How suitable is Tapnell Farm Park for families with young children?
Tapnell Farm Park promotes itself as a ‘great family day out whatever the weather’ and we couldn’t agree more! We visited as part of our one night Wedding Anniversary getaway and LOVED our visit. We were very lucky with the weather and had a beautiful, sunny day. However, it was very impressive to see so many fun areas and options should you require shelter from the sun or rain.
As you can see from the picture above, children under the age of 2 are FREE. Children (aged 2-16) pay £9.95 (standard price) and adults pay a reduced price of £7.95. They offer discounted prices should you choose to purchase tickets via the ‘Family Ticket’ and we also received a discount because we were staying on the farm, as residents of the Bell Tents at Tom’s Eco Lodge. There are also great discounts for visiting at ‘off peak’ times.
Prior to visiting I was unsure about what I thought of the prices. However, since our visit I believe these are very reasonable prices and the season passes are an absolute BARGAIN (£28 for Summer and £15 for Winter). The adult season pass can also be ‘any adult’ so long as you are accompanying a child season ticket holder – if only we lived closer!
Included in the price are variety of different experiences and animal encounters. When we visited, these were our options:
Now, I am going to start with the jumping pillows because this is what caught my son’s eye the most when looking at the map! Their name is perfect because they are basically a huge, bouncy, pillow to jump on. We had an absolute blast. You really can bounce as high or as low as you want and the four of us had so much fun bouncing together.
We were the first guests to enter the park and, like I said, we headed straight for the jumping pillow. This was perfect and is something I would highly recommend doing. We had the jumping pillows to ourselves for ages! I have no doubt that these jumping pillows are quite a main attraction and can get quite busy. Not only that but should the weather take a turn for the worse, they are closed if it is too wet. There are measures in place for busy times. For example: the number of people allowed to bounce at one time is limited in number and time duration (I’m not sure if and how this is managed though). Also, there is a separate smaller jumping pillow which is for Under 5’s only!
As well as the 2 jumping pillows, there is also a large outdoor play area. In this section you will find, a climbing tyre area, a sand pit and a typical play area with swings and slides. I cannot tell you how much time we spent in this section because we lost count! Needless to say, the children had great fun!
We timed our visit to this part with the ‘Wallaby Feed’ and if I’m honest I wasn’t sure what to expect. I assumed a keeper would do a talk and feed the wallabies to entice them out. Well, for starters you could visit the walkabout anytime and would definitely see the wallabies! Despite this, the Wallaby Feed is well worth your time. The keepers present a very clear and friendly talk where they show the playful, friendly and cheeky side to the wallabies. They then bring round food for everybody to feed the wallabies themselves.
The wallabies were so friendly and calm with the children it was quite amazing to see. My 2 loved feeding them, stroking them and simply admiring them up close. It was a lovely experience that I’m sure they won’t forget in a hurry.
This is a small enclosure within the Wallaby Walkabout. They also provide a friendly talk where they are happy to answer any questions you or the children have. This is quite a small section but Mimi was mesmerized by them so we stayed watching them for a while.
After this we headed straight to farmyard barn to view all the animals and take part in the ‘meet the furry friends’ encounter. This section had a barn with lots of typical farm animals, there was also a ‘Pet corner’ with rabbits and guinea pigs, as well as a ‘Bugs and Beasties’ section. This was a series of windowed tanks along a wall and I was pleased to see they had supplied steps and stalls for the little visitors to use to help them see in all the windows. There is also a huge tractor which you can go in (at set times), and some pretend cows which you can practise milking:
The Straw Bale Adventure Barn
There are a variety of activities inside this barn making it a great place to escape the rain or seek some shade on a sunny day. There were also picnic benches which would of course be a great indoor picnic area should it choose to rain!
The main attractions within the barn are the go karts, the straw bale pyramid and the zip wires. However there was also a huge climbing wall and the opportunity to hold an Owl (for an additional £3). Mimi (who isn’t even 2 years old yet) desperately wanted to do this and was able to thanks to a tiny special, protective glove. There were a variety of owls to choose from and she chose the smallest one:
Indoor Pedal Go Karts
These were so much fun! There are individual ones and double ones allowing Daddy and Bug to race round together. The track is a good size and goes in and outside of the barn.
Straw Bale Pyramid
You can climb on, over and in the straw bale pyramid. This combined with wooden plank bridges, tunnels and slides provided endless entertainment for us all.
There are two large zip wires to play on. Our son was playing on these independently after just a couple goes and our daughter loved going on with one of us.
Farm Park Cafe
As previously mentioned, we had lunch at the Cow and Co Restaurant and Bar for a second day in a row. This was because we had such a lovely meal that we wanted one last chance to eat there before we left. However, the cafe also looked lovely. It had a good selection of hot and cold snacks, things like: sandwiches and toasties (all freshly prepared on site). There was a huge selection of cakes and treats as well as hot and cold drinks.
There is the option to sit inside, outside and on a raised patio inside which overlooks the Play Barn. Giving a clear view of most play areas should your children choose to play while you took a well deserved coffee (and cake) break!
The Play Barn
Again, I was very very impressed with this area. It was huge and everything was very well thought out and presented. Another superb area to seek shelter. They really are a fantastic all weather attraction.
Inside the play barn there is a huge soft play area, including a separate toddler section (also a great size).
The whole floor on this side is padded (massive amount of space) and there were fun activities the children could get lost in for hours. For example, there was a super foam and ball activity where you could create a track/ramps for the ball to travel down:
There was a large tractor driving area which had tractors you could push along with your feet, pedal ones and scuttle bugs for the younger visitors.
As well as this, there was a lovely role play area with lots of toys, accessories and dress up outfits.
This really was a fantastic playing space which the children thoroughly enjoyed. We only managed to drag them away by promising them a look around the Paddocks and a yummy ice cream before we had to leave. (Spoiler: we didn’t anticipate the wide choice of ice cream flavours so had to make a mad rush to catch our ferry on time!)
Mimi enjoyed looking at the sheep, pigs and alpacas the most. However, Bug spotted the tractors and ‘spider web style’ climbing frame and failed to drag himself away!
So, how suitable is Tapnell Farm Park for families with young children?
This has got to be one of the most suitable places we have visited for families with young children. It really was a fantastic day out. It far, far exceeded our expectations.
We had thought we wouldn’t need to spend too long here, from looking at the map we figured a morning would have sufficed. This was not the case, we ended up changing our ferry time so we could have a couple extra hours and still, we had to drag the screaming children to the car because they simply did not want to leave!
Not only are the facilities (inside and outside) extremely well kept and perfectly suitable for young children, but they have also thought about all the ‘extras’. Things like: children’s toilet seats, stalls and steps to reach sinks and other slightly higher attractions, the variety of tractors to ride in the play areas, the under 5 jumping pillow. They have gone out of their way to ensure this is not only an all weather attraction but also a place that young children can play happily, freely and safely.
We would not hesitate in returning and whole heartedly recommend Tapnell Farm Park. In fact, the only way we could get the children to leave was by promising to return again one day – something we are also very excited about!
Try to visit the jumping pillows first. These can get quite busy and can also be shut during wet weather. Head here first and you could have the whole pillow to yourselves – so much fun! Also, don’t forget your socks! You must wear these on the pillows and in the soft play. Don’t worry if you do forget because you can purchase some for £1.