One of our regular favourite places to visit as a family, in spring and summer particularly, is St James City Farm in Gloucester. It is a very small farm, in a built up part of the city, where you’d least expect to find a farm… and it’s absolutely delightful! Despite being small, it’s open 9:30am – 4:30pm every single day and is wheelchair and pushchair friendly.
The farm is run by registered charity and non-profit community project “The Friendship Café”, so there’s no entry fee, but the farm does heavily rely on the generosity of it’s visitors for survival. We make sure we leave some money in the donation urn every time we visit, even if it’s only a few pounds.
St James City Farm is home to sheep, cows goats, pigs, chickens, ducks, rabbits, guinea pigs, a rather scary turkey, some ponies and the most beautiful (and absolutely enormous) owl I’ve ever seen. Her name is Fatboy (yes, SHE is a girl) and she has exceptionally striking bright orange eyes.
The farm also has an approved horse riding centre and offers lessons for children at very reasonable prices.
We love that you can just wander in and out of the farm as you please (as long as you are respectful to it’s inhabitants of course). In spring you get to see all the baby chicks, baby bunnies and baby lambs cuddled up with their mummies (photos are from last year’s lambs, as sadly I have to avoid lambs this year, as I’m pregnant.)
The volunteers at the farm are very friendly and will chat to you for as long as you want, about the animals that live there. They often allow children to pet the guinea pigs or baby lambs and often other animals too, but I’d always suggest you ask first and they will be more than happy to help.
There is a small café in the middle of the farm, where you can buy cans of drink and mini-milk ice creams at a ridiculously inexpensive price, which is great as we often end up visiting every single Wednesday when the weather is warm!
We usually spend about half an hour (sometimes longer) at St James City Farm and they have handwashing facilities for when you leave. There is a local play park just around the corner from the farm (not part of the farm), so we sometimes pop there too to make our trip more of an outing. The farm is not far from local bus stops which run into the city centre every ten or so minutes, but we usually choose to walk and it only takes about fifteen minutes to walk in Gloucester centre.
I wouldn’t recommend driving miles up the motorway specifically just to visit St James farm, but I would say it’s an essential place to visit if you are in Gloucester or are planning a trip to Gloucester. If you are travelling from afar, there are lots of other places of interest in Gloucester which you could combine into your trip to make a full day out. For local people, though, St James Farm is one of Gloucester’s best hidden gems. All three of my children (ages 3 and 8) absolutely love the farm and it’s secretly one of my favourite places too.