Reviewed by Louise Watts
Within 10 minutes of Junction 6 on the M25 in the Surrey countryside lies Godstone Farm. I am not sure how long the farm has been open to the public for, but I remember going there with my parents when I was a child so it has been open a while.
Having 4 children myself ranging in age from 3 years to 14 years, I have been a frequent visitor to Godstone Farm over the past decade and it has never failed to deliver a fun packed day out. I took my mother and my 3-year-old son there yesterday (10 October 2017) to spend the day having fun. It was a dry but cloudy day but was not cold so the perfect weather for a day at the farm. When we arrived, there were not many cars in the car park which was to be expected in October during school hours. We went to the little entry kiosk and were greeted by a very polite lady who let us enter the farm. The farm is open from 10am until 5pm at the moment and this extends in the Summer until 6pm. Entry prices are the same for a child over 2 years and an adult at £8.90, a child aged 1-2 years is £3.40 and babies under 1 year are free. You can save 10% by booking in advance online and there is also a reduced entry fee if you enter after school has finished for the day. This meant that for my mother, myself and my 3-year-old it cost £26.70. I felt that was a little expensive as my mother at 68 years of age would spend the bulk of the day observing my son play and as soon as a child reaches 2 years, they are full price. Personally, from other similar places I have been to, I would have liked to have seen a Senior Citizen reduced price and a child price of £3.40 for under 3 years old, not 2 years.
My son was very excited and went straight to the map just inside the entrance to see where he wanted to go first. He decided he wanted to see some animals and hold a bunny rabbit. We wandered around some of the animals first, including chipmunks, ferrets and degus. All the enclosures were well maintained and there appeared to be plenty of running around space for the animals. There is an animal holding barn where children are given the opportunity under staff supervision to hold small pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs. My son had a lovely cuddle with a little bunny and the lady was very helpful in telling him where to sit and how to position the rabbit. Inside this barn there are also terrapins and a tortoise which are my sons’ favourites at the moment. We spent some time wandering around looking at the animals in there before heading out to the farm trail.
Walking around the farm trail, you got to see all the classic farm animals, including pigs, sheep, chickens, geese. In the top barn, there were some beautiful piglets who were only a few weeks old and there were also some lovely donkeys grazing in the field as we walked up the hill. There are plenty of signs up regarding hand washing and there are child friendly sinks all around the farm so they can stay safe.
After completing the farm trail, my son decided that it was lunch time so we headed off to the tea room to see what was on offer to eat. The tea room has a 5 rating for food hygiene which was important to me, especially as we were on a farm. There was a good selection of hot and cold food and also a menu for children. My son opted for the children’s lunch box which offered a good selection of sandwich choices and other items. Myself and my mother chose jacket potatoes with filling and salad. We also had 2 bottles of drink. The total was just over £17 which I thought was quite reasonable for 3 people especially considering the size of the jackets which were ample for us. The food tasted nice and the staff were polite and friendly. There is no expectation that you must buy food on site and there are plenty of picnic tables around the farm and ample grass to sit on for your picnic if that is what you wish to do.
After lunch we decided to explore the play barn. This is a large barn with a soft play area inside. My son decided to go off and explore the play area so mum and myself took the opportunity to wash our lunch down with a coffee while we watched him play. The soft play area was very well equipped and there was plenty to do. The way it is set out means you can always see where your child is. There is a special area for the under 5 years during busy periods so they do not get trampled by the bigger kids, but during term times they have run of the play area as there are no bigger children. In the younger area there are also some small houses where the children can role play with kitchens.
We were hoping to wander around the Dino Trail as my son is very interested in dinosaurs at the moment, but sadly this area was closed whilst maintenance work is carried out on the pond. I was informed by the staff that this should be completed by the half term holiday, so we may try and plan a return visit when it is open.
Instead of the Dino Trail, we decided to take a ride on the tractor. There is usually a small fee per person for this and it would take you around the dinosaurs. As this was not possible, we had a small ride up and down the farm but this was not charged for which was nice.
We found a second barn with a play area inside. This one was a bit of a maze with various slides inside to explore. We counted 7 on our last count and my son made sure he tried out every one. He then got inside the pretend safari truck in the barn and drove us to the outside play area at the top of the farm. When we arrived at the play area (after walking up the hill), we found a sand pit fully equipped with buckets, spades and diggers and many more outside play things. There was so much to explore with a zip wire, climbing walls, more slides and swings. It was lovely to be out in the fresh air exploring the outdoors. We sat happily watching my son playing in the sand pit chatting to himself.
At about 4pm, sadly the rain arrived and so we decided it was time to leave. We had been at the farm for several hours and could have stayed several more. My son has already asked when we can come back and I will make sure we do in the near future. I would recommend Godstone Farm as a family day out for children up until the age of around 10 years.
For more information or to book tickets online visit godstonefarm.co.uk.
Godstone Farm, Tilburstow Hill Road, Godstone, Surrey, RH9 8LX | 01883 742546