What could be more “Suffolk” than a trip to the farm? If you’re currently staying in our glorious county, or visiting the area as a family, delve into country life at Easton Farm Park!
Built in the late 1800s, Easton Farm Park was the second farm park in the UK upon its opening in 1974 and has been offering a unique mix of typical farm fun in a setting of historic buildings and countryside ever since. Despite the Park sitting a little off the beaten track at just over 3 miles off the A12, the route is well signposted as it leads you along winding country roads. There is a spacious gravel car park and the site is both wheelchair accessible with plenty of room for buggies.
We were greeted by a friendly member of staff at the entrance to the Park who gave us leaflets with the list of activities scheduled at the Park over the course of the day, as well as a map of the Park and challenges for the kids to win farm stickers and a map of the Green Trail.
Admission to the Park includes activities such as pony rides, train rides, hug a bunny, meet a Suffolk Punch and more! Tickets are £9 for Adults, £8 for Children (aged between 2 to 16 years old) and Unders 2s are free. You can alternatively buy a Family ticket for £32 which admits 2 adults and 2 children, and season tickets are also available.
Our first animal encounter was with a rather lovely group of goats, who cheekily tried to get us to feed them. After realising we, unlike the group of children before us, didn’t have any food for them, they decided to sit and sun themselves instead. Animal feed can be purchased from the gift shop should you wish to treat the animals as you walk around. We wandered on to see chickens and chicks in pens enjoying the sun almost as much as the goats.
The Park is also home to Suffolk Punches, the iconic breed of the county, which we came across next. Iconic but also rare, it is wonderful to see these stunning horses at Easton Farm Park as there is the very real danger that we will lose this breed in the all too near future. The admission price includes “meet a Suffolk Punch” and children were enthralled to see these magnificent horses. It was refreshing to see children, often inundated with technology in the age of smartphones, interacting so much with nature. One of the best things about this Park is the interaction between visitors and the animals. Many of the animals are very tame, although it is recommended that parents with small children are cautious nonetheless!
We met Tom Thumb, a miniature Shetland pony who takes part in the pony rides. He popped his head over the stable door as we approached, seeming to say hello. After making a fuss of him we headed over to Pets Corner to see an array of rabbits and guinea pigs in various degrees of fluffiness, shapes and sizes. The walls are decorated with information and fun facts about the animals, and it is also here where the “hug a bunny” activity is offered at certain times of the day.
Another highlight was the way in which children can interact with the history of farming, and where their food originates. Be sure to visit the Victorian Dairy complete with original tools, as well as the museum, which aims to educate children about different animals roles on the farm.
There are also pigs and sheep on the farm, as well as a variety of chickens and guinea fowl in the large Poultry Pen and a Mini Farm Trail to explore. We walked some of the Green Trail which takes you around the Park to meet alpacas and sheep, as well as around the distributaries of the River Deben. Kingfishers have been spotted here, although there are more common sightings of mute swans and ducks. There is also a field of cows which currently has several newborn calves, and there are two baby donkeys at the Farm Park as well who are incredibly cute.
The Barmy Barn Cafe was very reasonably priced, offering a wide range of tasty treats including sandwiches and baguettes, cakes and cream teas, jacket potatoes and hot and cold drinks. Keep the kids happy with Easton Farm Park’s specially prepared lunchboxes, and make sure to enjoy the wifi as you re-fuel. If the rain threatens to spoil the day’s activities, it’s also a perfect place to take shelter as there is another play area inside and ample chairs and tables. There is a large sheltered picnic area should you wish to bring your own picnic or simply want to escape into some shade.