Here’s some fab local farm shops that offer something to keep your kids entertained, well fed and maybe if you’re very lucky a chance for you to enjoy a coffee in relative peace!
Here are a selection of some of our favourites…
Mainsgill Farm Shop – Scotch Corner
You can sit back with a coffee and take in the amazing view from your picnic tables while the kids run off some energy in the huge play area. They will be spoliled for choice with ride on tractors, swings, slides, climbing frames, sandpit and a zip wire. The farm shop cafe offers hearty meals, afternoon tea and cakes and drinks. They also house a range of animals that would make Old Macdonald proud, including camels, llamas, rheas, donkeys, sheep, cows and goats.
The Wensleydale Experience – West Witton, Leyburn
If your little ones are early risers then the ‘Real Farmer Experience’ is perfect, starting at around 8:30am. They can feed the pigs and help with whatever tasks they have for the day — whether this be helping moooove the cows, ‘mucking out’ or feeding sheep up on the hill. Of course you’ll get a break to enjoy their delicious Farmer’s Breakfast in the cafe! Booking essential.
For those who’d prefer a lazy start then their ‘Farm Tour’ would be perfect, starting at 2pm. At £5 per head you can get up close and personal with the animals and help with feedings. They also have a range of kids trikes and ride on cars in their courtyard.
Minskip Farm shop –Boroughbridge
Minskip love to share their passion for farming and actively welcome visitors to find out about their way of life and meet their animals, (including three ‘little’ Kune Kune pigs who dispose of the waste vegetables!) When Farmer Ben moved to the farm it was his dream to share his unique upbringing with others (or “city folk” as he calls them!).
They have lots of family friendly events on over the holidays. Join them on Monday 28th May for their ‘Summer Salutation Fete’ with summer games, explore the vegetable garden, learn how to poach the perfect egg, enjoy yummy wood-fired pizza from Knead ’n’ Feed and learn about a working hen farm from Farmer Ben!
They are currently awaiting planning permission for a cafe so is one to keep an eye on.
Balloon Tree – Gate Helmsley, York
We love Balloon Tree Farm Shop’s motto ‘Fewer Food Miles — More Farm Yards’. They pride themselves on ‘superfresh’ homegrown produce and offer a great day out for all the family.
Their outdoor children’s play area is situated next to the cafe garden (a great move), so you can supervise while enjoying a drink. It’s also offers more than your basic swing and sides. From a two floor Wendy house, where children can enjoy role play to their mini digger where they can learn eye-hand coordination by operating the levers.
There’s an animal corner where you can meat and feed ‘Petal’ and ‘Flower’. From May you can do Pick Your Own, starting with strawberries to the last pumpkin in October.
The only problem you’ll have is convincing them to leave!
Thorpe Farm Centre – Greta Bridge
Situated on Thorpe Farm Centre estate, Wetheriggs Animal Rescue Centre gives visitors the chance to get close and interact with their rescue animals, including getting involved with feeding time! They hold regular animal handling sessions with rabbits, guinea pigs, chicks, rodents, snakes, lizards and even a zoo keeper experience.
Thorpe Farm Centre also has a great outdoor play area, pottery painting and a Wetlands Nature Walk. In their new brasserie they’ve a great home cooked kid’s menu with generous portion sizes and if it’s sunny their new terrace overlooks a grass area where they can practice their cart wheels!
Cedarbarn Farm – Pickering
Purchase your tickets at the replica Victorian railway station and ticket office and hop on ‘The Flying Yorkshireman’, a replica Warship loco. Your journey takes you through Redgate tunnel and along the track with views of vegetable patches, apple orchards, asparagus beds and soft fruit fields. You can even hop off the carriages to enjoy a spot of fruit picking.
Alongside the station is the ‘Flying Yorkshireman Dining Cart’ where you can refuel with gourmet Burgers which have been hand made in the Cedarbarn butchery and toppings such as Yorkshire blue cheese & homemade relish. Yummy!
Lister’s Farm Shop, Boroughbridge
Lister’s Little Farmyard play park is open throughout the summer months with a pedal on tractor course, a huge sandpit, swings, tyre snakes and a Wendy House.
There are plenty of picnic benches, where you can sit with a coffee or lunch while your children play. Children can enjoy squash, ice lollies and ice-cream or can choose from their children’s menu from their cafe deli.
This month they have planted their Corn Maze which will be ready late summer early autumn — so much fun!
None Go Bye Farm Shop – Horsforth, North Leeds
None Go Bye Farm is well worth a visit. They are a family run farm and a great place to bring your children for an enjoyable, natural experience, and it’s totally free to visit. They have a range of animals outside including prairie dogs, rhea, goats, geese and, donkeys. Animal feed is available inside their farm shop.
If the weather’s not great there’s an indoor play area with sandpit, climbing frame and chalk boards, all for just £2.
Willow Farm Cafe – Wigginton, York
This farm shop and cafe has been set up with young children in mind. Situated close to Creepy Crawlies play space it has a large cafe with a kids’ craft table. Outside there’s plenty of seating under cover and a toy room for under fives. You’ll also find a climbing frame and slide plus they have a bouncy castle for special events. They really have children’s needs in mind here and even offered a tube of free sunblock for children if you need it.