildings, I can go on...
Longdown Activity Farm (LAF) is located on the North-west edge of the New Forest National Park near the village of Colbury. The nearest city is Southampton and as such it is within easy reach of the M27 motorway. Rail links are not so good as it is roughly between the stations of Ashurst and Totton, which is a good 45 minute walk from either of them. Totton station is the main station and is more likely to have taxi's close by. Bus links are only slightly better as the no.56/56A bus from Wilts & Dorset passes close by on the main A36 road (Foxhills stop), from here it is 5 min walk down a country lane (no footpath, verge only) to the farm. The easiest and most common way to get to the farm is by car. From the M27 pick up the A36 to Lyndhurst at the end of the dual carriageway section at the top of Hunters Hill take the turn into Deerleap Lane, it should be sign-posted. Drive past Colbury Church on your left and the Farm's car park is on about 100 yards further down on the right. The farm itself is on the other side of the road.
~Admission Prices and Opening Times
Opening Times for 2009 were taken from their website and are:
10am-5pm from 14th February to 1st November with last entry at 4pm.
Weekends only in November and December.
Then daily again from 12th to 24th December.
It doesn't say when they shut up for the winter.
Admission Fees for 2009 are:
Adults - £7
OAP - £6
Child (3-14) - £6
A family saver of 2 Adults and 2 Children costs £24.
Children under 3 get in for free. Season, group, birthday parties and other tickets are available but it is best to view the website for these deals.
~So much to do whatever the weather - the LAF experience
The above statement is on Longdown Activity Farm's website and is not my bold statement, so when we were stuck with something to do one weekend Mrs Cad suggested the LAF so we could let BC2 go and have a run around. BC2 was 18 months old at the time and not quite walking on her own, which in hindsight was probably why we had the experience we did. Being local we went without checking prices or activities.
On entry to the car park we saw the entry prices posted on a blackboard. I choked and Mrs Cad said 'Oh dear'. The car-park is not tarmaced and is made up of gravel and on a summers day it is dusty when cars drive around it. By the time we got BC2 out of the car and in her pushchair the dust was getting up my nose as well as the prices on the blackboard. At the entrance to the car park we had to cross the road, which is in a 40mph limit and requires a lot of care. Not great if you have excited children who want to get to the farm just across the road.
Once over the road the metal fencing directs you to the gift shop, which is where you are required to pay to get in. After coughing up the £13.50 (2008 price) for us two adults to get in, we stopped and rearrange ourselves. Even the normally cheery Mrs Cad was mumbling about the prices as she was wiping dust from her glasses and it was down to me Mr Tight-wad to be positive.
'It will be alright,' I said 'We'll find a quiet place to have our snacks and let BC2 have a round around'.
It would have been okay, but the cafe for light refreshments only has about half a dozen tables and these were all taken up. We got a coffee, crisps and a muffin, which came to around £5, which damped my enthusiasm even more. Outside there were some picnic benches and chairs, which was great as it wasn't raining just overcast. The picnic benches were okay, but the bins nearby were overflowing and covered with wasps. We ate our overpriced food and fed BC2 before moving on to the farm proper.
The tractor & trailer rides at 1pm were very popular and we gave up on them in the hope of finding something suitable for an 18 month old. Eventually we found an old barn with trampolines that had netting and age ranges. We put her on the under three trampoline, which worked well even with other little ones there. That was until someone's bigger brother who was probably just three or slightly older got on a booted BC2 in the head. In search of something animal related we looked around the farm at some of the animals in sheds and barns. There are many areas were children can interact with the animals at certain times, but normally when we arrived, there were lots of other people there with bigger children and BC2 wasn't getting a look in, as she would get scared or want picking up. Small animal handling at 2pm was mobbed and when gave up to meet the ducks at 2.30pm she got bundled over by a boisterous boy and started bawling. Eventually after a three hours we left in to get back to a dirty and dusty car, which could have been silver once but was now a horrible brown colour. Mrs Cad was really miffed now as it was her car. I chuckled to myself for awhile. Except I wasn't laughing later when we got home and I was made to go outside and clean the car.
~Activities to do
LAF advertises lots of activities to do on the farm. They say there is Calf feeding, Kid goat feeding, Small Animal handling, more Goat feeding, Pig feeding, Tractor rides and Duck feeding. In reality though only the larger children will be able to get to help with these activities any child under 3 will either be too small or will get bundled out of the way.
The alternative is the few barns and activity areas outside that you can let children burn off some steam. There are trampolines, ball pits, climbing areas and slides, both indoors and outside. These again would be very good however from our experience above the older children tend to run roughshod over the smaller ones and even where there are areas which should be for little ones these get invaded by big kids who aren't supervised by their parents.
~The buildings and grounds
One item that really didn't impress us was the state of the buildings and the areas around them. Most looked like they had been old abandoned buildings that had been pressed back into service by LAF. Although the inside of them had been made to look new, outside the roof and walls were in poor condition. The paths were mainly made up of hard materials such as concrete and paving flags, fantastic for cuts and grazes and in some places they were uneven or crazed. Where there was no paving the grass had given way to gravel or mud and in the sun these were now stony, dusty and potted with trip holes.
In short I cannot recommend Longdown Activity Farm to friends or family as I think it is over-priced for what you get. As for review readers I can say that if you have boisterous children over 3 and you are in the Southampton area this is a fantastic place to unleash your children on the unsuspecting general public for a hefty fee. They can run round unsupervised bashing into little children, feeding the animals and when they are hungry you can give them junk food from the expensive light refreshments area to send them back out into the general melee on the dirty farm. If you have a small timid child then this is really not the place for them.
This review may be found on other review sites under the same username and is also written by me.
Longdown Diary Farm - http://www.longdownfarm.co.uk
Wilts and Dorset Buses - http://www.wdbus.co.uk
Summary: A great place to let ADHD riddled kids run amok. Not good for timid little ones.
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