Tin Box Tot loves talking about farm animals and tractors. In fact, she is a little bit tractor obsessed. So when we found ourselves pitched up right next door to Manor Farm in Hampshire last weekend we would have been failing in our parenting duties not to pay it a visit.
Manor Farm is where the BBC’s Wartime Farm series was filmed. The farmhouse itself dates back to the 1400s and the adjoining country park is packed full of wildlife, walks and picnic areas. During the Second World War the land was secretly used by the Marines for training.
When you walk through the entrance of the farm it’s a bit like being transported back in time. This isn’t a modern farm experience. A lot of the ancient buildings have been saved and brought to Manor Farm from other parts of Hampshire. There’s also old tractors and farm machinery, some of which is still working for demonstration purposes.
Tin Box Tot enjoyed feeding the chickens and ducks. She had been keen to meet the pigs – Peppa Pig is very popular in our house at the moment – but wasn’t so impressed when she saw them. What she did love were the donkeys. We spent quite a while chatting to them.
The best bit for me was the farmhouse and Wartime Cottage, which featured heavily in the BBC programmes. Ever since I was a child I have loved looking around historic houses. Whether they are stately homes or traditional dwellings like this one, I am always fascinated to see how people used to live.
A Victorian schoolroom has been recreated as part of the Wartime Cottage. Tin Box Tot thought the desks were good fun and enjoyed opening and shutting the lids to look inside. She might not have been so impressed if one of the period costumed farm staff had been telling her to sit on her bottom and be quiet.
There was even a tin box…well, a shepherds hut. These were common on the Hampshire Downs in the 19th Century and were used when flocks of sheep were kept far away from the farm. It looked quite cosy really, but maybe not up to Tin Box’s standards.
Every day on the farm there are activities for visitors to take part in. There’s milking in the dairy, lessons in the schoolroom, walks and a chance to meet some of the farm’s smaller animals.
When we visited the farm was celebrating the 150th anniversary of A.A.Milne’s Alice in Wonderland. There were Alice story times, dressing up, a special trail for children to follow and Wonderland inspired treats in the cafe. The farm holds additional events on a regular basis so it’s worth checking out what’s going on.
A visit to Manor Farm costs £7 per adult, £6 for senior citizens, and £4.50 for children over three-years-old. Entrance to the country park is free but there is a charge for parking.
Have you ever been to Manor Farm?
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