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Organic days out: mini-adventures for the summer holidays

School is out, the days are long and the hedgerows are buzzing: it’s no secret that summer has officially begun. If you’ve ever wanted to get up close and personal with the world of organic farming but don’t know where to start, now’s your chance. We’ve rounded up some of the best organic days out for families this summer - from the peaks of the Brecon Beacons to the lowlands of Castle Douglas and Cambridgeshire.

Organic days out: mini-adventures for the summer holidays

Photo: Yeo Valley

Scotland

Whitmuir Organic Farm, a mixed organic family farm in the rolling uplands of the Scottish Borders.

Where: Lamancha, West Linton, near Edinburgh

What to expect: After a stroll through Whitmuir’s mystical Fairy Trail, pop into AtlanticOrganic, the farm’s cafe-restaurant for a fresh organic meal or visit the farm shop where you can pick up some of Whitmuir’s grass and outdoor reared meat. And every Friday morning over the holidays, 5 - 12 year-olds can learn to be a farmer for the morning and help feed the animals, pick fruit and veg, plant seeds and play.

Know before you go: Open every day from 10am to 5pm. Visitors are welcome to walk around and enjoy the views. Hosted visits are also available by advance booking, from £5. Farm Fridays £15 by advance booking. Dogs on leads welcome.

Cream O’Galloway, an innovative organic dairy farm crammed with adventure.

Where: Rainton, Gatehouse of Fleet, Castle Douglas, Scotland

What to expect: Not just about ice cream and cheese tastings (though they do that too) Cream O’Galloway is home to a Visitor Centre with an adventure playground, an aerial netting adventure, crazy golf, and a cross-farm zip line - and that’s just a few of the activities on offer. But it’s not all about adventure: Cream O’Galloway is trialling some of the most innovative organic farming methods to improve cow and calf welfare and to make dairy farming more sustainable in the UK. You can find out more about their work on the Finlay’s Farm Tour.

Know before you go: Open daily from 10am. ‘Full o’ Fun’ ticket with unlimited access to all adventure activities is £13.50 for adults and children 6+. Book in advance for Finlay’s Farm Tour, ice cream and cheese tasting. Dogs are welcome to run free in the enclosed 7-acre woodland but not permitted in the adventure playground.

Somerset

Yeo Valley Family Farm & Organic Garden, an organic garden nestled in the Mendip hills at Yeo Valley’s HQ.

Where: Blagdon, Somerset

What to expect: You’re spoiled for choice at this six-and-a-half acre haven of ornamental and edible plants. Experience pollinator paradise in the wildflower meadow, where insects forage for nectar, walk down the avenue of maturing Tea Crab trees and visit the veggie patch - previously a tennis court which has now been converted to an ornamental kitchen garden. If you’re feeling peckish, The Garden Café serves tea, cake and light lunches.

Know before you go: Open Thursdays and Fridays 11am - 5pm all summer until 27 September. Admission is £5; under 16’s go free.

Wales

Aberhyddnant Organic Farm, a Welsh hill-trekking experience complete with fluffy tour guides.

Where: Crai, Brecon, Wales

What to expect: This is a hill walk with a difference - your guide is an organic sheep! Wander the hills of the spectacular Brecon Beacons with your own specially-trained Jacob sheep as your tour guide. The two-hour hill trek offers stunning views of Pen-Y-Fan and the Beacons, all in the company of your woolly trekking pal.

Know before you go: Book in advance. Sheep treks happen on various dates over the summer with prices from £25.

Warwickshire

Mary Arden’s Farm, an organic farm managed in the Tudor style at Shakespeare’s mum’s childhood home.

Where: Wilmcote, Warwickshire

What to expect: This working farm was built around 1514 and though it’s been through a few changes since, it’s still run in proper Tudor style - meaning it’s all organic. Visitors can watch costumed guides work the land and manage the rare breed animals, and can even get involved and give geese-herding a go. Learn about Tudor traditions at the dining table, catch one of the daily falconry displays and explore the butterfly bank or nature trails. You’re welcome to bring a picnic to the grounds, and the Farm Cafe also offers Tudor-inspired specials made from organic meat from the farm.

Know before you go: Tickets are £15 (adults), £10 (kids) and £40 (families) and boast unlimited entry for the season.

Below: Mary Arden's Farm, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Ryton Organic Gardens, the home of organic gardening charity Garden Organic and a great spot to see the principles of organic growing in action.

Where: near Wolston, Coventry, Warwickshire

What to expect: Check out Garden Organic’s collection of rare Heritage veggies conserved from its own Heritage Seed Library, then immerse yourself in the sensory garden where you can see, smell and touch your way around. Pack a picnic, find a spot to sit and enjoy the gardens and watch the bees and butterflies go by.

Know before you go: Open all summer Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm. Adult admission is £5.50, child (5 - 16) £3.50 or family ticket £14.50. Accessible for wheelchair users.

Cambridgeshire

Home Farm at Wimpole Hall, the National Trust’s only in-house lowland arable farm.

Where: Royston, Arrington, Cambridgeshire

What to expect: A 1000-acre organic farm surrounded by Grade I listed parkland and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) woods, Wimpole is at the forefront of innovative farming techniques to grow food and protect wildlife. And it’s working - this organic farm is home to five of the six most in-decline farmland birds. Some of the crops you’ll find include wheat, rye and spelt grown for organic bread, oats for organic porridge and barley for organic beer. The farm is also home to chickens and sheep who graze the pastures.

Know before you go: Wimpole Home Farm is open all summer 10.30 - 5pm. National Trust members go free. Otherwise, admission is £12.50 per adult (£6.20 per child) or £31.30 for a family ticket.

Whether you’re looking to learn a little bit about organic, want to soak up some fresh air or are just looking for days out to entertain the kids, there are loads of fantastic options for a great organic adventure. Just pull on your wellies and get ready to explore!

Hayley Coristine

Hayley Coristine

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