“ Address: Brynsiencyn / Anglesey / North Wales / LL61 6TQ „
I first heard about Foel Farm from a friend at work that frequently visits Anglesey. I was planning a short break in North Wales and needed some ideas for places to visit. I already knew about the Anglesey sea life centre and my workmate suggested I should definitely visit Foel Farm as it would be nearby when I went to the sealife centre.
As it turned out the sealife centre wasn't much to write home about but I am glad I took the time to visit Foel Farm.
As you may have already guessed Foel Farm isn't a working farm. We weren't visiting to watch the farmer plough his field or watch him picking potatoes. Foel Farm has been turned into a tourist attraction like so many farms are these days.
We were staying in Conwy so we faced a drive of around half an hour.
The beauty of North Wales is that the A55 North Wales expressway has junctions at nearly every town you would wish to visit. It makes travelling through North Wales extremely easy. It takes you all the way from near Chester straight through to Holyhead in North West Anglesey.
You leave the A55 and follow the A4080. The A4080 is a winding road and gets a bit narrow in parts so take your time and stick to any speed limits that are being imposed. There are brown signs guiding the way every couple of miles just in case you need them but it isn't difficult to find.
The road takes you down to the shore of the Menai Straits. As you approach the shore, slow down. At the bottom of the road there is no wall or fence and if you go flying down you could end up in the water. I certainly found it slightly surreal.
On your right you will see the entrance to the sealife centre. Go past this unless your are visiting there first or carry on and the entrance to Foel Farm will be a little further up on your right.
When we arrived at the sealife centre we had no idea how close the farm was. It's an ideal day out.
A map can be found on the Foel Farm website if you require it.
There is an excellent view of Caernarfon which is directly opposite the farm on the other side of the Menai Strait. There is a great view of the castle on the shore and some nice photo opportunities.
I would like to explain that when we went to the farm, we were in the middle of the coldest March I have ever experienced and although it was just before Easter it didn't really seem like the holiday season for North Wales. The farm was very quiet with not many families. I'm sure as it gets warmer, the farm gets busier but I can only write my review based on my personal experience on a quiet day.
Turn right into the entrance and then follow the narrow road for about 150 metres until you come to the car park. The car park is quite large but I cannot comment on how busy it will get at peak times or if the farm has additional parking if it does get full.
As you near the entrance you have a choice of either entering the farm through the small gift shop at the front or you can go into the café and chocolate shop for some refreshment.
We went for something to eat first. The café probably seats around fifty people so on a busy day might get a bit hectic. There was around ten child seats so you might end up a little stuck if lots of people have toddlers with them.
I ordered a cheese and pickle sandwich, my girlfriend had the soup of the day and my little boy had a kids meal, sausage, chips and beans which to be fair was a very healthy portion and I thought would of suited as a full meal. I also had a scone with cream and jam and a pot of tea that gave me three cups of tea.
The food was very good , my sandwich was garnished with salad and came on a big baguette. I was really impressed with the service. The staff were all young ladies and they were very polite and couldn't do enough for you. It was a nice start to the visit.
Next to the café there is also a chocolate shop, I didn't really visit the shop but had a quick look in when I used the toilets outside the entrance. If I had gone in I wouldn't have been able to resist buying something.
There is also a chocolate workshop where you can watch chocolate being made but this wasn't in operation when we visited. You can see into the workshop from the café.
When you have finished in the café and shop, enter the gift shop. As you enter the door straight ahead of you is the counter where you buy your tickets for entry.
It was £6.95 each for me and my girlfriend but it was free for my son who is under two years old. It is £6.25 for senior citizens and students and £5.95 for children aged three to sixteen.
Family tickets can be bought at a price of £24.00. This covers a family of two adults and two children or you can pay £29.25 for a family of two adults and three children.
Once you pay for your tickets you also receive a free bag of animal feed. Additional bags can be bought for fifty pence.
ENTERING THE FARM.
It is worth mentioning that you can enter the farm first before going back into the café through a door on the other side of the gift shop.
My first impression of the farm was how clean it was. I have been to some farms that are more local to where I live and they have been quite muddy. This wasn't the case at Foel Farm and when you consider that it had been snowing heavily three days before our visit that was quite encouraging.
