Discover the hidden gems of London’s city farms and petting zoos! From zoos with exotic animals to free city farms with goats and cows, we’ll guide you through the top family-friendly animal experiences in London. Come along with our ducklings as we embark on an adventure to meet the city’s most endearing furry companions.
Whether you’re looking for petting areas, donkey rides, collecting duck eggs or feeding lamb, you can read all about it in our reviews. Hopefully, this will inspire you to get your wellies on and discover an animal farm or zoo near you. Here’s a complete guide to all of London’s farms and Zoos!
Battersea Park Children’s Zoo Farm | Battersea Park | London SW11 4NJ
- Great for young kids
- Great location in Battersea Park
- Regular keeper talks & feeding times
- Farmyard with opportunity to pet the animals
- Big playground with a fire engine
If you are looking for a fun and educational day out with your kids, you should definitely check out the Battersea Children’s Zoo. It is a place where children can get up close and personal with a variety of animals, including farm animals, and learn about their habitats, behaviours and needs.
The zoo has a range of activities that will keep your kids entertained and engaged. You can watch the monkeys swing from the trees, feed the otters their favourite fish, or marvel at the meerkats as they dig and play. You can also join the daily talks and demonstrations by the friendly zookeepers, who will tell you fascinating facts and stories about the animals.
You can also visit the farmyard petting area, where you can meet pigs, sheep, goats, chickens and rabbits. You can even brush their fur and give them a cuddle.
The Battersea Children’s Zoo is a wonderful place to spark your children’s curiosity and love for animals. It is also a great way to support the conservation and welfare of these amazing creatures. Also, don’t forget to check out the great playgrounds in Battersea Park.
Belmont Children’s Farm | The Ridgeway | London NW7 1QT
- Scheduled petting sessions
- Plenty of space for the animals
- Steep entry price compared to the overall experience
- Confusing website, hard to plan the day in advance
Belmont promotes various meet & greet sessions, including meeting with cows, sheep, ponies, owls and smaller animals. What is missing is a clear schedule for when they are taking place so that parents can plan their day in advance. Instead, they have placed a disclaimer on the website saying visitors should “check the times at reception for daily changes to avoid disappointment”.
Scheduling a few daily activities at fixed times shouldn’t be very difficult – after all, running a farm is all about routines. However, with no clear schedule visiting the farm is a bit of a gamble; if you miss out on the activities, it feels far too steep to pay £20 for a family ticket just to take a quick round watching the animals. Paying £1.60 for a feed bag and £2.50 for a quick tractor ride seems excessive and should be included in the ticket price. A reduced ticket price and/or including the feed and tractor ride would go a long way to help the situation (while the issues are sorted out).
Read our detailed review of Belmont Children’s Farm
Brooks City Farm | Jack Cornwell Park | Skeltons Ln | London E10 5BS
Accessible and friendly farm
- Animal Feeding
- Lots of handwashing stations
- Friendly and knowledgeable staff
- The cafe closed during winter
- Try to take part in the scheduled activities
Brooks is a small charming farm in a residential area in East London. The staff is really friendly, and you can feed the alpacas and the goats. Our kids really enjoyed the chickens walking around freely, as well as the farm cat. This is a nice place to visit in the neighbourhood, especially with younger kids. There is also a large playground next to the farm, so you can make the fun last longer.
Read more about Brooks City Farm
Crystal Palace Park Farm | Ledrington Rd | London SE19 2BS
- Popular farm for kids with meerkats
- Nice location close to other family activities
- Basic facilities
- No clear schedule of when the animal sessions are taking place
- More focused on students and schools than individual visitors
Crystal Palace Farm is located within Crystal Palace Park and features various animals. Students working on the farm are friendly and helpful, but there is no clear schedule regarding when the animal sessions are taking place. Our assumption is that the farm is more geared towards school visits and training for students of Capel Manor College rather than individual visits.
This is fair enough, but it might be good to make that a bit clear on the website and at the entrance to the farm. In any case, kids will enjoy it for a little while (especially the meerkats), so we suggest popping in if in the area. However, the facilities are mostly in a good state, all concrete, so, not the cosiest farm we’ve been to.
