We recently went to visit Willows Activity Farm based in St. Albans. My daughters both love animals so we love to seek out new places to see them. This is a Willows Activity Farm review based on their normal calendar, which runs across the majority of the year.

Willows Activity Farm ReviewWillows activity farm review

What and where is it?

Willows Activity Farm is family friendly farm based just in outside North London. The farm is full day out for everyone, but is mostly suitable for younger children.

There is plenty of free parking on the farm, which only tends to get really busy during the summer holidays.

How much is it?

Depending on the time of year it costs approx £12 for adults and £14 for children (under 2s are free). You can save money on tickets by buying them the day before online.

For the price you get access to almost everything in the farm including:

  • soft play
  • tractor rides
  • live shows
  • playgrounds
  • bouncy castles
  • rides
  • maze

Best BitsWillows activity farm review

As a mum the best thing for me about the farm, is that the majority of activities/rides are included within the price. This means you don’t have to deal with any arguments with the kids, asking to spend more money on expensive extras.

For my toddler the best bits about the farm were:

  • The animals – as you would expect with a farm there are plenty of animals to see, there are areas to pet smaller animals like rabbits, animal feeding areas and there is even areas to watch animals track race.
  • The live shows – throughout the day there are several live shows preformed by Petter Rabbit and his friends, my daughter loved singing and dancing along.
  • The Peter Rabbit adventure playground – a relatively new addition to the farm, it is a beautifully designed play area for all children.
  • The soft play – there is a wonderful soft play area situated next to the cafe, this means you can pick a spot to eat and the kids can run around.

What could be better?

The cafe does get busy at lunch time and could probably be bigger. You need to get there in plenty of time to secure a spot.

The toilets are very well designed and suitable for children, however there could be a few more of them around the park. My experience of going with young toddlers is they always need the toilet when you’re not near one!

Overview

Willows activity farm review

We loved visiting Willow Activity Farm and recently returned to attend their Christmas Spectacular event, review can be found here.

We think it’s a wonderful day trip for younger children. It’s particularly good for children aged 2 to 8 who would get the most from the playgrounds and live shows. In my opinion its one of the best overall farms for a full day trip and definitely worth a visit at any time of year.

I hope you enjoyed my Willows Activity Farm review, see here my review on Peppa Pig World.

Willows activity farm review

During the summer we took my two daughters to visit Peppa Pig World. It was our first time visiting there as both of our girls are Peppa mad. This is my Peppa Pig World Review, all opinions are my own and this is based on our personal experience.

Peppa Pig World

What and where is it?

Peppa Pig World is part of Paultons Park based in the New Forest, England. Paultons Park is a theme park in its own right with over 70 rides. Peppa Pig World sits inside the theme park as a distinct area.

If your never heard of Peppa Pig I’m not sure where you have been! You can discover more about this pink pig and her friends here.

Peppa Pig World contains rides, life-size figurines, food outlets, a gift shop and a chance to meet your favourite characters.

How much is it?

Depending on when you go it costs just under £20 a head to get into the whole park. It’s the same price for adults and children.

Children under a metre in height go in free but this is with shoes on. As a warning they are super strict on it so if you child is bang on a metre you will have to pay.

The total cost for a whole family can be a bit off putting, but you do get a lot for you money if you maximise a full day there.

Best Bits

The best bit for me as an adult was watching the amazement in my daughters eyes. She honestly couldn’t contain her excitement from being there.

In my toddlers opinion the best bits were the rides and getting to meet Peppa and George.

Our favourite rides were Grandpa Pigs Boat Trip, George’s Dinosaur Adventure and Peppa Pig’s Balloon Ride. All the rides are suitable for toddlers and some are even ok for babies which makes Peppa Pig World very inclusive.

Peppa and George have set times to come out so you can meet them. You can queue up to have a short meet and greet and take photos. They also walk around Peppa Pig World so the children can wave and talk to their favourite characters. This was wonderful for the little ones.

Not to be forgotten is the rest of Paultons Park! We were so glad we didn’t spend the whole day just in Peppa Pig World as the park has lots of other areas to it. There are the gardens and lake,  birds and animals, the lost Kingdom (dinosaur theme area) and plenty of other rides.

