Tell me again why have we never been to Roves farm near Swindon?? I will blame it on you lot as I think we have missed out on some seriously good fun! I would highly recommend it if you have not been yet.
We went to Roves farm for the lambing weekend but I was impressed by how good the rest of it was. It caters for children of all ages with its great variety of farm animal adventures, brilliant outdoor play frames and sand pits, huge indoor soft play plus adventure tractor ride and other seasonal activities. We ended up spending four hours on the farm despite the cold weather.
I will start with the lambing because you HAVE GOT TO EXPERIENCE IT! There were so many cute little lambs out there. Some were in the indoor barn under the light, others were frolicking around in the outdoor bigger barn with the sheep and ewes. I don’t know if I am making this up but I swear I would hear a loud baaa from a sheep and then, who I think were the lambs of the clan, ran towards her, literally head butting the udder. It looked really funny but I was told this is the way to stimulate milk production. Ay kept pointing out “the lambs are pushing into the sheep bum bum!”, so be prepared to have all your logic ready. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you 🙂
There were lamb feeding sessions during the day. Every one sits around on a row of hay bales in the barn as lamb milk bottles are handed out. The lambs are let loose, who come running towards the one holding out the bottle and latch on to it. They feed pretty vigorously, and Ay was a bit dumbfounded at the start, but quickly got a hang of it and started holding the bottle strongly with two hands. It’s like feeding a baby, hold the bottle vertical so no air bubble enter the lamb’s tummy. After a while, you pass the bottle on to the next person in the row and they carry on until the attendant tells you that lamb has had enough or the milk finishes in the bottle. There were many children/ adults in the queue but everyone got a fair turn on one of the eight lambs. It is such a sweet experience. I would highly recommend it if you haven’t already.
The 400-acre working family-owned farm also has many other farm animals such as Sussex cows (with calves at the moment), goats, pigs (and piglets), alpacas, ponies, donkeys and hen. There was a chirpy parrot in the barn who whistled beautifully.
There is a full programme of child-focused activities at 1/2- 2 hours interval throughout the day, so don’t forget to look at the board when you arrive. I also quite liked the fact that there was a huge announcement on the loud speaker every time a new activity was starting, which could be heard throughout the farm, so you didn’t have to constantly look at your watch. We also patted and cuddled the bunnies and guinea pigs during one of these sessions. I also quite liked that the rabbit hutch was colourfully decorated 🙂
We also got to feed the goats. The food was provided for by the staff so you do not have to pay for anything extra, which is great, but then unlike other farms, you can not buy food and just feed animals on the go. You have to wait for their dedicated feeding session to do so. So it has its advantages and disadvantages. I read you can also groom the ponies, walk the goats, collect eggs, watch sheep racing or have a milking demo, so it really can be an amazing first hand farm experience for adults and children alike.
There are a number of outdoor play areas which caters for all ages. The tree house play area is amazing for older kids. There are so many ways to climb it. Go up the ramp, climb up the wall by handholds and footholds, use the two ropes on the wall, use the spider net or be adventurous and just use the rope with arms and legs commando style. I saw many adults trying out one way or the other. Once you are up, you can come down either by the slide, shimmy down the fireman pole or the ropes or just walk down the ramp. There are only woodchips on the floor around the tree house, so this area is not for the faint hearted. Ay absolutely loved it!
There is another climbing frame on the far end of the farm which is less adventurous but still meaty enough for the intermediate age group. It had a huge covered sand pit under it, with lots of buckets, spades etc, though it was unsurprisingly soggy at the moment. I can see it being full of children in the summer. There is a standalone slide for toddlers with another smaller sandpit under it too.
We nearly missed the long tunnels under the walkway between the two play areas. There is a zipwire by the side, which was fast, but it was not easy to slide it back to the start. Ay couldn’t do it himself, so I had to help him and luckily, he got distracted after two goes. There are also pedal tractors here (free to use) and a couple of token operated Diggers (£1.20).
There are loads of picnic benches dotted around so you won’t be short of a place to sit while your kids play.
