Willows Farm is a great day out for all the family. We have visited a few times in previous years, but recently took our youngest child (16 months old) for her first trip, and this was our first time experiencing the new Peter Rabbit attractions at the farm.
Willows Farm is located in Hertfordshire near St Albans, (just off Junction 22 of the M25) and offers plenty to fill a full day.
Peter Rabbit Attractions
The Peter Rabbit Adventure Playground
The Peter Rabbit playground at Willow’s Farm is one of the loveliest playgrounds I have seen for young children. So much thought has gone into the design, keeping all areas within the theme. It’s a large area with different sections so did not feel crowded and having all of the different elements to explore kept my little one engaged for ages.
There are models of the Peter Rabbit and friends characters, which N loved. Benjamin Bunny is her favourite as she likes his hat!
There’s plenty of space to run around safely and use up energy,
and plenty of areas in this adventure playground which are accessible and manageable for even the youngest and smallest toddlers.
The Jeremy Fisher music pond is one of my favourite parts of the playground, adding a lovely sensory play element as the little ones explore all types of sounds.
Mr McGregor’s garden is also a really good part of the playground as it’s so in-keeping with the Peter Rabbit story, which is great for imaginary play.
New Peter Rabbit Attractions
In addition to the brilliant playground that opened in 2016, this year there are more new Peter Rabbit play areas at the farm. Mr Tod’s Lair, seen below, is a secret hide out with lots of entrances to explore, and a sneaky look out up the top. This was more popular with the slightly older children, and ties in with the fox character Mr Tod who can also be seen in the shows and the meet and greet.
The Super Squirrel Nutkin Test is a new agility course which is just opposite the new Mr Tod’s Lair and challenges kids with physical activities to complete the course.
Show and Character Meet & Greets
Every day at Willow’s Farm there’s a schedule of Peter Rabbit character shows and meet and greets. During our day we managed to meet and get our pictures taken in two of these sessions…
Lily Bobtail and Cottontail above, and Benjamin Bunny below. There were also sessions on for Mr Tod and Peter Rabbit himself, but we were busy in other activities at those times. Each session is open for around 45 minutes and I found the queues were not too bad, as it did move fairly quickly. The staff will take your pictures for you if you want your whole family to be in the photo, and N enjoyed interacting with the characters.
The shows take place outdoors in good weather, or indoors in the Peter Rabbit theatre on wet days. There are a few different shows each day, all with singing and dancing, and simple story lines for the little ones.
We visited during the Easter holidays so the boys were keen to take part in the Easter egg hunt and claim their chocolate eggs! This was a bit muddy, but the area was decorated really nicely.
During other times of year there are more fun seasonal activities too. We’ve been at Christmas time the year before last and the seasonal programme was brilliant with a 4D show, and the children stuffing their own soft toy – amongst other activities.
Traditional Farm Activities
Of course there are also plenty of animals to see.
You can feed and interact with some of them in the indoor barn area as well as wander round outdoors to see which ones you can spot.
We also enjoyed watching the pig race. You vote for which one you think will win before it starts, and if you’re right you get a prize – but sadly we picked the wrong pig. This was entertaining to watch, and something a bit different!
We also saw a show with sheep dogs training ducks to do some tricks! There are different shows on each day, and you will be given a programme with all the info and timings on for your visit.
We took the tractor ride to see even more animals, and this is really nice for younger children as it includes nursery rhyme type songs during the ride.
There’s a great bouncy castle area outdoors as well as the play barn inside. Willows Farm made all of this inclusive in the ticket price – as it should be! It can be quite frustrating when you pay to enter an attraction then the kids are wanting a couple of quid each to go on bouncy castles and such, especially with four children that quickly adds up! So the Willows Farm policy is definitely much better, and the bouncy slide is popular with my boys.
There are also traditional fairground rides and attractions in that area, which add a nice bit of variety and fun to the day out.
If you have a young child who is into Peter Rabbit then Willow’s Farm would be a definite must-visit! But as you can see we found plenty to keep our slightly older kids (6, 8 and 9) entertained too. It’s a great family attraction, and I’m sure we will be back soon!