Today I want to write about the place that definitely wins with all family attractions in Yorkshire – Cannon Hall in a Cawthorne village, near Barsnley. It’s one of the biggest farms in UK, rediscovered by us after couple of years absence. When we went there for the first time in 2012, Lily was only two years old and she was too little for adventure playground with really big slides and other challenging climbing constructions made out of wood and ropes, but I must admit, she was far more interested in big farm animals then now. Back then cows, sheep and pigs were not to be missed, now she only stroked rabbits she passed heading hurriedly for the playgrounds. But now she is big enough to go to all of them and really makes the most of it, to the point that it’s almost impossible to drag her out to see anything else. That’s why it’s best to start visit with a walk through Cannon Hall’s spectacular gardens, which is a real treat for adults, and once you hit the playground you stand no chance to convince your child that admiring nature is actually more enjoyable than running like mad from one slide to another for couple of hours. The gardens in May are simply beautiful, when all trees are blossoming and bold colours and gorgeous scents are filling eyes and nostrils with bliss and joy. It’s a great place to go for a romantic stroll and picnic (not necessarily with kids:).
At the entrance you can get timetable of all the day attractions like sheep race or cow milking. There is also ferret race which is a lot of fun. Each ferret has its own see through tunnel of a different colour, which they are suppose to run through. W e always bet between ourselves which one is going to win. Often ferrets are falling asleep at the start, or going backwards back to the start having almost reached the finish, so you really need to have strong nerves to watch that:).
In 2013 £1.5 million was invested in the development of Cannon Hall farm, 7 new farm buildings designed with the visitor in mind were built. You can watch sheep, cow, goats and pigs from a special balcony and feed them their special food through the pipes (food can be bought at the entrance or near the farm buildings in the vending machines (like with coke or snickers :). It doesn’t exactly smell the newest Chanel as you would expect with this many cows and pigs, but you can tell that buildings are very well maintained and animals are well looked after.
In case of rain just head to the indoor part of the farm – there is big soft play and a restaurant called ‘Hungry Llama’ where they serve really decent food (my favourite: jacket potato with tuna) and a beer as well. You can choose from selection of salads, variety of mains with meat or fish, so I think it’s not too bad, considering quality of food in soft plays in general, where the menu is pretty much limited to chips, sausages, pizza and cold sandwiches made out of substance resembling rubber, sponge and cardboard mashed up together. ‘White bull’ is another restaurant option, we haven’t tried it yet but the menu looks very promising.
In the farm shop you can buy fresh meat from local butchers, and other locally made products. It’s a sheer pleasure to pop in just to have a look at unique kinds of cheese and beautifully packed jams, so different from supermarkets and mass production we are used to.
Tickets are quite expensive, but after all we are at one of the best and highly acclaimed farms in the UK (Winner of The Innovation award for it’s new farmyard in 2015). Weekend prices are higher, adult and child > 2: 7.95£. During the week the price is 5.95£, under 2s: free. On weekend family ticket for 4 people costs 30£, so overall it’s not significant discount. Car park cost is 3£. If you add 2 scoops of ice cream (3.50£), lunch (8 – 9£) and coffee, beer or other beverage (3 – 4£) then the average cost for the day at the farm per person is 24£.
For more info about events, prices and how to get there visit farm’s website: http://cannonhallfarm.co.uk/