This was our third visit to Mini Meadows Farm on the Leicestershire / Northamptonsire border, but it was the first time we’ve done the forest school on the farm.
An affordable and educational day out for the family
Mini Meadows Farm is amazing value for money at just £5 to get in, and even the forest school was great value at just £10 for the morning, plus access to the farm for the rest of the day too. For those coming to the farm after school, entrance is half price after 3pm during term time.
There is so much to do at Mini Meadows itself. You enter at the cafe and reception area, with indoor seating and a small gift shop, a large range of toilets, as well as access to the huge indoor play area.
Feeding the farm animals
For just £2 more you can get a big bucket of different types of food, which is colour coded depending on what animals like that food, with grains for sheep, alpacas, goats, cows, pigs, ducks and more. You also get a handful of chopped carrots to feed the rabbits and pigs too.
What makes Mini Meadows so unique is being able to feed almost all the animals on the farm, and even going in the indoor pens with some of the rabbits and guinea pigs.
Lily loved seeing all the animals and coming up close with them – including turkeys and baby calves, which were really different to what she’s done before.
Outside there are so many sheep who love the food, and you can follow the paths around the farm to find all sorts of animals, including big pigs and goats, all which can be fed.
The play areas
There are two big play areas too – one indoor and one outdoor. The outdoor one had a big wooden climbing area, swings, a few ride-on tractors, a big tractor to play on, and a few slides too.
The indoor play area can get busy but has a seating area linked to the cafe, so you can enjoy your coffee while the little ones go off to play.
There is a smaller play area for the smallest toddlers which is visible from the seating area, however the big wooden play area is difficult to keep an eye on your child on, so is more suitable for the slightly older ones.
Lily still seemed too young for it at 3 as I like to be able to see her, plus it goes back quite far so not visible from the cafe, but now she is 4 she is more confident on it.
There’s also a large indoor sandpit with a giant deckchair and plenty of toys to play with, making it another great place to head if it starts raining.
The cafe is reasonably priced, and serves a variety of hot and cold foods, homemade cakes, coffees and more. Children’s lunch boxes are around £3.75 for 5 items, including healthier options, or you can buy breakfast until about 3 o’clock which starts at just £1 for toast or £1.50 for a kids’ sausage roll. Obviously prices could change, but that’s what the menu said today!
I had a coffee, and it was good! There are picnic areas to eat packed lunches too and again there are offers for after school, making it great for a visit if you’re local.
The Summer Forest School
On a Monday and Tuesday throughout August, Mini Meadows Farm were hosting a Forest School for just £5 more on the entrance price, and aimed at under 5s.
There are only 15 places so it is worth booking early online if you want a place as they do book up.
This was something really different for Lily as she had done Forest School at preschool, but not during the summer. She has just turned 4 and got so much out of the morning. Each week is themed, and this week was a stick theme.
There was a central campfire which we all sat down around at the start, and the lady introduced the theme and what we could do.
We were then free to explore the field, with activities laid out around the farm, so always plenty to do. There was a bug hotel, which is being built up by the children each week at each Forest School dates, a mud kitchen, sand play, boat making with water play, as well as other stick-related activities.
Each week they also bake something on the camp fire. This week it was bread, so the little ones had the opportunity to wrap some dough around the sticks and cook their own bread on the fire, before then eating it with some cheese or spread from the table.
Lily also loved making things out of the sticks and wool. The aim was to build a stick man, but she decided she wanted a stick dog – putting my stick-making skills to the test but she did love the result, and helping choose some suitable sticks or helping to wrap the wool around it.
The sessions are supported and the lady is always on hand to answer questions, however it is child-led and so gives little ones time to explore and learn how they want to, which was a really great experience.
They also end with a story around the campfire, and you can join just one session or all of them through the summer, which makes it lovely for everyone to get involved with, no matter how many sessions you can do.
We love it at Mini Meadows, and there is so much to do for a day there without spending too much money – which is great with a family as well as being educational too. The staff there have always been very friendly and there are plenty of places to play, explore, meet the animals and wash your hands too!
We’ll be stuck to weekends or school holidays when she starts school in a few weeks, but we’ll definitely be back at Mini Meadows as she absolutely loves it there, and the chance to get up close to animals too, as well as something to do, whatever the weather.
Tips for visiting with little ones
- The farm has great toilet facilities inside, with changing areas and disabled toilets too.
- If you want to bring a picnic, you can have these indoors or outdoors – so great whatever the weather
- There are ramps for wheelchairs and pushchairs, making it as accessible as possible around the farm
- You can’t book in advance to visit the farm, but you need to make sure you book ahead for the forest school
- The farm is open every day, including bank holidays, and only closes on Christmas Day/Boxing Day and NYE/New Years Day.
- If you’re local, head to the farm after 3pm for entrance at just £2.50