A new normal? Our first post lockdown outing...
I dont know about you, but during lockdown we havent been out much, not even daily for the allocated exercise. If we went anywhere on the super rare occasion it was the beach or the woods for monster hunts but mainly kept to outdoor - limited people scenarios.
With lockdown easing and businesses starting to reopen. I was so glad to see Whitehouse Farm had re-opened. I remember watching the facebook updates and videos that I was so grateful to be shared - dude loved seeing the animals even though we couldn’t go like we usually would on summer days.
To book there is a simple online process, where you book a time slot which are restricted to a certain amount to make sure there arent too many people in at once. It was an easy process. If you arrive early you are advised to wait in your vehicle until your slot time. There are also no pay at the door options all tickets must be pre booked.
When we arrived, the car park looked busy. I wasn’t worried as mentioned above the limited slots prevented overcrowding which gave me a sense of safety. We arrived right on time and headed to the ticket window. There was a bottle of hand sanitiser and floor markings making social distancing easier - especially for 3 year olds - telling them to touch the line with their toes! They’ve written on the side of the ticket shed welcoming you and advising you of changes. It also explains the new processes and ask you to take a picture of the map and activities which has all the information about what is available and where it is found. I loved how it was a follow the pig trotters to the petting barn - CUTE!
We followed the trotters and waited in the queue to head into the petting barn. It wasnt a long wait, there was another hand sanitiser station outside and sign reminding you of the new processes and to be kind and thoughtful to each other. Everyone seemed to really respect each other - it didnt feel like you were being rushed by the person behind you there was arrows on the floor too to reinforce the one way system now in place around the barn.
This was the first time dude was brave enough to feed the animals himself, then this cheeky billy goat took his chance when he was feeding his little friend. Alden got a fright but it was so so funny afterwards! We couldnt get the bag back off him he took it in the pen and seemed pretty happy with what he had done lol! When looking back at the photos, the first photo its like he KNEW what he was going to do - funny!
We headed around to the petting area where there were benches and chairs and members of staff wearing ppe, sheilds and gloves. We were ushered over and handed the cutest little mouse and then the fluffiest rabbit! The boys absolutely loved it. The member of staff was lovely gave us space and was really great at keeping things running smoothly.
We headed down to the chicks and guineas - which seemed a bit busy but we were informed if so, to one way around the snakes and critters section and loop back - so we did that and space became available. Again, the worker was so lovely and the boys loved the guinea and thought it was funny how ‘spikey‘ the chicks feet were.
We walked around and saw the other animals, the meerkats and birds - we then hopped on the tractor ride - it was the first time we’d been on one. It was loads of fun, a big bull was in the previous track so we took a bumpy detour which was hilarious! The ride was the only time you werent exactly 1m apart - but with ample fresh air and a small journey and not actually facing or touching the other persons I felt safe. The others next to us were a safe distance away.
We spent some time in the park, which also had sanitiser at the entrance, and then headed around to the bouncing pillows and trampolines that the boys had spotted from the tractor and I was pleasantly surprised it wasnt overcrowded everyone respected each others space. Even on the trampolines people kindly waited their turn as others went on individually - we waited in the queue for the ice cream parlour and reached the door to realise the sign said CASH ONLY which neither of us had! The boys were devasted Alden, actually cried - even prior to covid we never carried cash and now I definitely don’t - this was sad to see as I had read that was contactless was preferred however we managed to distract them with heading to see the sheep, pigs and birds of prey.
We walked around and saw some more animals and then headed out because I needed to be back for a grocery delivery - fortunately the gift shop saved the day with a freezer stocked with ice lollies that put a smile on all our faces as we could pay by card and it meant we wouldnt have to detour to somewhere else on the way home!
All in all I am so happy that we chose Whitehouse as our first ’real’ day out in this new normality. There was so many safety precautions in place, the staff were so welcoming and there was ample to do and see. I regularly saw staff cleaning down places, the guy cleaning all the benches and bars before and after after tractor ride. There was lots of hand washing stations that everyone was encouraged to use. My anxiety around going places was eased pretty instantly and I kind of felt like it was ‘normal’ life.
I’d reccomend it to anyone who fancies a nice day out in the fresh air seeing the animals and supporting a local business - they have a page on their site explaining all the processes and safety measures they have implemented too, if like me you like to know what your heading for before going - they‘ve really thought of it all, their customers and families and their staff.
Click here to see their safety guide.
& here is you’d like to book tickets.
Thank you to all at Whitehouse Farm - a truly memorable, happy and safe day! See you again soon for sure p.s we’re already planning it!