Folly Farm, Wales days out review for families
In a nutshell
A 120-acre, award-winning day out, with a fairground, zoo, outdoor play area, and a farm/barn
What we tested
- Fun for kids
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
- Fun for parents
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
- Worth the money
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
- Family friendliness
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
- Four different attractions in one, indoor and outdoor elements, range of refreshment options, fully accessible for buggies and wheelchairs.
- Huge and so may be overwhelming for some children/families, extra costs for some rides and experiences, too much to see in one day
COVID-19 safety update
Some facilities and attractions may be closed or restricted this year, due to COVID-19 – and there may be extra safety rules, pre-booking requirements or one-way systems in place. Please check Folly Farm's website before travelling or booking.
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When we visited:
We visited in the summer holidays, on a very busy weekday in August. Typically, it rained as we arrived but it didn’t last long and the sun shone for the rest of our visit
What’s Folly Farm like since Covid-19?
- Visitors must pre-book their visit on Eventbrite, the free pre-booking system
- There are plenty of outdoor space for visitors to continue to social distance
- Folly Farm is continuing to operate at a reduced capacity
- enhanced cleaning of high frequency touch points and good ventilation
- In Wales the wearing of face coverings in “most indoor public places” remains a legal requirement. This requirement applies at Folly Farm in the Jolly Barn, Tropical Trails, Vintage Fairground, when using toilets and visiting gift shop. It also applies in Carousel Woods unless seated at a table eating or drinking, when using toilets and when ordering food from outlets to help protect staff
- Visitors under the age of 12 and those with health conditions preventing them from wearing a face covering are exempt
- Visitors are asked to bring their own face coverings but there are masks available for purchase should visitors arrive without one
- Capacity may be limited in the gift shop at the end of the day if it gets too busy, so visitors should be prepared to queue. Face coverings are a legal requirement when visiting the gift shop
- Our food outlets are open but some do close in accordance with seasonal variations in visitor numbers and demand.
- Visitors may want to bring a picnic and visitors can return to their car at any point during their visit to collect/return picnic bags. There are two indoor picnic areas, one next to the Tropical Trails exhibit and one inside the vintage fairground
- There are plenty of hand-washing stations across Folly Farm with soap and hot water as well as hand sanitising stations
- Folly Farm has enhanced the cleaning measures already have in place
- Guests are asked to not touch fences, barriers, signs, windows and protective screens.
- Yellow lines have been painted in front of high frequency contact points such as the viewing areas into enclosures to remind guests to maintain their distance from the glass
- Guests should not touch the glass
- Guests mustn’t visit us if displaying any symptoms of coronavirus including a persistent new cough, temperature, sudden loss of taste or smell, headache, runny nose or sore throat
- Guests will be able to ‘check-in’ at Folly Farm by scanning the QR code at the entrance tills and at various points across our attraction
What age and family is Folly Farm best for?
Best for: 3-12 years. There’s something here for even the youngest of visitors - and adults will certainly enjoy many elements.
But children who can walk independently will get the most out of a visit here, as they’ll be able to enjoy the play areas and interactive features.
Because of the huge array of different forms of entertainment, this attraction is suitable for larger families and those who can never agree on what constitutes a great day out.
Still good fun for: Children aged 0-2 years. They can still go on some of the rides, so don’t need to be left out of the fun.
And because the whole place is super accessible, buggy-bound visitors will have no problem being wheeled along the paths and into the different areas.
Older children/teens will doubtless enjoy many of the activities, especially the animals and rides, but probably won’t appreciate the playgrounds and play areas as much as younger kids.
Avoid if: Despite the space, the more popular areas such as the restaurants and indoor fairground can get crowded.
So if a family member isn’t great with lots of people or noise, you might want to plan your visit on a quieter day or plan to visit the less busy areas, such as the zoo and outdoor play areas, only.
How much does it cost?
Ticket prices are:
- £19.95 for adults (16+)
- £17.95 child (3 – 15 years)
- £12.95 (2 year olds)
- Free for under 2s
Can you save money by buying online?
Yes, you can save 15% by buying online in advance.
Plus, the Boomerang return visit offer enables visitors to return within 7days and get a half-price discount on tickets.
