At the start of 2018, I made a promise to start making What Emma Did feature more lifestyle articles, as well as the usual beauty, and fashion reviews. And so far, it’s been going really well, with numerous food, travel and fitness round-ups featuring on the site as well as the trusty favourites.
I found out I have a real varied audience, from makeup loving teenagers and those serious about skincare in the 20-40 range, to Mums who want recipes and travel inspiration and hose passionate about fitness and fashion tips. I really can’t round-up who doesn’t fit into the wide category at the moment, which is great to see!
I’m finding that lately, a lot of my travel and activities related posts are doing quite well. So with the Summer holidays now in full swing, here’s a new one for you! It’s all about the top places in the UK for visiting animals, and seeing them in their natural habitats.
The Top 6 Places in the UK for Animal Farms and Animal Days Out!
Stockley Farm Park, Cheshire
This organic dairy and arable farm prides itself on a “hands-on” approach: visitors are encouraged to feed and groom the animals and watch planting and milking parlour demonstrations. Budding farmers can get a taste of agricultural life by signing up for its Young Farmer Academy: two-hour sessions aimed at 7-to-12-year-olds, with the chance to take part in behind-the-scenes activities, while learning about animal husbandry or arable farming.
Over school holidays, they put on extra activities such as sheep races and bird of prey displays, and you can feed the horses there too. Adults and children alike seem to gravitate to horses, as they are such a loved mammal, and feeding them gives everyone that exciting feeling. Ideally, a well bred horse fed regularly and well, with feeds such as Spillers Horse Feeds, is a strong, healthy and powerful horse that both adults and children can enjoy watching them gallop around the fields.
• Adult £9.20, 2–16s £8.20, under-twos £1.75, family £33, 10% online discount, stockleyfarm.co.uk
Odds Farm Park, Buckinghamshire
Odds Farm Park was named the attraction of the year at the 2017 National Farm Attractions Network awards. There’s a packed programme of daily events, from bottle feeding goats to milking cows, plus tractor and trailer rides, a play barn and huge wooden outdoor play area and sandpit.
During the school holidays, children can meet the farm’s newest arrivals, including piglets and lambs, and although it’s not Easter right now, they put on brilliant activities during these periods such as Easter-themed crafts and Easter bunny trails to earn a chocolate reward. It’s one to keep in mind for next Spring for sure…
• Adult £14.50, 2-16s £13.50, oddsfarm.co.uk
Good Day Out, Powys
Sheep-trekking, sheepdog herding and “pig-nics” are just a few of the unusual and educational experiences offered by Good Day Out, which raises money for local causes by offering interactive farm visits in the Brecon Beacons.
One of the most popular options for families is a two-hour “sheep trekking” package at Aberhyddnant organic hill farm. Visitors pick a walking companion from a small flock of Jacob sheep, harness it up and take it for a scenic hike along an old drovers’ track (next walk 16 April, adult £35, child £25). Piggy Walks, where you take a pair of miniature kune kune pigs on a stroll and a picnic are great for younger children (next one 15 April, adult £25, child £10).
Mudchute Farm, London
Set in 32 acres on the Isle of Dogs, this inner-city farm brings a little slice of rural life to the East End. As well as the working farm, there’s a petting zoo, duck pond and equestrian centre, with an all-weather floodlit riding arena and show jumps. Outdoor enclosures house rare-breed sheep (including some new-born lambs), llamas, alpacas, pigs and ponies. Regular events include craft activities, exercise boot camps and dog agility lessons.
The ever-popular Mudchute Kitchen is a great spot for breakfast or brunch, or take a picnic and admire the surreal view of Canary Wharf towering above the fields of grazing sheep.
• Free, mudchute.org
The Big Sheep, Devon
No list of farm attractions is complete without the Big Sheep, which has transformed itself from humble livestock farm to one of Devon’s top family attractions.
This is not the place to come for insight into the daily life of a farmer – the vibe is definitely more theme park – but what it lacks in authenticity it more than makes up for in entertainment value, with rides (including Devon’s largest rollercoaster), the Ewetopia indoor playground, laser tag, climbing walls and the ever-popular sheep races.
• Adult £13.95, child £13.95, under 3ft tall £6, under 12 months free, 20% online discount, thebigsheep.co.uk
Acton Scott, Shropshire
If Acton Scott looks familiar, it’s because it was the setting of the BBC2 show Victorian Farm. The estate recreates traditional 19th-century farm life, complete with costumed staff and demonstrations from wheelwrights, farriers and blacksmiths, and the chance to see heavy horses working the fields.
This is no museum-piece, though – it’s a working farm, and children will relish the chance to handle chicks and bottle feed lambs. There’s a great cafe in the former schoolhouse and farm produce on sale in the shop.
• Adult £9, 3-17s £5, family £25, includes free return visit, actonscott.com