Pennywell Farm, Buckfastleigh (Devon)
Animals to meet
Indoor and outdoor play areas
Train and tractor rides
Open Feb to end of October 7 days a week from 9am
Best suit children aged up to 12 years (approx)
Tickets must be booked in advance
Bring an old towel or blanket to cuddle the animals
Photo credits - all the professional-looking photographs are credited to Pennywell Farm!
We were looking for a ‘main’ activity for our February half term and Pennywell Farm had been cropping up on my Facebook newsfeed for a while, with lots of acquaintances raving about their experiences and recommending it as a great family day out.
Based in rural Devon but within easy reach of the Devon Expressway A38 near Buckfastleigh, Pennywell Farm is an award-winning visitor attraction targeting families with younger children aged up to around 12 (in my opinion.)
As the name suggests, Pennywell Farm is indeed a farm – and with so many animals to see, pet and hold! So it’s one for the animal lovers, and those not so animal-mad may leave converted (as in the case of our 8 year old who initially only wanted to go for the Go Karts but left asking if we could get a rabbit!)
It’s not a cheap day out, a family of two adults and two children age 3+ costs £63.80, and it may be worth considering an annual membership if you’re local enough and likely to return. Under 3's go free.
That said, once paid up, there’s little in the way of expensive extras with train/tractor rides, go karts (age 8+), trampolines, bouncy slides, several live shows and animal petting firmly included in the upfront price – plenty to justify the cost. Only animal feed (£2) and the odd coin-operated activity (e.g. mini golf and shooting) were extra.
You can spend several hours or even the whole day at Pennywell with a packed daily timetable of activities to keep you going – lamb feeding, miniature pig racing, egg collecting, pond dipping, magic shows and all sorts.
Highlights for us was the animal petting – bring an old towel or blanket with you as these are required to cuddle the animals. The girls spent ages in the barn cuddling rabbits, guinea pigs, a very energetic mouse, and a tiny pig that fell asleep – a real treat, especially coming from a pet-free home.
We also liked the pony and donkey fields, where you’re allowed to roam and meet as many ponies as you like up close – they’re only tiny so just the right height for inquisitive children.
The kids loved the tractor ‘red rocket’ ride, doing several laps around a track (with some amazing Dartmoor views in the background) and went on several times throughout the day.
There’s lots to do both indoors and outdoors, so on a rainy day just wrap up in the right gear and hop into the covered barns to dodge the showers. It’s a welly kind of place most of the year.
An adventure assault course-style playground, toddlers play area, trampolines and bouncy castle barn keep the kids entertained in between animal encounters.
There are on-site refreshments at various kiosks, along with plenty of covered and uncovered picnic benches if you want to bring your own.
The farm is buggy-friendly and has been designed with young children in mind, with easily navigable pathways and lots of handwashing stations dotted around. There’s ample free parking on site.
A fantastic family day out.