As you enter you have the choice of going right into the animal pens. These contain lambs, goats, pigs and calves. All very cute. Especially the litter of piglets. Again I was impressed with how clean this part of the farm was. Usually you can really smell the animals and the pens are quite dirty. There are also a few chickens and hens roaming around freely but they don't bother you.
You can feed the animals by hand with the bag of feed you received when you bought your tickets. Don't try to feed the pigs though they'll have your hand off, there are warning signs for this. Everything else can be feed by hand as long as you hold your hand flat. Be careful though because if all the animals in the pen come running over it can get a bit intimidating. Maybe not to an adult but it would to a child.
Throughout the day there are feeding times for the calfs. We waited around for feeding time and a young farmhand came out with six litre bottles of milk. He hands them out to anybody that wants to feed the calfs. My son wasn't too keen so I fed one of them while he watched. I enjoyed the experience.
All the animal pens are under cover so the animals are protected from the elements which was quite useful at the time because the weather was very harsh.
If you did feed the animals and your hand got a good licking or you stroked any animals they recommend you wash your hands. There is a sink with soap and hot water on the way out of the pens. There are also paper towels provided to dry yourself.
Also on your right as you enter the farm from the gift shop is a shed containing rabbits and guinea pigs. Some big and some very small. When we entered the shed a member of staff followed us in and told us if we wanted to hold any of the animals to ask him. They only asked that we don't touch any of the animals unless a member of staff was present.
My son wasn't interested in the rabbits and guinea pigs. He was more interested in the quad bike parked outside in the courtyard. The quad was connected to a metal trailer that could set eight people. Again the man came over and asked if he wanted to sit on the quad and mentioned that if we wanted he would tow us around the farm on the trailer.
We climbed aboard the trailer which was literally a rickety metal cage. Another family climbed aboard and he towed us down a dirt track that circled the car park back into the courtyard. This was actually quite fun but was quite uncomfortable bouncing about on the metal seats in the rickety trailer. My little lad kept sliding off the seat as well so I don't think he enjoyed it too much, we were bouncing about so much it was hard to keep a good grip of him on the slippery seats. The older kids from the other family seemed to enjoy it though so maybe he was just a little too young.
The trailer ride was freezing with the wind coming in from the sea so it ruined it a little but most people would find it fun and I haven't been anywhere before where they do this.
As we got off the trailer the same member of staff who provided us with the milk for the calves asked if we wanted a pony ride. My son is a little too young for that so we declined. The pony rides are up a path as you walk straight through past the animal pens and rabbit sheds. Each pony was supervised by an adult and helmets are provided.
After declining the pony ride we turned right down the side of the animal pens and entered a picnic area. Straight away as you enter there is a huge bouncy castle. Not a normal bouncy castle. I'm not sure how to describe it other than a mound of air. It was buried into the ground and looked like great fun but I think in summer it would be busy and be a bit hectic trying to get on it.
Further on there was a duck pond and my son had great fun following the ducks about.
We were then asked if we would like to go on a tractor and trailer ride. The trailer seated around twenty people on benches that looked at of either side of the trailer. We were towed up to a field to meet the resident Shire Horse. I think I'm right in saying that the Shire Horse had lived on the farm for twenty years. He must wonder what is going on with all the people that must visit him every year. He was a beautiful animal and very friendly. Again you could feed by hand. You just hold out your hand with some feed in it and he would walk over and literally slobber all over your hand but my son enjoyed having the horse up so close.
One major problem with our visit was that because it was so cold most of the animals were not out in their paddocks so the tractor ride was quite a short one but we enjoyed it none the less. To compensate the tractor driver let me sit in the cab with my son and get a couple of photos although by this time he was getting a little grouchy and didn't really want to be hanging around getting his picture taken.
Where we picked up the tractor ride there was pathways leading up in between the paddocks. I'm sure in the summer this would be a lovely walk. The paddocks are probably full of cows and sheep but unfortunately as none of them were out it was pointless us walking up the pathway. Not to mention the fact that it was getting even colder so the time to go back to Conwy was getting near.
On the way out we visited the gift shop and I bought my son a small toy John Deere tractor for around £5. We didn't spend too much time looking around the shop but what we did see seemed reasonably priced.
At first I wasn't enjoying myself. I thought I'd seen it all before and the weather was really not helping.
I don't think the admission price was to expensive and I was pleased that we managed to pass at least three hours in and around the farm. My son loves animals and loves anything mechanical. So the quad and tractor rides were a bonus.