The farm is also part of the Tesco Clubcard reward scheme.
Are there an extra charges once I’m there?
You could get away with only paying for your ticket by bringing a packed lunch, plenty of drinks and blinkers (!) for your children so they don’t get big ideas about ice cream or souvenirs.
But realistically, you’re going to have to bring some spending money for your little treasures, not least as you have to enter and exit via the enormous gift shop, which stocks a bewildering array of toys, from rubberised model dinosaurs (a massive hit with our 2 year old) to giant furry lions (as cuddled by our friends’ 3 year old).
In between, there are gifts for all different budgets (from pocket-money to blow-out) on every conceivable theme, from fossils to farm animals and from cars to puzzles, which reflects all the different elements of Folly Farm.
There are plenty of outdoor picnic areas, including a generous provision of wooden tables and benches, but if you’re not organised enough to bring your own, or if you want a hot drink, you won’t bust your budget – prices for food and drink are reasonable and there’s a good range.
Aside from eating and drinking, the only other added extras you’re likely to incur are for rides in the vintage fairground, the outdoor rides in the play area (including Big Wheel, Go-Karts and mini diggers).
They range between £1 and £2 per person per ride. You might also want some change for the old-fashioned slot machines, so bring your copper coins.
How long will we spend at Folly Farm?
You’ll need at least one full day and even then, you won’t see it all. We spent around 5 hours here and managed to take in an Animal Experience, a meal and visit each of the 4 main areas but we probably actually saw less than 3 quarters of everything on display.
You’ll need to plan a return journey – if your kids will let you leave, that is!
What’s Folly Farm like for families?
It’s great. Every detail has been well thought out – from the wide pathways that are buggy and wheelchair accessible to the free wristbands you can use to label your child with your name and mobile number in case they get lost.
The practical elements that make a family day out easier and therefore more enjoyable are all here:
- the toilets are spacious, accessible and plentiful
- the restaurants and cafes are geared towards younger visitors, with child-friendly meals and lots of highchairs
- there are loads of outdoor and indoor play areas and rides that even the smallest of children can enjoy.
There’s even a dedicated parents’ room, with a microwave, baby-changing facilities, sinks and comfortable chairs for breastfeeding.
Is it easy to find your way around?
Clear, colour printed maps are available from the entrance and, despite the overwhelming size of the place, it wasn’t difficult to find our way around as the different areas are clearly divided and everything is signposted.
You’re given a map to help you find your way around and there are plenty of staff on hand to help you on your way.
Would Folly Farm still be fun to visit on a rainy / bad weather day?
Like most theme parks, Folly Farm is particularly lovely in the sunshine but if the weather turns, you’re still have a good time here.
There are several indoor play areas, including the huge Carousel Woods adventure playground and a farm-themed site inside the Jolly Barn, plus a host of interactive games at the Discovery Farmyard.
What else is there to see apart from the zoo?
Tonnes. For more animals, check out the Jolly Barn. For outdoor fun, there’s a huge play area and for indoor larks, there is a vintage fairground and huge soft play in an enclosure the size of an aircraft hangar.
What shouldn’t be missed?
Our kids loved all of it, although once their heads were turned by the rides and play areas, it was hard to get them to look at the animals until they’d had their fill of frenetic fun.
The extensive outdoor playgrounds are a huge draw as kids can play while parents look on from the comfort of a picnic bench.
I’m not a fan of seeing animals in captivity but the areas for the large mammals here are large and clean and the animals seem well cared for.
The large barn area holds a large variety of animals and is educational, interactive and great fun for children.
Are there any scary/boring elements that young or sensitive children might not enjoy?
Not many. Our 2 year old was a little scared of the lions (sensible chap) but otherwise relished seeing the animals at the zoo and in the barn.
Sensitive children may dislike the crowds that form around the animal experiences and activities, and the noise and lights of the indoor fairground rides.
But there are enough open spaces and quieter areas so you can avoid congested areas and still see lots.
But no one was bored for a minute, even us parents, as there was so much to see, do and explore and, crucially, plenty of places to sit and chat while the kids played.
Does it cater well to children of all ages?
