This week’s Bristot’s review is of another free farm that Bristol has to offer: Windmill Hill City Farm. If you have read my previous review in the series, you will know we have a brilliant community farm local to us, which we really enjoy going to. On Friday it was my husband’s last day of paternity leave (boo!) so we decided to go for a family day out and ventured across town to Windmill Hill City Farm with our newborn and our very excited toddler. Neither of us did any research before going to the farm so we did not know what to expect and what it was going to be like.
It was a dry and fairly mild day – so we donned our wellies and warm clothes to check the farm out. There is limited parking within the grounds of the farm, but plenty outside and we got a space easily. However, we did not have any change to use in the meters, but thankfully it had the option to pay over the telephone – which is quite a faff so I would definitely recommend taking change with you. After figuring out logistics (newborn in baby sling, toddler free to roam but reins just in case!) we set off in to the farm. It was very reassuring when we arrived to see numerous prams and buggies parked up outside the cafe, and bobble-hatted toddlers running around before us. We first saw the ducks and geese in the small pond area much to Ted’s delight, but he wanted to explore further and run off into what I thought was the courtyard area. In this area was the cafe, 2 cows (!) a gravel pit with toy diggers, and a small barn which we later discovered housed pigs, goats and rabbits.
Behind the Courtyard area are the community gardens and allotments. Visitors are allowed to explore this area as long as you don’t damage or trample anything! This seems like a lovely community project to be involved in for the locals, but not really a draw for visitors. I think Windmill City Hill is definitely geared towards local families. I felt like Ted was entirely safe the whole time and he was able to explore at his own pace which was fantastic.
We did find that after a short while we had run out of things to do and see, so we decided to visit the farm cafe. The cafe was really toddler friendly – IKEA highchairs (always a winner with us!) and crayons at every table. I was also able to comfortably breastfeed which was great. The cafe was full of mums having a coffee catch up with their friends while their children were happy, safe and eating yummy home-made food. I had a coffee and a flapjack which went down very well. There was a small play area just outside the cafe with a chalkboard, some benches and some apparatus to play on. Ted really enjoyed this part!
We enjoyed our visit to Windmill City Hill Farm although I had expected slightly more. I should add that we completely missed the fact that there was a big play area with swings etc – if we had have seen this it would certainly have added to our visit. We only saw on it on their website after we went so if you visit make sure you check it out! It was a lovely family morning for us but I think I would be deterred from travelling across the city to go again when we have a bigger farm closer to us, but over all it is great for toddlers and if you live near by you should pay it a visit.
- Where is Windmill Hill City Farm? Philip St, Bristol BS3 4EA
- When is it open? 9-5 every day
- How much does it cost? It’s free!
- What facilities are on site? a cafe, toilets, a picnic area, a play area, community gardens, organised activities
- Is it pushchair/wheelchair accessible? Yes
- Is there parking? Minimal parking on-site but pay-at-meter parking on surrounding roads