Have you ever had one of those days where a snap decision changes your whole day upside down, but for the better? We had this a couple of weeks ago. It was the first weekend the kids and I had with Dave for a month (he’d been gallivanting off to LARPs and stag dos for the previous three weekends. Three weekends! I was exhausted.) and we were going to have a cosy weekend. A weekend of reading books, watching a film and maybe taking a stroll down to the park for a bit. Something not very energetic and certainly not very Christmas centred as there’ll be enough of that later on in the month. But then I opened the laptop and noticed that Spitalfields City Farm had their winter market that day. We’ve only been to this farm once before and that was last year and I’d been eager to visit it again, but never found quite the right time.
There is something utterly brilliant about a city farm. I suppose it’s the juxtaposition of what is normally a very rural thing surrounded by very urban features. In Spitalfields, look one way and you see the Gherkin and other towers in the City, another aspect shows you blocks of flats and all along one side of the farm is an Overground line. For Betsy, the trip is as good as the destination and from Enfield, it’s just one train ride into Liverpool Street station and then a fifteen minute sensory walk through Spitalfields market and Brick Lane.
I don’t think that Spitalfields is quite as big or as pretty as Surrey Docks farm, but there’s plenty of animals to see and a great community garden for lots of inspiration. The gardens are brilliant actually. There’s a fantastic wildlife garden with the most amazing bee hotel, veg patches and nursery make this farm very green indeed. I must come back in the spring to see the wildlife beds in bloom, I think it’ll be a good sight to see!
There are plenty of animals to spot and say hello too. As well as the usual goats, sheep, pigs and other farm animals (lots of rare breeds I think) there are exotic birds and the most beautiful cats prowling around. The sheep and goats are quite happy to be stroked by children and Betsy loved sinking her hands into Teggan the sheep’s fleece. There are also a couple of adorable donkeys, one of whom gives the occasional ride but sadly we missed out on that. Next time!
As well as a few Little Tikes type cars to play with in the central area of the farm, there is also a great tree house for children (um, and me too) to clamber on. Also on site is a litte shack that sells great coffee and cakes and a stew of some sort. I had a lentil casserole with ginger and Jerusalem artichoke. It was SO tasty. Proper comfort food and hearty and served with a slice of soft, chewy sourdough bread from a bakers in Hackney.
Spitalfields City Farm is open 10-4 every day except Mondays. Go visit! It’s good!