Days Out: Godstone Farm, Surrey (Review) [AD – Press Trip]
Last weekend, we were invited to visit Godstone Farm in Surrey. Although we’ve never been before as a family, Sharon remembers going some *cough* thirty years ago when she was little. Until Sharon had told me about the farm, I’d never heard of it – which is surprising considering we love a good farm and are always willing to travel to visit one.
Godstone Farm is only an hour away from Brighton via the M25 and is set amongst the Surrey Hills. We were really lucky with the weather during our visit, it meant that we were able to capture some of the gorgeous views the hills had to offer as well as experience the farm at it’s best.
When Sharon came here many moons ago, all she remembers is the farm having your typical large barns with animals in them and possibly a pick your own, but when she arrived many moons later it was easy to see that she was surprised at the changes that had taken place over the past 30 years. She knew it would be different – but not this different.
The car park is now a lot bigger (and more organised, apparently) with a generous disabled parking area, and there’s plenty of room for people to buy tickets – with several kiosks available.
Once we got our tickets, we were advised about the best route to take. Looking at the map, we saw that the main farm tour started at the bottom of the hill, and most of the larger play areas were back at the top right near the car park. This is perfectly laid out for us as we always like to leave the play areas until the end of the day – otherwise T would never want to leave (and certainly not with the ones that were on offer here!). That being said, there are also a few smaller play spots dotted around the farm to break up the day, as well as a large soft play arena.
When we arrived at the main part of the farm, with the gift shop as the main ‘hub’, we were surrounded by a variety of different routes to take. In one direction was the main barn and petting area, in the other direction were the smaller animals and the aviaries, as well as the tea rooms and ice cream hut, a variety of party rooms, and the stables.
We decided to start our tour with the main barn and petting area.
I’ve mentioned before how I LOVE it when farms and zoo’s think of new ways to ‘display’ the animals, and Godstone Farm is no different. As opposed to having one large barn where everyone is crammed in one central space at eye level with the animals, Godstone Farm set their animals at a distance, and one half of the barn is at lower level from guests so you actually look down onto the animals.
Although this doesn’t stop the goats having a good eyeball, I feel that this gives the animals their own space. Plus, it means T is less likely to lose a finger to a hungry llama. Speaking of wild beasts, after we finished touring the barn we then went onto the petting area were T was given the opportunity to pet a rabbit and stroke chicks.
After the cuteness overload, we carried on our tour with a trip round the outside enclosures. Here is where we saw a large amount of pigs and piglets (this was due to one sow having 14 piglets recently!), a gorgeous variety of chickens, ducks, and geese, as well as horses and donkey’s.
Dotted around the edge of the trail were also several bug hotels and dense areas for wildlife.
Walking around the farm, I didn’t ever feel like we were crammed in. All the animals seem to have lots of room too! Despite it being a Sunday and very busy, T had plenty of space to run ahead of us (although I did notice a slight decline in crowds when England were playing!) as well as see all the animals at his own leisure without being rushed.
The farm has a very pleasant atmosphere.
As we made our way around, we took sight of the hills (we hadn’t even noticed we’d just climbed one!) and came across a pig race that was about to begin at their ‘Hogstacle Course’. After my pig lost spectacularly, we then carried on the circular route towards the Top Barn where there were more pigs, two donkeys (my favourite farm animal) and some ponies.
The route then flowed nicely onto their allotment area (where I convinced myself I could grow several fruits for T’s lunchbox) which surrounded a well placed viewing gallery that looked onto their selection of cows, goats, and sheep.
During the trail there were lots of opportunities to feed the animals with special feed, I forgot to buy feed at the shop, but it was still fun watching others do it. Godstone Farm have clearly spent time making any interactions with the animals fun, interesting and unique. The goat feeder was my particular favourite.
Without even realising we had arrived back at the top of the farm near the car parks, which was perfect timing as we had all started to get a bit hungry. With this, I went back to the car to go get our lunch and Sharon took T to find a good place for a picnic. Another great thing about the farm were the amount of places available to eat. Although we could have sat on the grass to eat, we decided on a picnic bench to contain T, otherwise he would have been off running around or playing on the ride-ons.
If picnics aren’t your thing there is also a gorgeous tea room on site that sell hot meals and sandwiches, as well as various kiosks that sell ice creams, drinks, and small snacks. Although there were plenty open, we saw a few kiosks that were closed, which is reassuring to know if we were to visit again on a busier day.
