London’s Best Farms and Zoos for Children

mudchute farm.jpg

When you get tired of the concrete jungle and want to reconnect wth nature or are simply looking for a fun day out with the kids, London is more animal friendly than you might think.

Did you know that London is home to almost 20 city farms and zoos?

Children will love that they don't have to travel too far, none of our picks are eye-wateringly expensive and more importantly, they have all been tried, tested and rated child-friendly.

Freightliners City Farm

Freightliners City Farm brings a little bit of the countryside to inner city Islington. With picturesque gardens and a great cafe, their focus is on education, therapeutic activity, community participation and outdoor recreation.  

Entry is free but as a charity, donations are always welcome. They run regular activities in the school holidays, most of which are free. The farm is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10 am to 4.45 pm in the summer and until 4 pm in the winter. 

Freightliners City Farm | Sheringham Road | London N7 8PF

freightlinersfarm.org.uk

Mudchute Park + Farm

Mudchute is one of Europe’s largest city farms – over 32 acres - with more than 100 animals including cows, pigs, sheep, goats, llamas and alpacas. You can book your child’s next party at Mudchute or enroll yourself on courses in topics ranging from keeping chickens, laying hedges, dog training and spinning wool.

The farm is free to enter (although a donation is always welcome), has a lovely on-site café and is open from 0900 to 1700 every day, including bank holidays.

Mudchute Park + Farm | Pier Street | Isle of Dogs | London E14 3HP

mudchute.org

Newham City Farm

Newham City Farm is run by the local authority and is home to a large collection of farmyard favourites like cows, horses and sheep – as well as some less familiar alpacas, birds of prey and turkeys. Children can also enjoy getting up close and person to smaller animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets.

There’s an orchard, a children’s play area, a play barn and picnic benches. You can support the farm by buying some of its produce - freshly laid eggs, honey from their bees and even manure!

The farm is open all year round, every day except Monday. Entry is free but they do encourage a minimum donation of £1 per child and £2 per adult.

We particularly like the Bugs + Boots Club - a family gardening and nature club suitable for all ages and abilities where you can get stuck into gardening, bug hunting, crafts and cooking. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult and the club in on every Sunday from 1.30 pm until 3 pm (excluding Bank Holiday weekends). 

Newham City Farm | King George Avenue | London | E16 3HR

newham.gov.uk/Newham-City-Farm

Kentish Town City Farm

Kentish Town City Farm is situated on a four-acre site, you might have seen some of the animals if your morning commute passes the farm and it sits alongside railway lines.

With pasture areas, a riding arena, a wildlife pond and community gardens, the farm has free weekly healthy living activities for adults and children and over 50 animals on site including goats, sheep, horses, ducks, chickens, geese, a pig and a cow.

During the school holidays kids can get involved in pottery, horse riding, gardening and messy play from £4 a session.

The farm is open every day from 9am to 5pm and entry is free.

Kentish Town City Farm | 1 Cressfield Close, off Grafton Road | London |NW5 4BN 

ktcityfarm.org.uk

Hackney City Farm

Hackney City Farm has a range of farmyard animals including goats, sheep, chickens and donkeys as well as some small animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs.

The livestock moves between a farm in Kent, the city and a working farm in the country so if there’s an animal your little one really wants to see, call ahead to make sure it’s there on the day of your visit.

Every Saturday from 10.30 am until 12.30 pm is The Mini Farmers Club where children can learn about nature, make arts and crafts and get to know the animals, under the careful supervision of a livestock worker. This is a free session for children aged 8 to 17.

Younger children can get involved in pottery (£5) and baby music classes.

Entry to the farm is free but you can show your support by purchasing from the farm shop which includes fresh chicken and duck eggs and honey from their on-site bees.

The farm is closed on Mondays.

Hackney City Farm | 1a Goldsmiths Row | London | E2 8QA

hackneycityfarm.co.uk

Deen City Farm

Deen City Farm is spread over 5 acres and home to animals of all shapes and sizes including cows, sheep, pigs, goats and a resident barn owl, Edna. The farm is special in that it enables local people to take part in countryside activities, irrespective of their background or abilities.

Activities for children include riding lessons (children with disabilities especially welcome) rooms for private hire and holiday programmes including Farmer for the Day (£25 from 10 am – 4 pm) and Own a Pony (£35 from 10 am – 4 pm) for children aged 8 and over.

