Hadleigh Rare Breeds Centre – Best farm in Essex?

I am always after cheap days out in Essex with the kids. With two young children at home with me, costs add up pretty quickly. So when I saw the price of Hadleigh Rare Breeds Centre, we obviously had to have a mooch. Especially as it so local to our new house.

The layout of the farm is perfect if you’ve got to keep your eyes on more than one child at a time. There no huge barns (just one small one with the rabbit in) but the rest of it is nice and open. You can see the whole place at one glance. The views around the farm are stunning too, with beautiful countryside, as well as the Thames estuary.

The food

I’m normally one for taking a picnic everywhere we go but on this occasion I thought we would sample the tea rooms. They’re just next door to the farm but make sure you get your hand stamped for re-entry. The tea room was huge, with outdoor seating and a good range of snacks and meals. Both kids had the children’s meal which was £4 each for a roll, crisps, raisins and juice. There are plenty of picnic tables on the farm, right next to the playground, so I’ll definitely go for that option next time as neither of them ate anything from the lunchboxes except raisins. Expensive bloody raisins. But I can’t really blame the farm for my fussy children!

I reckon I am probably in the minority here but I am not a fan of all the bells and whistles of other, busier, attractions and this is where Hadleigh Farm really won me over. It is simple – but simply perfect. I love the rustic, natural feel of the place and while it is only small, it kept mine entertained for a good few hours. To be honest, I think I could have left them with a few bags of animal feed and just gone for a vino! They have pipes into lots of the pens too so even little hands can put the feed in, without the fear of getting fingers nibbled.

Back on the farm, we spent a short time in the playground. There was a huge group of children on a school trip at the time so it was quite busy. Erin and Rory did enjoy the slide, sandpit and climbing on the train though. Hopefully they can explore the playground a little more when we inevitably return.


Oh and there are even ride on tractors that Erin and Rory both LOVED.

The details

Open from March to October (10am-5pm), adult admission was £5.20, 3-16 year olds was £3.80 and under 3s free. I was pretty chuffed with the three of us being able to have a day out for under a tenner. And plus there is no glitzy gift shop to tempt the eyes and hands of little ones!


Is it actually the best farm in Essex?

Aside from the price being loads cheaper than other farms, this farm seems like a much happier, more natural place for the animals to live. Hadleigh Rare Breeds Centre is also owned by The Salvation Army, so your money goes to a good cause. It has totally won me over and is easily one of the best farms in Essex. We’ll definitely be back!

hadleigh farm

Looking for another animal themed day out? Check out our review of Paradise Wildlife Park. Or want even more ideas for days out? Check out Days Out Now for an interactive map of family attractions.