Read our review of Crystal Palace Farm
Deen City Farm | 39 Windsor Ave | London SW19 2RR
Lots of activities and a great farm for kids
- All of the important farm animals popular with kids
- Horse riding lessons
- Regular meet & greet animal sessions Riding school (both horses & ponies)
- Confusing website in terms of pricing and options for activities
- Basic options on the menu in the farm cafe
Deen might be small but it certainly packs a punch! The farm is well kept with a good range of animals, including ducks, geese, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, sheep, goats, cows, pigs, and even an owl, an alpaca, and a ferret! Feed bags are available for 50p and it’s great fun to feed the sheep and goats, highly recommended. In addition, there are pony rides twice weekly and the chance to see the owl fly in the afternoons.
There are plenty of activities going on, but we wish the website would be clearer making it easier for parents to plan their day. The cafe serves basic standard dishes like jacket potatoes and sandwiches. It would be really nice to see some more warm dishes and more locally produced organic food offered. On the positive side, plenty of happy animals and activities for kids to engage in farm life. On the negative side, information around activities could be a lot better and the cafe has a lot of potential for improvement.
Read our full review of Deen
Forty Hall Farm | Enfield EN2 9HA
Enjoy local organic produce
- Locally produced organic fruit & vegs for sale
- Forty Hall Vineyard Vegetable bag scheme
- Not many activities for children
Forty Hall Farm is well known for its focus on organic food production. The farm covers eight acres of land dedicated to organic salad and vegetable production, which can be bought in the farm shop or through a vegetable bag scheme. Additionally, they are home to London’s only organic commercial vineyard.
Some of the products can be a bit pricy, but there is also an orchard where local people helping out can get a share of the harvest. It would be nice to see some more interactive activities for kids to get closer to the small animals, feeding them and petting them when it comes to animals. In essence, great for families into organic and healthy locally produced fruit and veg, but not so exciting for younger kids.
Read more about Forty Hall Farm
Freightliners Farm | Sheringham Rd | London N7 8PF
Small but excellent for young kids
- Easy to get close to the small furry animals
- Brilliant cafe serving delicious rustic food
- Playground nearby if/when kids lose patience
- Small with fewer animals than most other London farms
- Can get crowded during weekends and school holidays
Freightliners is small but you still get the full farmyard feeling when seeing the lovely animals. A tour of the farm typically takes around 30 minutes. For local kids used to city life, it’s a nice way to experience a piece of the countryside without travelling far. It’s also a great place for parents if lucky enough to get a seat in the popular Strawbale Café. Here you can eat delicious healthy vegetarian dishes and homemade cakes at reasonable prices.
Read more about our visit to Freightliners Farm
Hackney City Farm Yard | 1a Goldsmiths Row | London E2 8QA
Perfect for a Sunday Mooch
- Great food and atmosphere in the on-site Frizzante cafe
- Relaxed vibe with animals roaming around freely
- Excellent pitstop as part of exploring East London
- A bit chaotic in terms of layout 🙂
- No organised feeding
Hackney Farm is a family-friendly spot in East London. All the facilities might not be in tip-top shape, but we still think it’s a great farm to visit. Chickens and ducks are roaming around in the central yard, which is great fun for the kids, and we love the laid-back vibe during weekends. The popular Frizzante cafe serves delicious rustic dishes based on homegrown produce. Combine a visit to the farm with some of the many other attractions in East London, and you’ll have a lovely day out.
See more photos from Hackney Farm
Hobbledown Heath | Staines Rd | Hounslow TW14 0HH
Hobbledown is not your ordinary farm, it’s a magical world full of animals, play areas, and surprises. Here’s what we loved about it:
- The animals: Hobbledown has over 300 animals, from the usual farm favourites like sheep, goats, and pigs, to the more exotic ones like camels, llamas, and meerkats. You can get up close and personal with them, feed them, pet them, and even watch them perform in shows. My kids were fascinated by the different sounds and behaviours of the animals and learned a lot about their habitats and lifestyles.
