Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
What a fantastic place Willows Activity Farm in London Colney, Hertfordshire is. Aimed at younger children but with plenty to do for older siblings, children will never get bored here. Whether they are interested in animals, outdoor fun or indoor play there is something for everyone. The farm is spread over a large area but a fair amount of it is indoors so can be used whatever the weather, indeed when we turned up on a pretty cold and murky March afternoon the car park was very busy showing how popular it is.
Outside is a well paved farm area with various different animals all in well fenced and nicely kept paddocks, a BBQ area, several play areas to suit different age children, tractor rides, a lake walk and several different fairground style rides such as swingboats, huge inflatable slides and spinning teacups. Everything is appropriately staffed; clean and well maintained and best of all is all included in the entrance price. So often things like tractor rides can cost a family another £5-£10 but at Willows the only extras are food and drink.
Throughout the day there are various demonstrations including lamb bottle feeding which is held in a large indoor animal barn. The barn is spotless and all pens from the horses to the rabbits are full of clean straw and fresh drinking water. Another plus are the large amount of hand washing basins, soap and towels together with plenty of signage to remind you to wash your hands after touching the animals. The toilets are another thing that impressed not only extremely clean but they had child size loo seats as well as adult sized ones, perfect for my son as he gets scared of using the big toilet.
Inside there is a craft room, JCB drivers barn full of sit on diggers in several sizes to suit toddlers up, soft play in three different sizes starting from baby and my sons personal favourite, Toddler Town. I have not seen anything like this before but it’s a toddlers dream with lots of themed shops full of wooden toys, play kitchen, post office etc… A fabulous idea it kept the little ones entertained for hours. All the doors on the indoor section lead into each other from a central café area but have adult height automatic openers on so children can’t run out unnoticed, another great idea. We didn’t eat or drink anything while we were there but the food looked good with a mouth-watering selection of cakes.
On the way to the exit there is a large gift shop stocking everything from teddies to toy trains and on leaving there are several small shops such as a children’s furniture shop. There really is something for everybody here and with a yearly membership scheme payable by direct debit you can make it affordable too. Easy access from M25 Junction 22 and plenty of parking makes Willows Activity Farm an excellent day out for families with children.
Tickets cost from £9 to £12 (book online to save money).
For more information or to book tickets visit www.willowsactivityfarm.com.
Willows Activity Farm, Coursers Road, London Colney, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL4 0PF