The county of Essex is packed full of rich history. Did you know that Colchester is Britain’s oldest town and the coastline of Essex stretches over 350 miles? That’s the distance from London to Germany!
With lots to explore and see, there are many fun filled days out with toddlers and younger children indoors and out across the region.
Scroll down to discover our top Essex children’s petting farms that are perfect for a weekday farm visit with toddlers.
“I love exploring Essex farm attractions with my little one on weekdays when the older children are at school. It’s much quieter to visit during term time, and we make some wonderful memories together!”
Hollow Trees Farm
Hollow Trees Farm, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP7 6HX
Just 12 miles outside of Colchester lies Hollow Trees Farm, open 365 days a year – there is always something for toddlers to see and do! Wonder around the Farm Trail where you can get up close to lots of animals, including cheeky goats and magestic cows. There’s also lots of outdoor play to be had, including rope swing for older children and Foxhole Slide in Pogal’s Pit. Your little ones will also love ‘Semer Beach’, a sandpit where they can play happily in any weather!
A farm visit wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the café, where you can enjoy farm cooked produce using meat from Hollow Trees Farm and produce from their farm shop, plus a child friendly menu which is sure to tickle their tastebuds!
Hasty’s Adventure Farm
West Rd, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, CO15 1AG, United Kingdom
Hasty’s Adventure Farm is a family run farm packed with lots of outdoor fun, situated in Clacton-on-Sea. In the Animal Barn toddlers can, say hello to their lovely pig Rosie and get up close to calves, lambs and chicks too. You can also see many of their larger and older animals enjoying the paddocks in the great outdoors. Don’t miss the flock of Jacob sheep and their young plus the trio of alpacas; Mac, Basil and Pablo.
The adventure continues with the largest outdoor play area in East Anglia, under the cover of the round house. With many activities to take part in, not forgetting the climbing wall and tunnel slides. Why not also challenge your family to a race on the go-karts or even the grass sledges? The kids will also love playing in the large sand pit with diggers and buckets and spades, plus a water pump! Toddlers can build their own playhouses out of lego blocks, climb logs and get down and dirty in the mud kitchen.
Old MacDonald’s Farm
Weald Rd, Brentwood, Essex, CM14 5QJ
Old MacDonald’s Farm is best known for being one of the top family days out in Essex, with lots to see and explore for all ages!
With over 30 species of animals at the farm, you’ll be able to get the chance to meet and get up close to some of them. Not forgetting meerkats, pigs, wallabies, rabbits, ponies and their wonderful European Eagle Owl Annie.
There’s also many rides and amusements at the park, why not take a ride on the Doggy Dog Rollercoaster and Crazy Barn Ride?
Wet weather – no problem! They have two indoor areas that the little ones can go wild in, the Battle Barn and Porkies Adventure Play with soft play cannons and indoor soft play area and ball pool where you can also grab a refreshment or two from the on-site café (very tasty kids lunch boxes too!).
Barleylands Farm Park
Barleylands Farm Office, Barleylands Rd, Billericay, Essex, CM11 2UD
The very core of Barleylands Farm Park in Billericay is farm life, with lots of farmyard friends including goats, sheep, chickens and ponies to name a few. They also have regular birds of prey demonstrations and a chance to get up close to some of the exotics.
Adventures also expand into the great outdoors with acres of fresh space where the whole family can go wild in the play areas or Speedway, have a wander through the Wildlife Walk or Aviary, don’t forget to take a ride on the Barrel Train Ride and race round the Farm-ula 1 race track. Toddlers have their own designated play area, so they can play safely with their own slide and pint-sized frame.
Worked up an appetite? They have 2 on-site eateries where you can refuel with delicious sandwiches and tasty cakes, the Tiptree Tea Room & Café also has a child friendly menu!
Lee Valley Park Farms
Stubbins Hall Ln, Waltham Abbey, Essex, EN9 2EE
Lee Valley Park Farms is situated in Waltham Abbey, it provides a fun filled family day out with lots to discover.
Become friends with the adorable animals including friendly goats, cuddly sheep, and rare breed pigs. Don’t forget to meet their exotic species as well such as the mischievous meerkats and bearded dragon.
There’s also lots of play on offer at Lee Valley Park Farms, why not whizz down the slide in Alpine Adventure and jump for joy on the giant jumping pillows? If the weather isn’t being kind, there’s plenty of indoor play to be had with the little ones in the Bundle Barn.
Feeling hungry? Their on-site cafe has something on offer for everyone, big kids and small – your tummy will thank you for it!
Please Note: information included in this article is correct at time of publishing. Due to current government guidelines related to COVID-19 some attractions and facilities may differ. Please check each individual attractions website before you visit