Willows Activity Farm has always been a favourite go-to place for our family at weekends and during the holidays, but now there’s another reason to visit – the new Peter Rabbit Adventure Playground.
The popular St Albans destination has invested more than £1million to develop the new playground themed around the CBeebies series, which opened to coincide with the 150th anniversary year since the birth of Beatrix Potter.
I visited just after the opening in April and took along two willing volunteers to try out the new facilities – my 20-month-old son and 5-year-old daughter – and the verdict was a veritable thumbs-up.
At the heart of the playground is the Peter Rabbit Secret Treehouse and the Benjamin Bunny Treetop Adventure. Packed with slides, rope walkways and pathways to go scamper off and explore, the new equipment is just perfect for energetic youngsters.
There’s also plenty of sensory equipment, a sand pit (which my daughter could have spent the entire rest of the day playing in) and the Jeremy Fisher Music Pond, which encourages your little one to bounce up and down on lily pads to hear musical sounds.
There are other nice touches too, including a recreation of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle’s kitchen and laundry (which, having been struck by a dose of nostalgia, found myself enjoying more than the children!) and Mr McGregor’s Garden Shed.
The Peter Rabbit Adventure Playground only enhances an already fabulous venue, which we spent the rest of the day exploring.
This included the farmhouse, where youngsters can feed the typical farm animals and also handle smaller animals such as guinea pigs and rabbits, Peter Rabbit live shows, panning for “gold”, a ride around the estate on Tristan the Runaway Tractor, bouncy castles, an indoor soft play area and the JCB Young Drivers Zone – an entire barn filled with toy JCBs and diggers for little ones to get on and ride.
Suffice to say, it was difficult trying to persuade my little boy to leave!
Entry prices to Willows Activity Farm don’t come cheap – adults are priced at £18.50 and children are £19.50, but the price is all inclusive and fair, given just how much there is to see and explore.
There are also membership options and online advance booking which can significantly lower the price.
For more information visit www.willowsactivityfarm.com, follow @Willows_Farm on Twitter or use #Beatrix150 and #IMetPeter for all the latest updates.
This week until 5 June, visitors can enjoy watching live sheep shearing demonstrations with Tuck the Shepherd.