Since Millie was born, we’ve been to West Lodge Rural Centre quite a few times and she has always had such a good time there that I thought it was time to review it! Let’s start with what there is to do there… I’m not sure where to start as there is so much. There are a variety of animals for your little ones to see – ducks, geese, chickens, goats, ponies, rabbits, guinea pigs, sheep, cows, pigs…the list goes on and on. There’s an outdoor play area with pedal tractors, slides, swings, forts, tunnels, a sand pit – lots to keep them busy. There’s also an indoor play area (not soft play) with different areas for climbing, crawling and slides. There’s a small area for younger children with a Wendy house, animal space hoppers and a floor projection.
As well as being able to look around the animals and play in the indoor/outdoor play areas, there is a den building area and some lovely walks with a troll bridge, witch’s house and lots of fairy doors.
There are a variety of timetabled activities including: handling the rabbits and guinea pigs; pony and goat grooming; pony rides; piglet racing and barrel rides. It’s easy to spend hours and hours here as there’s so much to do. I really feel like it’s excellent value for money, especially in comparison to other farm parks we’ve visited. It only cost us £15 when we last went (under 2s are free). It’s definitely worthwhile looking at their webpage for the admission prices (please click here).
Access around the farm park with a pram/stroller is easy but of course there are some muddy areas. If you want to do the walks then perhaps bring a sling/carrier as it can be quite bumpy and not all of the walks are accessible with wheels due to some steep steps. There are plenty of areas for hand washing and and some toilet ‘huts’ – there’s even baby changing facilities!
There are three choices of places to eat at West Lodge Rural Centre – a restaurant, cafe and a ‘snack shack’. The restaurant serves cooked food, sandwiches and picnic bags. Millie is still at the stage where she lobs most of her food so I’m always reluctant to spend money on her so she shared my panini. They had plastic cutlery in the restaurant but I strangely couldn’t find a fork. I asked if they had a plastic plate but they said they didn’t have any. Although the coffee was nice, I found the food quite expensive. I was very impressed to see at least 9 wooden highchairs with straps and there was space to either leave the prams or have them beside some of the tables. To entertain the children, they had two bead maze toys, quite a few books and pictures to colour with pots of crayons. The restaurant does get really busy so perhaps time it well so you beat the lunchtime rush. We got there at 11:30 when they start serving food which was perfect. The accessible toilet has a drop down changing table with strap and is big enough to bring the pram in with you. There’s also a drop down changing table in the ladies’ toilet but the strap is broken and it’s in the communal area so if you prefer a bit of privacy, use the accessible toilet instead.
Your second choice is the cafe where the indoor play area is which sells drinks and sandwiches. There’s an indoor buggy area where they ask you to leave the prams/strollers – there isn’t much room between the tables and chairs. I could see at least 4 wooden highchairs with straps. The baby changing facilities are a drop down table (no strap) and can be found in a cubicle in both the male and female toilets. The female toilets also has a really large cubicle which has a toddler-sized toilet as well as a normal toilet which I think must be really useful for toilet-trained toddlers.
Your third choice is the ‘snack shack’ which serves a small range of food like hot dogs, hog roast, sausage rolls and teas and coffees (I think it’s open between 11-2pm ish). There is seating and a few small children’s tables and chairs. There was one highchair but it was home to the electric heater when I went in so felt I couldn’t use it. There aren’t any toilets in the snack shack but the toilet ‘huts’ are close by.
We now have an annual pass for West Lodge Rural Centre as it really is one of my favourite places to take Millie. Please do visit and let me know what you think!