I have quite a soft spot for Godstone Farm - I used to visit when I was little and now I love to take my boys there. It's a very special farm and it offers so many activities to keep little ones busy and happy. So we've visited a lot over the past few years.
Even so, I had no idea that Godstone offers Farmer Experiences for children, where they can buddy up with one of the Godstone team and try their hands at farm life! Gabriel, Flynn and Theo were invited along for a taste to see what a Farmer Experience is like.
We arrived at Godstone on a very wet Sunday afternoon, and to be honest, neither the boys nor I were particularly enthusiastic when we checked in for our Farmer Experience. But once our team member Helena had arrived and introduced herself, and given the boys their farmer vests and personalised badges, we were warming to the idea! Helena was energetic, friendly and kind, and got the boys at ease and engaged right away. It wasn't long until they were put to work!
First stop was heading behind the scenes to the food store to prepare some food for the pigs. Gabriel and Flynn were delighted to duck behind the "staff only" signs and see the parts of the farm usually off limits. Helena showed the boys where all the animal supplies are kept, what the different animals eat and how often they're fed. The boys had LOTS of questions for her which she very patiently answered.
Once the boys had filled a bucket up with lots of lovely greens we headed out to the pigs - first to new mum Helena and her troop of piglets and then up to the other enclosures to feed her friends. It was Gabriel's turn to hold the bucket first, and the boys found it hilarious to see how quickly the pigs came for their food once he started shaking the bucket.
After feeding the pigs, it was time to meet the chickens. The boys were really keen to go into the chicken coups to check for eggs, and were able to get up close and personal with nearly all the hen breeds. They collected eleven eggs, which they gently placed into their bucket to take home later. I was delighted to find my over-excited boys quietening down to not scare the chickens, and taking their role as farmers very seriously. They were engrossed.
Eggs collected, we returned to the food store to put them away for later and to collect food for the ducks - a special floating feed, designed as a treat between meals. It was Flynn's turn holding the bucket and the minute the ducks spotted him, they came running! Flynn was running along the path with the ducks wobbling alongside him and his brothers chasing behind. The boys were in their element.
The boys had been content thus far taking care of feeding, but with the ducks, pigs and hens looked after Helena suggested that the boys try their hands at grooming. Off to the horse stables we went, where Gabriel, Flynn and Theo took it in turns to groom the lovely Georgia while neighbour Ollie looked on. They all fell in love with Georgia and didn't want to leave her, but there was plenty more still to do.
Back to the food store we headed to prep some cabbage and apples for the donkeys. This time it was little Theo's turn to carry the feed and he did so very proudly, marching through the farm like an old pro. Ringo and Timmy the donkeys were wonderful and the boys made friends with them right away - I think it helped that they were brothers! The boys found feeding them rather tickly but Gabriel and Flynn got the hang of it and Theo was happy to watch.
With Ringo and Timmy fed, and after a quick visit to the goats, it was time to head up to the top barn to meet the farm's ponies. The boys were introduced to Merry and her friends, and Helena led Merry out so the boys could look after her. Flynn, Gabriel and Theo all loved giving her a brush down and Theo took care removing the straw from her mane.
Having looked after some of the larger farm animals, Helena invited the boys to the indoor animal holding area to meet some smaller residents! We were led into a private room where Jude joined us, and all four boys had a cuddle with the guinea pig and rabbit. They were less keen to hold Colin the giant African land snail - their dad got that job!
Two hours had flown by and our Farmer Experience had reached its end, but not before the boys were given a tractor ride. And when they arrived back, Helena presented Gabriel, Flynn and Theo with a certificate to mark their hard work helping at Godstone Farm - a wonderful momento to add to their farmer badges. And I was given our eggs to take home!
Having arrived rather fed up with the weather and reluctant to spend time outdoors, we'd had a very special afternoon. The boys loved it from the get-go and barely noticed when the rain got heavy. They were captivated by the animals and loved every moment they spent with them. We don't have pets at home and it was a total joy to see my boys looking after the animals so earnestly.
Helena was amazing and had so much time for all the boys - she didn't stop teaching them about the animals and farm life throughout our Experience. We left her and Godstone Farm having made new friends and some very special memories.
Godstone Farm's Farmer Experiences at suitable for children aged 4-9 and you can book for between 1 to 3 children. What's lovely about the package is that it's flexible and can be adapted according to the children attending - Gabriel, Flynn and Theo loved feeding so we did quite a lot of that, but you might want to spend longer grooming the animals. Fancy walking a ferret or cleaning the pigs? The team are happy to arrange it.
Flynn is hard to please at the moment and I don't often find him engaging in activities besides football or the computer. But he loved his Farmer Experience so much, he's asked if he can do it again for his birthday next year with his friends. If Flynn and his brothers having this brilliant a time in the rain, I have zero doubt your children will too.
Godstone Farm #gifted Gabriel, Flynn and Theo a Farmer Experience in return
for an honest and impartial review. All words, thoughts and images are my own.
To find out more visit godstonefarm.co.uk/parties.