The new wellbeing trends are announced at the beginning of each year, and 2020 is all about agritourism: trips that combine agriculture and tourism.
According to research by Pinterest, there’s been a 57% rise in people looking for farm-based holidays as more people realise the benefits of breathing in fresh air and living the outdoor life.
Here we’ve rounded up some of the farms in and around Manchester where you and the family can reap the benefits of getting hands-on.
The Farm at Tatton Park
In a corner of the vast Tatton Park near Knutsford, you’ll find a 40-acre rare breed working farm. Here, you can get up close to the animals, with seasonal highlights including feeding the lambs, walking the pigs to the fields and meeting new-born calves, foals and chicks.
There’s also an 18th century mill and a Caretaker’s Cottage to discover, demonstrations of traditional farming skills to watch, as well as a den, maze and trial to explore. Entry is £7 for adults, £5 for children with a 50% discount for National Trust members.
After making improvements over the winter months, this Bacup petting farm reopens on 15th February.
There are farmyard tours with Farmer Terry, where he’ll share what he gets up to on a typical day, and the chance to come to face to face with a number of animals, from fluffy to slithering sort, including new-born lambs who are waiting to be bottle-fed, as well as a bird of prey show to keep everyone entertained. Entry is £4.50 for adults and children.
Smithills Open Farm
Set within 70 acres a few miles north of Bolton, Smithills is a family-run farm that’s been handed down from generation to generation. Although it’s traditionally a dairy farm, there are lots of animals who call place this home, including meerkats, skunks and llamas alongside the usual suspects.
There are also donkey riding tracks, tractor and trailer rides and a milking parlour, as well as play and picnic areas. Entry is £8 for adults and £7 for children.
Reddish Vale Farm
The 19th century Reddish Vale Farm in southeast Manchester was a working dairy farm until 1990, when it fell into disrepair. The Dillon family then stepped in and opened it as a riding school, before returning the site to its original roots by opening the doors to an animal farm in addition to the horse riding facilities.
Opening again on 15th February, you can buy £1 per buckets of feed for the local residents, hop on a tractor or quadbike, and have a cuppa in the tea rooms. Entry is £5.50 for adults and £6.50 for children.
Wythenshawe Community Farm
Described as ‘a taste of the country in the heart of the city’, the aim at the Wythenshawe Community Farm is to help visitors appreciate where food comes from, and experience a working farm without a rural setting.
There are cows, pigs, sheep, ducks and horses as well as prize-winning herd of Hereford cattle, and the chance for the smaller members of the family to become a junior farmer for the day.
There’s also an extensive breeding programme at the farm, so there’s a good chance of cooing over baby animals, a new farm shop, and even better, entry is free.
Lancaster Park and Animal Farm
There are over 50 species of animals, many of them who have been rescued, at this park and farm in Chadderton, Oldham. You get to meet a lot of them along the half mile Nature Walk through the valley of the River Irk.
There’s also a petting barn, and plenty of activities for the kids, including diggers, play parks, and a caterpillar trailer ride. Opening on February 14, entry is £4 for adults and children.
Cockfields Farm Park
You’ll find this long-running family-run business on the border of Ashton-Under-Lyne and Oldham where the team prides itself on the variety of activities visitors can take part in.
It means you might be washing pigs, bottle-feeding the latest additions, or grooming donkeys. There’s also small animal handling, including a reptile show for those who want to handle something a little less fluffy, and Entry is £8.95 for adults and children
Heaton Park Animal Centre
Heaton Park is Manchester’s 600 acre green lung. There are activities and things to throughout the year, including the Animal Centre. Based in old stables, you’ll find a host of farmyard animals, including goats, pigs and chickens, and even an alpaca or two.
Out in the fields, there is Highland cattle with their distinctive red shaggy coats, as well as Shorthorned cattle, horses and donkeys. Entry is free, and the centre’s open all year round.