You don’t have to hoof it to the countryside to spot a sheep, well over a dozen urban farms are dotted across London. Most city farms are free to visit, though donations are mooo-re than welcome as many are charities run by volunteers.
London city farms have family activities, cafes, farm shops and animal encounters galore. It’s worth checking their websites throughout the year for bookable activities and events, such as pony rides or bottle feeding lambs. City folk, get down to the farm!
URBAN FARMS IN LONDON
Stepney City Farm
Where: Stepney Way, E1 3DG
What: Pigs, donkeys and other farm animal favourites as well as farm pets: rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets. There’s also a Saturday farmers’ market and studio spaces which are home to resident artists and crafts people. Visitors can pop along to see what they’re up to, or book classes and workshops directly through the artists’ own websites.
Where: Skeltons Lane Park, Leyton, E10 5BS
What: Part of Capel Manor College (which teaches animal care, horticulture, dog grooming, environmental conservation, saddlery and leatherwork, among other courses), Brooks Farm offers learning activities along with the traditional sheep, donkeys, goats and rabbits.
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Hackney City Farm
Where: 1a Goldsmiths Row, E2 8QA
What: Meet the resident pony, donkey and other farm animal friends at this farm that’s well situated to pair with a play in Haggerston Park. For kids there are pottery making sessions and the mini or maxi farmers clubs teach kids about nature, animals, farm tasks as well as arts and crafts. Be sure to bring some empty containers as they have a package-free food shop, Get Loose.
Mudchute Farm and Park
Where: Pier Street, Isle of Dogs, E14 3HP
What: Set in 32 acres of countryside in the heart of East London, the Mudchute is a community charity, with a working farm, stables, a children’s nursery and a wide range of education activities. Check their calendar for activities including free donkey rides, play sessions and animal handling.
Newham City Farm
Where: King George Avenue, E16 3HR (main entrance in Stansfeld Road)
Website: Save Newham City Farm – Home Page
What: This farm was closed by the council in 2021. There is an active campaign to get it reopened – find out how you can help by clicking website link above.
Spitalfields City Farm
Where: Buxton Street, E1 5AR
What: The city farm that’s nearest to the Square Mile boasts bountiful gardens, a bevy of animals and a shop selling many items produced by volunteers using ingredients from the farm. Kids can join in animal encounters, farm to fork cooking clubs and craft workshops.
Wellgate Community Farm
Where: Collier Row Road, Romford, Essex, RM5 2BH
What: Activities include bottle-feeding lambs, ‘Beaks and Squeaks’ – the adorably named sessions that introduce 3-7 year olds to the farm and its inhabitants and young farmer programmes for those 8+. They also have a mobile farm that visits schools!
Aldenham Country Park
Where: Aldenham Road, Elstree, Radlett, Borehamwood, WD6 3BA
What: The farm trail pass at this country park allows you access to the farm for a whole day. Meet and feed the animals, ride on play tractors and join in scheduled activities such as bottle-feeding lambs. This country park also has an adventure playground, 100 Aker Wood, camping, and seasonal activities.
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Hounslow Urban Farm
Where: Faggs Road, Feltham, Middlesex, TW14 0LZ
What: From cuddly chicks to bearded dragons, micro pigs to big goats, with less-common critters such as blue-tongue skink and boa constrictors to gape at as well. Animal encounter sessions are held regularly at this site a stone’s throw from Heathrow. Pony rides and owl flying displays are also sometimes on offer.
RELATED CONTENT: Pick-your-own Farms Close to London
Freightliners City Farm
Where: Sheringham Road, Islington, N7 8PF
What: When Freightliners Farm was founded in 1973, it was first located behind King’s Cross station, with the animals housed in railway goods vans—hence the name. Today cattle, chickens, quail and sheep can all be found in the heart of Islington. Look out for family activities such as holiday crafts and make your own wildflower pots.
Belmont Children’s Farm
Where: The Ridgeway, Mill Hill, NW7 1QT
What: See over 30 different animal varieties; from cows to budgies, pet the bunnies, feed the goats, sheep, Bambi the tame fallow deer and jump aboard the tractor and trailer ride to discover even more.
Forty Hall Farm
Where: Bullsmoor Lane, Enfield, EN1 4RQ
Another outpost of Capel Manor College (see Brooks Farm above and Crystal Palace Park Farm below), this farm is tucked just inside the M25. Home to London’s only organic commercial vineyard, as well as a community orchard, a market garden, farm shop and many rare breeds of farm animals.
Kentish Town City Farm
Where: 1 Cressfield Close, NW5 4BN
What: The UK’s first city farm, founded in 1972, is a four-acre oasis alongside two railway lines. Here you’ll find animal pasture areas, community gardens, a wildlife pond, and a riding arena. Special events are held including a May Day celebration.
Deen City Farm & Riding School
Where: 39 Windsor Avenue, Merton Abbey, Merton, SW19 2RR
What: Some 200 animals call Deen City Farm home, alpaca, barn owl and pony, plus ferrets, pigs and bunnies. The farm is a hop away from the National Trust’s Morden Hall Park, which is also free to enter. Horse riding walks and lessons are available for kids age 4+.
Crystal Palace Park Farm
Where: Ledrington Road, SE19 2BS
What: A little farm not far from the dinosaurs (and, like Brooks Farm and Forty Hall Farm above, part of Capel Manor College), you’ll spy pigs and chinchillas, parakeets and ponies.
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Surrey Docks Farm
Where: Rotherhithe Street, Southwark, SE16 5ET
What: Located just off the Thames path this farm offers animal experience sessions and bottle-feeding lambs (pre-book), as well as school holiday Farm Club for 8-13 year olds. There’s a farm shop selling farm fresh eggs and an apiary with five bee hives in the orchard.
Vauxhall City Farm
Where: 165 Tyers Street, SE11 5HS
What: One of the most central city farms in London being located within earshot of Big Ben. Riding lessons are also available on ponies or horses. Bookable activities include Cuddle Corner (snuggles with smaller animals), VIP animal meet and greet, and Farmer for a Day. There are regularly held family activities and of course lots of animals!
Where: 331 Shooters Hill, Welling, Kent, DA16 3RP
What: Did you know Shetland ponies can pull twice their own weight, or that Manx Loaghtan sheep can have four or even six horns? See these specimens and more at this 89 acre city farm which has a Stick Man trail, a Young Farmers club and a Toddler Club.
Updated April 2022.
Featured image from @MudChutePlay Instagram