Willows Activity Farm Potato Shindig

On one of the last sunny weekends, we packed up the girls and headed for Willows Activity Farm. It was a new adventure for us. Willows had kindly invited us along to experience their Potato Shindig which took place over September.

Willows Activity Farm is situated in St Albans, Hertfordshire. It is literally just off of the North of the M25 and took us just over an hour to get there. Not long at all even though the kids were constantly saying “are we there yet?”.

We arrived just before opening time which was 10am. There was a little bit of a queue forming. Hubby took the girls into the gift shop as there’s a toilet in there ahead of our day out.

Entrance to Willows Activity Farm at the weekend costs £16.50 for an adult and £17.50 for a child when you book online advanced tickets or around £20 for on the day tickets.

We picked up a map of the farm and bought two bags of animal feed. They were £1 for two bags. It was a decent sized animal feed bag too which is always nice.

As you can see from the map, Willows Activity Farm is a really good size. The different attractions are labelled and correspond to the timetable for the day. We found this really helpful when navigating and planning our day.

The girls could not resist the Bouncy Haystacks. They have little shoe racks provided and staff supervising. It was obviously still very early in the day so it wasn’t busy. I loved seeing the girls smiling faces.

Eva spotted the Country Funfair rides. Of course our little thrill seeker wanted to have a go. She ended up having two rides before we headed to catch Tristan the Runaway Tractor.

Tristan the Runaway Tractor was nothing like what I expected. It played fun children’s songs as it took a loop around a field with sheep and cows. The girls were really excited to see a couple of baby cows chilling out in the shade.

I had a rough idea of the things that I wanted to experience from the schedule so next on our list was the Milking Demonstration. Although I love the girls to be having fun, I also like them to learn some things too so this seemed like the perfect thing to see.

The lady leading the demonstration with Milkshake the cow, was really engaging. She got the audience involved and I even learned some new things about cows and the milking process.

After the milking demonstration, we headed to watch our first character show. It was Benjamin Bunny. This is a cute little show that gets the kids and adults dancing. The show lasted about fifteen minutes.

After the show we took a little loop around the animal race track to see the reindeer. Eva loved that one of them only had one antler making him a reindeer-corn in her eyes. We also stumbled across some hungry cows and goats. I love the cute “feed me” boards that surround the tube. This is a more hygienic way to feed the farm animals.

The Sheep Race was just about to kick start when we wandered past. We spotted them getting the sheep ready with their different coloured coats. We positioned ourselves near the finish line.

We didn’t realise at the time but there was a chance to place a bet on which sheep would win the race. The girls had little bets between them, all picking their favourite colours and then we waited for the race to begin.

The race was really uplifting and I always find all the cheering so much fun.

I didn’t know what to expect with the Peter Rabbit Adventure Playground but was completely blown away. It’s a super cute playground with so much going on.

Obviously, it is Peter Rabbit themed. There’s a section with a wooden treehouse and climbing frame. Eva spent a lot of time in this area as there’s a little obstacle bit and a log to explore.

Mrs Tiggy-Winkle’s Kitchen is so good, it’s the perfect little burrow with fun games inside and a kitchen to ignite the imaginations. I then spotted Mr McGregor’s Garden.

Honestly, if you visit Willow Farm you will not be disappointed in this area. The video I filmed from our day out has more of a tour for you to see. It’s just amazing. 

I originally thought that the JCB Young Drivers Zone would be a paid for area. But it’s not, it’s all included in your entrance price. The Drivers Zone is located near the entrance in a huge barn. There are so many little ride on tractors to choose from.

Elsa especially loved this area and I couldn’t persuade her out of there for a long time. There’s seating inside for grown ups too and it’s a lovely sheltered area if it was to rain.

Although we did bring a lunch pack of snack foods, we decided to try out the Peter Rabbit Burrow Cafe. Hubby went and ordered our food whilst the girls played in the JCB barn.

Staff were friendly and attentive. The cafe was clean and food was quickly served. Hubby bought two adult meals with drinks which came to £13. Hubby is very frugal when it comes to money and he was suitably impressed by the price of the food in the cafe.

After finishing our food, the girls took many many turns on the carousel that is outside the JCB area. They loved it! All the fun fair rides are included in admission so we didn’t need any extra cash and they were able to take as many turns as they wanted.

