We’ve visited Charnwood Forest Alpaca Farm on the border of Leicestershire and Derbyshire on 2 occasions, and had a great time at both.
The first visit was for the 90 minute alpaca walk experience, which we bought off Groupon. It was at Christmas time so was called the Reinpaca walk (the alpacas had reindeer antlers!), but was the same setup as their usual 90 minute walks.
I wore Lily on my back in the sling as she was too small for the actual 90 minute walk, and I needed 2 hands to hold the rope to control the alpaca. She was 3 years and 5 months old when we went, so was free to take with me.
We were led into a barn, and were told about the alpacas, such as facts about them and shown how to hold them, then were led out to meet our alpacas. Ours was called Wensleydale, who Lily loved as he was “greedy” and liked his food. Food bags are just 50p at the start, but they do eat them quickly. I kept the food in my pocket for midway through the walk.
We were led across the fields with our alpacas. There must have been about 10 of us in the group, each with our own alpacas, each who had their own personalities. Our guide was really friendly and knowledgeable, and made the walk fun. The walk must have taken about an hour, with a break in the trees midway for photos and to give them some food. Definitely advise taking wellies as it was a muddy path.
Lily found it hilarious that he was always wanting to stop for food, then he would barge right through to the front again! Some alpacas liked hanging back, whereas others liked to be at the front. It was lovely that they all had their own personalities.
The 2nd time we went was for the Easter egg hunt which was lovely. It involved following the paths around the fields to find the clues to complete the puzzle on our sheets. For just £5 we had the whole experience, as well as a goody bag for the little ones, containing puzzles, activities, treats, colours, and a few little gifts too – plus a voucher for discount in the coffee shop!
The girls loved the trail and it was about the right length around the fields for them to enjoy finding the eggs, while we completed the clues.
The alpacas were having a rest by the barns, and we bought a 50p bag of food to feed them. Despite being initially nervous, Lily was then ridiculously excited to feed the alpaca called Cucumber!
Overall, the experience was great, and for a fiver it was a wonderful bank holiday activity in the sunshine. The coffee shop was lovely too, and the girls enjoyed their little treats while we enjoyed our coffees! It’s somewhere we would definitely come back to visit for a coffee and to see the alpacas again – us mamas had just as much fun as the girls did – we just love the alpacas!
I know several others who have done the shorter walk with an afternoon tea too, but who also wished they did the longer walk – so that’s worth checking out if you are booking the Groupon walks.
The setup is lovely and the staff are really friendly across the whole site. I’d recommend it for an affordable family morning or afternoon out, but would perhaps wait until the little ones are a bit older to take them on the walk (maybe from 6 onwards), unless you can carry them on your back. But if they’re younger, you’re still able to come along and sit in the café and meet the alpacas in their barns.
Thank you Charnwood Forest – we enjoyed both our visits, and will definitely be back again.
Tips for visiting
- The toilets aren’t very big or accessible for those who have pushchairs or younger children, but you do need to remember they are on a farm so they’ve done what they can to provide these facilities
- Younger children wouldn’t be able to do the longer walk as it is up and down the hills on the fields, but if you can carry them on your back (you need two hands) then they will really enjoy it
- Keep an eye out for their events online or sign up to their newsletters, as we found out about their great Easter hunt from there, and it wasn’t busy at all – especially for a bank holiday!
Visit their website here…