White Elm Petting Farm has been our favourite day out since Frankie was around 6 months old. I hate big farms, I don’t have the money to spend £20 on entry nor do I think the fee is ever worth it unless it is height of season and there is lots going on so I absolutely adore visiting smaller farms such as White Elm Petting Farm in Bicknacre, Danbury. (& Ashlyns Farm Park & Softplay, Epping)
It’s a lovely garden centre (White Elm Garden Centre) with loads of little huts/shops and also has a tea rooms attached to it as well as Yankee candles, a florist, cards and loads of other garden bits. I wish my Nan was still here so I could take her she would of absolutely loved going there, especially for the cakes! It’s a little off the beaten track but from us in Wickford it only takes us around 20 minutes to visit.
The petting zoo and softplay barn are out the back with all the fish rescued, which Frankie loves feeding as they provide fish food with a ‘honesty tin’ to put in 50p to go towards looking after them.
Entry is under £10 for BOTH OF US and under 2’s go free, on your 6th visit you can go in for free as they also run a loyalty card scheme. They provide wellies for a fee to hire which is great as it is sometimes quite muddy over there and food for the animals which is £1 a bucket. White Elm – Entrance Fees.
As you walk in there is an outside play area with slides, a swing, tractor ride-ons and a sand area with a digger pit. There are a few picnic benches too and the area is enclosed so you don’t have to worry about escapees!
The farm holds over 100 animals, pygmy goats, chickens, alpacas, wallabies, pigs, donkeys and deer & more. Frankie loves feeding the goats as you can see, the same goats seem to attract him every time we go in! They also have their own trampoline! (the goats I mean!)
Frankie loves feeding all the different animals, even if he is mostly pouring it onto the floor but he tries!
More times we’ve been than not, there are always workers feeding them or mucking them out and they’re always happy to stop and chat or get the chickens/rabbits out for the kids. You can tell they are really well looked after and the animals are always interactive with the guests.
My favourite, the pigs!
They also have made little dens and tunnels from bamboo and wood which are dotted around the farm area which Frankie loves to crawl and hide in!
The softplay barn is a perfect size for younger ones, you can see the frame from wherever you sit and there is an under 2’s area also. There is a big slide and trampoline in the area as well as rollers and other softplay bits for them to run into! They also have little tikes cars, kitchens, jumparoo and racing cars dotted around.
How was he ever this small (& chunky!)
The food at The Snack Shack in the softplay barn is also really nice, paninis, jacket potatoes and their cakes are lovely, their eton mess and carrot cakes are unreal!
Frankie was lucky enough to be invited to a friend’s 3rd birthday party there in May which was fantastic, we had a guided tour of all the animals, they got them out to pet and feed and the birthday girl got to go in and meet the wallabies and deer! It was a great day and we had exclusive hire of the softplay too and they do character hire, we met Elsa! The look on the birthday girl’s face was priceless! White Elm – Party Options
We’ve also had a roast dinner in the Garden Centre itself on days we have gone and the food in there is also lovely, if sometimes a little slow at times, but their beef is lovely so you can truly make a day of it and re-enter the petting farm afterwards! White Elm – Tea Rooms
Lastly, there is a lovely little farm shop out of the front selling local fruit, vegetables, meats and lovely seasonings/Tiptree jams and other great finds to eat up!
White Elm is truly is our favourite little gem to visit! Next on the cards an annual pass for the both of us!
White Elm Garden Centre, White Elm Road, Bicknacre, Danbury, CM3 4LR.
Dare I say the C word.. I don’t know if the tickets are yet out but last year we visited Father Christmas at White Elm and had a magical experience which I would highly recommend. Frankie got a toy and Father Christmas was more than happy to pose for pictures with us afterwards and really interacted with him for a good 10 minutes. The entrance to the Father Christmas Experience was decorated really well too with a toy room to sweet room and interactive animals, so on the wait we were entertained. Hopefully we will be lucky enough to go again this year!
The Garden Centre itself also has lovely decorations and trees to buy.