I did pop into the Arts and Crafts barn to see if it was worth a little visit. By this point in our day, I was worried we wouldn’t fit everything in. The barn has a little station full of crafting materials and there’s plenty of table benches to craft on. I made the decision to avoid the craft barn. 

The whole reason we had been invited to the farm was to experience the Potato Shindig. An event taking place over September. They host lots of different themed and seasonal events throughout the year, the Pumpkin Festival is currently underway. There’s also a low-bang firework display and a Santa Spectacular before the end of the year too.

We headed up to the Potato Patch which is over the other side of the farm. They gave us a brief overview of what to do, gave us a big fork for the grown up and three little spades for the kids, and a bucket to collect the potatoes then pointed us towards the potato patch.

I love that it is true digging for potatoes. They haven’t just bought them and spread them across a field which I know another farm does. This is properly grown potatoes in a potato patch. The girls love this kind of thing, getting green fingered. They were so excited.

We found a whole bucket of different sized potatoes and took them back to the entrance of the Potato Shindig. The staff then put our potatoes in a bag for us to take home. This experience is all part of the entrance fee and was so sweet. We have since enjoyed delicious roast potatoes, mash and jacket potatoes from that harvest!

Hubby and Eva had their eyes on the Woodland Play Trail. It’s an obstacle course that goes around The Big Dig. Eva always enjoys a challenge like this so she whizzed off in front, whilst the rest of us battled through the obstacles at a more steady pace.

We then made our way into the Big Dig which is a giant sandpit with tractors to climb, play equipment to explore and adorable huts too. This was a really good time for Hubby and I to sit down for a bit and watch the girls play. Freya actually had a little bit of a tantrum at this point so spent most of it sitting looking rather grumpy.

One thing I really loved about Willows Activity Farm is all of the thought and detail put into everything. Especially the Peter Rabbit themed areas. Mr Tod’s Lair was great fun for both adults and children. It had secret areas to explore with an upstairs, downstairs and a cooking pot to hide inside.

It’s a good time to mention the incredible enthusiasm of every member of staff, but particularly a lady called Mary. Every single encounter we had with her was so bubbly and friendly. She was honestly brilliant with the children and it’s people like her that made our visit so much more enjoyable than it already was. I did mention this to the customer services area so I hope she knows how thankful we are.

I had badgered Hubby to head to the Farmyard barn. We wasn’t sure what would be inside but I assumed farmyard animals. I was obviously right and I’m so glad we went in.

We got to see the newborn donkey, the girls cuddled guinea-pigs and Freya got her fix of seeing pigs (one of her favourite animals). It’s a lovely barn with plenty of space and all of the animals are in clean, spacious enclosures.

When the girls were riding the carousel a hundred times, I did pop into Mrs Rabbit’s Kitchen and Soft Play area to have a peak. It looked so good so I made a note to make sure we spent some time in there.

The girls were really excited. It’s a large indoor soft play area with a cafe/seating area. We instantly lost the girls to the soft play. There are also drop slides too but you have to have long sleeves and trousers to use them. Thankfully I knew that, so Eva was able to satisfy her need for a thrill.

A bit weird for me to mention, but I feel it’s necessary. The toilet facilities in Willows Activity Farm are really clean. We visited at the weekend so it was busier than a normal day and even right before closing the toilets were spotless. I was really impressed actually. Other farms or day out attractions we’ve visited before have always been clean on opening, but deteriorate by the end of the day.

Having clean toilets is quite important to us as my youngest daughter has anxiety about going to the toilet so this meant we had a stress free day. Yup, I know, we are weird!

Of course we couldn’t come to a Peter Rabbit themed farm without meeting the bunny himself. I queued for fifteen minutes ahead of the time for meeting. Advice, queue early for the meet and greets because it gets busy. Somehow we managed to persuade all three children into a photo with Peter and Mrs Rabbit. I literally love that family photo!

We then had some time to play in the outdoor play areas before we headed up to the gift shop. The girls had decided they wanted to spend some pocket money in there. We agreed a set amount and let them loose. It’s actually decently priced in the gift shop.

We then headed home with three exhausted girls. We had such an incredible day out at Willows Activity Farm and I’m even daring to say it was one of my favourite places to visit.

We didn’t manage to quite do everything. There was a little area near the entrance that we accidentally completely missed – Cotton Tail Village. So we have to return obviously!

I hope you enjoyed reading and will take a visit yourself to Willows. Please don’t forget to watch my video as it will probably give you a more immersive experience of our day.

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

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