Piggies and Ponies at Pennywell Farm08/09/2017
While we were down Devon way over the summer we paid a visit to Pennywell Farm. We’ve been to plenty of farms around West Sussex and thought it’d be more of the same, but it’s a huge place with plenty of entertainment for kids of all ages. We were initially a bit shocked by the tickets prices but Pennywell has certainly earned it’s spot in the ‘top 20 farms parks of the UK‘.
Pennywell Farm is off the A38 near Plymouth (TQ11 0LT for the satnav) and very easy to get to, perfect for stopping-off if you’re on the way to or from Cornwall for a holiday. It’s open 10am - 5pm between February and October.
Tickets are a bit pricey: £14.95 for adults and £10.95 for kids with under 3s FREE. It cost us more than going to Alton Towers (and I’ll keep banging on about getting into Alton Towers for £35!). However, Pennywell are a very understanding bunch so if it rains you can get a free ticket and can come back within 7 days. It was a bit rainy when we went, because it was during British summer holidays (obviously!), so we just passed the free tickets on to some friends who lived nearby. The drizzle didn’t dampen our experience anyway! The kids could also collect stamps from the various activities and if you got 6 then you could claim a free kids ticket on the next visit.
You can get all the details about ticket prices and what’s on from the latest Pennywell Farm leaflet.
After going through the modest entrance and still grumbling about the price we got to see the farm properly. It is massive, with endless things to do! There’s a big board after the entrance area where you can plan out your day and every half an hour there’ll be something to see, mainly in the Main Barn where you get interesting talks about loads of different animals. We saw a great one about hedgehogs and the kids were able to get up close to say hello. Make sure you also see the miniature pig racing everyday at 2:30pm, they definitely go to town with this so expect some enthusiastic commentary.
When we got through the entrance and shop there was little petting area where kids could hold guinea pigs, rabbits and even baby chicks and ducklings. It was very hands-on with lots of staff keen to get the kids to hold the animals. Inevitably we spent plenty of time just in this bit!
Elsewhere you can hold the ‘world famous’ Pennywell miniature pigs and, yes, these were super-cute little piggies that liked to wriggle and squeak much to the kid’s delight. When we were there they had the miniature pigs in their little home next to the Main Barn but also in a stable in the central area for cuddles. The goats and chickens had their own little areas - Goatarama and Funky Fowl on the map - while we also saw sheeps and horses in pens around the middle of the farm.
For our girls the highlight was riding the ponies. They were doing these around an orchard near the Play Barn and we had to sign-up for a time slot, plus pay an extra couple of quid each. Our 4-year-old got the biggest pony, while our 2-year-old loved the little small one and was beaming on our walk around the trees. Piggies, chicks and ponies, what more could two littles girls need?
To get out of the drizzle we had our packed lunch in the Play Barn which has lots of benches and little play areas, plus a bouncy castle. It was perfect for getting out of the rain although there is the bigger Henny Penny’s cafe on the other side of the farm for proper meals. In-between is the coffee cabin where parents can seek refuge for caffeine and a quick sit down.
There are a few ‘rides’ included. The best being the Red Rocket for over 4s which is basically a big tractor pulling round some wagons at a fair speed - goggles are provided. It’s very bouncy but great fun. For toddlers there’s the Rainbow Railway, past the cafe at the very edge of the farm, which is a more sedate experience. There’s also the classic farm staple: the tractor and trailer ride, although it was less of a ride and more a lesson about animals. The farmer drove us down a hill while the kids could spot cut-out animals in the hedgerow then he parked-up at the bottom where he quizzed the kids about their animal knowledge. Then it was back again. I expected a bit more of a ramble through the fields but it was fun for the kids to chat to someone who actually worked on the farm and what went on.
If kids need a sit down - or a place to hide from the rain - then there’s the Pennywell theatre where there are regular performers and entertainers. There’re plenty of bleachers to sit on and it wasn’t too busy when we were there so it was easy to come and go. We caught Mr Phil (a Britain’s Got Talent finalist dontcha know!) who had the kids giggling and put on a proper show.
I don’t think we got to see everything, round every corner there seemed to be a whole new area of the farm to explore. Near the tractor and trailer ride was the big ‘Thunder’ slide, while opposite the cafe was an assault course and beyond that was maze and tower. Plus things like crazy golf and croquet were on offer - it’s a difficult place to get bored!
I’m sure we’ll go back next time we’re in the area to see the rest of it and say hello to the little pigs again. Don’t let the price put you off, there are plenty of activities to fill up the whole day and more, plus the staff are very friendly and there’s loads to learn in all the talks they put on.