There’s also a cafe within the soft play area.
I was really impressed with how many places there were to grab a bite to eat (and sit down). Usually, there’s only one main cafe and maybe an ice cream stand, but they’re often closed or way too busy, and the locations aren’t always situated with walking distance in mind. Everything seems to be really well placed here.
Whilst we were waiting for the next tractor ride to start, we let T explore the play barn (aka Soft Play!). When we arrived we were given a soft bucket for our shoes which I think was a GENIUS idea rather than seeing shoes and outer clothing strewn across the floor. We then released T who promptly went to explore the toddler area (!). With a little encouragement from Mummy, we then made our way into the soft play which is probably one of the biggest I’ve seen outside of an official Soft Play arena.
The whole arena wrapped around one half of the room, with another quarter dedicated to the on-site cafe. There were several slides – including a vertical drop slide – and lots of places to hide or run around. Despite this area being particularly busy with people taking shade, I didn’t feel like it was too busy for T who is often quite nervous about going in. It was also pleasantly clean and tidy with lots of staff on hand.
Our 30 minute wait suddenly flew by, which meant it was time for the tractor ride! Now, I don’t know about you, but I am always a bit hit and miss with tractor rides. They vary so much in price (usually a little pricey for what you get) and more often than not the tour doesn’t really show you anything ‘new’. For £1.20 (each) we got a tour of the outdoor animals and then a trip around the dino park. It was about 10-15 minutes long.
T always has a good time on tractor rides so it’s no good asking him if he enjoyed it, but for me I was a little disappointed. The trailor was quite small with everyone crammed in, and we had pretty much walked most of the route anyway so not really seeing anything new – I probably would have liked to have gone somewhere that your feet can’t take you or for it to last a bit longer. Nevertheless, it meant we were able to plan what to do next!
Moving on from the tractor rides, we then made our way around the smaller animals section where we saw ferrets, chipmunks, degus, and guinea pigs, as well as the aviaries and stables. All the small animal enclosures have been cleverly designed, which made them even more interesting to look at, with lots of room for the guests as well!
After resisting the urge to research ferrets as pets, we then started the conclusion of our tour of the farm with a visit to the reptile house (which I did not expect) and the Dino Trail. The walk takes you round a large pond and teaches you about various dinosaurs – there’s also the option to dig for bones and take part in a roaring contest with a T-Rex. The trail is a little random I must admit, but we found the most amazing flock of ducks who
harassed charmed us throughout our walk.
When we asked T whether he would like to go play for ‘a bit’ we already knew the answer, even before to caught sight of the enormous play area in all its glory.
The space dedicated to play is absolutely incredible at Godstone Farm, and if I lived closer I would have no issues becoming an annual pass holder just to pop in and let T play here for a few hours. As well as two large sandpits with accompanying accessories, there’s a variety of swings and slides, two large climbing tree houses (although one was being refurbished at the time), a zip wire, a mini-maze, and a sledging slope.
This was then surrounded by a vast amount of greenery for picnics or a kick around. As expected, there were also several benches (some of which were covered by canopies) and a well stocked kiosk for ice cream and drinks. This was perfectly timed and well placed as we were most definitely ready for ice cream, but we didn’t like the idea of having to go back down the hill to go get one!
We were very kindly given ice cream vouchers for the day, but we would have happily paid the £1.80 for the waffle cone ice creams. Staff were really generous with scoops and there was plenty of choice to choose from. T scoffed his at the speed of light and was off again playing no time. He’s never been one to run off without some form of company, but today he had no issues. Although I had to give him a hand when it came to sledging (not that I minded!).
I would absolutely recommend paying Godstone Farm a visit, it is well worth the drive if you’re not local. Tickets in my opinion are reasonably priced as there is so much to see and do, we don’t even think we did it all! The farm is very clean and tidy, with washing stations dotted around everywhere, and I am still impressed with the amount of places there are to eat and sit down. Staff were also incredibly helpful and friendly.
As always, we spent the majority of the day here. Arriving at around 11am and leaving after 4pm but only because we had to drive back to Brighton. We easily could have stayed longer, and if we’d left it to T we probably would have!
We were invited to Godstone Farm free of charge for an honest review, however all thoughts, opinions and images are our own.