What a treat. A hidden gem in the Cheshire Countryside on the grounds of the Arley Estate.
We spent four fun-filled hours at the Stockley Farm Park this weekend. We could easily have spent another four. Unlike many other farms we have ventured out to the entrance fee is a little higher however for all there is to do, the 1/2 hourly activities specifically designed to spark your child’s imagination it really is worth paying that little bit extra. With no car parking charge and a very reasonably priced tea room (unlike most) you simply must try it! You become part of the Walton Family for the day.
It is noticeable how happy and helpful the staff are, from the ticket lady and tractor driver to the farm staff and shop keeper as you leave. The team try hard to ensure every child has a wonderful experience. Even down to the small detail of announcing each event every 30 minutes over a tannoy which can be heard no matter where you are on the farm. As a parent you are often scared to leave an area in the event you might miss the one activity your little one is so desperate to see. The staff do not rush you and are keen to ensure a child hasn’t been missed out. You have no need to worry. As you hear the announcement there is more than enough time for you to wander to the designated area. If the event is too busy then fear not, there will be a second round for you to take part in later in the day.
So, let me tell you and of course show you in pictures how our day went…
It started with a Tractor and Trailer ride which for our tractor loving toddler was a huge success. We sat on hay bales and made our way to the main entrance whilst reading our map and familiarising ourselves with the activities available throughout the day. The tractors are frequent, with one appearing every 10-15 minutes.
That was just the beginning of what turned out to be a super fun day.
We went on a Nature Trail with Gruffalo the Goat, hunting for acorns, blueberries and blackberries. The staff handed out magnifying glasses to each child and pointed out little surprises on the way. Gruffalo the Goat was a huge success with the children. Although a few were expecting the actual Gruffalo!
We groomed ponies, Lil G really enjoyed this. A bucket of brushes appeared and he took great pleasure in choosing a brush to help clean up this beauties mane. There were 3 ponies so plenty of hair for the little ones to brush.
We petted rabbits and guinea pigs. I think his face says it all. This is the first time Lil G has handled animals so it really was met with much excitement.
What came next was the surprise of the day for us all. We bottle fed the sweetest of baby goats. One of the farm staff warmed up the crowd, by having all the children shout ‘wakey wakey baby goats’ and oh how they ran, running through the barn hunting for milk, much to the children’s excitement.
The final scheduled activity we took part in was the birds of prey display. I say took part in as Lil G held a small owl, wow (sadly I couldn’t snap quick enough), although here she is…
The bird handler was rather funny and threw in a joke every now and then which made the crowd chuckle. He worked his way around the children to ensure all that wanted to wear the handlers glove, where the smaller owl then flew to them.
Then he brought out the big guns. Eek. Just look at this HUGE Eagle Owl, with the brightest orange eyes. Reminded me of the Gruffalo!
Lil G was desperate for me to be as brave as him and have a hold, so like any normal person, pressured into it by their 3-year old toddler I gave in… Eek. Although I did wait until the crowds disappeared! Fun though.
There were pigs, cows and the biggest horse Lil G has ever seen. These animals were all in the animal sheds. There was an indoor play barn, tractors and a really large adventure playground for the children to play on. It was a huge space which allowed the children to run off some steam in between sessions.
A warning to all parents, if you do not wish to have a screaming toddler on your hands then I would save the playground until the end! Lil G fought tooth and nail not to leave it …
All the facilities are very close together, yet spread out if that makes any sense at all. No matter which activity you are taking part in, you are only a few steps away from the tea room and Toilets. Everywhere you look there is a bench to sit on or a picnic bench to take a break on. The staff were always in reaching distance and more than happy to stop and talk to you about the farm. We spoke to several staff members throughout the day, who were all very helpful. The Stockley Farm website gives you the impression that it is a family run venue that certainly comes across on visiting.
It really was a fun day for all the family. 24-hours later and Lil G is still talking about his adventure. I would say that it can only be described as a successful toddler day out, would you?
*NB we were provided with free entry to the farm in return for reviewing the facilities. The views and opinions are my own.