I’ve always thought they were an amazing idea, but I have a whole new appreciation for my local city farms now that I have a child. Even the smallest, most chaotic of them is still a lovely half-day out for a toddler enchanted by animals (or ride-on tractors) – and Mudchute almost feels like getting out into the countryside for the adults, too.
My boy enjoys city farms so much, we try to go to one every week. Being outdoors is really important to both of us, and cabin fever quickly sets in if we haven’t spent a good part of any day in the fresh(ish) air.
Unlike the real farming landscape I grew up in – which along with outstanding natural beauty offered disorientating acres of deep, windswept mud strewn with dangerous bulls/hounds, brambles, barbed wire and (should one stray from the completely unmarked path in the gathering darkness) irate, gun-brandishing farmers (one of these latter mistook my best friend for a stolen mangelwurzel when she was a babe-in-arms, but that’s another story) – city farms are a particularly good way to keep on spending time outdoors with small children when the weather is less than perfect. They have a mix of outdoor animals and dry barns where you can look at rabbits; cafes to warm up in or shelter from the rain, and sometimes organised activities for little ones.
My top tips in general would be to bring a change of shoes/wellies for the toddler as well as the usual spare clothes, and to check the cafe opening times (all the farms seem to have days when the farm is open but the cafe is closed) for that all-important access to shelter and caffeine.