- The play areas: Hobbledown has something for everyone, whether you’re a toddler or a tween. There are indoor and outdoor play areas, with slides, swings, tunnels, climbing frames, trampolines, zip lines, and more. There are also themed zones, like the Hobblings Village, the Enchanted Forest, and the Crystal Mines, where you can explore and discover hidden treasures. My kids had a blast running around, jumping, sliding, and digging. They also made some new friends along the way.
- The surprises: Hobbledown is full of surprises that make you feel like you’re in a fairy tale. There are secret passages, hidden doors, talking statues, musical instruments, and interactive games. You never know what you’ll find next. My kids were delighted by the unexpected twists and turns and kept asking me what else was there to see. They also loved meeting the Hobbledown characters, like Randal the Rascal and Elden the Wizard, who told them stories and jokes.
We had such a wonderful time at Hobbledown that we didn’t want to leave. It was a perfect day out for the whole family. We learned a lot, played a lot, and laughed a lot. I highly recommend Hobbledown to anyone looking for a fun and educational place to take their kids. It’s worth every penny!
Horniman Museum & Gardens | 100 London Road | London SE23 3PQ
If you love animals, you’ll enjoy visiting the small animal area at Horniman Museum and Gardens in London. Here, you can walk among the enclosures and meet some of the friendly residents, such as goats, sheep, guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens and an alpaca. You can learn about their natural habitats, diets and behaviours, and how they are cared for by the staff.
The small animal area is open daily from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., except on Christmas Day, and it’s free to enter. It’s a great place to get close to nature and have fun with your family or friends.
The small animal area is part of the Horniman Museum and Gardens, which is an inspiring and surprising place to explore global cultures and the natural environment. You can also visit the Butterfly House, the Aquarium, the World Gallery, the Nature Trail, the Natural History Gallery and more. The Museum and Gardens are open daily from 10 am to 5:30 pm, except on 24-26 December.
Hounslow Urban Farm | Faggs Rd | Feltham TW14 0LZ
Great petting farm in London
- Daily scheduled activities
- Owl flying display
- Petting sessions
- Informative and educational
- Expensive if not taking part in activities
- Facilities could be cleaner and tidier
Hounslow has all the farm animals your kids could wish for, and the interaction with them is superb. You need to pay an entrance fee (as opposed to the community farms), but on the other side, you benefit from a fixed schedule of activities throughout the day.
For kids, it’s all about getting close to the animals and touching them, and this is something the staff at Hounslow has understood. To get the maximum value from your ticket, make sure to check the website and plan in advance to take full advantage of their animal encounters and meet-and-greet sessions. Even if the soft play area is not very big, it’s a great addition to extending the visit, making it a good day and not just a quick visit to see some animals.
Read our full review of Hounslow Urban Farm
Kentish Town City Farm | 1 Cressfield Cl | London NW5 4BN
The original community farm in the UK
- The first community farm in the UK established in 1972
- Loved by the local community
- All the most popular animals
- Small, kids run through it very quickly
- Some of the buildings in need of an upgrade
Kentish Town is not the biggest of farms, but it serves its purpose well in giving kids a quick introduction to rural life. The farm kicked off a wave of new London farms being established after it was founded in 1972, and it’s great to see the community spirit still going strong. The range of animals and facilities is not among the best, but this is a charming farm to visit. Combined with a visit to the nearby Hampstead Heath playground and Parliament Hill, you’re in for a great day out with your kids.
Read our more detailed review of Kentish Town City Farm
Lee Valley Animal Adventure Park | Stubbins Hall Ln | Waltham Abbey EN9 2EF
Experience a real working farm
- Meet the Animal Show
- Buy fresh milk from locally produced
- Falconry Day Cafe
- No connection to public transportation
Lee Valley in North East London is not free to enter, but you get to experience a real working farm and participate in several scheduled daily activities. To get the most value out of the ticket, make sure to check their webpage to plan your day according to the different events. In addition to excellent animal experiences, there are several play areas to keep the kids busy. So plan your day around the scheduled activities, and a visit is a good value for money.
