With the girls away at the weekend with their grandparents, Friday was our last day of the half term so we decided to head to the Rare Breeds Centre in Ashford. The centre is owned and run by a charity called Canterbury Oast Trust. This charity supports adults with learning disabilities. At the Rare Breeds Centre they offer adults with learning difficulties the chance to learn life skills like animal care and horticulture.
We were greeted by a friendly member of staff who opened the side gate for our double pushchair. As you enter you are near the Children’s Barn which houses so many farm animals and pets that the kids can get really close to. They had a selection of animals (ducks, Guinea pigs and rabbits) sitting on bales of hay which you could stroke. I loved this touch and I’ve never seen anything like it before. The girls were thrilled to be able to touch a duck! They were even able to get into the pig pen and stroke the piglets, one took a liking to hubby’s shoe. All the animal enclosures were so clean and fresh.
We explored the lower part of the Rare Breeds Centre, all the different birds of prey, creepy insects and lizards, plus a beautiful butterfly tunnel and gardens. We then headed to the Granary Restaurant for some food. I’d packed a lunch for the girls but hubby ordered some grub from the restaurant. It was slightly over priced but absolutely delicious all the same. Sausage, chips and beans always remind me of hospital food when I had the girls but in a good way. There’s a good selection of food on the menu and a really cute sandpit for the kids to play in on a nice day.
Wherever you turn there is something to explore at the Rare Breeds Centre and when you explore further up, past the animals there’s lots of hands on activities. We waited for the tractor ride after lunch which takes you past country fields and play areas. The tractor driver was so friendly and helped the girls onto the trailer. On the way down, he made the tractor go really fast and the girls loved it. We walked back up to the outdoor play areas starting with the Mysterious Marsh
The Mysterious Marsh was so much fun. After a quick nappy change for P3 we all tackled the obstacle course as a family. It was a super long obstacle course that just kept going but it was manageable for all of us. We had so many laughs which was really nice and it made it even better that we were doing it as a family. The Mysterious Marsh had been really well thought out hidden away in a wooded area.
After finishing the Mysterious Marsh we headed to the two separate outdoor play areas. One had a tube tunnel maze for the kids and me, being pint sized, had the pleasure of crawling through with them. There was a tall castle forte to explore too. We sat down for a little bit more to eat from our packed lunch and we managed to persuade P1 to let Hubby pull her tooth out that had started to go black where it was hanging by a thread.
The girls were starting to get a bit tired and emotional by this point. We’d been at the Rare Breeds Centre all day. We decided to watch the pig race and then head home. I’d never been to a pig race before, the little pigs seem to be really enjoying themselves and the staff got the children involved too. It was very exciting.
It’s very rare that I find a place so perfect that I can’t wait to return. Our day out at the Rare Breeds Centre was so fun packed and I loved that they could get so close to the animals too. I really love seeing my girls faces light up and we will definitely be heading back as it is so local. Admission costs £35 for a family ticket and under 3s are free! Amazing value and goes towards a really important charity.
Here’s a video of our day: