Ever wanted to visit a farm that has funfair rides, farmyard animals, a variety of activities for kids and a day of family fun? Then a trip to Willows Activity Farm is a must! From Peter Rabbit’s Cotton-Tail Village, exciting events, and acres of family adventure, you’ll have plenty of photo opportunities and FUN! We invited Louise to check it out! Read all about their experience here with their Willows Activity Farm review.
About Willows Activity Farm
Conveniently located less than five minutes from junction 22 of the M25, just outside of St Albans in Hertfordshire. There are animals to hold, fairground rides, adventure playgrounds, live shows and meet and greets with Peter Rabbit characters plus loads more! And best of all, everything is included in the entrance fee.
Monday to Sunday
10:00 - 17:30
Adults from £14.50
Kids (2-16) from £15.50
Louise’s Family Day Out
We visited Willows on a cold Sunday at the start of the Easter holidays during their Easter Eggstravaganza special event with our 5-year-old, along with some friends and their 2.5-year-old. The cold and non-stop rain of the previous few days didn’t seem to affect the popularity of the farm, and we arrived not long after opening to a busy car park, but easily found a space in the car park closest to the entrance and waited less than 5 minutes in the queue to get in.
The very welcoming member of staff in the ticket booth scanned our pre-booked ticket barcode from my phone (you can buy tickets at the entrance on the day but it is cheaper to get them in advance online) and handed us a programme of the day’s events along with our tokens for the Easter Egg Hunt. If you want to save on paper waste there’s also a fantastic app where you can find the programme, a map of the farm and set reminders for any of the scheduled events you want to attend. We were also offered bags of animal feed for £1 each but my daughter is still a little wary of feeding animals so we didn’t buy any feed.
Once we were in, with so much to choose from my 5-year-old was off and jumped from one activity to another. So, it’s easier to give a rundown of all the activities available rather than a step-by-step account of our day!
Outdoor Play & Activities
You definitely won’t be low on choices for outdoor play at Willows as there are so many things to play on here.
The very first thing my daughter headed for was the Bouncy Bounce inflatable pillows at the bottom of the farm. There are two large inflatable pillows (one for under 90cm). In a separate area, the farm also has some enclosed trampolines (advised for over 6’s but younger ones were allowed on) as well as two bouncy castles (again, one for older children and one for younger ones). Not forgetting the inflatable slide! Other than the pillows, all the inflatables were well-manned by staff members to make sure they didn’t get too overcrowded. We visited the bouncy castle area again right at the end of the day and my daughter had a whole bouncy castle to herself which she loved!
The Big Dig sand and water play area was a hit with our friend’s 2-year-old who loved climbing on the wooden tractors and digging in the sand with the buckets and spades provided. For more water play there’s also the Puddle Play Park which is a partially shaded water play area with button-controlled fountains and dams to lift to control the water flow. In spite of the cold, and with wellies on, my daughter still got stuck in and loved letting the water collect at all of the dams. We’ll definitely schedule a return visit in the summer to play more here!
Mostly for older children, the huge play area in the middle of the farm has so much to explore. There’s a large play tower (my 5-year-old could only just pull herself up through the rope levels, so smaller children might struggle on their own). A fast-moving zip-wire that swings up pretty high as it hits the end, plus swings for all ages and the Squirrel Nutkin’s squirrel test which had various climbing, balancing and spinning challenges to try.
We also gave the Woodland play trail a go, which is an assault course with two lanes (one with taller obstacles) so two people can race at a time to complete it. My 5 year old made it all the way to the finish (…with a fair amount of help).
There were also a couple of outdoor activities that unfortunately we didn’t experience on this visit. Tristan the Tractor Ride wasn’t running due to extensive flooding in the lower area of the farm. The flooding didn’t impact any other parts of the farm, and signs at the entrance did advise that the tractor wasn’t running before we entered to avoid disappointment.
We were also too cold to try the Gold Stream panning for gold. If your hands can brave the cold water, you can use the pans to scoop the sand from the bottom of the troughs to search for fools’ gold – if you find 15 pieces you can take them to one of the refreshment kiosks to receive a free medal!