Too bad that the cafe didn’t live up to expectations – being on a farm, we would expect more emphasis on locally produced, healthy organic food and reusable cutlery and glasses. On the other side, we liked that you can buy fresh milk from their cows. On being environmentally friendly, we were also quite disappointed that it’s so difficult to reach by public transportation. Especially if you are travelling with young kids and prams, it can be inconvenient to get there by train or bus.
Read our full review of Lee Vally Park Farms
14. London Zoo
London Zoo | Regent’s Park | London NW1 4RY
The classic zoo experience
The zoo is home to over 18,000 animals, from lions and tigers to penguins and flamingos. But did you know that you can also get up close and personal with some of the farm animals at the zoo?
The London Zoo has a special area called the Animal Adventure, where you can meet, feed and stroke a variety of friendly creatures, such as goats, sheep, donkeys, pigs and rabbits. You can also learn more about their lives, their diets and their personalities from the zookeepers who take care of them. The Animal Adventure is a great way to introduce children to the wonders of nature and the importance of animal welfare.
The London Zoo also offers other opportunities to interact with the animals, such as the Giraffe High Tea, where you can feed the giraffes from a platform, or the Penguin Beach Live, where you can watch the penguins being fed and trained by the staff. You can also book a VIP experience to get behind-the-scenes access to some of the most popular exhibits, such as the Land of the Lions or the Rainforest Life.
Read our full review of London Zoo.
Mudchute Park and Farm | Pier St | London E14 3HP
London’s largest city farm
- Spacious community farm with happy animals
- Separate petting area with small furry animals like guinea pigs and rabbits, great for young kids
- Lots of organised activities for the local community
- Limited healthy alternatives on the Cafe menu
- No dedicated parking
Mudchute is one of our absolute favourite petting farms for kids in London, with a dedicated area where it’s easy for young kids to get close to small animals like rabbits and guinea pigs. The animals have lots of space which is important for their welfare, and this place feels more like a realistic version of a countryside farm than many of the smaller urban farms. Kids can also enjoy an extensive list of activities like riding lessons, forest school, and an after-school club. This is a farm that is making a real difference for local children.
Read more about all the different animals at Mudchute.
Spitalfields City Farm | Buxton St | London E1 5AR
A slice of the countryside next to Brick Lane
- A dedicated playground makes this a great place for kids
- Lots of space for the animals and they seem well looked after
- Clean and well-run rural spot in the city
- Parking is really difficult
- Signs could be more informative
Spitalfields farm is not very big, but the available space has been well used. There’s a lot to explore for kids, including a playground, and everything is well-organised and tidy. The cafe sells basic but delicious fresh dishes, and there is seating available if you bring your own food. The animals are well looked after, and the staff are friendly and helpful. If you’re visiting the farm during half-term in October you can take part in carving pumpkins from their own pumpkin patch leading up to Halloween.
Read our detailed review of Spitalfields Farm
Stepney City Farm | Stepney Way | Stepney Green | London E1 3DG
Have a bite at Humble Bee cafe
- You’ll get to know all the popular animals
- Saturday market with local produce sold directly from farmers
- Tasty food at the popular Humble Bee cafe
- Pottery classes
Stepney Farm is located in the middle of London’s East End and features a wide range of animals and community activities. The Humble Bee cafe has been a big hit with the locals after it opened, serving hearty food in an informal environment.
The other big hit with the locals is the Saturday farmers market selling fresh organic vegetables, high-quality meat, sausages, cheeses, pickles, hams, coffees and sometimes hot food! Feeding the animals is always a fun activity for the kids, and feed bags are available from the shop for £1 per bag. You have all the essential ones when it comes to animals, but you’ll be done pretty quickly.
