10 city farms and animal sanctuaries in and around London
London might be getting back to some kind of post-lockdown normality, and we've definitely got a hit list of cool places to visit with the kids in the coming weeks, but we're also still being mindful of staying outside as much as possible. Which is why we love the idea of ticking off these super duper city farms and animal sanctuaries in and around London! Make sure you check individual websites before you make your visit though: some farms and animal sanctuaries are opening on restricted timings, some are not quite ready to re-open yet, and most will need you to book online before you come along. And don't forget to bring your funky face masks!
1. Mudchute Park and Farm
Covering a whopping 32 acres over on the Isle of Dogs, Mudchute Park and Farm is not only one of the biggest city farms in London, but it's also free to visit. You'll find everything from a petting zoo to an equestrian centre, a working farm to a wide range of educational activities and also a lovely little café for that well earned lunch and cuppa break.
Mudchute Park and Farm, Pier Street, Isle of Dogs, London E14 3HP
2. Hopefield Animal Sanctuary
Located just out of town in sunny Essex, Hopefield Animal Sanctuary is home to around 500 rescued and abandoned animals, ranging from raccoons to alpacas, donkeys to foxes. Keep your eyes peeled for Shy and Tubs the meerkats and Rocket the Tanuki on your way round: total characters! Keep an eye on our Instagram in the coming days, as we're heading over there tomorrow to reconnect with all our fave furries.
Hopefield Animal Sanctuary, Sawyer's Hall Farm, Sawyers Hall Lane, Brentwood CM15 9BZ
3. Vauxhall City Farm
Head over to Vauxhall City Farm to meet pigs, cows, turkeys, rabbits, ducks and even three alpacas, Ben, Jerry and Tom. There's a gorgeous ecology area on site as well as a herb and dye garden, picnic area and riding school. Entry is by donation (it's a good idea to pre-book at the moment), and it's right next to Vauxhall underground station.
Vauxhall City Farm, 165 Tyers Street, London SE11 5HS
4. Woodlands Farm Shooters Hill
At the time of publishing, this 89-acre urban farm in the Royal Borough of Greenwich hadn't yet reopened in light of the covid situation, but it hopes to able to throw open its doors to visitors as soon as it's safe to do so. It's run as a traditional working farm and residents include cattle, ponies, bantams, sheep and pigs. A true gem of an urban green spot if ever there was one.
Woodlands Farm Shooters Hill, 331 Shooters Hill, Welling DA16 3RP
5. Hobbledown Adventure Farm Park & Zoo
Head out of town into the Surrey countryside for a day out the adults will love just as much as the kids. Expect plenty of pigs, sheep, meerkats, rabbits and other animals as well as an amazing adventure playground which will keep your own little monkeys amused for hours. It's pre-booking only at the mo, and the whole park is cash free, so make sure you bring your contactless cards. We're heading there next week, so keep your eyes peeled for our review.
Hobbletown Adventure Farm Park & Zoo, Horton Lane, Epsom, Surrey KT19 8PT
6. Kentish Town City Farm
Another free (but donations welcomed!) farm and with a wide range cute farm residents, Kentish Town City Farm makes for a lovely, wallet-friendly day out. The horses are currently away on their annual holidays (let's hope they haven't gone somewhere that means two weeks quarantine for them when they get back!), but Nora and Dora the donkeys are still there as well as Shirley the cow, geese, pigs, sheep and lots more.
Kentish Town City Farm, 1 Cressfield Close, Kentish Town, London NW5 4BN
7. Bocketts Farm Park
An award-winning family farm where you'll spot everything from tiny chicks to greedy goats, cheeky llamas to fluffy lambs. We especially love the Happy Hens Free Range yard where you'll see, well, lots of happy hens! There are also tractor rides, an animal discovery barn, pony rides, a play barn, huge outdoor recreation spaces and a cafe on site, so you're all set for a full day of fun.
Bocketts Farm Park, Young Street, Fetcham, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 9BS
8. Deen City Farm & Riding School
Both the farm and the riding school are open, but you will need to book ahead before your visit. There are plenty of farm animals to meet, including horses, rabbits, sheep, goats, donkeys, owls, an alpaca and guinea pigs, as well as a cafe, gorgeous gardens, an animal feeding time schedule, farm tours and volunteering experiences to be had.
Deen City Farm & Riding School, 39 Windsor Avenue, London SW19 2RR
9. Friend Farm Animal Sanctuary
It's still closed at the mo, but keep an eye on its website for deets on when it will be reopening to the public, as Friend Farm Animal Sanctuary is well worth a visit when you can get there. There are over 200 animals who have made their home here after being unwanted, abused, neglected or abandoned in their previous lives, and the sanctuary offers a free roaming home to chickens, geese, cows, goats, an alpaca (who thinks he's a sheep) and many more. There are also over 35 pigs in their own paddock, and the sanctuary is run with an ethical, vegan philosophy when it comes to animal welfare.
Friend Farm Animal Sanctuary, 89 Bush Road, East Peckham, Tonbridge, Kent TN12 5LJ
10. Belmont Children's Farm
Make a morning visit to meet the lovely herd of Jersey cows and their calves, and hear all about the dairy industry, before going on a tractor ride, meeting the small animals and hanging out with Dinky and Splash the ponies at Belmont Children's Farm. Don't forget to pick up your animal feed on your way in!
Belmont Children's Farm, The Ridgeway, London NW7 1QT
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