We were very kindly invited to the Pumpkin Festival at Willows Activity Farm last week and since this is one of Ita’s favourite places to go, we jumped at the offer!
We have visited on many occasions including Easter and we have visited every Halloween since Ita was only 4 months old.
This year the Pumpkin Festival kicked off on Saturday 19 October and runs through until the 3 November.
The entry fee includes the pumpkin patch and every child gets a pumpkin which they can carve at home or in the Carving Cavern (where lots of arts and crafts are taking place!).
We decided to visit the patch first so we could choose the best pumpkin. The weather has not been kind at all recently and there have been lots of pumpkin patches hit quite badly as a result. Willows was very muddy however there was plenty of good pumpkins available.
In particular, Willows decorates the walkway to the pumpkin patch with all sorts of creepy things and it always looks amazing!
Once we chose our pumpkin we headed back up to the carving area which is just by the indoor play area.
There was buckets, stencils and utensils to carve your pumpkin and staff also helped out too. We noticed that staff were constantly cleaning up the pumpkin mess too so our table was nice and clean. At the back of the room there is a self help area where you will find paper, pencils, glue, sequins and so on! Ita made a spider and a pumpkin out of paper plates.
Considering the weather was quite cold and windy, this indoor area was perfect.
Afterwards, we headed straight outside to meet Peter Rabbit and his mother.
The meet-and-greets are Willows Activity Farm vary. Typically, you can meet Peter, Lily Bob Tail and Benjamin Rabbit. We had never met Peters mum so this was a nice surprise for Ita!
When I uploaded some stories on the day of our visit, we received many questions about this so I’ll try my best to explain so you can factor this into your visit
There are two set times each day where you can meet the characters. They are out for about 20 minutes so you will need to plan your day accordingly. The later meet is from about 4.30pm and is almost always a tad quieter.
The meeting area is quite close to the entrance and the softplay area but it is away from the live stage area and there is often a bit of a queue to meet the characters.
Fortunately it is partially covered and the staff are quite good at keeping the meets short and sweet. We have noticed on a few occasions though that some parents are somewhat oblivious to other children queuing politely! So this is a kind reminder that although you and your child are excited to meet Peter, he is not there purely for you!
We missed the live show on this occasion and Ita was quite gutted to be honest. She has already been asking to go back so we can see it!!
However, we did get to pet the rabbits and feed goats much to Ita’s delight! A bag of feed is 60p (2 bags for £1) and it is well worth getting. Feeding the animals adds to your day since you are at a farm after all!
The adventure playground here at Willows is amazing. It incorporates different sensory such as sound and touch and is completely dedicated to Peter and his friends. Ita loves Mrs Tiggywinkles home.
One of Ita’s favourite outdoor areas is the sandpit which is vast and has lots of toys to encourage play.
As well as the huge outdoor play areas, there is an indoor soft play as well as a JCB truck area which is also indoors.
New to the Pumpkin Festival this year was the dinosaurs!! We completely ran out of time for this so I really hope that they stick around for a while so we can see this!
At the entrance we were given a game with the chance of winning a prize if we got the answers correct! (You basically have to spot the spooky themed characters or items and scratch them off of your sheet).
This one was Halloween themed and Ita was happy to receive her tub of slime.
As mentioned the Halloween event, Pumpkin Festival, runs until the 3 November.
There will also be a Christmas event too which I’m sure will be fantastic.
You can save money by booking in advance and children under 2 years are free.
Link to book is below.