The last time we visited West Lodge Rural Centre, I’m pretty sure it was a heat wave. This time, it was under flood warnings, and the biggest downpours we’ve seen in months.
Did it stop us having fun? No, in fact, the opposite – there I was worrying an October half term Sunday would be super busy, and in fact the rain meant we had the place (almost) to ourselves!
West Lodge Farm Park is open all year round (minus between Christmas and New Year), has won plenty of awards, and has so much to do, whatever the weather. This time, we visited for the Halloween fun, and we definitely weren’t disappointed, so here’s my review of the farm park and what spooky shenanigans went down!
The entrance to the farm park is through a large, modern barn, with a shop and a reception area with some very friendly staff to welcome you.
We showed them our booking, paid £1 for 3 bags of animal food (40p for one bag – tip: just don’t leave them in a wet pocket like I did, haha), and then were given a map with details of the farm and the lineup for the day, as well as our receipts for the farm activities, such as the tractor ride (tip: also don’t leave these in a wet pocket!!)
There are plenty of animals, as well as a whole host of activities to be able to meet the animals. There’s the covered over Cuddle Corner, with small petting animals, where you get to meet some of the bunnies and guinea pigs throughout the day at set times, and also a great escape from the rain too!
Across the farm, you can also find pigs, goats, cows, sheep and more, all who definitely enjoy their food. You can also pay an extra £2 at reception for a pony ride. My child seemed to be the only crazy one who wanted to take advantage of this in the downpour, so thank you to the staff who were on hand to still run them, even though I asked 12093 times if they were really sure they wanted to!!
They also had goat grooming, pig racing, and plenty of other opportunities to get involved with the animals.
Outdoor play areas
The outdoor play area is incredible, designed as a giant wooden castle, with slides, rope walkways and more, as well as a sandpit, roundabout and swings.
Lily was in her absolute element in this play area, and had it to herself in the rain (we won’t mention her slipping flat-faced into the mud!!).
There’s also a ride-on tractor park for the kids to enjoy, even for the little toddlers too. If it’s raining, you can also make the most of the covered ride-on tractor park too!
Next to the play area you can also enjoy free barrel rides throughout the day too as well as the little book-themed maze!
Indoor play area
The Old Grain Adventure Barn is probably one of the best indoor play areas I’ve seen, both for parents and children. It is safe, as you can see the kids at all times, and the kids are in total awe at the giant wooden tree, with slides, bridges and more.
For smaller kids, there’s even a dedicated area with interactive light-pond and smaller climbing area with slide.
What’s more, you’ve the cafe here, so you can enjoy lighter snacks and hot / cold drinks here, with plenty of seating, and easy access to the toilets (including a disabled toilet). It is warm, bright, safe and friendly, and was definitely a very welcome escape from the rain with a hot drink!
Food and drink
As well as the cafe in the Adventure Barn, you’ve also an ice cream barn called the Udder Place which sells warmer light bites in colder weather, and the Rickyard Restaurant for family-friendly meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
You can’t have a picnic in any of these cafes, but there are plenty of places for picnics outdoors, or in covered over areas in Cloisters and the indoor tractor barn.
West Lodge Rural Centre is surrounded by many acres of beautiful fields and countryside, with some stunning walks suitable for all the family.
They are all marked out well, with different lengths and routes, including a 600m walk starting at the lovely Caterpillar Tunnel through to a longer Big Walk at 2.8km where you can spot fairy houses in the woods, as well as Daisy the Witch’s house!
Halloween & Events
There are events throughout the year at West Lodge and they are always well organised, family-friendly, and affordable too.
We arrived for the first weekend of the Halloween Spooky Half Term Fun, which included picking pumpkins from the pumpkin patch, a not-so-spooky tractor ride (definitely Lily’s favourite), a fairly spooky but still family-friendly ghost story, witch’s house tour, and wand making.
The pumpkin patch gave kids the opportunity to choose a pumpkin, scoop it out, draw a face or pattern on it, and then leave it with the staff to carve out, while you then enjoyed the rest of the day without having to carry the pumpkin around – plus the face was great (or, if you’re Lily, choose to get a rainbow carved out of it!!)
There was also a spooky tunnel which Lily did find a bit creepy, but at least it was short, and you still had access to all the farm activities too!
It may have been raining heavily for most of the morning, but every single member of staff had a smile on their face all day, and they all went out their way to make sure we enjoyed ourselves, no matter what activity we were doing.
We loved the Halloween experience and are already booked onto the Christmas experience, so we can’t wait to get involved with that.
There are so many options for festive and seasonal events in the area now, but West Lodge go out their way to make sure their events are different, with far more activities on offer, and at much better prices too.
Even if it was to get busy, I know there is still so much to do that you can still enjoy everything the farm has to offer.
So thank you to everyone at West Lodge for such a fantastic morning, keeping smiles on our faces through the massive downpours, making us laugh with your Halloween fun, and for giving children of all ages a fantastic day out, no matter what the weather.
For more on West Lodge Rural Centre, visit their website here…
For more on our top places near to Leicester to check out for days out in half term and Halloween, check out my blog post here.
Tips for visiting with families
- There are plenty of toilets, baby-changing, and hand-washing facilities, both indoors and outdoors, with areas near the outdoor play area, the indoor play area and the cafe, meaning you’re always nearby. The indoor play barn facilities even have toddler-friendly toilets too… and they’re nice and clean!
- They also have a changing bench available for children and adults with disabilities at the Rickyard Restaurant – so important, but rarely thought of in places like this
- Wheelchairs and pushchairs can easily access the building, and there are dedicated wheelchair-friendly parking areas next to the entrance which are on flat tarmac. All areas on the farm and activities can be accessed by wheelchairs and pushchairs, aside from the nature trails.
- You can save money by booking online – and make sure you keep an eye on their Facebook page for events, as they can often book up quickly!
- Remember to keep hold of your receipts at reception for activities on the farm and not, like me, leave it in a wet, soggy pocket!! 🙂