I cannot finish without mentioning the staff at Foel Farm. From the moment we entered the café to leaving the farm every member of staff were helpful and polite. I got the impression they really took pride in trying to make your day as enjoyable as it could be and they succeeded.
All were happy to help with any questions we had and were quick to make sure we knew about when the tractor and quad ride would be and when the feeding times were. I thought they gave the farm that nice personal touch that you so often don't get at some other places.
I am not sure if I would recommend driving from too far away to visit the farm. For example, I live in Manchester which is one hundred and five miles away so it would be too long a drive for a day trip when there are so many farms locally. However if you are in North Wales and are stuck for somewhere to visit then I cannot recommend it enough.
The opening times for Foel Farm are:
Daily from February 9th to 24th February, 10.30am to 4.30pm
Weekends from March 2nd to March 17th, 10.30am to 4.30pm
Daily from March 23rd to November 3rd, 10.30am to 5.30pm.
The farm also caters for children's parties and school visits. Foel Farm is a member of the National Association for Farms for Schools and meets the hygiene, safety and facilities standards making it possible for large groups to visit.
I recently visited Foel Farm Park with my children at the start of the school summer holidays. On arrival, I thought that the attraction looked really small, and didn't quite see how it could house all the things that were advertised in a recent leaflet I had seen about the attraction. However, the entry costs seemed fair and so we decided to take a further look and I am very glad that we did. The attraction itself is based on the Anglesey coast and is easy to find and well signposted from the Menai Bridge. It is located close to Brynsciencn should you wish to locate it on a map.
The entry costs were £5.50 per adult and £4.00 per child which for a North Wales Attraction is very reasonable. OAP and student entry costs are priced at £4.50. The attraction itself is based on the Anglesey coast and is easy to find and well signposted. Bags of food for the animals are also available for 30p each.
Once we had paid our entry fee we headed straight over to meet the bunnies. These were very tame and friendly and a member of staff sat my daughter down and showed her how to hold the bunny gently and to let her stroke it. We have two rabbits of our own, so my daughter really enjoyed this. They had a selection of chairs in the area which I thought was a great idea as they were providing seating for persons of all ages and sizes and it was nice that my little girl could sit on a small chair as opposed to having to climb up a large adult chair which could obviously pose a danger if she was to fall off, so from a safety perspective I thought this was a good idea.
On site there is also an animal barn which is where the Pigs, Sheep and Cows are all waiting to meet you. Again they are very friendly animals and seem very tame. They didn't seem to mind being stroked at all and as soon as you walked past they would come running over to you. Bottle feeding times were also clearly displayed in the barn for the lambs and the calfs and they provide you with the opportunity to feed them yourselves.
To the rear of the barn, is a large outdoor play area, with swings, ride on toys and a large bouncing pillow which is very similar to a bouncy castle but it doesn't have any sides. Adults are welcome to use this too which was great as we were all able to have fun bouncing around together. In this area were also numerous picnic benches and tables for if you have brought your own refreshments.
To the rear of the play area is the Tractor parking station. There is a large trailer attached to the rear of the tractor which has some bench seating which can accomodate about 12 people comfortably. Once the trailer is full the driver of the tractor will set off and take you on a tour around the farm and the surrounding field where you go to visit and feed a large white shire horse. On our most recent visit I learnt that this gorgeous horse is 23 years of age and her name is Queenie. She is a beautiful horse and she comes to the side of the trailer so that you can feed her. I enjoyed this part of the tractor ride just as much as the children.
The next area we went to was the sand pit. This is a large sand filled area with numerous toys, trucks, diggers and spades. There is plenty of room for a fair few children in here and my children spent the best part of half an hour playing with the toys before deciding to move onto something else.
Next, my daughter headed for the pony ride. We explained to the lady that whilst she was excited she was also a little nervous and so the lady in charge allowed my husband to walk alongside her just for reassurance. It was only a short walk and lasted a couple of minutes, but I felt that this was more than enough time for my little girl. Not wanting to leave my son out we also allowed him to sit on the pony. He is only one so doesnt quite understand how to hold on and stop himself from falling so we just sat him on it for a few seconds and he absolutely loved it.
Overall, this is a great family attraction with plenty to see and do. The entry prices are very reasonable and there are no additional charges once you are inside which for me is a welcome change to some places I have visited. I would highly recommend this attraction.
Let your kids experience a real working farm.