Yesterday's outing was a birthday special treat for one of M's friends, held at Walby Farm Park in Cumbria. It's not somewhere we'd ever come across, as it's a fair drive (almost an hour and a half) from Gateshead, tucked away near Carlisle, the M6 and the fells.
The farm's your standard kid-friendly visitor attraction, like many others across the country. There's farm animals, an adventure playground, a soft-play and slides inside, and even a maize maze. But I liked the attention to detail - there's lots of signs explaining the farm animals, and work around the farm - and the very non-moneygrabbing feel. Too often you can wind up paying an entrance fee, and then forking out lots more once you walk through the door for trips on this and goes on that. Here, the entrance fee was pretty reasonable (£5.95 for adults, slightly less for kids), the food/drinks/ice creams weren't extortionate, and the only extras were a jeep barrel ride across a field.
Aside from the rather fantastic indoor slides (which are suitable for larger kids and adults too, hurrah!), M loved the go-karts, and almost ran off with one of the very cute guinea pigs. Sadly, Rustle the cat would have made short work of him, so we had to leave him there. We also got pretty lost in the maize maze, and totally failed to complete the challenge of finding the Roman 'tents' hidden within. I blame the map.
All in all, it was a good day out (and it really is a full day - including a picnic, we stayed for 6 hours). Might have to go back to play with the guinea pigs...