Willows Activity Farm is located in London Colney, near St Albans Hertfordshire and is home to over 300 farm animals and over 40 shows and attractions. In the last few years, it partnered up with the popular Characters from Books, TV series and films, Peter Rabbit. Many of the attractions are led by the design or characters of the TV Series etc while still showing Animals in their lives and farms.
Being its position of just off the M25 and near St Albans among other places its incredibly easy to get to, at peak times then M25 will be busy but my experiences are the junction eastbound is normally ok, and if you are coming from the north you won’t touch the M25 at all.
The signs aren’t great but once you there it’s easy to follow, the parking is ok, what you would expect from inherently a farm, and outdoor attraction, there are lots worse in some big Theme parks lol. As far as I’m aware they can hold big functions so there is a lot of space and goings-on as you arrived so don’t be too put off.
The Peter Rabbit theme is straight away with displays at the front, the Entrance is ok with a small ticket desk and gates to enter etc, but in reality your not dealing with the volume for more, there are animal food bags to purchase at the entrance should you wish to, there are signs around showing you and how and where you can do this.
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What else is there?
The gift shop Toilets and cafe are all at the front, there are several food places to not only just eat your own food and but also to purchase food, and that’s a big plus for me, not only is there lots of that space with toilets nearby, these are located all over the farm, though it’s not a huge place it still can be a little walk, especially for little ones or people less abled. The food is ok, we’ve eaten there and didn’t exactly have the greatest experience, though arguably it was staff-led as they weren’t sure at times what they were doing that could easily be one-off.
The food selections are ok but there is a lot of generic food, coffee and cake, if you have special dietary or want things healthier or even lighter, you may struggle with the selection. There’s a lot of fried and Sugar-based things, personally I don’t have a huge problem with this, but I realise this affects a lot of people in their planning, but if you have brought food then as I said earlier this isn’t an issue.
The toilet area is a little hit and miss, one thing I’ve noticed over the last few years many places are seemingly upgrading their standards with this, the standard is bit up and down all over the farm as there are different ones located around, hopefully, these may improve down the line, I didn’t see a whole lots of adequate baby changing facilities only a couple of key ones near the main entrance area.
There several key farm-based activities though these can differ throughout the year, in the winter months many of the animals are in there sheds and attractions inside, and during Lambing season this changes again with sheep in another area.
Some animals, of course, stay out like reindeers, and when all animals are out the areas in the far corners are for interactions and shows., this can be a nice walk with lots going on.
Even further afield is a tractor ride and a Maze, again depending on the weather this can vary, they like to change up the area for Halloween, Xmas etc.. for the tractor ride, this can look nice, and even on a warm day can be a pleasant ride to break up the day.
The animals in there shed and nearer the entrance areas include pony, donkey, Pigs, Goats and some hands-on Guinea pigs, this is n excellent area and when the animals are inside as well its just a great experience for the kids.
More than just a farm
Unlike many other farm-based attractions Willows Activity Farm has a huge amount of interactive areas for play and fun, the whole middle area is a huge outdoor open play area leading down to the back parts of the farm, these are all Peter rabbit themed and good for those older more energetic kids. In summer months there are more things like country funfair put on.
There is a smaller kid play area to the side with tremendous interaction with the story and activities of Peter Rabit including Mr Mcrgreggors Kitchen and Patch, as well as a play area that is quirky and in the style of the buildings that Peter Rabbit and his friends make in the TV show.
Back towards the entrance, there are three more little funfair rides, these are a free and good little break for some of the younger kids, and they are designed for the younger kids.
Near here is an indoor area that has Ice skating and JCB Driving, these are both great areas, and Xmas the ice skating is a big thing, though this JCB area gets cut down with the entrance to the Christmas area(separate post in the future). I don’t mind the JCB driving area but it is chaos and a little free for all, so be warned, Tigger didn’t like it so much as he prefers order to things and organisation.
There is an arts and crafts area to the located next to this with things to do at different times of the year, from sheep masks at Lambing season to create your own cuddly toy at Xmas, these are generally free activities and good for a sit down break with something creative to do for the kids.
Behind here is the Peter Rabbit Theatre, there are shows during the day and with your map that you receive at the entrance there is a pull our card that gives you times and names of the show, this is great as they can vary throughout the year, they are often quite short and on more than, once in the day so you can plan ahead.
Some play time at Willows
Inside the main area is a little kids play area called cottontail Village, this great for less than 5-year-olds to be honest, it does lead to the entrance but also leads to the much bigger play area, inside here is a two-floor seating area and a food kitchen in the centre, with one side cooked food and the other more of a cafe.
Within here is a big Play area for much older kids as well as a smaller area for those in-between ages from the youngsters to the big ones. This gets very busy, especially on a colder day and you can easily spend an hour or so here.
To be honest, I live near farms in East Anglia and surrounded by them, there are also interactive farms places dotted here as well, so I was unsure when I first visited here, I’m also not a big fan of film and the TV series is ok. However, this places is excellent for kiddies, especially the younger one.
If you a fan of Farming, then this is still a good place to visit, but the activities are fantastic, even if you take the Petet Rabbit theme out of it there is lots of dun to be had, however, it’s popular at the moment with the TV Series and with the second film coming out, it will have another bump in popularity.
The farm side of things is good as everything is clear and in good condition with the ability to see and interact with the animals. But the big winner in this is the activity side of the play areas, there are several ones, mostly outside but even the indoor one is large and great for the kids to blow off some steam, let alone the other activities like ice skating, Rides, JCB driving etc..
The Themes they do for the year including special events and the theatre are well worth thinking about and can vary up your visit should you wish to attend multiple times during the year, maybe 12+ years old may struggle here if they like farming then possibly there’s enough enjoyment, but certainly, kids of less than 12 will be absolutely fine and is all around a solid place to visit, it’s well worth a visit.