See more photos in our review of Stepney Farm
Surrey Docks Farm | Rotherhithe St | South Wharf | London SE16 5ET
Charming location on the Thames Path
- Located on the Thames Path with views of Canary Wharf on the other side of the river
- Recently refurbished with several new buildings facing the Thames
- Safe and accessible for children to pet the animals and explore the different pens around the farm
- A riverside Cafe has opened, one of the few places to get a coffee in the area
- Animal feed available from the farm shop
- Several events throughout the year like the Spring Fair
Surrey Docks Farm is a local community farm in Rotherhithe. The location is stunning, with views of the Thames and Canary Wharf on the other side of the river. You’ll find all the usual animals from goats and sheep to cows and small furry friends like guinea pigs and rabbits. Petting sessions are often organised during special events. The farm is tidy, and there are several washing stations available. It is quite far from the nearest tube / overground station (Canada Water/Surrey Quays).
Read more about Surrey Docks Farm
Vauxhall City Farm | 165 Tyers St | London SE11 5HS
Small but very friendly local animal farm
- Charming cafe, popular with local families at the weekend
- Easy to reach just next to Vauxhall tube station. For its size, the number of activities are really impressive
- The range of animals is limited, it’s really quick to go through the farm
- The small space can make it really crowded during weekends and school holidays
Vauxhall farm covers less than an acre of land, but what it lacks in size is compensated by friendliness. Entry to Vauxhall Farm is free, but donations help towards the running costs of this charming little farm. You can also contribute to the farm’s economy by purchasing animal feed and eating in the cosy cafe. There’s also a petting area perfect for young kids where they can hold small and furry animals (rabbits, guinea pigs, chicks, and lambs), which costs £2 per child for 10 minutes. When available, you can buy fresh hen/duck eggs – £2 for 6.
Read our in-depth review of the Vauxhall Farm review
Woodland Farm | 331 Shooters Hill | Welling DA16 3RP
Woodland Farm is a working farm that is open to the public and has a variety of animals, plants and activities for all ages. We spent a whole day there and we had so much fun!
Here are some of the highlights of our visit:
- The animal encounters: We got to feed, pet and cuddle some of the farm animals, such as sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and pigs. They were so friendly and adorable! My kids loved learning about them and their different personalities. The staff were very helpful and knowledgeable and answered all our questions.
- The nature trail: We took a walk along the nature trail that goes around the farm and through the woods. We saw some beautiful flowers, trees and birds along the way. We also spotted some wildlife, such as rabbits, squirrels and foxes. It was a great way to enjoy the fresh air and the scenery.
- The play area: There is a large play area with swings, slides, climbing frames and a sandpit for the kids to burn off some energy. There is also a picnic area with tables and benches where we had our lunch. The play area is fenced and safe for the little ones to run around.
- The farm shop: We ended our visit with a stop at the farm shop, where we bought some fresh eggs, honey, jam and cheese made on the farm. They also sell some lovely gifts and souvenirs, such as toys, books and crafts. The prices were very reasonable and the quality was excellent.
We had a wonderful time at Woodland Farm and we highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun and educational day out with the family. It’s suitable for all ages and abilities and there is something for everyone to enjoy. It’s also very affordable, as the entry fee is only £3 per person (under 2s are free) and parking is free as well.
Map of Zoos and Farms
Check our interactive map to find a zoo or farm near you:
Animal Farms in London
All of the city farms on our list are safe for kids, and many of them have purpose-built petting areas for children to be able to get close and stroke the animals. Note that you often have to book sessions in advance if you’re looking for petting sessions with small animals like rabbits and guinea pigs.
You’ll find updated information about this on the farms’ web pages and on informational signs on the farms. Having free access to community farms and getting close to animals benefits kids living in Central London, miles away from the countryside. It’s amazing to think that you’re never more than a few tube stops away from the nearest animal farm in London!
Petting Farms for Kids in London
City Farms are often called Petting Zoos or Petting Farms, but it’s important to remember that these urban farms are much more than places for kids to stroke animals. Their function as community farms makes them important in the local areas and provides sanctuaries where everyone can enjoy a piece of the countryside in the middle of the city.
