This article will share our top tips for visiting Cotswold Farm Park. As annual pass holders I take my boys at least monthly in the colder months and sometimes fortnightly in the summer to visit the animals and enjoy the seasonal additional attractions. It is a fabulous family friendly attraction located in the stunning Cotswolds countryside.
Before I list our top tips I will quickly explain why we have invested in an annual pass… As a parent I feel passionate about teaching my children about different animals; where food comes from and the importance of farming. Due to regular visits to the park Charlie, my eldest son, can name all the animals that live there, discuss what food comes from each one and fully appreciates the work that takes place on a farm to look after the animals. He has rode on a tractor, viewed honey bees close up, fed goats and sheep, watched a cow being milked and lambs being born… all of which are incredible learning experiences for a four year old!
My youngest son Harry, even at the tender age of one greatly benefits from our farm visits and already has shown a great fondness to feeding the animals and impersonating the noises they make! As a family, we visit attractions most weekends however, I do not think other attractions can compare to the hands on learning the farm park provides. I feel our regular visits have truly been great learning experiences for my boys and I am grateful to the attraction that my boys will grow up knowing where eggs and milk come from!
Our tips for a memorable day at Cotswold Farm Park –
1. Always pack extra layers. Regardless of the weather forecast and how warm it feels elsewhere the attraction is open to the elements and can get rather cold. Do not however let this put you off visiting, there are some great attractions indoors (the main barn and the demo barn) and the coffee shop serves excellent coffee and food to warm you up if it is slightly nippy!
2. Invest in an annual pass. If you are fairly local and likely to visit more than five times in a year it is definitely worth investing in an annual pass. An adults day pass is £9.50 and an annual pass is £44.50. Children under three are free, over three are £8.40 for a day and £37.50 for an annual pass. The passes grant you entrance throughout the year (the farm closes for approx. six weeks Dec to Feb) and also entitles you to 10% off in the gift shop and coffee shop. We have definitely got our monies worth from our annual passes. I have found that on some visits we have only stayed a couple of hours and just enjoyed Charlie’s favourite attractions – bouncing on the bouncy pillows, feeding the goats and playing in the sand pit however, I never mind as we have not paid the full going rate to enter the attraction.
3. Purchase some animal food as you pay to enter. It only costs 60p for a bag and it will provide lots of fun and photo opportunities whilst you attempt to feed the greedy goats and sheep.
4. Check out the main barn and demo area. Do not, as we did the first time we visited with the boys, miss out the main barn and demo area! I think we were so excited to walk around the main animal enclosure to feed the animals that we completely missed the huge buildings to our left hand side.
5. Take note of the daily attractions. As you enter the park, the board straight in front of the paying booths lists the times of the daily attractions – i.e. bottle feeding the goat kids and lambs, milking demonstration, farm safari, meet the farm yard animals etc. I always take a photo of this board so that I have the times on my phone (I still have baby brain!) If you miss the times here they are also on display close to the main barn. In our experience we have never had to turn up too early for any of the timed attractions apart from maybe the bottle feeding which does attract a large queue.
6. Request an extra bottle of milk. Ask for a bottle for you and one for your child/children when you go to collect your milk bottle for feeding the goat kids and lambs. The baby animals finish the bottles so quickly you will barely have time to get your camera out if you only get one bottle! This is Charlie’s favourite thing to do at the farm so do not miss out, clock the time it starts and make your way over to stand in line.
7. Pet the chicks and rabbits. Another not to miss experience in the main barn is the holding and petting of chicks and rabbits. Members of staff hand over the baby chicks and bunnies for children who are sat down nicely – this is another great photo opportunity.
8. Take note of the seasonal events. I always put them in my phone calendar to make sure we visit to experience each event. Over the course of the last year we have visited during Easter for an egg hunt; over the summer and made bug homes; over the winter and made bird feeders and also watched the sheep show (these extra activities are usually included in the cost of the entrance ticket) and just before Christmas to enjoy the live nativity which was great fun. (They say never to work with children or animals and the live nativity play included both to hilarious effect!)
We have just recently visited a couple of times to experience lambing and kidding (I really wanted to go last year but it is dangerous and not recommended for pregnant women or young babies as you can pick up an infectious disease). Watching lambs being born is incredible. It takes place annually from mid February until mid April so keep it in mind for next year.
9. Feel free to take a picnic. The farm park has several picnic areas one conveniently by the bouncy pillows (which by the way are fab! See photo, I just could not resist, there were no kids around at the time!) There are also some picnic tables by the entrance and the dinosaur sand dig area. In the summer many visitors also just relax with a picnic on the grass whilst the kids play.
10. Extend your stay by camping on site. In September last year I camped at the Cotswold Farm Park Caravan and Camp Site with my parents and my two adventurers. We had a great couple of days, the weather was glorious, the attraction was quiet because kids had gone back to school and the campsite facilities were clean and well maintained.
The campsite offers good value for money particularly for families because if as a camper you buy a day pass for the Farm Park you can re-use it free of charge for the duration of your booking. I obviously used my annual pass however my parents purchased a day pass and we went back into the park on the morning of our second day (after a tasty breakfast at the farm park coffee shop) and then in the afternoon we took a short drive out to Bourton-on-the-Water which is just six miles away. Charlie absolutely loved waking up at the Farm Park and going down to the showers in his dressing gown stopping en-route to say hello to the resident goats! An experience not to be missed if you camp onsite is trying some of the fresh milk which is available near the attraction ticket booths, creamy and delicious, perfect to accompany a morning much needed caffeine boost!
Have you visited Cotswold Farm Park? Any tips you would like to add?