Yes, it really does. From ensuring that babies can be changed, fed and wheeled around in comfort, to providing once-in-a-lifetime animal experiences to pre-teens and nearly adults, this place has got it nailed.
Different age groups will likely appreciate and benefit from different elements but because there’s so much here, almost every age group will find something they love.
What to bring:
- A pushchair for younger ones (and your stuff). The site is over 120 acres, so expect to walk a lot and give smaller kids a ride at times
- Comfortable shoes. See above – there’s a lots of walking
- Comfortable clothing. This isn’t the place for Sunday best. Your children will be cuddling up to animals and getting dirty in the play areas
- Raincoats or jackets for the extensive outdoor play areas
- Cash to exchange for tokens for the rides (though there is a free cashpoint in the shop)
What should we watch out for?
If you’re planning on watching an animal feed or talk at the zoo or an activity in the Jolly Barn, leave plenty of time to get there as there are lots of distractions on the way.
Aim to get to any animal encounter or experience at least 5 minutes before it starts to ensure your kids can see as crowds can build up.
The Animal Experiences are very popular and must be booked in advance.
Penguin and giraffe feeding
The Penguin and Giraffe feeding experiences are suitable for over-8s only and cost from £39 per person.
Lion and rhino feeding
The Lion and Rhino versions are only suitable for over-16s and over-10s respectively and cost £79 and £59 per person.
If you’re not able or willing to secure a place for your child or teen, don’t worry. You can still go and watch the Penguin and Giraffe experiences, where you’ll see the animals being fed and listen to a talk about them (though the one we dropped in on wasn’t particularly inspiring or easy to hear).
How should we plan the day?
If the weather’s in your favour, start at the furthest corner from the entrance – Giraffe Heights.
The whole family can explore the zoo and glimpse rhinos, lions, giraffes, penguins and loads of other animals.
Take a loo-break on your way to the outdoor play area, where kids of all ages can get stuck into the Pirate Adventure centre and Destruction Playground, the latter set on soft, diggable sand.
Or stay indoors and visit the Jolly Barn and spend the morning getting to know owls, guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets and goats - which you can even hand milk.
Before lunch, take a turn on the Big Wheel (£1 per person; no height restrictions) and Diggers (£2; no height restrictions).
After lunch, when little ones might like a nap or a quiet stroll, is a good time for older kids to visit the Vintage Fairground, with a willing parent.
There are height restrictions on many of the rides (mostly 1m) but there are still a good number that don’t have any, such as the mini carousel and train rides.
Mid-afternoon, take younger ones to the Cwtch Corner in the Jolly Barn – it’s the petting corner, where you can cuddle up to the softest inhabitants of the barn.
On your way out, walk through the Folly interactive, where you’ll see bats hanging upside down inches from your face (but behind plexiglass) and countless other intriguing animals and reptiles.
If you hate noise, lights and crowds, swerve the Vintage Fairground and Carousel Woods indoor playgrounds.
Be prepared for nagging – there’s so much on offer here, from rides to sweet treat, and your kids are bound to want to try everything they see.
You could buy each child a set number of tokens and explain that, once they’ve used them up, they won’t have any more. And set a budget on spending money.
What are the food and drink facilities like at Folly Farm?
There’s a plethora of different eateries available on site, serving everything from burgers to baby food, and even real booze (yup, there’s a licensed bar – how civilised!)
The Funfair restaurant
The biggest range of food on offer is at the Funfair restaurant, where two adult meals and two kids’ meals (fish fingers and chips and a vegetable side, plus a drink) came to £26.
The portions were decent and the food was flavoursome. The only downside was the seating area, which I found noisy and horribly lit, just like the rest of the Fairground area in which the restaurant is located.
It was my least favourite ‘zone’ in Folly Farm although it was exceedingly popular with kids and had lots of seating and refreshment options for families.
Any other cafes or kiosks?
Dotted around the rest of the park, you’ll find:
- a snack bar
- burger bar
- 3 ice cream shops
- coffee bar
So you certainly won’t go thirsty or hungry, though it’s not cheap. Expect to spend £5 on a few ice creams, for example.
Any healthy option foods?
