I don’t have much luck at all when it comes to visiting Millets Farm Centre, in Abingdon. My first attempt to visit was back in the summer of 2015. I was doing my first solo, longish, car journey with Charlotte and I decided the farm would be a good stop off point to break up our journey. She fell asleep as we entered the car park. So, I decided to keep my fingers crossed that she’d snooze for the rest of the journey, turned around, and carried on my way! Attempt 1: mission aborted.
My second attempt was a visit with a friend and her 3 children. The weather was atrocious that day. We sheltered in the cafe for a while in case the rain eased off. It didn’t. We were very British and decided to carry on regardless. We managed to see one pig, before we were soaked to the skin and a bit miserable, so we abandoned ship and headed to the nearest soft play - Snakes and Ladders. Attempt 2: rained stopped play.
This Saturday we decided to try again and suggested it as a meeting point to catch up with some Reading based friends. Guess what? It was raining! Thankfully not as heavily as it was on the day of attempt 2! Luckily, the centre has already started it’s Christmas stuff so there was plenty to do indoors, and we actually found ourselves visiting on the temporary ice rink’s opening day.
There’s plenty to do at Millets with the garden centre, farm shop, cafe, restaurant, pick your own, maize maze, farm animals, carousel, falconry centre, park, and soon to open soft play centre. (NB some bits are free, some hold an additional charge. Some openings are seasonal. Check out their website for details.) We didn’t manage it all but the littlies seemed very happy just to explore the giant Christmas section, and check out the toys.
We wandered down to the animals in the drizzle. Many were sheltering from the weather, but there seemed to be a nice selection of animals. Pigs, cows, ducks, alpacas and rheas to name a few...although some seemed to be having an identity crisis!!!
The regular cafe was very busy, so we hit the ice rink cafe instead. There was a limited food selection, and the till service wasn’t particularly orderly, but I’ll put that down to opening day staff confusion! We were all happy with sausages, pasties and coffee (I was very tempted to have my first mulled wine of the season) and the kids loved watching the skaters while we ate. Charlotte did say she’d like to give ice skating a try, but I was pretty relieved she followed that with “when I’m a bigger girl!” Attempt 3: mission completed.
Each year I let Charlotte (and now Benjamin I guess!) choose a new decoration for the Christmas tree. I think we might head back to Millets mid-week to make our selection this year. We might be done with weekend visits until the new year though. Although there is plenty of parking, with us creeping ever closer to Christmas and Santa’s Grotto being open, I think it might get a bit too busy and chaotic for my liking!