Sunday, 27 April 2014

Trips out with the Little Ones: Hesketh Farm Park, Skipton

While the weather was sunny, we decided to make the most of it and take Little One to enjoy some much needed fresh air and sunshine. We drove up to Skipton, North Yorkshire to visit Hesketh Farm Park.

Set in the glorious Yorkshire Dales, not far from Bolton Abbey, and just 5 miles from the market town of Skipton, the farm park is a working farm where members of the public can visit and feed the animals, including sheep, cattle and pigs. 

On arrival, there is a large car park with free parking. The walk down to the entrance of the farm is a little bumpy (understandably!) if you have a pram which isn't an off-roader but it's not a long walk and the rest of the farm is pram friendly. 

The first animals we saw were the guinea pigs and rabbits. Visitors are allowed to hold the guinea pigs in the hay bale petting area, although this area can obviously get quite busy; the guinea pigs are so adorable!

The main part of the attraction is set within two large barns where you can walk around at your own pace, reading interesting facts about the animals and looking at farming equipment.

This is a working farm but it's fantastic that visitors can take part in helping to feed the animals. A bell is sounded in the main barn 5 minutes before feeding or egg collection is due to start (at regular intervals throughout the day). Luckily we were in the calves area when it was their feeding time! It does get quite busy so it can be a bit tricky to navigate the crowds with a pram or pushchair. The staff briefly explained how to feed the calves and asked that people pass on the bottle to the next person once they'd had a go.

For health and safety reasons, staff request that visitors wash hands thoroughly after feeding or handling the animals and there are hand cleaning facilities located around the barns.  

We were lucky enough to visit during lambing season so there were lots of very new lambs to see. 

Little One really enjoyed looking at the piglets. The pigs love being brushed with the brushes provided and it's a lovely touch that visitors are able to be so interactive with the animals. In another pen, you can feed the piglets by loading a toy truck on a track with food for £1.00. 

 In the second barn you will find the straw maze, play area, a fantastic sand pit and ride-on tractors. Little One was obviously too young to go on the tractors but he did enjoy playing hide and seek with Mummy in the straw maze, which was great fun!

This barn also houses the toy shop, party area and small cafe, along with plenty of picnic benches. 

We went thinking we would be able to get some lunch here but it seems most people are organised and take a picnic along with them. The grounds are so amazing I'd definitely advise taking a picnic to enjoy, especially if the weather is nice. You can buy drinks and cakes/treats from the cafe.  

Cafe prices as of April 2014. The cafe takes cash only, however, all major cards are accepted for entry into the farm. 

 The party area
Part of the outside area and playground. 

As well as inside picnic benches, there are also plenty outside too so you can enjoy your picnic in all weathers. Although we didn't have a picnic to enjoy, Hesketh Farm Park is only a few minutes drive from the amazing Yorkshire Dales Ice Cream farm, so we went over there afterwards to get some lunch. 

We had a fantastic day out at Hesketh Farm Park. Every aspect of it is well thought out and interactive, and although Little One (at 9 months old) was a bit young to appreciate some of the activities (such as the play area, ride on tractors and holding animals) he did seem to really enjoy himself. There was so much to see and do and he found the animals fascinating to watch (especially the piglets and giant tortoise!). I'd definitely recommend taking a picnic so you can sit and really make the most of the gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside. It made for a really lovely family day out.

For more information, visit Hesketh Farm Park website. 

A x


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