Thursday, 10 January 2013

Is Folly Farm Britain's Best Day Out?


Do you remember that Biblical rain we had around the country in early December? Well, on a day even Noah would have turned his back at in disgust we piled in the car and headed west to Folly Farm. MoneySupermarket.com have been running a campaign for bloggers to check out family days out around the country and report back. I was lucky enough to get the chance to visit Folly Farm in Kilgetty, which is not too far from Tenby in Pembrokeshire,West Wales. It's been a few years since we last went. Then, my kids were about 7 and 18 months. Now they are 10 and 5 - would they still enjoy it as much as before? We were about to drive 90 minutes in bucketing rain to find out!


Dressed for the weather. Even though it was raining lots the staff were still grimacing smiling!
Folly Farm is a great venue and a place you definitely want to visit when you're in Pembrokeshire (which has plenty to offer if you're considering a family holiday). It's well signposted and easy to find, has lots of parking, and is massive so even on a stinking hot summer day (which is only about 20C in Wales) it still feels pretty spacious and you're not getting bumped in the ankles by buggies at every turn. I deliberately chose a date to visit when their Winter Wonderland was open so we'd have the option to visit Santa if the youngest wanted to. In the end he was happy just to see the baby reindeer (so cute!) and the animatronic elves. We arrived at around lunchtime and headed to The Coffee Shop, where the lady behind the counter gave us a run down on what they were serving and (nicely) suggested we might want to go to The Ploughmans if we wanted a hot meal, which we did. The food was fine and the portions huge. I had a pasta bolognese bake made with local mince, my husband had Celtic Pride steak and ale pie with chips, and the oldest had sausage, chips and veg. The food was hot and pretty tasty though the portions were massive and we left about half of it which felt quite wasteful. 
Getting acquainted with the animals and the slides

The next couple of hours were spent trying our luck on the games in the Vintage Funfair (you have to pay for tokens) before settling down with the free WiFi while the kids ran riot on Carousel Woods. This is a great indoor play area with plenty of slides and things to climb and a quieter area for toddlers. There is a cafe there but Folly Farm is very picnic friendly with lots of places to eat your own food indoors and out. We also caught the free show which was Christmas themed and quite interactive with lots of audience shouting. The 5 year old particularly liked it, but even the at-times-jaded 10 year old enjoyed it and was laughing along. 

The heavy rain was really non-stop so we only got to see animals that were indoors, which still gave us plenty of variety with everything from massive rabbits to fish, snakes, and parrots. We did see a bedraggled head of some sort poking over the door of a stable when we ventured outside, and even a few hardy kids playing on the Pirate Ships. It's a testament to Folly Farm that even though we were confined indoors we still had a great day and both kids loved it. Folly Farm is as much about playing as about the animals, and you can see the list  of all they offer here. Though it's called a farm, it's actually a zoo with over 50 different species of animals ranging from zebras to kookaburras.

When it comes to days out, Folly Farm is up there in our family's favourites.  It costs £9.75 for adults and £8.75 for children 3-15 years, but keep your eye out for money-off vouchers because they come up fairly regularly. You can also save money by booking online as long as you can print your ticket in advance. It closes during the week in winter so look here for specific opening times and hours.

We've actually booked a short break in West Wales during the February half term and will be heading back to Folly Farm again, this time on a dry day with a massive picnic.

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With thanks to Moneysupermarket.com for providing family entry to Folly Farm.