I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but there’s nothing like a baaaa of a sheep or an oink of a pig to put things well and truly back into perspective. So when you’re dreaming of emails pinging and you feel as though the world is getting on top of you, you don’t have to run away to the countryside…
London is full of FARMS. Proper city farms! Farms with quacking and mooing and occasionally, exquisite cake and tea. So shutdown that laptop, switch your out of office to ‘gone fishing’ and head to one of these glorious animal havens and pet a goat or two.
I’ll be the one in the pig pen. Pigs just understand me, you know?
Spitalfields City Farm
Buxton Street, London, E1 5AR
Telephone: 0207 247 8762
Built on a former railway goods depot, this farm was started in 1978 in response to local people’s wishes to convert wasteland into allotments, having lost theirs to developers. With a long tradition in the East End of backyard farming, it wasn’t long before chickens, rabbits and geese appeared on the scene! Now you’ll find Bayleaf the Donkey, lots of rare breeds of animals, the Tea Hut Cafe and a Pick Your Own veggie garden…
Mudchute Park & Farm
Pier Street, Isle of Dogs, London, E14 3HP
Telephone: 020 7515 5901
This is one of London’s (and Europe’s) largest city farms and stands proudly on 32 acres in the Isle of Dogs. They have over 100 animals, a restaurant, horse riding lessons and lots of events, including wool crafting and a Build and Race Go-Karting day!
Kentish Town City Farm
1 Cressfield Close off Grafton Road, London, NW5 4BN
Telephone: 020 7916 5421
Kentish Town City Farm celebrated its 40th birthday in 2012 and is still very happy in its hope in and around the railway near Gospel Oak. The farm is very much geared around kiddiwinks, so if you don’t have any, maybe borrow a couple (THAT YOU KNOW AND THEIR PARENTS HAVE AGREED TO IT) and whisk them off to become Garden Explorers, do a Pottery Drop In or some Arts and Crafts. Oh and there are lots of animals too :)
Vauxhall City Farm
165 Tyers Street, London, SE11 5HS
Telephone: 020 7582 4204
Between 1972 and 1976 large-scale demolition of buildings was taking place in the Vauxhall area and local residents protested by setting up the North Lambeth Neighbourhood Council (NLNC). The NLNC encouraged people to take responsibility for their area and community and youth projects began springing up on unused land in and around Vauxhall.
By 1976, a group of architects were squatting at St Oswald’s Place and began working on a small vacant plot. Jubilee City Farm (as it was then known) was born! It was a collaborative project with local residents growing vegetables, providing for themselves and caring for livestock.
Since then, the farm has grown but it still relies on the commitment and enthusiasm of volunteers. And now they’ll even look after your animals for you when you pop off on holibobs!
Hackney City Farm
1a Goldsmiths Row, London E2 8QA
Telephone: 020 7729 6381
This farm is mostly famous for its amazing cafe Frizzante, but rest assured the farm is also packed to the hilt with extremely happy animals. They have a lovely garden, a pottery studio, they offer beekeeping courses and also run the Haggerston Orchard Project – now in it’s third year, the Haggerston Orchard is now a thriving food production site, run on permaculture principles, set in nearby Haggerston Park.
Newham City Farm
King George Avenue, E16 3HR (Main entrance in Stansfeld Road, E6 5LT)
Telephone: 0300 124 0123
Newham City Farm is one of London’s largest and longest established city farms. The farm opened in 1977 and is home to a large collection of farmyard favourites such as cows, horses and sheep alongside some less familiar animals such as alpacas, birds of prey and turkeys…
There are also many smaller animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets.
Deen City Farm
39 Windsor Avenue, Merton Abbey, LONDON, SW19 2RR
Telephone: 020 8543 5300
Deen City Farm is an urban farm with an educational focus in the heart of the London Borough of Merton. They teach the local community about the rural environment and where their food comes from – important stuff. They also have an active volunteering programme as well as a Riding School…
Surrey Docks Farm
Surrey Docks Farm, Rotherhithe Street, London, SE16 5ET
Telephone: 020 7231 1010
Surrey Docks City Farm occupies a 2.2 acre site on the south bank of the river Thames, a stone’s throw from the Surrey Quays shopping centre. The farm isn’t just full of gorgeous animals, but it also offers Sunday donkey rides, a lovely cafe, allotments, mobile farm, piglet project (!) and lots more… if you’d like to support them, have a look at their wishlist!
Freightliners City Farm
Sheringham Road, London, N7 8PF
Telephone: 020 7609 0467
Freightliners Farm was founded on wasteland behind Kings Cross station in London in 1973. Originally the animals were housed in railway goods vans, hence the name! (Love these stories.) Now you’ll find animals like rabbits, chickens and goats all living in their painted Wendy houses.. and you can buy animals too! Specifically, chickens, ducks, geese, goats, sheep, turkeys, guinea fowl, quail, pigeons & doves, rabbits and guinea pigs are all for sale. Goodie.
Hounslow Urban Farm
Faggs Road, Feltham, Middlesex, London, TW14 OLZ
Tel: 0208 831 9658
Weekly pig racing?? Yes. Let’s all go here. This is one of London’s largest community farms, covering 29 acres and is home to 5 types of pigs, goats, cows, rabbits, ducks, geese, alpacas, rheas, Peacocks and more… Oh, there’s also pony riding and an in-progress new tropical zoo!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my 10 secrets this week… if you have some other favourites, please let me know in the comments below!