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tried & tested

Goldings Farm & Tea Rooms

On Friday we headed to Golding's Rare Breed Farm. Having been meaning to visit for ages, we finally got around to catching up with some wonderful friends and meeting there.  What a treat!  I had no expectations to be fair prior to our visit, had heard good things, and had seen snippets online, but didn't really think too much about it.  I was keen for a catch up with a friend and for the children to be able to get muddy and play.    We were greeted by the lovely Morag, who explained to us how it works, you have free run of the farm pretty much, the children can roam free and you can join them or just relax and enjoy the peace and quiet and the cake! There was no need to book, although we had called and pre booked as it was Half Term, and we were worried about having disappointed children -  and none of us needs that!  The entrance fee is £11 for adults and £10 for children, I'm not going to lie I was mentally adding it up as she told me and was thinking that's a bit steep, but how wrong I was,  when I realised what was included it was so worth it and more, its all inclusive.  You are not just paying your entrance fee, you are paying for your food, drink and activities too.  

Before you visit, don’t expect a traditional play farm, with soft play, penned in animals and a shop full of plastic tat to buy, this is rustic, back to nature and everything roams free. But its pretty damn perfect. 

The farm is a huge open space, the children can run wild, play and be free. There are sheep and pigs roaming around, all of which are pretty friendly, or will just wander off it they don't want to be hassled by the children.  Ours were keen to explore and were soon clambering over fences and running off to a huge tree that had all sorts of swings hanging from it. Literally in their element, having the time of their lives.  Our children ranged from seven to three, two boys and two girls, all of whom are happy to get muddy and be outdoorsy. They played there for ages, and of course I totally had a go and joined in the swing fun - yes there are photos and a video - that are not being shared!   

 

We then headed into the woods for the Halloween Ninja Trail, which brought squeals of delight and much laughter at the Halloween decorations, including a witch on a toilet and some sawn off legs lying around.  The girls totally had a play fight with the legs, which they thought was wonderful. The idea is that they complete the ninja course and ring the bell loudly at the end to get a medal when they get back to the farm kitchen.  Not sure that ours did it in any particular order, they were all having a blast and were running around exploring, climbing, laughing and playing, so thats good with me. 

 

                                     

We headed back to the farm kitchen and seating area and were greeted with a tea and a hot chocolate, the children spent ages playing with the gorgeous farm kittens, three fluffy bundles of delight who are fortunately more than happy to be played with, cuddled, squished and endlessly picked up.  They also made charm bracelets and necklaces with halloween charms, all included in the entry fee. 

We decided it was time for a late lunch so we headed down to one of the tea rooms - a converted stable block makes really quirky individual rooms, and settled in.  Along came our feast.  Included in the entrance fee is unlimited food platters and unlimited squash and hot drinks. The children and us of course tucked in happily, and were soon onto our second platter, and refill of tea!  Loved the fact that along with the cakes, and sweet stuff is also a good serving of fruit which went down really well with our children. Pretty sure us mummy's naughtily stuck to the cake, but hey we need the sugar boost to keep up with the children right!  Can you just imagine how much you would spend on lunch at another farm, or play park?  Then with drinks on top too, and the endless snacks that the little darlings want.  I love the fact that it's all included at Golding’s, and you can ask for more.   

After they had eaten loads, Morag brought over Cakes for them to decorate, which went down really well. Icing, sprinkles and sweets - perfect cakes in their eyes!  They soon polished off all the remaining decorations and their cakes. 

The children all scarpered and were back over the fields to the tree swings and Claire and I sat happily enjoying the peace, with the odd piglet popping in to say hello.  It was so lovely. The children were having a great time.  Claire made a great point that not once had we had to say to them don't touch that, or keep the noise down, or behave, or worry about what they were up to. They could be totally free and wild and it was such a treat for us as well as for them. We could relax knowing they were having the best time being kids, enjoying nature and getting muddy.   Having a child with autism and adhd for me this was just bliss.  No judgement, no worries, just pure freedom to enjoy everywhere and be a child. 

We wandered down to the river and of course the children quickly followed.  Thank heavens for wellies and naturally ours were straight in splashing around, despite the chilly October day.  They had so much fun, and seeing as it was towards the end of the day neither of us minded.  They all literally poured the water from their wellies afterwards, but thats nothing a radiator cannot fix hey!  It's so beautiful to walk along the river, with Golding’s house in the background and a pair of swans swimming along. You really could be in the middle of nowhere, not just five minutes from Hertford town, and ten mins down the road from Welwyn Garden City.   It's a total switch off and a back to nature escape.  

I loved walking across the fields amongst the sheep and goats. I adored the piglets running around, they are just the cutest things. If you are not an animal fan and don’t like animals close to you as in roaming around then this is not the place for you, you might be best with a farm where they are penned in.  However if you like being close to nature and love the idea of the animals all being free to roam around then definitely pop by for a visit, I am sure you will not regret it. 

 
                 

I was literally in my element when we headed back to the farm kitchen to find a piglet snuggled up on the sofa, so happily snuggled in next to it.  Oh my goodness, piglet cuddles are just the best, it was cozied up, nuzzling into my hand.  The cutest little thing ever.  The kids barely got a look in, I was too busy enjoying the moment to share it, although Hallie did clamber up for a snuggle too. She cannot resit an animal cuddle. I caught her giving it a kiss - on its back  - not its mouth fortunately!

