“ Address: Newball / Near Langworth / Lincoln / LN3 5DQ / England „
For a day out recently myself and my family went to Woodside Falconry Centre.
The Centre is in Langworth not far from Lincoln and directions can be found on their website. I am no good at directions so won't try and describe where it is.
There is a fairly large car park with plenty of parking for cars and coaches.
The main entrance is also the gift shop and the tea room can also be entered from this area. The admission fee is £6.75 for adults, £5.75 for children and £6.25 for OAP's. You can buy a family ticket for either £24 or £29 depending on the number of children in your party and concessions are £5.00. We usually have a voucher for one free child; these can easily be found in local area leaflets such as Lincolnshire Farm & Countryside Attractions'.
Once you have paid you come into a small courtyard area. This area is overlooked by the tea room and there are benches outside for you to use. In this area there are also a ladies and gents toilet and a disabled toilet that doubles as a baby changing room. The baby changing facilities consist of an old kitchen table with a changing mat on it but everything seems clean and well maintained. Also in a building off the courtyard is a small row of hand basins specifically positioned for young children. In another building off this area you can often find newly hatched birds and some rabbits and guinea pigs.
The next area you come to is a grassed area with some benches for you to eat at. Around the grassed area are some enclosures containing birds of prey. To your right is a large sandpit that can be used by your children.
Behind the sandpit is the hot house. There are lots of different animal inside the hothouse including snapping turtles, spiders, alligators and rats. There is a special section of the hot house that has butterflies and you can also see the different stages of the chrysalis. There is a small eating area in the hot house and this area is used for the children's parties and for adult evenings. There is a large hot tub in this area which is used for the adult evenings too. There is another sandpit inside with different types of equipment for moving the sand and some water play areas too.
When you exit the hot house there is an enclosure ahead of you that holds goats and wallabies and the demonstration area and picnic area are adjacent to this.
If you follow the path you are taken through lots of enclosure that hold birds of prey such as falcons and owls and there are even some racoons. There is a small park with swings, slides and a very big trampoline. The trampoline has an enclosure and it is free for children to play on. As you come to the end of the paved area there is a demonstration building and then you come to the racing pigs. If you walk past the pigs towards the nature area and lake you will see ponies and goats. You can fish in the lake and rods are available from the gift shop but they do charge for this.
We have been to Woodside falconry twice and have seen demonstrations on both our visits. The demonstrations usually start at around 12 noon with the birds of prey. There are seats in the outside demonstration area and a member of staff talks to you about each bird and demonstrates the way they fly and the way they hunt. There is plenty of audience participation and owls are bought round to sit next to you or for you to stroke.
Immediately after the birds or prey demonstration there is the pig racing. You are encouraged to have a little flutter on the pigs and there are three races for you to bet on. A member of staff talks you through some information about the breed of the pigs and then asks members of the audience to name a pig. Both times when we have been a member of the audience has been asked to race against the pigs in the last race. You cannot place a bet on the human running but it is fun to watch!
The next demonstration we saw was a little later in the afternoon and this featured the reptiles. Staff bring out snakes and a lizard and give a short talk about the animals before bringing them round for the audience to touch and hold. Obviously if you do not like this type of creature you can decline.
The last show of the day is indoors and includes a snowy owl and some younger birds that are still being trained. The finale is the ferret racing and the winner gets to put the ferret down their trousers!
When you walk around the centre all the cages are very open and the animals inside can be clearly seen. Each enclosure is clearly labelled but there is no information about the animals on the cages themselves.
We always take a picnic when we go but you can buy light refreshments from the tea room. I checked the menu when we went and you could get sandwiches, jacket potatoes or what sounded very much like a ploughmans. There is a selection of cold drinks and ice creams and you can also buy hot drinks such as coffee and hot chocolate. These items seemed fairly reasonably priced but there wasn't a vast selection. I did have a look at the food that was coming out and it all looked fresh and nicely prepared.
I think if it wasn't for the various demonstrations and races throughout the day you would struggle to find more than a couple of hours of entertainment at the centre. The fishing could be lots of fun if you enjoy that sort of thing but the lake isn't huge and it is aimed more at children than serious anglers.
We have enjoyed both our visits to the centre and will most likely visit again next year. It is clean and safe and everything is presented very nicely. The demonstrations are very informative and often very amusing.
I would recommend the Woodside Falconry Centre for anyone looking for something to do in this area. There isn't much to do on a wet day but lots of fun to be had if it stays dry.
Full details of the centre and all its facilities including children's parties and adult spa events can be found at www.woodsidefalconry.com