Nestled in the famous Victorian park in south-east London, Crystal Palace Park Farm is a small yet spectacular attraction, with plenty of fun-filled activities for kids and parents alike. Located on the Crystal Park campus of Capel Manor College, children and parents are guided through the ins and outs of farm life, meeting a variety of furry (and sometimes scaly!) friends on the way. The staff like to keep a fun yet educational focus while introducing children to the animals, so there is lots to learn on your visit to this little farm. From Shetland ponies to exotic reptiles, everyone can look forward to an action-packed country day out, without even having to leave London.
Make New Friends
Ready for an audience with some of your favourite animals? At Crystal Palace Park Farm there are daily 'meet and greet' sessions, where children are introduced to all the different farm animals, and can even feed some of the furrier residents. As well as goats, chickens, Shetland ponies and even alpacas, Capel Manor also hosts smaller animals such as guinea pigs and rabbits, and for those who dare to enter, there is also a dedicated reptile room.
Snuggle up with a snake!
The staff at Crystal Palace Park Farm will often bring out some of the more exotic animals, such as snakes and lizards for the children to stroke, or even hold. Don't worry about having to sign up or go at a specific time, just bring yourselves and a member of staff will help you! For those who prefer to observe these animals from a distance, you will find geckos, bearded dragons and many other fascinating creatures in the reptile room, alongside an impressive display of huge shed snake skins!
Recharge Your Batteries
If all that excitement has worked up an appetite, try the newly opened cafe on the east side of Crystal Palace Park. Brown & Green Life offers brunch favourites all day long, including vegan/ veggie options, and a dedicated 'Kiddiewinkles' menu with mini versions of the grown-up food. The upstairs venue often hosts family-friendly events, including Postnatal Yoga, Little Folk Nursery Rhymes, and much more!
Bring the bikes
Crystal Palace Park is the perfect place for a family bike ride away from the hustle and bustle of London. Shorter routes start near the Tube station at Ledrington Road, and take a leisurely loop around past Crystal Palace Park Farm and up towards the children's playground. Alternatively, the ride can easily be extended to circle round the whole park, with lots of places to stop off and enjoy a sandwich.
Hang Out Lakeside
Kids can't get enough of the animals? Wander over to one of Crystal Palace Park's two lakes and spend some time feeding the ducks! You can either bring your own, or grab some tasty duck-friendly snacks from one of the shops on Anerley Road and head to the Lower Lake for pedalo hire (season depending), boating, or just some quality time with our feathered friends. You can also meander up to the smaller ponds at the north of the park, taking in some striking modern architecture as you go.
Go Dinosaur Spotting!
Did you know that the Lower Lake, near the Penge entrance of the park, is home to around 30 dinosaurs? These nineteenth-century statues, fondly known as the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs, have been a wildly popular London attraction for over a hundred years, and you can read all about each dinosaur on the dedicated plaques, or even take an audio tour. Younger dino enthusiasts will love the park's dedicated playground, filled with fossils and dinosaur-themed surprises just a short walk up from the lake.
Get Your Maze On
Forget escape rooms, Crystal Palace Park's impressive 1,500-metre-square maze is the biggest of its kind in London. Free to enter, this 19th-century hedge maze is located at the top of the park, and is guaranteed to inspire imaginations. Here you can easily fill an afternoon with giggles and adventure among the greenery.
Kidadl Tips To Know Before You Go
- Take an umbrella! The farm itself is open-air, but if it gets a little drizzly you can always seek shelter in the reptile room.
- The farm is open from 12-4 pm daily, and closed on Wednesdays. Plan to visit towards the end of the afternoon for a chance to watch the Capel Manor staff and students take the animals back to their stables for the night.
- Picnic benches are located a short walk from the farm, by the Lower Lake. If you feel like cooking your own lunch, however, Crystal Palace Park is one of the only parks in South East London to still allow barbecues (as long as they are raised off the ground)!
- The park can get muddy so if you have younger children, bringing the buggy and wellies may be a good option.
- Crystal Palace Park is one of the best-kept secrets in London. With so many attractions to explore, your visit can easily fill a whole day. Plan ahead to make sure you don't miss out on any of the fun!
Where is it? Capel Manor College, Crystal Palace Park Farm, Ledrington Road, London, SE19 2BS. You can also contact the farm at email@example.com.
How much to budget for: Crystal Palace Park Farm is completely free! If you do fancy a cuppa or a bite to eat, the cafe is reasonably priced too. The park is accessible by tube and bus, and free parking is available at the Thicket Road entrance (a 4-minute walk from the farm).
Nearest Tube: Crystal Palace.
Is it buggy friendly? Yes! There is plenty of room at the farm and surrounding areas, with footpaths suitable for buggy wheels.
Kidadler Ema says: 'I have taken my girls. It's brilliant. It's a day trip but it's worth it, the park is great and the cafe and the playground are brilliant!'
For more great family activities, visit kidadl.com.