Swithens Farm has been our local go-to ‘open farm’ since Little M was a baby and over the last two and a half years it has grown up almost as much as he has.
Now with a farm shop, cafe, soft play area, play barn, outdoor climbing frames, zip wires, garden centre, petting area, bird aviary and, of course farm animals, there is something for all ages.
Located in Rothwell, Leeds – Swithens Farm is easily accessible by car with free parking and is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10am – 6pm (also open bank holidays). Entrance to the farm is £3 per adult and £1 for children over 5. Under fives are free.
On arrival, getting a wristband in the farm shop/cafe is the first port of call – although there has been a fire engine in the car park for the last few visits – which has been the first thing we have investigated.
There is an old tractor at the entrance of the farmyard, which over the years Little M has moved from complete fear to complete enjoyment, so it’s a good photo opportunity to start the animal experience.
The first shed has a range of cows and calves – all with extremely long tongues and surprisingly loud voices! They can be a little scary for young children and will lick everything!
Going in Spring is, of course, perfect for seeing baby calves, lambs, and piglets. However I have never seen any sheep – so I have no idea where these lambs come from? Twice a day the farmer hands out bottles for the children (and adults) to feed the lambs. This is something Little M loves – and being surrounded by hungry woollies and toddlers is a fascinating experience.
After the piglets, birds and lambs in the second shed, the third larger viewing shed has even bigger cows and huge pigs.
There is also a recently added zip slide, balance beam and general activity area to the back of these sheds.
As we are in early March for our visit, the paddock was relatively empty, although the two donkeys ‘Millie and Mary’ are still roughing it in the elements with their pet shetland pony ‘Bilbo.’
It’s in the paddock I have most regularly been caught out, stepping back to take a photo or feed one of the animals without realising that behind me, ready to eat my hat – is an over-enthusiastic Alpaca! While it’s great to have such access to the animals – don’t forget they have teeth, and toddlers have tiny hands, gloves and fingers!
The funny and charming Alpaca was under cover on this visit, along with his ‘friends’ including two llamas and new neighbours two relatively scary Emus!.
I am going to avoid listing all the animals one by one, but alongside these, there is a new indoor petting area where I was able to hold a duck (which was a lifetime first), Meerkats and some unusual looking birds.
Two helpers in the petting area encouraged us to handle the animals and were great with Little M, and he quickly fell in love with the duck, rabbit and guinea pigs he selected to hold and stroke.
Visiting the animals can take as little or as long as you want – walking around with the bag of carrots to distribute is an excellent way to engage with them and chat about each one.
The outdoor play area like everything at the farm doesn’t feel sanitised – it’s real 1980s fun! Several of the tractors/vehicles are old, battered and a little bit broken, the bouncy castle is unsupervised and the ball pit and sand pit seem to be considered interchangeable.
There is a new climbing frame with slides and swings which the older children clearly love and a giant mound of straw bales for the more adventurous!
Little M just loves his slightly broken tractor that he insists I push around the play area until I can persuade him that we should head to the cafe for some lunch.
The cafe has an indoor play area (which is an additional cost), shop of random items, butcher and grocery area and then the busy cafe.
Food is reasonably priced at the Swithens Farm Cafe, with decent portion sizes and a friendly service. The only downside on our recent visits is the time for the food to arrive. This time, it was over 30minutes, which although at midday, seemed a long wait for a small breakfast and beans on toast.
Pushchair access is good around the farm, but obviously, it will be muddy (and not just mud) in places. We have enjoyed our best trips on the colder and damper days when it is quieter, but even on the busy days, we have always been able to gain access to the animals and not felt overcrowded.
For an easy morning/afternoon trip or a fun family and friends meeting place, Swithens Farm has always provided us with an enjoyable experience. It is easy to navigate, there is something for everyone and is great value for money.
A Fun Family Farm Day Out
Swithens Farm is an easy-going slightly rough around the edges open farm, with plenty of animals and a fun family atmosphere. It still delivers an authentic farm experience.
Perfect for a regular trip out and Dads looking for an engaging, active and fun few hours out and about, without any unnecessary challenges.
Everything is on site and with animals popular with all ages, it is a great place to meet up with friends and family.
The only downside from our recent visits was the wait for food – but this could just be due to staff holidays.