You know when a bank holiday comes around and you’re full of optimism that this will be the one when there is a freak heat wave and you can haul your brood to the beach and then the actual day brings intermittent showers and cold sunshine and then you all sit down and think of an alternative plan?
Exactly what happened to us this Bank Holiday Monday.
It sounded fantastic but after some bad experiences in the past we ventured there with the expectation it might not live up to its very lovely website and the promise of unlimited fun for all the family.
So many times we have headed places ready for a day out and arrived to find its a set up in someones backyard that takes 20 minutes to navigate round, makeshift gift shop included.
We could not have been more pleasantly surprised.
I actually don’t know where to start and we didn’t get round everything we wanted as closing time rolled around so we will have to go back. We got there around 11:30 and had to leave at 5:30 when they closed up (They may have actually closed at 5PM, there was a distinct lack of other families after that time, we tend to loiter)
The stand out point for me was the space, so much room. The kids where never in the way and it didn’t feel crowded at all, most importantly the animals had so much room. I have been to farms in the past and the animals are crammed into tiny holding pens for people to peer into and they just don’t look happy, the animals at park hall had masses of room out in the fields. Except of course the sheep waiting to have lambs and the tiny babies in the sheds.
The girls held rabbits, groomed a pony, fed lambs and baby goats (was just going to write ‘kids’ but sounds odd!). They met an absolutely gigantic horse that I was a bit worried could swallow them whole if he was that way inclined. There was an actual talking parrot (would only talk for me, my nurturing aura I think) The pigs where just gorgeous, when I saw pig racing on the timetable I was a bit weary as I have heard some tales of the cruelty that can be involved but you have to see it to believe it, these pigs loved to run! You could see the joy in them as they galloped along the field and my gosh they are so clever!
Aside from the farm there is masses to do at Park Hall. There is a soft play area for both toddlers and older kids alongside an outdoor-but-covered wooden climbing frame, another indoor soft play area for under 3’s and bouncy castle. There was a separate bouncy castle and play area for over 6’s which we didn’t venture into. Terrifyingly there was a sheer drop slide that gave me chills, Cherry must have gone on it 20 times, little dare devil. The girls loved the tractor ride around the farm and we could take the pushchair on which was handy as by that point Jasper was asleep. There was another little land train journey that we just didn’t have the time for but that looked super fun for the kids. We spent some time on the wooden assault course and there was another playground further out that we also didn’t get chance to go to.
I’m trying not to miss anything but I think that is inevitable if I don’t want to go on forever!
There was a really interesting science area with lots to see and do and also a computer area that I didn’t have time to look at. Exciting for me was the victorian school, the iron age roundhouse and the trenches. I love all of that!
As it was Easter they had an Easter egg hunt and the girls got a chocolate egg. They had to pay 70p each (bargain!) to take part but aside from that absolutely everything else was included in the ticket price. No extra costs for rides or soft play, this really impressed me.
A gorgeous touch was the little village of play houses. The girls would have spent hours playing there I think. Sam and I enjoyed a sit down and 5 minutes peace while they where totally enthralled in their games. I might get something similar in the garden! I wish.
As I say some things we just didn’t get round to including the landrovers, the karts and the huge space hopper field.
There is a tea room selling drinks and meals but we didn’t use this as we took a picnic, there are lots and lots of places to sit and have a picnic, indoors and outdoors.
I am so glad we found this gem and we are all really looking forward to going back soon, it will be gorgeous in the summer.