Unfortunately there is no exaggeration in a common belief that weather in England sucks. There should be two months in calendar instead of twelve I would say – October and November, as the whole year (ok, with some rare exceptions) passes by in a rainy, cold, autumny blur. Life in this sort of climate might be depressing at times, especially in May and June when in Poland barbecue season is in full swing, and strawberries and cherries are tempting with deep redness and low prices at every little street market. Meanwhile we are still walking under mostly gloomy sky, wearing our winter jackets (no kidding), and there is no perspective of getting cherries and strawberries any cheaper than 2£ per 200g for the whole summer. Maybe I would managed to survive in this everlasting grayness myself, but with a child it’s a bit more complicated. I often think how wonderful life must be in countries with summer all year round. You don’t need to constantly think of ways of ungluing kids from screens or look for entertainment options of a standard higher than Homer Simpson’s (which in most cases involves significant financial input). You can just head to the park, beach, or just play in the garden, as almost everything is fun when the sun is shining. Always in these little imaginations of mine, the role of paradise on earth plays Australia. By the way that’s the destination were many British people moves enchanted probably by a promise of carefree lifestyle and fed up with weather at home. Of course there is no place where you can always have rose tinted life, nevertheless I remember one of the end of December days that we spent there: families barbecuing on the beach, surfers, kids running around and laughing, some people in Santa hats or with other Christmas gadgets celebrating festive time with family – and that picture of Australia, with chill out vibe, everlasting sunshine and happiness has been in my head ever since. Wait a sec, daydreaming about Australia I drifted away from the topic, so back to English weather – we endured many gloomy days and made the most of them thanks to truly ingenious inventions – farms. Ideal for family day out in uncertain weather, because usually there is an indoor playground and a restaurant where you can hide in case of rain. Today’s post is about farm we visited recently and were positively surprised, I’ll try to write about all farms, theme parks and other cool places worth visiting in England.
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I don’t know how we managed to skip Hesketh Farm for so many years, during which we’ ve been to all the other nearby farms at least couple of times. One day Lily went there on school trip and liked it so much that she convinced us to go there again just a week later. The weather was unusually beautiful, and my sister came over from Barcelona, so we wanted to take her somewhere nice and see something new ourselves. And we weren’t disappointed – the farm is situated in picturesque Yorkshire Dales and we could admire juicy green Ilkley Moor in the background of the farm’s playground. The farm itself is rather small but very well maintained, besides horses, cows, pigs and sheep, there are also lots of small animals: rabbits, baby chicks and about a billion of guinea pigs, kids go crazy about them. They’ve got small mats/beds laid on the bales of hay, kids can stroke and comb them with little brushes as long as they wish. There is a special board with photo and name of each guinea pig and it’s fun guessing which one is which. We spent about 2 hours just by the guinea pigs stand as Lily couldn’t stop cuddling them:)
Children can also feed baby cows milk from a bottle at certain hours. Indoor we have hay maze, sand pit, tractor slide, ride on diggers and tractors and a cafe.
There is a playground outside, not big and rather basic, but on the splendid piece of land and with a gorgeous view. We also have go-karts and 2 giant tortoises wandering around the fields, to complete this extraordinary landscape (great pics guaranteed). I’d say Hesketh farm is aimed at younger children, but I’m sure older will find something for themselves and will enjoy it too.
Under 2: 1£
Under 1: free
Another treat of that day was Bolton Abbey, which is just 15 minutes walk from the farm. Ruins of this 12th – century Augustinian monastery situated right next to the river make perfect spot for summer picnic.
Hit of that day, even bigger than guinea pigs was crossing the river. There are stones laid across from one bank to another, it’s just above the knees deep so it’s not dangerous in case of the fall, but you need to take quite big steps and not to loose balance, and the risk of falling into the water when everyone is watching makes it exhilarating and fun. Lily crossed the river about 20 times and probably could have 1000 more, if we didn’t have to go back.
To summarise, the strongest points of Hesketh farm are: beautiful location, proximity to Bolton Abbey and well maintained farm buildings. Small outdoor playground and not too many animals overall would be a minus, but on the other hand cosy character of that farm may be an advantage, depends what you like. If you live in Yorkshire or just passing by it’s worth visiting – great family day out guaranteed.