This was actually our second visit; our first was in September last year, when Lizzie was 9 months old. I seem to remember her being asleep for a lot of it. This time, she was awake the whole time, and seemed to really enjoy herself.
The main attractions are the barns where the farm animals live. The barns are designed for visitors, with raised viewing platforms at the back. The first four barns are for the pigs, several of which had piglets; then there are cow barns, and a rare breeds barn with a wide variety of animals. These include goats, donkeys, llamas, alpacas and rare breed pigs. To access these barns, you pass through a small animals shed, and there are regular rabbit and guinea pig handling sessions.
The farm is also home to some meerkats – not typical farm animals, but popular with visitors. Elsewhere, there’s a roundhouse with some more animals, and sheep and ferret racing events.
What makes the farm a great place for families is the soft play barn. It’s huge – one of the biggest I’ve seen, with an extensive area for the under 4s. There’s a large café attached, with some of the produce coming from the farm. You can sip prosecco whilst your kids throw themselves down a giant slide, should you wish to. Bigger kids can also play in the outdoor play areas.
Childrens’ parties are big business for Cannon Hall Farm, and there are several bookable party rooms. If we lived more locally, we’d probably consider it for one of Lizzie’s birthdays.
Outside the main entrance (and therefore open to the public without paying for entry) is a restaurant called The Black Bull. Again, some of the food comes from the farm, and it’s good quality food at a reasonable price. There’s quite a big farm shop too, although it’s focused on the higher end of the market – you wouldn’t want to do your weekly shop here, unless you have a very high disposable income.
We all had a very good day out at Cannon Hall Farm. The entry price is reasonable, and although there is a £3 charge for parking, you get this back provided you spend £10 or more at one of the restaurants on the site. It’s around 10 minutes drive off the M1, to the west of Barnsley. It’s worth watching out for special events, which take place regularly throughout the year.