Wethersfield, Braintree, Essex
01371 850 481
Boydell's Dairy Farm is open between 2-5pm from April to September on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and then daily during Essex school holidays.
We strongly recommend you ring Boydells Dairy Farm before you set off on your family day out, to make sure they are open and to confirm admission prices. It may also be worth visiting the website for Boydells Dairy Farm to see if there are any special events on the day for which you may have to book a ticket. Please also be aware that if Boydells Dairy Farm hosts birthday parties, this may limit the access in the cafe/restaurant areas.
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Boydell's Farm, a working sheep dairy, is a taste of real farm life for your animal-loving children, and the antidote to the (admittedly pleasant!) fakery of other local 'children's farms'. A few minutes' drive north of Braintree, Boydell's is fly-blown, muddy and not altogether fragrant, but the intimate 'ask-anything' tours and demonstrations by the farmers get to the heart of their world in a way accessible to the youngest guests.
Open 2-5pm Fri-Sun from April to September, and daily in the summer holidays, the main event is the industrial sheep-milking (bet you've never seen that before!), but children and adults can also try their hand at milking a cow, feeding chickens and - in season - bottle feeding the adorable lambs. Little ones enjoy a ride in the donkey cart and splashing in the very shallow brook that runs through the picnic grounds.
Boydell's is a small diversion without all the usual infrastructure of an open farm, though they have loos and you can usually help yourself to a cuppa with the kettle in the sparsely-stocked shop! I have visited Boydell's a couple of times with my under-3's, and they are delighted to get so close to so many animals in such a short space of time and in a small area. The intimacy of the place is lovely for preschoolers. Ideally, though, this would suit your school-age kids or any who like to know where their food comes from. The farm's own dairy produce is on sale and well worth a try, and might even please your fussy eater if they assisted in the milking themselves!
Take a picnic and take time to enjoy the pretty grounds with roaming llamas and other animals just there for the petting, but most of all enjoy introducing your children to a genuine working farm and its farmers.