There ar lots of dens in different stages of completion in the small woodland walk called Discovery area, along with quite a few activity areas and probably a willow maze. A rusty bridge stood in the middle and Ay quickly ran to see if he could climb it but it was closed off. I am interested as to how this area shapes up in the summer but it looked cool.
Now I was least prepared for this if I am honest. I walked into the barn which hosts the cafe, expecting a small soft play and some tables, but the barn and play area was much bigger than my expectations.
The main frame, called Rabbit warren, is quite unique. When we are walking round the farm, we saw a few children wearing glow sticks (in broad day light) and I could not figure out why. It was only now I could understand why! In the wooden frame, there are many rectangular shaped tunnels which are interconnected to each other. Ay headed in but soon came out as he was afraid of the pitch black darkness inside. He needed a lot of encouragement and he ultimately went back in but yeah, this is where glow sticks could come in handy. I later on realised glow sticks are available for purchase from reception. I think I am going to take torch with us next time we go; it will add to the fun.
The slide in Rabbit warren was super fast. My drama queen son called it the “slide of death”. I saw almost every adult coming down on it holding their back as they landed and so I politely refused when Ay asked me to join him on the slide with a twinkle in his eyes.
There is also a baby/ toddler under 3s area which we did not go into but I could see a bouncy castle, swings and other bits of soft play. There is another castle shaped play frame for older kids on the other side which had vertical and spiral slides. In between the two zones was an area for token operated tractors.
Be aware kids must wear socks on the equipment. I have been caught out in the summers, so it is worth remembering. There are loads of tables, so you can sit down and watch your kids play. There were also tables near the play frame at the back as well. Picnics are not allowed indoors. There is a microwave at the Café which you can use for heating baby food. They also have their own milk dispenser, the Moo Station, supplying locally sourced milk straight into pre-bought glass bottles. Alternatively, you can bring your own container to re-use. We got some milk here and it was soooooo creamy! There is lamb, pork and beef, all born and reared at Roves, available for purchase at the farm shop.
They also do tractor rides during holidays and even offer tractor washing! There is a good calendar of seasonal activities coinciding with various holidays such as pumpkin carving, Easter Bunny hunt, Santas grotto etc. There is also a Nature Trail with seasonal quizzes in season.
Regular toddler time include music, stories, bubbles or games; and there are loads of other undercover choices including giant slides, ball ponds, pedal tractors and craft tables.
Address: Roves Farm & Visitor Centre, Sevenhampton, Swindon SN6 7QG, United Kingdom
Ticket price applies; typically starts at £10.80 (online) for adults and children aged 2+ and 4.5£ for toddlers (1-2y). Peak time tickets cost £15.80 for children aged 2+ and 9.5£ for toddlers (1-2y. Please see website for more details HERE
You can also visit Afterschool on select days when it costs 4£ for children and 2£ for adults.
Day tickets include all the daily activities, indoor and outdoor play areas, as well as animal food for the Feed the Animals sessions. You can purchase tokens for our indoor Ride on Tractors and outside Ride on Diggers (£1.20) from any of our till points. Tickets for Tractor & Trailer Rides (£1.50pp), are available to purchase from Reception, and these are operational Feb half term to October half term.
Open daily 9am-5pm. Closed 24th December 2022 – 1st January 2023 inclusive.
Special seasonal activities are organised d Please see WEBSITE for uptodate information.
Unisex toilets and baby changing facilities in the Main Barn.
The Woolly Sheep Café in the main barn is open every day, 9am – 5pm. See menus here.
There is a microwave at the Café which you are welcome to use for heating baby food.
Buggy accessible- Concrete & hard gravel path access on single level to all animal barns, animal handling and feeding areas, play areas, cafe & picnic areas. The grass path to the animal paddocks and along the Family Walk & Activity Trail may not be suitable for all wheelchair users.
Assistance dogs are welcome. Dogs (other than assistance dogs) are NOT allowed in the Farm Shop, Woolly Sheep Café or Indoor Play, activity and animal barns or on our tractor trailer rides.
Dogs are allowed on farm walks but must be kept on a lead at all times.