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Spring is a great time to get closer to nature. And what better way of seeing nature at work than visiting a farm? E loves getting close to animals. So this week we paid a visit to Cannon Hall Farm, near Cawthorne in South Yorkshire. (fancy somewhere closer to Leeds? Why not try Lotherton Hall or Temple Newsam?)
Cannon Hall Farm – A Day Out in Yorkshire
Cannon Hall Farm opened in 1989. But it is now a real family attraction.
I hadn’t been for several years, and had never actually been into the farm itself. The farm is situated in Cawthorne, near Barnsley in South Yorkshire. But is only a 40 minute drive from our house down the M1.
It is next door to Cannon Hall and Country Park, where there is a large lake and lots of ducks. So you could choose to park in the country park gardens and walk up through the grounds to the farm. On a sunnier day I might have chosen to do that, as the grounds are lovely and it is great to see the ducks and geese. But as E doesn’t like to walk too far, on this occasion we decided to park within the farm car park. Parking is currently £3 for all day (though you can pay less if you just want to visit the tea shop or farm shop.)
Tea Shop, Restaurant and Farm Shop
Before you get to the Farm entrance, you have to walk past the farm shop and refreshment areas. There is a dog friendly cafe, an ice cream area, a large tea room/restaurant and a very large farm shop. This has expanded dramatically since I was last here, but it is all for the good. Last time I came you could not get a seat in the small cafe, but this time it was busy but there was still plenty of seating available. And there is a further cafe inside the farm itself, but more on that later.
The farm shop has also expanded, and now sells an amazing range of gifts, beers and kitchen goods as well as the fresh farm produce and meats that it has always sold.
My little farmer girl decided to wear a full puddle buster suit from Frugi – which is perfect for days like this. Find a similar one here.
Entrance to Cannon Hall Farm
Current standard entrance prices for the farm are £9.95 for adults, £9.95 for children over 2 years, under 2s are free, and you can buy a family ticket for £38. However, over the easter period there are extra displays and attractions, so do be aware that the ticket price will be raised slightly between April 13-22 2019.
You are also given sticker badges, so you can return during the same day if you leave the farm area. And there is a reduced admission price of £3 each and free parking if you come to the farm after 3.30pm. The farm closes at 6.30pm, and last admission is at 5pm. I think that is certainly worth remembering for warm summer days!
It is open every day except Christmas Day.
Some of the Attractions
Yes, it may seem like a pretty steep admission price. But there is a lot going on. And you will get a leaflet saying when some of the main attractions are happening. These include
- Ferret Racing – several times a day the ferrets get to have a race
- Tractor rides – throughout the day you can take a ride on a trailer around the farm.
- Meeting the meerkats – there is a meerkat enclosure, and several times a day the keepers give a talk
- Petting area
- Sheep racing – there is a full track laid out with fences for the sheep to race around. So great to see them jumping!
At the moment, because it is spring, there are also lambing talks throughout the day.
Lambing Time at Cannon Hall Farm
The sheep that are in lambing season are all being held in the roundhouse part of the farm. They are held in separate pens with their lambs, and a lot of lambs are being born every day at the moment. So it is a great time to visit. You may even see a lamb being born! You can watch from a raised platform up above all the sheep.
E loved seeing all the different sheep and their lambs in the one place. Though it was a very noisy place to be!
The Farrowing Sheds
Cannon Hall Farm also has lots of different breeds of pigs. Pigs do breed all year around, so there is always a chance to see piglets in the farrowing pens. But we saw lots of piglets on our visit.
The Goats and Rare Breeds
Also on the farm there are so many breeds of goats, alpaca and llamas. As well as some donkeys and shetland ponies. And again there are lots of kids and calfs. In the milking shed you may even get to see how a cow is milked.
The Petting Barn
On your way down to the pig and cattle barns we passed through the petting area, which had rabbits and guinea pigs. A bit tentatively at first E got to stroke both a rabbit and a guinea pig. The petting barn also has hand washing facilities, one of several dotted around the farm grounds.
The Reptile House
Just as we were getting a bit cold we came across the warmest place in the farm, the reptile house. There are snakes, frogs, geckos and iguanas, a pond full of terrapins and the strangest looking turtles I’d ever seen. Plus, suspended all the way around the ceiling is a piece of rope, along which parade a huge number of leaf cutter ants. This is an amazing sight and not to be missed!
I really liked that some of the reptile enclosures were at a low level so E didn’t have to constantly be lifted to see everything. And all the enclosures were spotlessly clean and well tended (which isn’t always the case in my experience!)
There is a chance to pet some of the reptiles during the day.
The Hungry Llama Cafe and Soft Play Area
Cannon Hall Farm has an impressive number of outside play areas. Some are only suitable for older children, and feature massive wooden structured and large slides. There is also a zip slide.
But if it is too cold to be outside playing then there is also a cafe and soft play area. The main part of this is suitable for 3 year olds and over, but E found some of the others too boisterous, so she stuck to a smaller area suitable for children under 4.
Our Verdict Overall?
We really loved our day out at Cannon Hall Farm. E did not want to leave when it was time to go. I do think it is worth remembering that there is that reduced ticket price after 3.30pm. And there are often deals on Groupon and Wowcher to watch out for.
They do have regular events such as
- The Easter Egg Hunt over Easter – April 13th to April 22nd 2019 – with a discount available online
- The Little Mermaid Pantomime on selected weekends in May 2019 – tickets must be prebooked online
- The Sheep Shearing Festival May 22nd to June 2nd 2019, and
- A Dino Disco on the 8th and 9th of June 2019 – tickets must be prebooked online
Do go and visit their website over at CannonHallFarm.co.uk for more details
There really is so much to see and do, and something for everyone. Why not pin this post for later?