Best of British: Petting farms

There's something strangely therapeutic about petting a fluffy rabbit or bottle feeding a newly born lamb. Get back to nature with seven of the nation's best petting farms. 

Cotswold farm park, Cotswolds

Cotswold farm park
Image via Cool Places

Cotswold Farm Park is owned by the nation’s favourite farmer, Countryfile’s Adam Henson. When he’s not filming for the show, Henson is hard at work on his farm and working on conservation projects.

Open to the public since 1971, the park is now home to over 50 breeds of animal and is open for 10 months of the year.

The park’s touch barn gives both adults and children the chance to pet the farm’s smaller residents, including chicks and rabbits. Visitors can also bottle feed some baby goats and lambs. Head to the demo barn to watch the farmers lambing, milking, shearing and more.  



Abbotsbury children’s farm, Dorset

 Abbotsbury children’s farm, Dorset
Image via New Young Mum

This picturesque farm is set in the idyllic ruins of St Peter’s Monastery. Look forward to duck racing, pony riding, goat feeding, pet holding and lots more. 

A well-stocked cafe provides for tired adults while the kids can enjoy the soft play area, which includes a bouncy castle. 

Abbotsbury is a beautiful village with plenty of other attractions, including a swannery and some sub-tropical gardens, so it may be worth staying for a few days.



Down at the Farm, Sunderland

holding a chick

This petting farm calls itself the North's most interactive children's farm, and the small family run patch has been in Sunderland since the 18th century. 

As well as all the traditional farm animals, Animal Fun Farm is home to reindeer, snowy owls, meerkats, raccoons and reptiles.

A day spent at this farm could see you washing a pig, holding a chick, grooming a donkey, cuddling a bunny, feeding lambs and even meeting Zena the 17ft python; yikes!

Other activities on offer include tractor rides and junior quad biking or special Easter events like an egg hunt and magic shows. 



Odds Farm Park, Buckinghamshire

 Odds Farm Park, Buckinghamshire
Sheep racing at the farm. Image via Odds Farm

Odds Farm is known for its population of endangered, or rare farm breeds. Some of their pig breeds have less than 200 breeding sows left in the world. 

As well as encountering these rare animals, there's plenty on offer to keep the whole family entertained.

Enjoy the adventure maze, bottle-feed the goats, brush the animals, milk the cows, cheer on a sheep race, drive around on go-karts and meet the baby animals. 



Foel Farm Park, Anglesey, Wales

foel farm park anglesey
Piglets at Foel Farm. Image via Wonderfully Wild

With unique views of Caernarfon Castle, the Menai Strait and Snowdonia, this beautiful farm is a stunning location for a day spent with nature. 

Visitors can enjoy rides on tractors, quad bikes, ponies and trailers with plenty of opportunities to feed the animals. 

As the farm is located right next to the beach, why not make your trip a long weekend?



Turoe Pet Farm, Loughrea, Ireland


Now one of the leading visitor attractions in the West of Ireland, Turoe Pet Farm is open all year round. 

Meet Larry the llama and Curley the alpaca as you make your way around the beautiful park.

Easter is celebrated with an egg hunt, and an appearance from the Easter bunny himself. 

History buffs might also know of the farm as the homeplace of the Turoe Stone. It's a ritual stone dating from the 2nd-3rd century B.C and is covered with a Celtic pattern known as Le Tene Art.




East Links Family Park, Dunbar, Scotland

East Links Family Park
Image via East Links Family Park

Hop on the train safari and get up close and personal with animals in their paddocks at East Links Family Park.

There's also crazy golf, climbing walls, go karts and the small animals barn, where visitors can pet rabbits, guinea pigs, chicks, ducklings and goslings. 

Make sure you don't miss lambing season, where the farm is full of adorable baby animals like foals, kids and piglets.

Keep an eye on their Facebook page for videos of the new arrivals.