  

All had gone so well until I heard a shout, ‘oh no the pigs are out’ and I realised Grayson had gone into the area where the two adult and very large pigs were and had left the gate open and they were now running around.  So naturally Claire and I assisted with rounding them back up into their area, what a giggle.  I honestly do not think I have laughed so much in ages.  It was hilarious, I can now add ‘pig herder’ proudly to my cv!  There was us, the kids and cake involved and eventually we bribed both pigs back to where they belonged.  These are no small pigs I can assure you, but it was absolutely hysterical.  What a fun visit.  

I cannot wait to go back, I am already mentally planning a Childs party, a mummy chill out morning and more.  To be fair I’d like to go hang out there with the piglets on Monday morning once I have dropped the children at school.  Piglets, a cuppa and fresh air, sounds pretty perfect to me. 

To find out whats on at the farm pop over and give their Facebook page a like - https://www.facebook.com/GoldingsEstateTeaRoom

 

 

Pumpkins at The Pop Up Farm

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On Friday we managed to squeeze in a Pumpkin Patch visit after school. I'd booked a session in the hope that the weather would be kind, the children would all be wonderfully cooperative for photos and that we would not have a mad panic to get there after school. It was dry and fairly bright and we got there in plenty of time ......... two out of three is not bad right?! We took Dad with us, and the children were delighted to have Grandad there.

We went to the Pop Up Farm which we love and have been visiting since it opened back in 2017. For those of you unsure of where it is, the easiest way to explain is it's a turning off the roundabout for M1 junction 9 St Albans and Luton. It makes sense once you are there. But the postcode is AL3 8HT which is probably way more helpful than my explaining! But when you get there you will, at least I hope you will, acknowledge that my description makes sense.

On arrival you need to show your pre booked tickets, and are guided around the carpark to have them scanned, then you are shown to a parking space. It's so well organised.

Wellies and coats on and we were headed off to get our wheelbarrow! There are loads of clear sign boards dotted round with information about the patch, about pumpkins and their prices, and also a map of the site. There are also loads of friendly staff on hand to assist. Wheelbarrows were all being sanitised, as families returned them, so you knew every care was being taken to keep you as safe as possible. As it's an outdoor event, masks are not required, although of course social distancing needs to be followed.

There were quite a few families there, but there was still room to distance safely and to feel spread out, and not to have tonnes of people photo bombing your photos! Let's be honest we all want nice photos when we go to these places. The actual pumpkin patch is 12 acres, so is spacious enough.

There were loads of pumpkins and squash waiting to be picked. Of course my three soon loaded up our wheel barrow, and then of course were all fighting over who was getting a ride, who was pushing it, and whose turn it was next. Cue tears, strops and general chaos. Not my envisaged afternoon of beautiful photos and fun with pumpkins! One mummy hissy fit later and all were calm, cooperative and suitably bribed!


  

They actually loved gathering the pumpkins. For once there were not searching for the hugest ones, but the more quirky ones - I have trained them well! Hallie was looking for a tiny pumpkin and settled on a small green squash (don't ever tell her its not technically a pumpkin) which she has carried around with her for the past 24 hours like some kind of pet!

We are having an Autumn Trail event at school and need to decorate the outside of our houses in an Autumnal way - damn now I have the perfect excuse to buy ridiculous amounts of pumpkins. As if I need an excuse, I leave every year with a barrowful. I'm a sucker for a pumpkin. But this year if anyone questions why I have quite so many I'm sticking to the school event excuse.

There are actually quite a few photo opportunities dotted around the site for taking staged photos - suitably positioned hay bales with pumpkins on are just perfect for family shots, there is a cute pop up cafe, more hay bales as you come in which children love to climb on and run along, there are all the nice signs, and of course oooooodles of natural shots amongst the pumpkins.  

Its actually perfectly set up to fill all those mummy needs - retail therapy of the pumpkin kind, outdoor fun for the kids where they can let off some steam and burn off some energy, hopefully wearing themselves out by lifting all the heavy pumpkins, plenty of photo opportunities for instagram - I know thats what you are thinking, and they even have coffee / hot chocolate and snacks! Win, win, win!

               

I would recommend wellies if you are planning a visit - it was dry on Friday, we got lucky with that, but it was still muddy. Mummy fail - Hallie had her Ugg's on (actually annoyingly found her wellies in the boot today so had them with me all along!) and they are caked in mud - a job for Grandad on Monday! There were mums with prams and buggies, and they were managing fine, but if you can baby wear / drag your toddler along / carry / chuck them in the wheelbarrow it would probably be easier to be fair. Plus less cleaning to do when you get home. If your kids are anything like mine you will have enough washing to do as they wipe their muddy little paws all over their coats and clothes when they get dirty picking up the pumpkins.

Payment for pumpkins is by card only and they have contactless card readers. Pumpkins are measured and priced that way, there are signs up with prices and measurements but I'm not going to lie, I had no clue what was what, size wise, until it was our turn to pay. I was going to be buying them all anyway. Its all super efficient and really well organised.

We loaded up the car, and then headed back in to get hot chocolates and popcorn from the pop up pitstop to warm up before we left.

 

I would highly recommend a visit to the Pop Up Farm. To book tickets click here. Tickets must be booked in advance and from what I understand new tickets are released each week.

To follow my family and travel blog visit www.mummyismyfavouriteword.com 


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