Days Out: Washbrook Farm, Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex
Last week, I took T to Washbrook Farm in Hurstpierpoint. It’s a new one for us as I only recently found out about it and seeing we seem to have a strange addiction to farms I decided to give it a visit.
It’s not the cheapest of farms I must admit, although T is still free as he’s under 3. Once he turns 3 though he is £6.50 and an adult is £7.50. When we went it only cost me £7.50 but if me and Sharon were to go it would cost us a hefty £15 for the day. Unless this is the going rate now (which means I’ve been incredibly lucky as most farms cost me £5), I found this to be a little steep. That being said, I soon found that the facilities such as toilets and picnic areas were decent, as well as the play equipment.
Anyway, located just down the road, about a 20 minute drive from Brighton via the A23, Washbrook Farm is your typical farm with various play areas, farm animals (duh!) and a cafe. There’s also a soft play on site with a ‘Barn Yard’ attached which is home to tons of ride on tractors and pedal toys.
We visited on quite a chilly day, which was actually a bonus as it was really quiet! We almost had the farm to ourselves at one point. When we arrived, we put on our wellies, hats and raincoats, and began our tour!
Starting at the cafe, we negotiated around the huge selection of cake but not before peeking at the menu. I was really pleased with the amount of available; which included several healthy options – I’ll definitely be popping back here another time! There was also ample seating.
Leaving the cafe, we had the option to head to the barn yard or onto the farm. Of course, T went straight for the Barn Yard, so I let him have a few minutes before bribing him to go see some animals. Once out and about we followed the path to another play area. This area was the toddler play area; which housed a few knackered play houses and trampolines, but to be honest – I don’t think toddlers really care!
In the same area were also two giant bouncy pillows that T absolutely fell in love with and probably spent the majority of his time here. Having the pillow all to himself meant that he could run up and down freely and throw himself off at all angles. He had a blast. Later on, he was then joined by a few children the same age and one a lot older, but they all ended up having fun bouncing into each other. I love watching him play with other children.
When we eventually left one play area, we were greeted by another! Now, don’t get me wrong, I love variety when it comes to attractions, but when you visit a farm you kinda want to see some animals eventually. The only animals we’d seen so far were some ducks. Thankfully, whilst T was playing in the next play area I saw that there were indeed animals and they were located at the back of the farm in their own separate area.
I think I would have liked to have had to play areas broken up a little or dotted around the farm – I came to see a farm, after all. But nevertheless, they were really fun areas to play in and the main play area that was surrounded by a giant sand pit had lots of good quality play equipment and climbing frames, and had a huge array of buckets and spades to use – hopefully resulting in minimal tears! There was even a giant boat to climb on and other smaller trampolines for singular bouncing.
Once we arrived at the farm area, we noticed that the animals were located in what I can only describe as a 360 degree barn. As you entered the barn, you’re taken down this open corridor with chickens and ducks on the left and rabbits and guinea pugs on your right. There aren’t any gates or fences, but instead glass panels so you have an obstructed view of the animals. I really liked this feature as it meant everyone was kept at bay and there wasn’t any risk of getting fingers nipped. It looked really modern.
Walking on, we then came to the main circular area that was surrounded by various enclosures containing cows, pigs, sheep, goats, donkeys, and horses (all in their own separate enclosures). It kinda reminded me of a big top from the circus. Again, with separating glass. I could see that the animals had access doors for them to go outside if they wanted to – but it was still rather chilly!
This was a really lovely area and I wish there were more of them to be honest. T loved looking through the glass and it meant I didn’t have to negotiate with him whilst he climbed the railings! It also felt like the animals were a lot calmer as there was a definitive barrier between us and them. I think the only issue would probably be later on in the summer when there are lots of people to contend with. I can imagine it gets rather crowded, and being an area with only one way in (as opposed to a long barn with two entrances) it may get a little cramped.
On our way out, we spotted a tractor with trailer and found out that the tractor ride would be happening at 2pm which is one of two rides they offer daily. With this, we decided to have some lunch and another play. Washbrook Farm had an impressive amount of places to eat lunch – some of which were under cover or indoors!
After lunch the weather perked up so we took a little walk around the outside enclosures to kill some time before the tractor ride. Here we saw more sheep, some turkeys and ducks and alpacas. Not content with the farm’s lack of railings, T found some gates to play with and promptly forgot about all the lovely alpacas that were waiting to say Hi. What is it with toddlers and shutting gates!?
Once we got back to the main farm, it was ready for the tractor ride. This was 50p an adult and took us on a short journey around the farm. This was really pleasant, although most of the animals were inside so we didn’t see much. T, however, was quite happy just watching the tractor chug away.
After the tractor ride, we had our last few bounces on the pillows before making our way to the cafe to grab a coffee and baby chino. We took this away with us and decided to explore the softplay area. After necking his drink, T was off.
The converted barn was surprisingly large with half of the play area in the roof! On the ground floor you had three main play areas. One smaller soft play for younger children – which was this amazing castle with slides and ball pits and lots of tunnels to explore. There was a second play area that contained a smaller ball pit and two air canons to fire said balls.
But the main play area was decorated in tree-house style. This section had 4 tube slides that went off in different directions, with some leading to other ball pits. To get to the slides you had to climb a spiral stair case that made you feel like you were a lost boy or something! This is where T spent a lot of time – shouting from above, asking me to come up. I was far too busy looking after all the bags (and my coffee) so I let him explore by himself.
Not for Adults
I did eventually drag myself up the stairs and down the slide – but after the fourth time of bashing my head against the side of the slide I decided to call it a day and retreat back to the comfy sofas dotted around. T was very happy running around and I often found him just having a lay down in the ball pit.
After a good half hour, we finished our visit with another play on the ride on vehicles and pedal toys. I really liked this area as there was a ton of of ‘Red Flyer’ scooters and three wheelers. It was at this point that I realised T needs a three-wheeler. He was having so much fun riding around, and at one point got some serious speed going. After another 20 or so minutes though we then made our way home – much to T’s displeasure.
Looking at the facilities available and taking the cost of Washbrook Farm into consideration, I definitely think I’d come again. The majority of the equipment was good quality and I was impressed with the variety available. Looking at how much T enjoyed himself too was also totally worth it. He certainly has a good few years left in him to enjoy the farm. I probably would like to see more animals, but perhaps the experience will the different in the summer. Plus, I need to try one of their lunches!