Peter Rabbit Play & Shows
The whole of Willow’s farm is themed around the CBeebies version of Peter Rabbit and there are signs and boards everywhere featuring the characters. As well as the main play areas there are also some special Peter Rabbit themed playgrounds including Mr Tod’s Lair which is a two-storey house with a slide leading down into his kitchen. My daughter very quickly exited this area when a recording of Mr Tod’s voice came on and scared her!
The best play area in the whole park has to be the Peter Rabbit Adventure playground where you can sneak around Mr McGregor’s garden, be pushed around in his wheelbarrow and climb around his shed! You can also make dinner and sort the laundry in Mrs Tigglewinkles kitchen and climb around Peter Rabbit’s treehouse where there are all sorts of pulleys and levers to explore. This area also had some musical instruments to play with!
As well as the Peter Rabbit play areas there were also several live shows throughout the day featuring some of the characters. We watched the appropriately named Searching for Spring show where my daughter danced along to several songs with Lily Bobtail – one of the highlights of her day.
You can also meet some of the characters whilst you’re at the farm! However, we advise making sure you get there with plenty of time! As we arrived at the end of the meet Lily Bobtail time slot and without any warning from the accompanying staff member, with just my daughter and another child left in the queue, we were told to wave goodbye to Lily without meeting her. This, understandably, did upset my daughter but thankfully this was all forgotten when we met Peter Rabbit himself later on in the day.
There are three fairground rides around the farm, which you can ride as many times as you like as they’re included in your ticket cost!
At the top of the farm are the Carousel and YoYo rides for a trip on a crocodile or a spin through the air in a yoyo-shaped seat. These are both gentle rides and are well suited to younger children (my 5-year-old enjoyed the YoYo but the carousel was a little too slow for her liking!).
It’s worth noting that adults can’t ride on the YoYo and children have to be taller than 80 cm to ride. At the bottom of the farm, there is also the Pony Parade ride where children sit on individual ponies as they weave around a track. Again, adults must ride with smaller children.
With all the amazing playgrounds, shows and activities at Willows, it was easy to forget that we were on a farm!
It was hard to tear the children away from the playthings to take a look at the animals around the edges of the farm. But we did eventually manage to persuade my daughter to visit the farmyard with the promise of holding a guinea pig…
Inside the farmyard building, there were donkeys, alpacas, cows, goats and pigs – most of which you could feed by putting the food in the trough in front of them. There were also lots of hutches with rabbits and guinea pigs and a small fenced-off area in the middle where you can hold some of the guinea pigs. This was a popular activity and we waited in a small queue to be allowed into the enclosure where the staff member allocated us a bench to sit at before bringing over a very fluffy guinea pig. My daughter loved holding and stroking him although she was a little worried it would wee on her lap!
Other animal-based interactions around the farm included a cow milking demonstration and a ‘sheep show’ where each sheep came on stage to its own theme song. The handers also told us a little about each of the breeds of sheep! This was very popular but wasn’t able to hold the attention of a 2-year-old, so we didn’t stay for the whole thing.
If you’re unlucky with the weather, Willow’s also has a few indoor play areas to keep the children busy whilst you warm up with a hot drink. The JCB drivers zone has lots of pedal and push-along vehicles for little ones to ride over ramps and through tunnels. My daughter’s steering abilities left a lot to be desired but there was plenty of space so we avoided any crashes!
There was also a separate section for smaller children although it didn’t have the excitement of the ramps so most of the smaller ones were joining in with the bigger children anyway.
No activity farm would be complete without a soft play area and Willow’s has a fantastic play barn! Located in Mrs Rabbit’s Kitchen, the grown-ups can sit down and rest with a drink and a sweet treat whilst the children play. My daughter especially enjoyed the wavy slide which you had to use a mat to slide down on. She wasn’t quite brave enough to try the drop slides though!
Unlike a lot of soft play areas, this one was really well managed with staff manning each of the slides to make sure they were being used safely, and also making sure the under 90 cm area wasn’t being taken over by the bigger children. The exits also all have high-up release buttons so we could relax whilst my daughter disappeared into the play frame knowing that she wouldn’t be able to leave without us.
