Today, I decided that we’d take a family trip to Wroxham Barns. It’s about an hour and a half away from us, which is far enough when travelling with a 6 year old and 18 month old!
I’d planned the trip the night before, doing a bit of research online to find out admission prices and opening/closing times. It was very reasonable, with opening hours between 10am – 5pm.
I decided to aim to get there for 11am, which meant we would have to leave around 9.30am. William and I were up at a respectable 7am, However, Lily and Martin had a bit of a late night, so I let them sleep in until they woke up – I hadn’t expected Lily to lay in until 9am! So my 9.30am leave was being cut a bit fine…I also had to wake martin up else he would’ve slept all say!
Once we were all up, dressed and breakfasted – we weren’t actually far off 9.30am! We were in the car by 9.45am, but we had to stop off for petrol (and snacks for the journey of course…)
10am and we were away! Lily was entertained with a new stationary set she was given at my baby shower, and William played with a musical toy (…not my best ideas…but it kept him occupied!)
But we made it! Just past 11.30am. The sun was shining – which was an unexpected surprise, and we made our way into Wroxham Barns.
Entry into Wroxham Barns itself is free, you’re free to wander around the shops and cafes as you please, but we were interested in their ‘Junior Farm.’
The Junior Farm is exactly as it says. It’s a farm designed for children – a petting farm! They have a variety of animals; sheep, pigs, cows, goats, donkeys, ponies, chicks, guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens, ducks…and you are welcome to walk around the pens and touch/stroke them – unless of course a sign states otherwise!
Admission into the junior farm was fairly priced. Under twos are free, and everyone else is a standard £6.50 entry. (It was also noted that children under 16 must be supervised by an adult in here!) The great thing about this is once you’ve paid, you’re given a wristband which allows you to come and go as you please into the farm!
The entrance has two metal gates, one for entry and one for exit. Little hands would have a hard time escaping! At the entrance you are also given the choice to buy bags of food to feed the animals for 55p each. You have the choice to buy large animal feed or poultry feed (pellets or seeds.) we bought a bag of each to start with as we weren’t sure which animals we’d see first – or more of! The bags had plenty of feed in, especially for little hands! You could make 1 bag stretch round the whole farm if you tried, although we found there were more large animals than poultry, and 2 – 3 bags of large animal feed worked for 2 children.
Before the fun began completely, we were met with a large board just inside the entrance with a “What’s On” guide. Throughout the day there were different events happening such as bottle feeding calves, cuddles with chicks and guinea pigs, pony grooming etc. The board was brightly coloured and clearly labelled with what time each event was happening.
What was really wonderful about this place was that we could take our time at each pen, there was no “right or wrong” way to walk around and the kids were free to run around as there is only one way in or out of the farm. It’s not a huge place to walk around either, you could be done in half an hour to 45 minutes at a leisurely stroll. (But where’s the fun in that? Make the most of it and befriend all the animals!)
Once we’d had a walk around and fed the animals, we washed our hands and decided to go and grab some lunch. I didn’t check what was about for us to buy for lunch, but Martin had clocked a cafe on the way in so we headed there to get some food.
There wasn’t a massive variety of food here in my opinion. From what I could suss out, they had sandwiches, and a hot plate with sausage rolls, jacket potatoes either the choice of beans/cheese/tuna for toppings, or steak/cheese & onion pasties. To be honest we were all pretty hungry and went for the first thing we could see!
I decided on a jacket potato with cheese and beans, Lily opted for a sausage roll and martin chose a steak pasty. All this with a large latte and two cans of fizzy came to £18. (It wasn’t until later I discovered they have another proper restaurant further in!)
After lunch we took a wander to the other side where an amusement/fun fair area was. We didn’t spend a lot of time around here as we wanted to get back to the farm for chick and guinea pig cuddling!
The fun fair area was free to walk around, and to play or go on anything required you to have a fun fair pass with prepaid credits on.
But for those who don’t want to over do it with the spending, next to the fun fair is a free park with swings in!
Back in the Junior Farm, they have an indoor soft play area (which again, we didn’t get around to exploring!) but it looked pretty fun – and a good place for the kids to keep entertained if you were waiting for another animal activity to begin.
We went into the Small Animal Centre, where the guinea pigs and chicks were kept and took up a hay barrel. We decided to get in there earlier than the stated time to make sure we had a seat (and to see the animals beforehand!) it was good thinking on our part as the room filled up pretty quickly after we sat down!
Martin took William out for another wander around the farm as he was getting agitated and irritable (nap time was approaching!) so Lily and I stayed and held the guinea pigs and chicks instead! The animal handler also said that the animals were currently unnamed, so all the children delighted in the prospect of being able to name “their” animal!
Lily named her chick “fluffy” and her guinea pig “gingey” (we’ve been watching Shrek a lot, I think she copied the name of the gingerbread man!) and at the end they brought out a big black and white rabbit named Leo and the children were able to stroke him and get a sticker for holding the animals!
We washed our hands again and met up with martin and William, where we then headed over to the ponies as the next activity was pony grooming! (You aren’t allowed to participate in this activity if you have open toe shoes on.) With two ponies, they allowed 4 children in at a time to groom them, so whilst we waited, there was a convenient coin-operated bus ride for younger children to play on. This kept William highly entertained for the whole duration of Lily waiting to go in and actually grooming the ponies! The only way to get him off was to entice him with getting in a “real car.”
By this point it was about 2.30pm, and we’d decided that we’d done enough there for one day. Now we know what else is available there, we will plan our trip a bit better and allocate money/time for activities and the fun fair!
Whilst we were in Wroxham, we took the opportunity to pop in and say hello to my grandparents who live on the Broads. As a child, my Nana used to take my sister and I to Wroxham Barns every time we stayed over in the holidays – it was almost tradition! She was thrilled to hear that I’d taken my little ones there too to keep the tradition alive, and we were able to discuss how it’s changed/stayed the same since 16 years ago! We stayed for a cuppa and a slice of Swiss roll and then headed home.
Martin decided he wanted to take a different route home than the way we usually go…He wanted a ‘scenic route’ – so we drove via the Norfolk coast, through past Cromer and Sheringham and stopping off at Hunstanton to end the day with some delightful fish and chips!
*this post is entirely my own content, views and opinions. I was not paid or offered anything to review Wroxham Barns, it is purely my thoughts*