At least once or twice a year I travel with the little man to the Somerset, the country of bumpkins, to visit the mama. We both love a road trip and thanks to my top 10 tips on seamless road tripping’ adventures with toddlers, they are so much fun and really looked forward to! Boushka (as my mama is known to the small man as it is Russian for Grandmother and she is a fan of quirk) lives in the heart of a town called Williton and is surrounded by gorgeous countryside; we’re talking rolling fields, an abundance of sheep,
stiles, homegrown fruit and veg sold in local newspaper shops and the recurrent faint ‘choo choo’s’ of a steam train. My favourite ‘Somerset go to place’ that me and the little man adore is a nearby local, family run beaut called Doniford Farm. I have decided that the awesomeness of this place needs to be shared in this review; did I mention it is free entry?!
What I love most about this farm is how naturally rural it is; as you walk in you are greeted with ducks, geese, chickens and even a turkey or two running around which is just fantastic for small people to really get involved in learning about animals and running wild with nature.
Check out the little mans amazing LittleLife backpack, perfection for days like this. They have an enormous range too!
There really are an array of animals here, the farmyard favourites such as shetland ponies, sheep, donkeys and even alpacas can be found in the fields as you enter and to the back of the Cafe; as you munch away on fresh farm foods you can watch them graze naturally on theirs! The Cafe has recently been renovated and extended to accommodate a larger custom base too so don’t worry about there not being enough space for your brood, but if you are more of a picnic person then there are benches scattered around for you to indulge.
There are all of your other Old MacDonald faves further towards the back of the farm; if you aren’t bothered about the smell (the small man did make some rather humorous sniffing and exhaling noises at this point) you can find some mildly cheeky pigs, cows, ducks and geese scrapping for each others food and trying to pickpocket oblivious onlookers (as one woman hilariously found out whilst facing the opposite direction trying to spot one of the elusive owls). This lady below was my favourite, and the culprit of the near pickpocket incident.
As well as the usual suspects, Doniford Farm has exotic animals too; there are a few that seem to like playing hide and seek a lot, one of which was the the largest type of lizard that I have ever seen! We also spent around 5 to 10 full minutes having a conversation with a group of parrots that randomly chimed ‘Hello’ in response to me trying to encourage Jude to oblige a greeting. Needless to say this astounded us and ended in a to and fro’ing of ‘Hello’s’ until the small man decided he was bored and wanted to explore the indoors section of shops, Gift Shop and play area for smaller children.
The play area,I have now found out, is called ‘Mr Snood’s Play Barn’ and has a great little coin operated ol’ fashioned carousel and a soft play area which is £1 to use for 10 minutes; to be honest as the entry is free I was happy to pay this and 10 minutes is more than enough for an ‘adventurous and quick to move on to the next exciting thing’ toddler. In the same corridor are a few little shops, some of which sell traditional ‘farm/garden/outdoor decor’ and locally handmade wares and there is also a more traditional ‘Gift Shop’ in which Jude was in heaven. I would hold my breath in trepidation every time i turned over the many tractors, puzzles and books to find the price, but was pleasantly surprised as they were so reasonable! The choosy little prince eventually decided on a medium sized tractor that was only £3.99; I don’t know about you but Gift Shops are normally the stuff of nightmares when it comes to children choosing something they want but you won’t get that pang of panic here!
Now aside from the animals, Cafe and Gift Shops that you would expect from a farm, Doniford offers an amazing, albeit slightly random area where children can get lost in a sea of colour and wheels. As you turn a corner into a large courtyard opposite their ‘Meerkat Manor’ there is an abundance of wheeled methods of transport that children seem to adore and my little man spent the best part of 15 minutes (and then another 10 later of course) flitting between the different cars and motorcycles loving life! Whoever came up with that idea is a genius. They have even recently installed a coin operated safari jeep and crane; Jude wasn’t very happy when he learned that other children wanted to have their turn sitting on the safari jeep and he couldn’t stay on there forever; bless him.
I have to say though, aside from the obligatory food and beverage offerings in their Farm Shop and Deli which I will cover later don’t you worry, my personal favourite place is the wonderland type garden that is a hidden gem at the back of the estate (it smells a lot better than the pigs watering hole too!)
“You can learn a lot of things from the flowers…” avid Alice fans will understand my struggle not to start singing it every time I am in a lush garden.
There are so many of my favourite types of flowers here and you can see where they grow the fruit and veg that is used and sold in the Cafe and Farm Shop. Me and the little man had so much fun roaming around the beautiful flowers, they sell their plants too so if you spot something that you adore and just have to take home chances are you’ll find it for sale in their greenhouse.
Now I don’t know about you but every time I visit Somerset I feel obliged to return home to the Mr with a wittily named array of local cider. Doniford Farm has no shortage of such beverages and I could spend an age perusing the natural wooden shelves for quality alcoholic humour; my buys this time were ‘Humpty Scrumpty’, ‘Commando’ and ‘Nice Tackle’, which for a comedic football and Arnie film loving Daddyo were pretty spot on the money if you ask me.
I was oh so tempted by the sumptuous looking freshly grown rainbow of fruit and vegetables too, especially the mini bundles of carrots, and cheese and meat deli counters. If this was my local farm shop, if I even had a local farm shop, I would quite honestly buy most of my weekly shop here!
Judging by the fact that all of this is coming from a girl who is at her core not really that fond of the countryside and much more of a townie, seaside type, I think it is fair to say that this luscious little farm has stolen my heart. If you ever find yourself in Somerset, go forth and check this beauty out.Doniford Farm, I and my little man salute you.