From tantrum-prone toddlers to tired teens, there’s one thing guaranteed to raise a smile: contact with a furry creature or two. Throw in an adventure playground, and it’s a recipe for a successful family trip. One of our favourite days out with animals is Beetle Bank Farm in Murton, a very short drive from York. We went along again with our two girls (9 and 7) to see if it’s still a recipe for a good day out in York with children. Here are the five reasons we recommend Beetle Bank Farm for families living in and visiting York.
1. You can feed the animals
Clutching paper bags bulging with feed that we’d bought from the ticket office (a very reasonable 50p each), we headed straight for the barn to be greeted by a bunch of lovely animals in the mood for a snack.
Cute calves, gorgeous goats and sweet little baby lambs were all extremely excited to see us, and more than happy to gently snaffle the food from our hands. It was so lovely to get up close to them and give them a stroke. We watched the rabbits lapping from their water bottles, giggled at the guinea pigs rushing about and counted the tiny ducklings, cuddled up under a warm lamp. We could have stayed longer, but the adventure playground beckoned…
2. Play options for children of all ages
Located in the countryside just outside York, Beetle Bank Farm is lucky to have enough green space for plenty of space to play. There’s an adventure playground, with basket swings, slides, things to balance on, hang off and jump off. Older children will be delighted to see that there’s a zip wire, and there’s a set of goal posts with plenty of footballs to kick about, too. Our girls spent ages running from the swings to the zip wire and everything in between. We took a walk across to the alpaca and to see the ponies, too.
For younger children, there’s a great little covered area with ride-on toys and a little ball pool, and there’s even a covered sandpit and play house with a toy kitchen. Parents can sit down and and relax at one of the picnic tables while their little ones play (in theory at least). One of Beetle Bank Farm’s strengths is its size: it’s compact enough to feel manageable and safe but large enough for children to run free. When the weather’s good, there’s even a big inflatable that will keep children happy for hours.
3. You can cuddle the animals
If we enjoyed feeding the animals, we REALLY enjoyed cuddling them. We headed back to the barn at our allocated time (we booked in when we arrived) and settled ourselves down for some serious fur-stroking time. The girls chose to hold a selection of adorable animals, from shaggy guinea pigs to snow white rabbits and even a stunning yellow gosling! They talked about it for days afterwards, so it’s safe to say they loved it. Grown-ups: prepare yourselves for a lot of pet-related requests…
4. Somewhere to eat and plenty of space for a picnic
What makes Beetle Bank Farm even more special is that it’s one of the few attractions in York that’s family-run and independent. There’s a nice little cafe serving local hot and cold food and drink that’s more charming than the usual chain offerings. If you’d rather take your own food, there are plenty of picnic benches and oodles of space to put down a blanket.
5. There are fun seasonal activities
The animals and play areas are there to enjoy all year round, but it’s worth keeping an eye out for special activities, especially during the school holidays. They even have summer camping events, ideal for anyone wanting to spend a night on the farm under canvas.
Good to know
- – Parking is free, and the car park can get busy during the holidays so it’s worth getting there early
- – Under 2s go free
- – Pre-booking isn’t required but you can pre-book through the website if you like
- – Annual passes are available if you think you’ll visit a few times
- – If you’re in the market for a new addition to the family, they often have rabbits and other creatures available to adopt as pets.