Godstone Farm in Surrey is a great place for a family day out, and one of the closest children’s activity farms (apart from city farms) to London, so it is popular with families with children of all ages. It offers a chance to see, learn about and feed farm animals, from goats and sheep to rabbits and alpacas, take part in small animal handling encounters, play in the soft play barn – and see the dinosaurs!
What is there to do at Godstone Farm?
There’s a path that goes around the farm which isn’t very far to walk at all, taking you past goats, pigs, donkeys, chickens, rabbits and more. You can feed the animals and many have a pulley system where you put the food in at one end, wind the handle which carries the food up to the animals and releases it onto a platform, which my daughter really enjoyed. There are steps to climb up to get a better view of the animals, a barn you can walk through and look down on animals below and enough different ways that the animals enclosures are arranged to keep it interesting.
In the centre is an animal handling room and what I liked about this is that there aren’t designated times that are easy to miss; instead you can go in at any time and see rabbits, Guinea pigs etc in open trays at child friendly levels, plus tortoises, stick insects, mice and more in enclosures that you can’t touch. And every time I have been in there have been two members of staff sitting on benches with animals on their laps like a rabbit, where children (and adults!) can line up to wait their turn to then sit next to the staff member and be given the animal to hold on their lap. It’s really nice for children to get a chance to have that sort of one on one experience and I enjoyed it too.
At times when we have visited there has been a tractor giving rides around the farm but it doesn’t always seem to have been in operation. But one highlight the kids is the play barn – a soft play centre of pretty decent size with three levels and lots of bits to climb up and down while you run around and go down slides. There’s a soft play area for smaller children adjacent – there used to be a separate play barn for young kids but that isn’t in use any more and the two are combined.
There is a large cafe area inside the soft play as well, and while the cafe only serves drinks and snacks it’s a good opportunity for parents to take a break! Apparently at busy times they can operate a waiting system for entry but we’ve never had to wait and have been able to spend as long as we want inside the barn. My one piece of advice for parents is to keep an eye on the exit from the soft play – children can come out to go into the café area and as it’s quite a big area and usually busy, they might come out and not be able to find their parents. The entrance to the soft play barn is staffed but there is another door leading outside by the café counter, that is left open for ventilation, and there would be nothing to stop a child from wandering outside if they were looking for their parents.
Speaking of food there is another onsite restaurant serving more substantial meals as well as sandwiches and children’s picnic boxes, with a good menu of children’s hot meal deals at £5.95 and a fairly large seating area. If it’s nice of course you can take a picnic and eat outside; there’s also a separate snack shed.
We’ve never actually been to the outdoor adventure playground at the top of the farm; the first few times we went our daughter was probably too young and the last time we completely missed it -as you can’t actually see it when you are walking around the farm, and it’s back up towards the main entrance accessed through a field and by the time we were heading back up to the top of the farm we were tired and on our way home. Maybe next time…
The dinosaurs at Godstone Farm
And of course one of the things that makes Godstone Farm stand out is also something pretty incongruous – dinosaurs! The farm used to have a trail around the pond at the bottom of the site, where you could see large dinosaur statues in realistic colours; a couple of them were next to a hidden speaker that made a sound and the first time we went our daughter was really excited to see them as she was going through a big dinosaur phase.
But in the last couple of years the dinosaurs have changed and they are now brightly coloured and slightly cartoonish in style. They have a new location at the top of the farm with a little path winding through a wooded area that is fun to follow; the dinosaurs aren’t anywhere near as realistic and to me that is a shame but I think children probably prefer the new ones! The Godstone Farm website explains that these are from The World of Dinosaur Roar, a series of books by Paul and Henrietta Stickland that I’m not familiar with, written in conjunction with the Natural History Museum. The books are all sold in the farm gift shop if you are interested!
The old dinosaurs at Godstone Farm:
The new dinosaurs at Godstone Farm:
Is Godstone Farm value for money?
As well as all the activities I’ve described Godstone Farm is great at doing themed events. We have been at Easter and met the Easter bunny and went one New Year’s Eve when our daughter was two – we weren’t about to try to get a babysitter to go out as it would have cost a fortune that night but I didn’t want to just sit around at home doing nothing, so we went to Godstone farm. They had a mid-afternoon New Year’s Eve party with a countdown, party poppers and more, with games and a disco for children!
We have also been to a birthday party at Godstone Farm this year which was really good; the invited child and one adult get free entry to the farm and you can pay for additional adults yourself. You can come at any time so we arrived a few hours before the party so we would have time to enjoy the farm, before going into the party room – a decorated hut with benches where the children were served food, played pass the parcel and then went outside to play on the nearby mini toboggan run.
We have also been at Halloween and to Godstone Farm’s low bangs fireworks event, and since it’s coming up again this year I think it warrants a separate blog post in itself so come back here soon to find out more!