If you find yourself in the Beckton area of the East End, then make sure to make a visit to the Newham City Farm, especially if you have animal loving kids with you.
This is one of London’s oldest and most popular city farms, giving you a chance to spend some time with over 200 different kinds of animals in a rural oasis right in the heart of the city’s East End.
About Newham City Farm and its residents
The farm was originally opened in 1977. It isn’t only the home to many traditional farmyard animals but also keeps many rare breeds and some more exotic creatures such as birds of prey. One of the main attractions on the farm is its friendly working shire horse, who, if you are lucky when you time your visit, may be pulling some cart rides around the farm. You can also meet many other popular farmyard animals including pigs, sheep, cows, goats, geese, chickens and ducks. Small animals, including rabbits and ferrets, are also well represented.
The farm is not just home to traditional farmyard folk, however. You can meet alpacas and visit exotic birds and birds of prey in their aviaries. Set in the middle of the lush green spaces of the King George V Park, the farm’s site also includes a few different wildlife areas, a community orchard and vegetable plots.
Things to do at Newham City Farm
Although much of your time may be spent meeting the animals during your visit to the farm, there are other things to do on the site. Many visitors simply enjoy walking round the farm and its lake and surrounding areas, for example. You can also let the kids run off some energy in the play area. The farm is currently building an indoor play barn to add to the fun for the younger members of the family. The early years’ play area is located next to the café, so parents can relax with a drink while the kids run around safely.
There are plenty of picnic benches if you want an outdoor lunch or snack and you can also stop off at the farm’s café if you prefer. This is located in the visitor centre in the heart of the site’s King George V Park. The farm shop sells a range of souvenirs that are ideal for anyone with some spare pocket money to spend. Adults may prefer to buy fresh produce – the farm sells eggs from its chickens and honey from its beehive in the shop, subject to availability.
Places to Visit in the East End – Newham City Farm
The farm runs a program of regular special events throughout the year, typically on weekends and during national and school holidays. It is worth checking out what is on from the farm’s website before you visit to see if you can catch one of their activities – some of these are free; others may have a charge. Regular events include storytelling sessions, community gardening workshops, trails, arts and crafts activities and animal handling sessions.
During special holidays, you may be able to join in some themed fun. For example, during Halloween the farm runs activities such as apple bobbing, pumpkin carving, arts and crafts sessions and face painting. At Christmas, you can expect to see Father Christmas pay a visit to the farm and there will be a range of Christmassy activities for the kids.
The farm runs a regular Sunday club for kids with a gardening and nature theme where they can learn about the wildlife living at the farm and in the park and how to grow their own food. There is also a natural crafts club every Thursday afternoon where people share their skills. Previous skills covered in this club include salt dough making, spinning, soap making and crochet. During school holidays, you may be able to sign the kids up to be a farmer or to look after an animal for the day, however these sessions are not free and you’ll have to pay a daily charge.
Visiting Newham City Farm
The farm is closed on non-Bank Holiday Mondays, but generally opens all other days of the week all of the year. Do check the website for opening times around major holidays such as Christmas, however, as the farm will close on some days or may operate with reduced opening hours. There is no entrance charge to the farm or park, although you can give a donation if you wish. During the Summer season the farm opens at 10am and closes at 5pm. It closes an hour earlier at 4pm during the Winter season. The nearest tube stations are Plaistow or East Ham but you can also access the site from North Woolwich and Royal Albert rail and DLR stations.