The farm is open from 10 am - 4.30 pm every day except Monday.

Deen City Farm | 39 Windsor Avenue | Merton Abbey | London SW19 2RR

deencityfarm.co.uk

Hounslow Urban Farm

Hounslow Urban Farm is extremely child friendly and any visit will encompass at least one ‘Animal Encounter’ where families can meet and learn about some of the animals living on the farm. That might mean your typical farmyard friend or one of the slightly more exotic residents now calling the Urban Farm home. If you ever wanted to get close to a cuddly chick or meet a loveable lamb this is the place to be.

Play facilities are also available with an outdoor play area and indoor bouncy castle.

Tickets: Children from £6, adults from £7.50. The farm is open from 10 am - 5 pm (last entry 4 pm) every day except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

The Hounslow Urban Farm | Faggs Road | Feltham | Middlesex TW14 0LZ

hounslowurbanfarm.co.uk

Vauxhall City Farm

Vauxhall City Farm prides itself on offering educational, recreational and therapeutic activities for all ages but with a stronger focus on engaging children.

School holidays programmes include Young Farmers Activity Week (£95 pp Tuesday – Thursday) as well as riding lessons and private room hire for parties.

The website lists the animals and their names so kids can know exactly who they’re meeting before they arrive.

The farm is open from 10.30 am – 4 pm and closed on Mondays.

Vauxhall City Farm | 165 Tyers St | London SE11 5HS

vauxhallcityfarm.org

Woodlands Farm, Shooters Hill

Woodlands Farm, Shooters Hill (known to locals as Shooters Hill Farm) is an 89-acre working city farm, run entirely by volunteers. They run regular family-friendly events including tea parties, lambing, pond dipping, bat walks, storytelling and arts and crafts.

Woodlands Farm is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Tuesday to Sunday, as well as Bank Holiday Mondays. The farm is closed on all other Mondays and Christmas Day.

Entry to the farm is free but as a registered charity, donations are most welcome.

The Woodlands Farm Trust | 331 Shooters Hill | Welling DA16 3RP

thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org

Spitalfields City Farm

Spitalfields City Farm is home to your standard farmyard animals but their Wildclub is what we really enjoy. Families can enjoy nature themed activities and children will get to play outside, be inspired by nature and learn environmental crafts.

Wildclub happens in three sessions:

  • Wildclub for ages 4 - 7 from 10:30am – 12pm (Parents to stay on the farm)
  • Really Wild Club for ages 8 - 12 from 1:30pm – 3pm
  • Families Go Wild for all ages from 1:30pm - 3pm (Parents to participate in activity alongside children)

Wildclub is free but donations are always welcome.

Spitalfields City Farm | Buxton Street | London E1 5AR

spitalfieldscityfarm.org

Surrey Docks City Farm

Surrey Docks City Farm is a working charitable farm and home to cows, donkeys, goats, bees and more. The farm offers baby and toddler music classes – tickets are £5 per adult, children are free – every Wednesday from 3 pm to 4 pm.

Older children can take part in weekly clubs:

  • Piglets (2 to 5 year olds)
  • Get Farming (8 to 11 year olds)
  • Young Farmers (11 to 13 year olds)

When you need a break, on site café Piccalilli Caff – closed Mondays – serves tea, coffee and other treats.

The farm is open 7 days a week: 10 am – 5 pm (summer time) and 10 am – 4 pm (winter).

Entry to the public is free and visitors are encouraged to give a donation of £3 per person to help contribute to running costs.

Surrey Docks Farm, Rotherhithe Street, London, SE16 5ET

surreydocksfarm.org.uk

Stepney City Farm

Stepney City Farm is a working farm, rural arts centre and community meeting place. Family friendly events include baby music classes, animal workshops, Young Volunteers programmes and a weekly Farmers Market.

Entry to the farm is free but you can support their running costs by purchasing one of their veg boxes.

Opening times:

  • Farm: 10am-4pm Tuesday – Sunday, and bank holiday Mondays.
  • Cafe: 10am – 2.30pm Wednesday-Sunday, for hot food. Teas coffee and cakes till 3.45pm

Stepney City Farm | Stepney Way | London E1 3DG

stepneycityfarm.org

Brooks Farm

Brooks Farm is part of Capel Manor College where students study land based courses including Animal Care, Dog Grooming, Royal Horticultural Society Courses, Environmental Conservation and Outdoor Adventure.

