Ever since our 10-year-old went to a birthday party at Sheriff Alpaca Experience in Sheriff Hutton near York, she’s been asking to go back as a family so we can see why she enjoyed it so much. Eventually, the persuasion paid off and we booked her and her sister (aged 8 and 10) for an alpaca walking experience at Sheriff Alpacas during the Easter bank holiday.
Sheriff Alpacas is a family-run business nestled in the picturesque Howardian Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The hills are known for their rolling countryside and pretty villages but they’re also brimming with family-friendly places to go, from Castle Howard to the Yorkshire Arboretum. Even on a busy bank holiday weekend, it was an easy 25-minute journey from home in York city centre.
As soon as we arrived at Sheriff Alpacas, we were greeted by Hannah, who was warm and welcoming. She told us all about the alpacas before introducing us to our walking companions for the afternoon, two gorgeous alpacas called Sundown and Rango. They’re so adorable that we all fell in love with them immediately. We were given instructions on how to walk the alpacas safely and set off on a stroll like no other.
The walk itself was lovely. We led the alpacas slowly down the farm track and through the woodland, with a few stops for photographs along the way. Hannah was incredibly knowledgeable about the alpacas and their habits, answering all our questions along the way and telling us lots of interesting facts about alpacas, from their gestation period (11.5 months!) to their fondness for spitting (llamas are a lot worse, apparently – our alpacas didn’t spit at all!). It turns out that alpacas are big fans of a selfie too, so we had a few photo stops and have some brilliant pictures with them. The walk was suitable for all ages, making it an ideal family activity. Even grumpy teenagers can’t fail to be won over!
The alpacas were calm and gentle throughout, and they made the perfect companions (even if they did fancy dropping to the ground for a sit down from time to time!). The kids were thrilled to be leading their furry friends (with the adults holding the end of the rein just in case), and they had a great time chatting to them, stroking them and watching what they were up to. As it was Easter, there was also a little Easter trail that was included in the admission price. The children counted the large Easter eggs dotted around the woods and were delighted to be given a little chocolate reward at the end.
After the walk, we said goodbye to the alpacas and had a little look around the shop, which sells lots of lovely alpaca gifts and things for the house. We were tempted by an alpaca wool duvet but would need to save up first! They’re not cheap but sound amazing. Thankfully there were some pocket money things on offer too, like magnets and keyrings as a nice souvenir of a lovely trip out.
Our trip to Sheriff Alpacas was an unforgettable experience that we’d wholeheartedly recommend to families looking for something quirky to do near York. The setting was stunning, the animals were totally lovable, and we left with a newfound love of these gorgeous creatures (and some funny photos too!).
Good to know
- Pre-booking is required
- Wear sturdy footwear as this is an outdoor adventure
- There’s a loo on site
- There are no refreshments on site, but plenty of places nearby
Sheriff Alpacas, Goodness Farm, Sheriff Hutton Rd, Strensall, York YO32 5TP – sheriffalpacaexperience.com