The Big Sheep – Review for families

Buggies, Baby Sheep and Battlefield! Live - Everything you need to know about Devon's Best Large Family Attraction 2013

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What is it?

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The Big Sheep is an award-winning and totally unusual family attraction in Abbotsham, Bideford in North Devon. The Sat Nav postcode is EX39 5AP.  Yes, there are actual sheep there.

Best for:

OK for:

Cost

££ – It’s quite pricey at £12.95 for adults, children and seniors. However, children under 3ft get a discounted entry of £6 and babies under 12 months go free.

What’s on offer

The Big Sheep is a wonderful and rather strange attraction aimed at children and families. They have four main areas of entertainment, including ‘entertainment’, the indoor farm, their live shows and animal rides.

Firstly, the thrill-seeking or energetic youngster will love the entertainment sections of the attraction.  This area includes massive jumping pillows (one for adults and one for toddlers and youngsters), an indoor play area (again, with secure areas for children under 2’s and under 5’s) and an interactive water game which will get anyone who plays it a little bit drenched – and make them laugh. Entertainment also includes mountain boarding, the climbing wall and Battlefield! Live for children over 8 and their families.

Battlefield! Live is essentially paintballing just without the pain. You dress up, get camouflaged and fire some invisible infrared beams (with awesome sound effects) to battle against each other on a 7 acre field. This is a great activity for dads and granddads to get stuck in with and will have the whole family plotting and strategizing.

There’s also the indoor animal farm, where at certain times throughout the year, children can witness the birth of a baby lamb or help the staff with the bottle-feeding. There’s a pets corner, including lots of bunnies and puppies, plus piglets, baby goats and ducklings. During April – October you can also watch a live animal show, such as The Sheep Show (which is a parade of awesomely named sheep), Duck Trials or The Horse Whispering Show during the summer months, where you can watch a horse become trained to trust its owner. Please check the official website for full details of which shows are on and when.

Finally, for the child who likes to get stuck in, they can always go for an animal ride. Funfair style Piggy Pull Along uses six (not real) pigs to take little children on a spin. There are trains, pedalos, pony rides and carousels – there’s even a tractor school.

Facilities are available across the site including a buggy crèche to park your buggy, a car park and accessible toilets.

Highlights

The hands on experience with the animals is really great for small children and there’s enough variety with the feeding, pony rides and sheep shows to cater to children with fussy interests or short attention spans.

The piggy-pull-along is great for smaller children. The jumping pillows and twister rides are also a big hit for children of all ages.  You can enter and re-enter at your leisure with a sticker given to you at the door, which is great if you want to venture elsewhere for lunch and return in the afternoon.

There’s also a ‘beer experience’ ale tasting which is great for mum and dad, though not if one of you is driving!

What to watch out for

– A few activities which are not accessible to children of all heights, ages and abilities such as pony riding and sports taster sessions cot £1 extra. This is something you can clarify on the website, but is part of their fair pricing policy.

– Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

– Pregnant women are allowed to enter and enjoy the Big Sheep but should NOT pick up or feed any newborn lambs. There is a risk surrounding accidental ingestion of sheep afterbirth at a specific stage in pregnancy. Do not take any risks.

– On Battlefield! Live, children get 6 free lives. You’ll have to pay to keep playing.

– Rides and shows operate on a timetable, which you should be given a copy of upon your entry to The Big Sheep.

– It can get quite windy on the farm safari and train rides. Bring a coat if you’re worried about the cold.

– Similarly, it can get a bit hot on the jumping pillows and in the play barn during warm days.

MFM tips:

– This place is pretty good on rainy Devonshire days, as the indoor playground is decent and the live shows are performed in the under cover shearing area. It’s always best on a dry day, though!

– Plan for 3 – 7 hours here, depending on the age of your children and how much you think they’ll love it.

– The Big Sheep accepts Tesco Days Out token as part or full payment for the attraction. It’s best to find a voucher or deal somewhere, if you don’t have the tokens, as it can be quite an expensive day in total. “You’ll be laughing,” if you do, says one TripAdvisor user.

– Some families feel that the Milky Way Adventure Park is a better fit for them, so why not compare using our days out guide exclusively for parents.

What the owners say

“Welcome to Devon’s Large Attraction of the Year!! When looking for the best Devon days out, The BIG Sheep is an award winning attraction full of fun and laughter for the whole family.  The whole flock is committed to ensuring that everyone in the family has a guaranteed great day out in Devon. Our all weather attraction has plenty of indoor and outdoor play. Your day out will be full of shows, rides, animals and family entertainment. Fun for adults and children, the whole family can enjoy The BIG Sheep!”

Visit the official The Big Sheep website

More family attractions in North Devon…

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Powderham Castle
Arlington Court
Buckland Abbey
Quince Honey Farm
The BIG Sheep
Combe Martin Wildlife & Dinosaur Park

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