With my toddler we thought we would be limited to only Peppa Pig World but she was able to go on many more including the Raging River Login Flume, Seal Falls, Digger Ride and the traditional carousel.

She loved the log flume so much we ended up going on it 6 times!

What could be better?

We went after the school summer holidays on a weekday and Peppa Pig World was still busy.  We had to queue for everything including the rides and meet and greet. Toddlers and queuing do not mix so be prepared to find other things to keep them occupied.

Typically for a theme park the food choices were rather limited. In the majority of outlets choice was generally between burger or hotdogs with chips.

Overview

Peppa Pig World and Paultons Park makes for a wonderful day trip with the children. It is a brilliant for Peppa Pig fans, but I’m sure those who aren’t would get a lot from it as well.

We are planning on going again next year, as my almost three-year old still talks about her day seeing Peppa.

I hope this Peppa Pig World Review has been helpful for you, thanks for reading.

Squires Garden Centre Christmas Circus reviewToday I took my girls with their cousin to the Squires Garden Centre to see the Christmas Circus. This is my own personal Squires Garden Centre Christmas Circus review.

The show is running across Christmas and then post-Christmas is followed by a traditional circus up until New Year.

Squires is a national chain of garden centres, running for about 80 years. They sell plants, garden equipment and also gifts.

Squires Garden Centre Christmas Circus Review

What is it?

I’d never heard of a Christmas circus either. As my daughters are under three they have never been to a circus before so I thought that this sounded like an interesting event to go to.

As the circus is aimed at young children the acts are kept quiet tame. In Stanmore where we attended they had balancing, juggling, aerial and comedy acts.

All of our children aged 6, 2 and 10 months seemed to enjoy the show. Laughing, gasping and clapping along which is all you could hope for really.

In reality there is little to do with Christmas within the acts, just a few nods to the season such as Christmas music and some snow themed equipment. However it doesn’t really matter there is  Christmas atmosphere as you sit in the cold wrapped up in layers!

The show last about an hour which is enough for the young children and the adults. For myself I found the acts cheesy at times, but they were pitched at the right level for young children to enjoy most.

What’s included?

Meeting Santa at Squires

Tickets include entrance for the circus and the hours performance, followed by a very brief meet and greet with Santa and a small gift.

Extras you can buy when there are snacks such as popcorn and candy floss, and toys such as glow sticks.

Where is it on?

Squires has a number of Garden Centres across the U.K. and the following branches are holding the Christmas Circus:

Badshot Lea – Hosted by Ringmaster Attila Endresz with Billy the clown. Featuring new jaw-dropping acts: Aerial umbrella & rope, Bounce juggling, Cube manipulation, Gym ball acrobatics, Mind-blowing illusions and The Incredible Mr Slinky.

Shepperton – Hosted by Ringmaster Laci Schlinlof with clowns Bumble & Picolo. Featuring new jaw-dropping acts: Ariel cube, Knife throwing, Trapeze, Bubble fantasy, Slack-wire balancing and Juggling.

Stanmore – Hosted by Ringmaster Chris Balthrop with Andrea the clown. Featuring new jaw-dropping acts: Aerial skills, Aerial cube, Uni-cycling, Juggling, Rola rola balancing and Rolling globes.

Washington – Hosted by Ringmaster Ross with Pip the clown. Featuring new jaw-dropping acts: Ariel straps, Rola rola balancing, Juggling, Bounce juggling on drums and Ariel ropes.

Is it worth it?

If you are looking for a fun experience for the children this is great one to choose. It’s a cheesy, funny and enjoyable family friendly experience. At £12 a ticket it won’t break the bank too much.

However if you were looking for a more immersive Christmas experience, there are other events on around the UK which would offer this better. If you are based in North West London look at my other post on what to do in Harrow and surrounding area this Christmas. Hopefully that will give you some inspiration during the festive period.

In the run up to Christmas there is a bounty of festive events happening in Harrow (North West London) and the surrounding area. These events are lots of fun for the whole family. They are sure to make you feel extra Christmassy!

