Age when we visited
Adults: £8.00 Children: £7.00 (2 – 16 years, children under 2 are free)
School Group visits – School children £8.50 and adults one free for every 5 children then £8 each
Birthday parties £13
Smithills is an excellent open farm, which offers a great day out for the whole family. They have a large car park but it is not tarmacked so be careful for stones flying up. When we arrived we went straight to the reception and purchased our tickets without any hassle. You can also pick up animal feed here too. The animal feed is £1 a bag but compared to other farms we have visited it was a little disappointing as it was very saw dusty, making it difficult to feed the animals. Once you have purchased your tickets make sure you take a picture of the animal talks and feeding times, which is to the left hand side as you walk through to the farm.
There was about 6 farm talks in total and we managed to go to 3: How cows are milked, holding chicks and feeding lambs/petting pygmy goats. All the talks were really well managed and informative. The only criticism I did have was when we first got there there was hardly any hay bails out, to sit on, and it was only at the last minute more were put out. If Ralph had been older we definitely would have gone to all the talks and I would recommend you plan your trip around them
The farm has a fantastic layout and is very clean with proper paths, meaning taking a pram is easy. In hindsight I also wish we had taken our carrier, as it would have been easier to show Ralph the animals and still remain at a safe distance. The farm has a fantastic range of animals from the usual farm animals to deer and reptiles and insects. All the stalls were clean and all the animals looked happy and were comfortable with being touched.
After petting the animals at the end of the main barn there is toilets and great hand washing facilitates. I was really surprised with how clean the facilitates were and how suitable they were for children. There is also baby changing facility in the cafe but I will come on to this a little later…
Once we had finished petting/seeing all the usual farm animals we made our way down to the small enclosures, which held more exotic animals and reptiles. I would say the reptile house needs a bit of TLC as it is starting to look a little boring and in need of some repair.
For older children there is a tractor to play on, bouncy castle, donkey rides, sandpit and a play area. There is also the opportunity to go on a tractor ride, for an extra fee of £1 each, but Ralph was napping so we gave it a miss.
On to the cafe… This was the only thing which lets the farm down. The staff are pleasant but not as friendly as the farm staff. The menu is normal cafe food and is a mixture of snacks and hot and cold food. The food is reasonable and enjoyable. You can also pick up a Mrs Dawnson’s ice cream, which I thought was excellent that Smithill’s were supporting other local farms. However, the tables, floor and high chairs were disgusting. There is sauce and food smeared everywhere. The baby changes and disabled toilet are filthy and I changed Ralph on my knee when we got back to the car.
We will definitely be visiting Smithills again when Ralph is a little older and he can enjoy the donkey rides and play area. We will also take a picnic rather than eat in the cafe and eat outside on the picnic tables or grass.
Let me know in the comments if you have visited this farm and if you enjoyed it as much as we did.