Closest Tube Station: Aldgate East
On a recent trip to London with my friend and her daughter, our desperate search for chicken wings had gone awry and we had a child to entertain! Despite East London’s recent renaissance into the hipster capital of the world, Tower Hamlets is not the most affluent community in London, even though it’s only a stone’s throw from the financial hub of Canary Wharf.
The fact that there is so much diversity is one of my favourite things about London; that diversity really weaves into the cultural tapestry of the city. In a sense, this farm perfectly symbolises that juxtaposition. This oasis with its braying donkeys and farmyard smells seems like a world away from the market stalls and noise of Brick Lane (even though they’re a mere 5 minute walk apart).
I had heard about Spitalfields City Farm through the grape vine and it sounded like such an unusual place to find in the middle of London that I had to see for myself. I felt a little bit less weird about going because I had a 4 year old with me, but having visited the farm I can say that there’s definitely something for everyone there, no matter what your age. The great thing about this farm is that it is open at all times of the year and completely free to the public.
The main farmyard has different sections dedicated to:
- Rabbits/guinea pigs; and
The farm has a ‘no slaughter’ policy and is a great asset to the city, because it exposes people who may not have easy access to a ‘real farm’ to education and learning opportunities in their local community. The farm houses ‘regular’ farmyard animals, as well as rare breeds, such as the hairy Kune Kune pigs which are originally from New Zealand.
According to their website, the animals are also available for film and television hire; one particular donkey has appeared on CBEEBIES and in the Sun Newspaper (although he seemed very down to earth). If you do happen to be visiting with children, there is also a garden area with a ‘bug hotel’, games and a tree house.
The farm regularly runs clubs and events, and there are plenty of volunteering opportunities to get involved with. The farm is run solely by volunteers, and so they’re always looking for people to help with the farmyard, garden and general maintenance. If you fancy volunteering your entire family for a day, they even run ‘Make ‘n’ Mend Saturdays’ which involve crafts, gardening and building for all ages.
So whether you’re looking for a respite from the hustle and bustle of East London, or you’re looking for an alternative source of family friendly fun, Spitalfields City Farm is definitely an informative and unusual way to spend a couple of hours.
For more information you can check out their website here.
Thanks for reading,