Best activities for the family this Christmas in Harrow and surrounding area

Christmas Markets
Christmas Markets selling festive treats and gifts.

Christmas in Harrow (30th Nov-3rd Dec) – Christmas traders @ St Ann’s shopping centre.
Duck Pond Ruislip Christmas Markets3rd Dec Foodies Christmas market and 16th/17th Dec Christmas Artisan market.

Christmas Festivals/Events
Keep your eye on dates for Christmas Festivals in the area for a fun day out.

Pinner Panto (30th Nov) – a pantomime theme evening on Pinner High Street. Expect entertainment, late night shopping and lights (including fireworks).
Coca Cola Truck Watford Tesco/Asda (6th/7th Dec) – see the Coca Cola Christmas Truck.
Santa Dash Northwood (9th Dec) – watch or join in with this Santa dash race in aid of Michael Sobell Hospice.
Santa Dash Pinner (10th Dec) – Santa dash race in aid of St. Luke’s Hospice. 
Headstone Manor Frost Fair (9th/10th Dec) – celebrating the grand opening of the new museum. Event will include stalls, entertainment and food.
Rotary Club Santa Sleigh Pinner (13th-21st Dec) – yearly event where Santa’s sleigh travels the streets of Pinner collecting for charity.
Rudolph Rave Watford (7th Dec) – Christmas themed family Rave.

Visit Santa
There are lots of interesting options for seeing the big man this Christmas

intu WatfordSanta’s grotto with reindeer.
Squires Stanmore Christmas Circusa Christmas themed circus and meet and greet with Santa.
Willows Farm St. AlbansChristmas spectacular on the farm.
Odds Farm Christmas FestivalSanta and Elves full festival at the farm.
Santa Train at Ruislip Lidotake a trip on this magical train ride to see Santa.
Santa Narrowboat Canal Tripride on a Narrowboat to visit Santa.

Children’s Parties
Fun childrens Christmas themed events/parties

Christmas Sk8 Party (16th/17th Dec) – roller skating disco at Harrow Leisure Centre.
Jimmy Jamtots Christmas Party @ The Windmill Studios (15th Dec) – Christmas themed party for pre school children.

Pantomimes/Theatre
Lots of theatre fun during the festive period 

Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood @ Claremont High School
The Wizard of Oz @ Harrow Arts Centre
Peter Pan @ Wembley Arena
Aladdin @ Beck Theatre, Hayes
The Nutcracker @ Watford Colosseum
Aladdin @ Watford Palace Theatre

Soft play centres are great places to go with the kids when its raining or if you have half a day to kill. They are especially good for toddlers as they provide a secure, safe place so they can really let off some steam. Each centre will have it’s own unique set of rules you have to follow. But I think there are some universal unwritten rules for taking your toddler, which should help you get the most out of your visit.

My 10 rules for soft play with toddlers

1. Always take socks for the kids – even in the middle on the summer you don’t want your kids running around with bare feet.

2. Always take your own socks – it will just be your luck that your child is the one who gets stuck at the top when you’re wearing flip-flops!

3. Avoid half term (if you can) – the age demographic completely changes as the older kids are let loose.

4. Secure your territory – it’s key to get table in a prime position so you can watch your kids whilst enjoying a cuppa.

5. Take your own snacks – if they have a cafe some places won’t let you eat your own food, but if they do it’s a lot cheaper and convenient to take your own.

6. Work out where the toilets are when you arrive – with all the excitement it is highly likely you won’t get told your child needs a wee until the last-minute. You need to know the quickest route.

7. Keep an eye on what your child’s up to – you don’t want to be the Mum who is completely oblivious to any misbehaving.

8. Meet up with friends – you can have a chat and a drink, and there’s less chance you will be dragged on to the equipment if they have a buddy.

9. Go during your toddlers most active time – the key to soft play is to get your little one get as worn out as possible, so they have a long nap once you leave.

10. Finally, note what time you arrived – most soft play centres have a limit on how long you can stay and they will find you if you over stay.

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