A couple of weeks ago we had a day out at Thornton Hall Farm Country Park, near Skipton in North Yorkshire. It’s an open farm, where there are various activities for kids along with an opportunity to meet the animals.
Thornton Hall is a relatively small farm, but with a variety of animals – llamas, donkeys, ponies, sheep, emus, cows, rabbits, ducks, pigs, chickens, goats and guinea pigs. We made it in time to feed the orphaned lambs and calves – Lizzie was a bit young but older kids enjoyed it. There were regular petting sessions with the rabbits and guinea pigs.
Although Thornton Hall lacks an indoor soft play area, there are sandpits, a large slide for older kids, and space to drive toy tractors. Lizzie was just about big enough for the smallest tractors. There was also a small outside play area.
There’s a small café with reasonably good food, but not much space to sit inside. We visited on a quiet day but I would imagine that you would need to sit outside on busier days.
Available at extra cost were a ‘safari’ tour in a 4×4 around the fields, a shorter ‘caterpillar’ tour, and pony trekking. The caterpillar was a series of converted plastic drums with wheels, linked together and hauled by a quad bike around the farm. With Lizzie being rather small, we didn’t pay extra for these but may consider it on a return trip.
Thornton Hall farm isn’t very big, and would probably be of more interest for older kids. I think Lizzie was a bit young – maybe once she’s two years old or more, that she’ll be able to get more out of a visit. But it was a nice, and relatively inexpensive day out – especially on weekdays, when it’s just £5 for one parent and one toddler. I think we’ll go back again in future.