Animals at the farm include sheep, donkeys, ponies, goats, rabbits and hens. There’s a well-equipped Outdoor Learning Centre that can be booked for private parties.

Brooks Farm is free to enter for if you simply want to walk around and enjoy the experience of visiting a farm. If you want to feed the hens, ducks, sheep or goats special animal food can be purchased from three dispensers. Staff and students are always on hand to answer any questions you might have.

The farm is open to visitors Tuesday to Sunday (and Bank Holiday Mondays) from 10 am until 4 pm.

Brooks City Farm | Skeltons Lane Park | Leyton | London E10 5BS

brooksfarm.uk

Belmont Children’s Farm

Belmont Farm is home to over thirty different types of animals for visitors to see, meet and feed. Kids can join petting sessions which run throughout the day or jump on the tractor and trailer for a ride through the beautiful Belmont Estate.

Children can join the Young Farmers Club where they’ll get involved with rounding up and feeding animals, learning about the environment, understanding animal's basic needs and tending to the farm's vegetable patch.

If you want to take a piece of the farm home with you, there are chickens (and chicken-keeping advice) for sale.

The farm is open 7 days a week (including bank holidays):

  • Mon – Fri: 8 am - 5.30 pm
  • Sat – Sun: 9 am - 5.30 pm

Tickets + Prices:

  • Children (Under 18mths) - Free
  • Children (18mths - 3yrs) - £ 5.50
  • Children (3yrs - 12yrs) - £ 4.00
  • Adults / Senior Citizens - £ 7.00
  • 2 Adults + 2 Children - £ 20.00
  • Tractor Rides - £ 2.50 per person
  • Animal Feed - £ 1.60 per bag

Belmont Children’s Farm | The Ridgeway | London NW7 1QT

belmontfarm.co.uk

Lee Valley Park Farms

Lee Valley Park Farm is more of a destination event – you could easily spend a day here. Activities include:

  • Meet and feed the animals (farmyard, exotic and birds of prey)
  • Adventure play at the indoor Bundle Barn
  • Outdoor activities at Hilltop Adventure
  • Alpine adventure toboggan run
  • Farmyard adventure playground with climbing frames, animal springers, balance beams, bridges, slides and more
  • Dino Dig + Splash play area

The park is open from 10 am until 5 pm.

Tickets:

  • Children (age 2 to 17) and adults: £9
  • Under 2s are free

Lee Valley Park Farms | Stubbins Hall Lane | Waltham Abbey | Essex EN9 2EF

lvfarms.co.uk

ZSL London Zoo

ZSL London Zoo in Regent’s Park houses a collection of 755 species of animal in beautiful landscaped grounds.

Smaller children will love the Children’s Zoo where they can visit the Touch Zone and pat goats, sheep and chickens and let off some steam in the educational play areas.

Older children can get involved in Gorilla Kingdom where they’ll see the gorillas and what they’re up to before learning a bit more about them through interactive activities and exhibits. In Tiger Territory - home to critically endangered Sumatran tigers - you’ll come face to face with the tigers through the floor to ceiling glass windows.

There’s also the opportunity to visit the animatronic Zoorassic Park or sleep over at the Zoo in a well-equipped lodge.

Zoo tickets from £18.

ZSL London Zoo is open every day of the year (except Christmas Day) from 10 am until 6 pm.

ZSL London Zoo Regent's Park | London NW1 4RY

www.zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo

Battersea Park Zoo

Battersea Park Zoo is home to mammals, birds, reptiles and more and with eight daily feeding times, you never have to wait too long to get in on the action.

When they’re not visiting the animals they can test their skills as they climb, balance, swing, build, hop on toy tractors and motorbikes and mechanical rides or role play being a farmer or fireman in a life-sized tractor and fire engine. Budding artists can get creative drawing their own animals on the walls of the chalkboard barns and there are diggers, sand pits, water features and a fort to explore.

The zoo is open every day except Christmas day from 10 am – 5.30 pm in the summer and 10 am until 4.30 in the winter.

Tickets:

  • Adults £9.50
  • Children £7.50
  • Family £31

Battersea Park | Chelsea Bridge Gate | London SW11 4NJ

batterseaparkzoo.co.uk

Where's your favourite animal-centric place in London?