Young children love them, but how many opportunities are there for farm visits in West London? Well, here’s one for starters — you might have heard of Hounslow Urban Farm, but have you ventured that far into the airplane-addled west? Maybe this review can persuade you to take the few extra tube stops.
As with any city farm location, you shouldn’t go expecting acres of rolling fields, but if you’re happy with a realistic farm environment, then you’ll be more than satisfied. Granted, it’s not in the most picturesque location, but it is warm and welcoming and a great idea for a visit on a sunny day, which it thankfully was when we ventured out. Not only do they have all the usual children’s farm favourites — is there anything more guaranteed to bring a smile to a little one’s face than hand-feeding lambs? But they also have a few unusual additions. When I asked our two kids what animals they wanted to go back and see before we left, the answer was unanimous — the tortoises! And I have to say, I was in agreement. There aren’t many places in West London where you can give a tortoise a gentle pat on the back for generally being pretty awesome. We were also lucky enough to see a few special activities: some rather impressive-looking owls were getting their lunch as we looked around, and we also caught a spot of sheep-shearing and pig-racing.
For an extra £5 per child, you could buy a wristband to go on a small selection of funfair rides. We didn’t fork out the extra, but after looking on the website, I discovered this was to raise funds for a Centre for Education Conservation. Not only do they plan to build a replica rainforest, but they’ll also establish a rescue centre that will work in conjunction with Heathrow Airport to provide a home to abandoned exotic animals.
It may be small and a bit rough around the edges compared to kids’ farms outside the capital, but Hounslow Urban Farm has enough charm and interesting attractions to give any local family a nice afternoon out. It’s easily accessible, being a short walk from Hatton Cross station on the Piccadilly Line, the last stop before Heathrow — a bonus we got from taking this route was the gobsmacked excitement on the kids’ faces from seeing some very low-flying planes overhead. There are some advantages to being that close to an airport after all!
See their website for information on pricing and activities.
About the author:
Anna Scott is a freelance writer, parent, procrastinator and Hammersmith resident. When she’s not attempting to write her first young adult fiction novel, in between reading and reviewing the odd book or two, she can be found chasing after her two little girls. In a previous life she was a politics graduate and wine trade lackey. Head over to Anna Scott Jots to find out more…