There are healthy options on offer in the Funfair restaurant and Carousel café but otherwise the food tends towards the not-so-healthy.
Can you take a picnic?
Yes, there are picnic benches galore in the outdoor play area, which is right in the middle of the action.
There’s an indoor picnic area near the entrance, in the Folly interactive area.
You can even bring food for your littlest ones to heat up in the visitor microwave, which you’ll find in the Funfair restaurant.
What are the toilets like?
The loos here are fantastic. There are plenty of them and each includes a few children’s facilities, with lower lavatories and sinks.
There are also baby changing facilities inside. There are parents’ toilets, with enough space for a double buggy and another child.
Disabled toilet facilities are located in key areas around the park, including at Cwtch Coffee, the Jolly Barn and the vintage fairground.
There’s also a ‘Changing Places’ toilet in the centre of the park, which features a bed and hoist inside a large room.
What about pushchair/wheelchair access and special needs access?
The disabled facilities here are impressive and well-used, as was evident from the high number of wheelchair users enjoying the park.
Provision includes allocated disabled parking spaces for blue badge holders, discounted entry for disabled visitors and free entry for a carer, as well as plenty of disabled-access toilets.
The wide paths are mostly suitable for wheelchairs and buggies, although certain stretches of this rural site may not be accessible.
Best of all, the Big Wheel ride has a disabled carriage which can accommodate a wheelchair and the animal experiences are also accessible for wheelchair users.
What to do before you go to Folly Farm:
- Book online to save 15% on ticket prices
- Show your kids the website, which has got loads of great photos. Better still, watch the live animal webcam on the Folly Farm website to give you and your family an idea of what they can expect.
- Check out the daily timetable, so you can schedule your visit around any zoo animal talks, animal encounters in the Jolly Barn or other activities you want to see.
- Depending on the time of year you visit, you can catch a family fun day, magic show or themed event.
Worth a long car journey?
Yes. Your children will love it and you will love that they are utterly absorbed and excited for the entire day.
You will also appreciate the many family friendly and parent-friendly aspects of the attraction, including the chance to refuel regularly, sit down while your kids play right in front of you and enjoy gentle fun with your brood.
How to get to Folly Farm:
- By car: The postcode (SA68 0XA) works a treat. There are also directions on the website, in case you don’t have a satnav
- Parking is plentiful (there are several car parks) but the earlier you arrive, the nearer to the entrance you will park
- By train: The nearest train station is Kilgetty, a short taxi ride or 20-minute walk way
- By bus: Folly Farm is on the main Narberth to Tenby road and there’s a bus-stop right outside the entrance
Which hotels or holiday accommodation are near to Folly Farm?
- Folly Farm is on the site of Folly Farm Holiday Park which offers a selection of luxury lodges and Showman's Wagons that have been designed with families in mind.
- Look for nearby family friendly accommodation on Booking.com, or Vrbo has a range of self-catering options.
- Check out out list of the 14 best family hotels and holiday properties in Wales for more inspiration.
Is there free parking?
One of the many joys of visiting attractions in rural Wales is that there is always plentiful parking and this attraction is no exception.
You’ll find two huge car parks, staffed by attendants adept at guiding you and your vehicle into a space.
The car parks fill up fast and if you come early, you’ll need to leave ahead of the crowd or risk getting stuck at the back of the (admittedly fast-moving) traffic queue to leave at the end of the day.
Folly Farm provides a flawless and full-on day out for kids and adults in search of uninterrupted entertainment.
Everything from the faultless facilities to the friendly staff, who have received Disney-World levels of customer service training (nothing is too much trouble, everyone smiles constantly), makes this theme park is a showstopper.
While the expansive play areas are best suited to children aged 3 to 12, there are more than enough other activities to keep younger and older children and their parents busy and happy for hours on end.
Intro to me:
We visited on a busy summer’s day during the school holidays. We were on holiday with another family so went together – 4 adults and 4 children, 2 aged 5, one aged 3 and the youngest aged 2
Gabrielle Nathan has been a journalist for 20 years, writing lifestyle features for publications including Red, Women’s Health, Wildflower and Condé Nast Traveller. She has been writing about parenting since 2012, the year she became a mum.