Reviewed by Kirsten Boyd
Briarlands Farm, based in Blair Drummond in Stirling, is a family run working farm that offers a great day out for families with young children. It is located in the Stirlingshire countryside by the safari park, and is easy to find as long as you follow the signs rather than rely on the satnav!
The park offers mainly outdoor activities. There are 2 large jumping pillows and a large area for children to run about safely in with several play areas dotted around the field. There are several mazes to get lost in, diggers and trucks to play in and 2 go-karting areas – one for bigger children and one for the littlies. If that isn’t enough the field is surrounded by pens with sheep and chickens and horses and donkeys and cows to see and feed if you pay for animal feed on entry. There are several eating areas dotted around for you to eat your own packed lunches.
There is an opportunity to see the smaller animals, too, at the animal petting barn, which also has some covered areas for the smaller children to play in. My 1 year old and 4 year old loved seeing and petting the chickens, guinea pigs and rabbits here, and the lady showing us all of this was lovely, great with the kids and offered lots of information about the animals.
Tractor rides are offered for an additional £1 (free on this particularly rainy day) where you can get an opportunity to see more of this working farm. We visited at calving season and were able to see some new calves with their mothers, and my 4 year old particularly loved counting the scarecrows that were liberally dotted around the farm. The tractor driver (the animal petting lady and admissions lady and also I suspect one of the family members of the farm…) told us all about the cows and their babies, and we all enjoyed trying to encourage Mildred, the rather temperamental tractor to get us out of the mud!
There are also indoor craft activities for children and a play area attached to a lovely tearoom, where you can get lovely food and yummy cakes and strong coffee! Here you will also find a shop with a wide range of gifts and souvenirs. The toilets are clean although there is only one baby changing area that I could see.
My family really enjoyed our day here, even allowing for the rain! Sunshine would have made it more enjoyable but perhaps then there would have been too many people! I think that the admission fee – £23 for a family of 4 – is about right and reflects similar activities in Central Scotland. Bear in mind that our children are young – Briarlands is perfect for them and (perhaps in better weather) I could have spent several hours letting them play on the various things outside. Older children may have been a little harder to accommodate but on the whole I would very much recommend this place, if I lived a little closer I would invest in a season pass (currently on sale at £50 for 2 adults, 2 children or 1 adult, 3 children).
Prices: £5.50 Adult / £6.75 Children / £23 Family (4 people) / £55 Season Pass (family of 4)
For more information visit www.briarlandsfarm.co.uk.
Briarlands Farm, Blairdrummond, Stirling, FK9 4UP | 01786 841309