By Rhiane Kirkby
Odds Farm Park in Buckinghamshire (Junction 2, M40) is a great place to keep in mind for the summer—come rain or shine there’s something to keep everyone entertained. Aside from the obligatory animals—goats, sheep, pigs, cows, ponies, chickens, bunnies and guinea pigs—there’s a sizeable soft play area (with separate zones for babies and toddlers), an outdoor adventure playground, a wooden fort, a huge sand pit and, new this year, a water playground.
H2Odds—with its 80 metres of streams—is a clever addition as it works equally well with the summer weather we’re all hoping for (i.e., kids in swimsuits and bare feet) and the summer weather we often get (kids in wellies and waders). It proved to be a huge hit with my two, who were happy to fill up and empty buckets from the various water features for what seemed like hours.
Tractor and trailer rides, mini golf and an adventure maze complete the lineup, and throughout the summer holidays there are theatre performances, arts and crafts and games for everyone to enjoy. It’s easy to get close to all the animals. You can feed them, and throughout the day there are events such as cow milking and egg collecting—make sure you pick up a leaflet when you go in so you don’t miss out. As you’d expect, Odds Farm Park is very family friendly with great facilities, lots of car parking and a café serving a wide range of food options.
If your children are that bit older—but still looking for a bit of farm action—then Peterley Manor may be a better place to go. Here you can pick your own fruit throughout the summer: choose from strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, whitecurrants and blackberries. And after you’ve worked up an appetite, you can enjoy brunch or lunch in the Wild Strawberry Café. Check out their website to see which fruits you can pick before you go.
And if you really want to make a full day of it, there may be time to stop at Bekonscot—the world’s oldest model village. You can’t fill a whole day here but there’s plenty to see and do. There’s a model railway that has been going for 80 years. It runs through six miniature towns all stuck in a 1930s time warp. There’s also a ride-on railway, more than an acre of perfectly manicured gardens and a children’s play area. And throughout the summer holidays, daily creative workshops for kids aged three to eight. Think Legoland—on a much more manageable scale—and without the hefty price tag!