The final indoor play area is the Cotton-Tail village, a Peter Rabbit themed role play village. There were several super-cute buildings such as a shop, kitchen, school and vets with loads of role-play toys including costumes and stuffed animals@ Our only complaint here is that it needs a few more chairs for the grown-ups, as my little girl spent a long time playing but there weren’t enough seats for us all!
We visited Willows at the start of their Easter Eggstravaganza event which meant that as well as Easter-themed live shows and some special activities to take part in around the farm. At the Easter Egg hunt the children were given an Easter basket each and were tasked with collecting five different coloured wooden eggs around a Spring themed, enclosed egg hunting area. My daughter found her five very quickly and exchanged her eggs and the voucher we were given at the main entrance for a bag of mini chocolate eggs.
There was also an Easter grotto and whilst it felt a little bit like it had been repurposed from Christmas. It was a beautifully decorated, short indoor trail around some Spring and Easter-themed displays, which led to a small shop selling Easter-themed items like bunny ears and craft kits.
We didn’t make it to the Easter arts and crafts area as it was in one of the top corners of the farm and unfortunately, we didn’t stumble across it until closing time. We did see lots of children with beautifully decorated easter baskets though! We also missed out on the lamb bottle feeding session as this was scheduled over lunchtime, but we did make it to the Easter disco where the children danced along with the entertainer to old favourites like the Hokey Cokey and Superman.
We all really enjoyed the extra Easter treats, but don’t worry if you can’t make it to Willows this Easter as they hold special events throughout the year! As well as across the school holidays including their Pumpkin Festival, a low-bang fireworks display and a Santa Spectacular. You can even camp here during their Family Camping weekends in the summer!
Food & Drink at Willows Activity Farm
Not long after midday, we headed for some lunch at Mrs Rabbit’s Kitchen, which is also where you’ll find the indoor, soft-play area, with the idea of letting the kids play whilst we ordered. The menu here offered a selection of reasonably priced jacket potatoes and freshly made paninis and baguettes. Unfortunately, everyone else had the same idea as us and despite there being several seating areas, we couldn’t find a table for our group. So, we headed over to Burrow’s Cafe instead. Thankfully we found a table here and headed up to the counter to order.
At Burrow’s Cafe, you can choose from pre-packaged baguettes or hot food such as burgers, nachos, fish and chips and jacket potatoes for the adults. For the kids, there are similar hot food choices to the adults or a cold lunch box with ham or cheese sandwiches and crisps, a yoghurt, a biscuit, a piece of fruit and a drink. Once you’ve ordered you have to wait for your number to be called to collect your food – ours was ready quickly, within around 5 minutes, but we were surprised at the 45p per sachet charge when we asked for some ketchup! The food was as we’d expect for an attraction like this – a little expensive for fairly average food – but it filled us up nicely for the rest of the day.
If you don’t want to eat at the restaurants, there are also several kiosks around the farm serving hot and cold drinks, ice creams and snacks. Or if you want to bring along your own food there are plenty of picnic tables dotted around the farm, including some cute covered tables in little huts. As well as a covered seating area next door to the Burrows Cafe. There are also microwaves in both restaurants if you have baby food to heat up.
Would we recommend Willows Activity Farm?
We spent over 6 hours at Willow’s Farm and my daughter was so upset to leave as she wanted to go on everything again!
Top tip – try to end the day at the top of the farm otherwise, like us, you’ll spend the whole walk to the exit having just ‘one more go’ on everything!
We’ll definitely be back in the summer to try out the Puddle play park again, but hopefully this time with swimming costumes instead of wellies!
How much are Willows Activity Farm tickets?
Kids (2-16) from £15.50
Are there are toilets at Willows Activity Farm?
There are other toilets on site with a ramp for disabled access.
It is wheelchair and pushchair friendly?
Is there parking?
So, now you know everything fun and cool about Willows Activity Farm, you want to come to visit, right? Whether you bounce high on the bouncy pillows, visit all the cute and cuddly farm animals, meet Peter Rabbit and his friends or enjoy a family-fun adventure!
Looking for more things to do? Head to our recommendations page for all reviews on fab family attractions! From Fonmon Castle, Hobbledown and Stockeld Park to the National Space Centre in Leicester and the Knights Village at Warwick Castle!