In the midst of Christmas preparations and a new kitchen installation, Little M, Granni and I took some time out for a midweek day at Cannon Hall Farm.
Aware that due to the building work we would need to be out of the house for the full day, we needed to think of a venue that could host us no matter what the weather and occupy all our individual requirements for a day out.
Advertised as the perfect family day out, we have been on several occasions and each time had an enjoyable experience, but we have not been on a day with such
grim ‘atmospheric’ weather nor had we ventured on a day where many of the activities such as the tractor rides were not operating.
Cannon Hall Farm is located near Barnsley, in the beautiful Pennine foothills. Close to the M1, it is easy to get to and only took around 35 minutes from Leeds.
Despite the weather, there were enough visitors to create a festive atmosphere whilst still feeling like we had the run of the farm!
Most impressive was the schedule of activities, including ferret racing, sheep racing, milking demonstrations, petting and animal talks, including a fascinating introduction to the new meerkats.
We started our exploration at the top of the farm, with the sheep and reindeer before the start of the Ferret racing. For the first time Little M understood what was going on and after selecting his ferret, he then somehow picked the winning ticket – so has free entry for our next visit!
After a brief look at the birds, it was then to the Meerkat chat, which was really engaging and informative and the banter with the passing elves added to the enjoyment. Little M was beginning to feel the cold, so we headed into the new Hungry Llama Indoor Play Area for a pit stop and packed lunch. I doubt we were allowed to take in our packed lunch, but we purchased hot drinks and didn’t get told off, but I doubt that would be encouraged, especially during busy times.
We were one of around ten families in the soft play area. With my reputation for disliking the germy, back breaking, soul destroying, toddler cages, where I usually end up awkwardly having to assist someone else’s offspring – I was very impressed!
The indoor play area was clean, spacious and full of different activities. Most impressive was that it wasn’t just Little M and I who could navigate with relative ease, but Granni was nimbly springing from section to section giving both of us a chance to sit and relax and enjoy playing with Little M.
The ball cannons at the top were a highlight for me along with the slides. The helter-skelter was a learning curve… elbows in and cover up. Granni & Little M loved the foam ball tube fan thingy. The coffee was good as well!
Parking is £3 and can be redeemed against purchases over £10 in the tearoom. As I have done previously, I completely forgot about this on our lunchtime and teatime visit to the play centre.
Following lunch, we wrapped up and ventured into the wilderness. First stop was the petting area. Again, we were able to enjoy a one-to-one experience, with Granni recalling how ‘children want pets, but it’s the parents who end up looking after them’. I assume she is talking about my sister, but you get a general idea.
We then visited each of the animal sheds, testing each animal feeding mechanism to M’s delight. It is great to see all the animals with such a great vantage point for children. Although slightly removed, there isn’t the worry that you’re going to be licked by a giant cow or wee’d on by a grumpy pig. We could spend the time talking about the animals and looking at what they are doing. It is also clean, dry and easy to navigate a pram.
At the last shed, we had a talk with one of the Cannon Hall team about the Shire horses and the farm itself. With all the activity and entertainment it was good to be reminded that it is a family farm at its heart.
Heading back to the adventure play area and tubed maze where I learnt I do have slight claustrophobia and can’t decipher which direction my three-year-old is heading, we retreated to the indoor play area.
On our way, we bumped into Father Christmas, and for the first time, Little M was a fan! He was approachable, friendly and got the tone just right. We didn’t venture into his workshop, but it looked very impressive and reasonably priced.
The farm shop was the final phase of our day, where Granni found some gifts and I found some pork pies for Mrs M. As with everything, it is done properly and there is a great mix of food, drink, chocolates and houseware.
We spent almost 6 hours at Cannon Hall Farm, and it delivered everything we wanted from our midweek adventure. It met its goal of being a day out for the whole family. All of us had a great time and were kept entertained, educated and engaged.
Cannon Hall will be a re-occurring venue for our days out as Little M and our family grow. Excellent value, friendly approachable service and perfect for whatever the weather has to offer.
The Perfect Family Day Out
- Adventure Rating
- Value for Money
- Child Friendly
- Adult Experience
A fab fun family day out with animals, indoor, outdoor play areas and entertainment. A great day out whatever the weather, it offers something for all ages and great value.