*** This review is completely my own and written of my own accord. Everything purchased was paid for by ourselves. ***
Today we visited Wroxham Barns in the North Nofolk countryside. It is a family attraction with craft shops, animals, a fairground, playground, picnic areas, restaurant and mini golf. We've visited before and we used to visit even before we had children to entertain!
One of the first things we did when we arrived was eat. It was raining outside and we decided that it was better to eat while it was raining in the hope that it'd dry up!
We ate in the main restaurant. It lovely inside and looks really homely and inviting. The cake displays are AMAZING and the choice of cake is really good. It all looks really appetising.
I ordered a 'ham salad' which looked like this:
Visually impressive! It cost *gulp* £10.95. I might be a bit tight and I don't expect to pay a lot for food. So to me it was expensive. Delicious but expensive. I also didn't think the salad tasted of much, it was a bit grassy for me!
They do offer a good menu with some impressive sounding dishes as well as simpler things such as jacket potatoes and paninis. However, price is still an issue. I resent paying £6.75 for a panini. It just seems a lot to me.
The children's menu is ok. Some nice options. One thing that sticks out is that they don't do chips of any sort. My (quite fussy chip lovers) weren't keen on the menu options. In the end E chose the beans on toast (£3.50) and F chose to have 2 lots of toast!
The children also had a drink each. A cup of milk, it was £1.50 for a very small plastic cup of milk. I could probably have bought 8 pints of milk and 2 cups for the £3 that it cost just for their drinks.
We had dessert too (£4.95 a dessert). The treacle tart I had was ok. It didn't taste of much and was slightly burnt on on side. The custard was lovely. The girls had a shortbread biscuit from the cake cabinet for 75p each and they ate it all!
Price-wise the shops follow the trend set by the restaurant. The selection of shops includes a sketching gallery (closed on Fridays so we didn't see in), a store selling children's clothes and accessories, a fabric and habadashery shop, an art supply shop, a gem stone shop, a carved wood shop, a stained glass shop, a pottery shop, a little cider/apple juice shop, a 'pantry' food shop and a bar, a garden shop and a general gift shop and sweet shop.
All the shops sell nice items. I've been coming to Wroxham Barns for a good few years so I've seen them all and they've not changed much. This means I don't get enthused about them and I didn't buy anything other than some fudge! Prices are high, the variety of items available is good however and you can get some very cute things!
We had season passes (that were bought for us last year and run out next week) but had we paid to get in then it would have cost us £5.75 each (under 2s go free) and 50p a bag of animal food.
There are various farm animals to feed and pet and a chance to hold a guinea pig, bottle feed a lamb and see some other animals. The site itself isn't huge and it felt a bit empty in some places. Also the chickens aren't the least bit interested in the food but that's not mentioned when you buy it!
The kids had fund feeding sheep, cows and donkeys and cooing at the lambs. The pigs were cute too!
The girls got to hold a guinea pig each too
F especially enjoyed that!
The Pig Sty is a (fairly) new indoor soft play for the children, in the animal part. It is good inside, just the right sort of size for my girls and with somewhere to sit for the adults.
I think the term fairground is a little optimistic. There is a small train ride and a couple of circular type rides plus some ride on cars and a small arcade. There is mini golf too (£3.50 per person) which we didn't do.
The rides cost £1 each and supervising adults have to pay too. I think that this is a bit much for rides so short and small and where I needed to accompany the children.
Wroxham Barns is beautiful. Set in the countryside, lots of old buildings. It is all generally very clean and tidy and well looked after.
Every member of staff we encountered was friendly and smiling and happy to help and they are definitely a credit to the barns.
The toilets are a bit, lacking. They were smelly and the hand driers were useless and they just felt a bit claustrophobic and unpleasant. There is a separate baby change/disabled toilet too.
Overall we enjoyed our day. The place is lovely and we will visit again, although probably not for a while. The amenities are good and we spent about 4 hours there and that with the 45 minute journey for us makes it a day out.
The main thing that lets the barns down for me is the price of everything. It isn't a cheap day out and you won't get a bargain. But you will have fun and make some memories, which, after all, is priceless.