** “One of Northamptonshire’s premier family days’ out” **
My first visit to West Lodge was just over a year ago, and I was so impressed with it, I became an annual membership holder before my next trip. I have since visited many times, and my children (aged 3 and 2) really enjoy going back time and time again.
A little background on the farm: The Dee Family have been at the farm for over 50 years, spanning a total of three generations. Today, the farm is run by Farmers’ Tony, Ed, Mo and Ryan. Set in 540 acres of beautiful Northamptonshire countryside, there is more than plenty to explore!
This Saturday (14th October), we arrived at the farm at 9.25am (keen beans as it opens at 9.30am!) for the opening of the NEW ADVENTURE PLAY BARN. I have been eagerly following the progress on both Instagram and Facebook for the past few months, and boy, it did not disappoint. My two were off straight away exploring everything, and I’m not ashamed to say I happily joined them as well! The centre of the play barn is a beautiful tree sculpture and everything joins to this point, its the heart of the barn. It is clear that, A LOT of time, thought and heart has gone into the building of the adventure play barn, as it absolutely beautiful; the murals all over the walls are like being outside, but inside, everything is made of wood, and beautifully crafted, and it seamlessly joins with the feel of the rest of the farm. All the equipment has been designed with both children and adults in mind as it is all capable of sustaining a grown adult, this really does put your mind at rest knowing it is safe to guide your children through. An extra bonus of the barn is the newly fitted cafe offering a variety of packed sandwiches, delicious cakes, and hot and cold drinks.
And if the adventure barn isn’t enough, there is PLENTY more to see and do at the farm. I’ve visited quite a few farms with my children, and West Lodge has the best ‘petting area’ I’ve come across. The guinea pigs and rabbits are wonderfully tame, and the staff are both knowledgeable and friendly. Animal feed for the goats and other animals is available in the reception area for 30p a bag. My son is a big fan of feeding the goats, my daughter is slowly coming round to the idea, but enjoys watching her big brother do it. And if feeding goats and petting small animals isn’t enough, there is always an opportunity to feed cade goats and lambs in the Spring as well as shearing in the Summer.
Another treat is the outdoor play area, or the ‘castle’ as we like to refer to it. There is a sand-pit, pedal tractors, a castle, climbing frame, and swings. We can easily spend more than hour pottering around the various apparatus on the play area. The play area is well equipped with a number of picnic tables (as well as many others elsewhere on the farm), perfect for a sunny day picnic. Although, if al fresco dining isn’t your thing, there is a fantastic restaurant on site with hot and cold food, delicious cakes and plenty of drinks. After your play, and lunch, you can have a ride on the ‘barrel ride’, this is a free tractor ride around the play area, it is always popular, so beware, you may have to wait your turn.
If all this isn’t enough to tempt you to visit West Lodge, do look at the their website as there is always a fantastic themed day in the pipeline! October is always Halloween themed with spooky tractor rides, witches houses and pumpkin carving. November sees the big bonfire party. December is Santa’s grotto, Christmas card making and the Christmas experience. Spring sees lambing, lamb feeding, the Easter bunny and egg hunts. This list is just a snapshot of the many things the farm has to offer throughout the year.
Still not worn out? There are plenty of tracks and trails around the farm taking in lots of animals on route, including pigs, sheep, cattle, horses (you can ride a pony for an extra charge), chickens, peacocks, ducks and more I have no doubt forgot to mention!
Overall, I would definitely recommend a visit to West lodge Rural Centre, they really have nailed a family day out come rain or shine. Make sure you book your tickets online to avoid disappointment!
Admission prices (on the day):
Adult – £7.45, Child – £7.45, under 2 – FREE.
Disclaimer: I have carried out this review independently, all thoughts and opinions are my own.