Also, note that community farms should not be confused with commercial zoos or farms, where petting sessions might be included in the ticket price. Community farms are free to enter, but they often organise special sessions for children or events where you can get close to the animals for a small fee. Check our list below to find a petting farm near you.
Types of farms in London:
London’s 15 farms can be divided into three categories:
1. Community Farms (free entry)
These are animal farms that are mainly run by locals registered as charities with free admission while dependent on support from volunteers, funding from the borough and private donations.
2. College Farms (free entry)
Capel Manor College provides courses in farming and animal care leading to nationally recognised qualifications. Farms under management double down as student training grounds while remaining admission-free for the public.
3. Private Petting Farms (charged entry)
These are commercially run petting farms, usually charging £6.50-£10 per adult. The ticket price often includes activities you would otherwise need to book and pay for separately on community farms.
Let us know in the comments below the article.
Where can I see farm animals close to London?
Check out these free-of-charge farms in London for a chance to see some lovely farm animals:
|London City Farm Name
|Postal Code Location
|When the farm opened
|The size of the farm in acres
|Kentish Town City Farm
|Freightliners City Farm
|Surrey Docks Farm
|Mudchute Park & Farm
|Vauxhall City Farm
|Spitalfields City Farm
|Deen City Farm
|Stepney City Farm
|Hackney City Farm
What about Capybara experiences in London?
The city farms in central London typically don’t have Capybaras, but you don’t need to venture far out of London to find petting zoos that promise unforgettable encounters. These three Zoos are conveniently situated within an hour’s travel from central London, making them ideal choices for a memorable family day out.
1. Shepreth Wildlife Park: Just a short drive away from the heart of London, Shepreth Wildlife Park beckons with its captivating Capybara encounters. Nestled amidst lush greenery, this park offers a serene atmosphere where you can get up close to these gentle creatures. It’s not just a zoo; it’s a wildlife haven waiting to be explored.
2. Chessington Zoo: Within a mere hour’s journey from central London, Chessington Zoo presents a blend of thrilling attractions and opportunities to connect with Capybaras. Amidst the exciting rides and animal exhibits, you’ll find these lovable rodents waiting to greet you. It’s the perfect fusion of adventure and wildlife exploration.
3. Hobbledown Heath: Another gem that’s just an hour away from London is Hobbledown Heath. This unique destination seamlessly combines a petting zoo experience with an imaginative adventure park. Here, you’ll not only have the chance to meet Capybaras but also embark on a whimsical journey through their enchanting world.
Read more in our post on Capybara experiences in the UK.
Are city farms and petting zoos in London free?
There are 12 free city farms in London. Farms that are free to enter: Mudchute, Vauxhall, Surrey Docks, Hackney, Spitalfields, Deen, Stepney, Newham, Freightliners, Brooks, Kentish, Forty Hall and Crystal Palace Farm. Suggested donation per visit is ~£3.
Which is the largest city farm in London?
Mudchute, located on the Isle of Dogs in East London is the largest with 32 acres.
Which is the smallest city farm in London?
The smallest is Vauxhall City Farm covering less than an acre.
Which is the oldest city farm in London?
Kentish Town City Farm is the oldest in London established in 1972
How many farms are there in London?
There are 15 city farms, plus several zoos
What type of animals can I find on London’s animal farms?
You can find all kinds of animals like cows, sheep, chickens, goats, donkeys and pigs.
Are London’s farms safe for kids?
All of them are safe for kids, but toddlers and young children must be supervised by their parents at all times.
Which farms in London are best for kids?
If your children are into animals they are likely to enjoy all of London’s farms but try to look for special events and activities for children such as lamb feeding, collecting eggs and donkey rides. Our local favourite farms for kids include Mudchute and Surrey Docks Farm.
Are there Petting Zoos in London?
Yes, you’ll find several Petting Zoos in London from traditional zoos where you pay an entry price to community farms where you can often book animal petting sessions in advance.
What’s your favourite London farm?
We’d love to hear your thoughts about London’s city farms and if you have any tips.