What to do with the kids in the summer holidays.

Photo of Don Pepper



By Don Pepper

Summer is approaching as are the school holidays when parents pull out their hair trying to find things to do with their offspring! To help out we are going to be running a series of articles on family days out that are in easy reach of Finchley.

Set in the beautiful countryside around London Colney ‘The Willows Farm Village’ offers a great day out for all of the family. The fairground area especially the rides tend to be aimed mainly at younger children however, the activities will appeal to children of all ages, (I’m 60 and loved it).

The Willows photo

As you enter the gates there is a barn with ‘Captain Chickens Egg Dodge’, this is a paint-ball type game firing soft woollen eggs from cannons, and will probably thrill the dad’s even more than the kids. Continuing around the barn, there are piglets, Guinea pigs, goats and many other cuddly animals.

On leaving the barn there is a fairly sizeable children’s fairground as well as farmyard animals on display. This is also where you get the stunning scenery of the Colne Valley. Although the river running along the bottom of the fairground is only a stream at this point, there are two lakes behind this that are open for fishing and provide some lovely walks. There are also a number of other country walks that you can take from the farm.

Among the amusements are a workout play area, Frisbee golf, tree house adventures and Tristan the Runaway Tractor, (a commentated tour of the farm.

The Willows photo

Among the farmyard animals on display, there are a number of unusual animals on display including Reindeer, Wallabies, Tortoises and my particular favourites Alpacas, a relative of Llamas. There is a falconry containing exotic species, including owls and vultures. They have daily flying displays some of the birds

The Willows photo

The farm also specialises in educational activities in a fun way. As well as the falconry display, they have farmyard ferret fun, sheep-stakes, animal handling and much more.

The farm itself has a number shops in the grounds, including a fab farm shop.

Prices: adults £12:50, children £13:50 and children under two free – Yes, this IS correct!

Although this may sound a bit pricey, compared to other better known tourist attractions such as London Zoo, Madam Tussaudes or The London Eye, there is so much to do that I thought it good value for money.

The Willows photoFor eating and drinking

There is a reasonably priced cafe/restaurant in the farm village, a McDonalds as you enter London Colney and at least three nice pubs, all do food in London Colney proper.

The Willows photoGetting there by public transport.

Bus 84 goes from New Barnet Station to St Albans and can be picked up in High Barnet from the bus-stop opposite High Barnet Station.

Monday to Friday every 15 minutes, Saturday every 20 minutes but Sunday is only an hourly service and runs about half past the hour every hour. The journey from Barnet takes approximately 30 minutes.

Alight at the first bus stop as you enter London Colney, walk back to the roundabout, turn right and follow the signs. Be careful of the roads in this area, they are a bit dodgy.

If you know of any great family days out that are within in fairly easy reach of Finchley and would like us to cover this then contact don.pepper@finchleyarrow.co.uk or even better, if you would like to have a go at writing about your favourite family day out, contact the editor at andrew.taylor@finchleyarrow.co.uk.
The Willows photo

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