The National Forest Adventure Farm lies just outside Burton on Trent and is easily accessible from where we live in the West Midlands.
This time last year, we were invited to visit to review their Dinosaur themed events and this week, we were asked to return to see what had changed and experience their new Pirate themed activities.
We arrived just after opening time (10am) and headed straight into the farm and onto the very visible JCBs! With a ‘digger mad’ toddler, we couldn’t get any further without a quick play so happily played with the different ride along diggers (suitable for a variety of ages!), climbed the climbing wall and played in the sandpit while Daddy waited in line for the Tractor ride.
We happily clambered onto the trailer and set off on a ‘scarecrow hunt’ as we explored the farm, spotting lots of different animals, including a couple of reindeer, which caused much excitement! We checked our timetable (there’s lots going on each day so it’s worth taking the time to plan your day so you don’t miss anything!) and headed off to the grassy bank (with a couple of freshly made Lattes in hand!) to watch the first of three pirate themed performances. The Captain and his Cabin Boy thoroughly entertained us (Daddy even got dragged up, labelled ‘Red Shirt’ and joined in, much to the children’s amusement!) and the children happily watched before it was time for a quick ‘Duck Race’ before lunch.
There are lots of picnic benches dotted around (and even some wooden highchairs in the picnic areas which is great!) as well as ample space to spread out for a picnic. We were right next to the maze at this point so headed into the Mini Maze as a family to find the 6 pieces of ‘treasure’. There were lots of shouts of ‘follow me’ and ‘it’s North on the compass’ as both children happily roamed around the maze looking for the treasure before exiting the maze to claim their sticker and lollypop! At this point, our eldest was feeling brave and whereas we didn’t feel up for the challenge of the bigger maze last year, this time, we decided that Daddy could take the toddler off for a nap while we tackled the larger maze.
The maze really is huge and not for the faint hearted! You are quickly briefed on safety before entering the maze (the same pirates from the show earlier appeared once more!) and for £2 you can buy a Pirate Pack with the all-important map; I thoroughly recommend this! There were several families ‘lost’ in the maze while we were there who asked for a sneaky peak at our map to help them along and we really couldn’t have found our way out without it! We systematically worked our way around the maze, collecting the 12 clues and working our way around the maize pirate ship. A top tip is to navigate using the bridges and to ask for help if needed – there’s always someone watching from a tower to check all is well and helping you out if you get stuck; very reassuring!
We really felt that we had achieved something when we finished the maze, although it did take us an hour and a half so be prepared for this to take up some considerable time and make sure you don’t miss out on any of the other events while you are in there!
Time was getting on so we headed to the Soft Play (our daughter had remembered about the drop slides from last time and there was no way we were leaving without a visit!) for a quick play and tea and cake for Mum and Dad before heading to the playground for a play on the bouncy things (a huge JCB inflatable slide for the little one and a bounce on the giant pillows for the big one!) before it was time to leave.
There is so much to do, you can easily fill a day – the restaurant on site is great and offers lots of variety (from cooked food to fresh salad) so next time, we will give the kids tea on site before heading back so we can stay a little longer! Well done National Forest Adventure Farm, there were lots of new things on offer and we could see the changes that had been made from last year to this year…it was also interesting to see how everything Dinosaur related had now become Pirate themed, leaving us to wonder what is in store for next year…we will keep guessing!
NB: Rachel and her family received complimentary entrance in order to review but all views and opinions are her own.