As we followed the map down Stone Bridge Road we were beginning to wonder whether we had gone the wrong way. All around us were houses and factories, with the high-rise tower blocks of the city just beyond; hardly the rural countryside setting you might expect to see on your way to a farm.

Then all of a sudden we saw it: Stonebridge City Farm.

This farm is in the most unsuspecting place; in the middle of a housing estate, barely 10 minutes walk from the city centre. We were amazed to learn it was that close. Arriving just in time for the 11am animal handling session, we collected our £1 tokens from the gift shop and headed towards the shed.

Being the oldest participant in the room by about 15 years, I felt obliged to let my much younger associates have the first pick of animal. They all went for the rabbits first leaving me with a monopoly over the guinea pigs.

The staff handed me my guinea pig along with a piece of carpet. I thought the carpet was intended to keep me clean but I soon found to my amusement that this was not really the case. Looking down I could no longer see my jumper through the straw and hairs. After about 10 minutes of guinea pig bonding, I said farewell to my newfound furry friends and exchanged them for a rabbit. The rabbit’s name was Cupcake and she was very big.

I was so engrossed in the experience that the families who had entered the room when I did had been and gone and I soon found myself in the company of a whole new wave of kids. They were all sitting on the edge of their seats as the fluffy animals were carried over to them, only to freeze, suddenly aware of the responsibility bestowed upon them as the rabbit was placed on their laps. However, after a reassuring glance at their parents, they were back on track.

Following on from the handling session we returned to the gift shop to grab a 50p bag of feed each. Hearts set on the goats, we made our way over to the bigger animals. Walking down the track we could see the pigs to the left of us and cows, sheep, and goats to the right.

The goats were by far the most responsive to the food, the bigger ones bashing the smaller ones out the way so they could hog it all (we know the feeling!). The sheep came second; we noted a bit of pushing going on here, but nothing too excessive. We fed the pigs, too, though the cows seemed pretty content with their hay.

Once the food had been demolished we had a gander at the birds, the ducks and the chickens (whose eggs can be brought from the gift shop from prices starting at just £1.50 a box), and wandered around the gardens. Here we saw the fruits, vegetables, and plants that, once grown, would be sold outside the gift shop. Dotted around there were also informational posts about a variety of things ranging from where herbs come from to how to know when to pick certain fruits from their trees.

With access to the farm being free, I could see how this would be a great place to come with little ones. Its city location means families don’t have to travel far to get a first-hand experience with farm animals, and the fact that the experience can be made even more interactive for a very small price is perfect considering how expensive many activities with young children can be. There’s even a play park for them to let off steam.

This being said, it didn’t strike me as somewhere only suitable for children. The onsite cafe serves a range of home-cooked meals and treats using their own or local organic produce - making it a great place for anyone wishing to take a break from shopping - and the shop is the perfect place to source fresh, locally grown, fruit, veg, and eggs. Stonebridge City Farm offers a breath of fresh air in the heart of the city and a fun day out with minimal damage to your bank account – what’s not to love?

This blog was written by Alice Calvert, guest writer for Visit Nottinghamshire.

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Stonebridge City Farm
Farm
Stonebridge City Farm

Stonebridge City Farm is a slice of the country in the heart of Nottingham City!

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