This weekend we visited Dorset Heavy Horse Centre for the first time and realised we had been missing out on a fabulous day out close to home.
If I am honest, the centre does not give the best impression as you drive into it and one woman manning the entrance and the shop meant a bit of a queue, but it was all worth it when we got inside.
You will find something for everyone enjoy at the Heavy Horse Centre with interesting tours, talks and displays. One of the best bits about it is, with the exception of pony rides, everything else is included in the entry price. The first thing we did was to learn how to harness a horse and we were all surprised by the amount of bling Lola had on by the end of the session.
There is a program of events to follow if you choose with Heavy Horse Wagon Rides, Princess Carriage rides, Tractor and Trailer rides and even the chance for the kids to drive a real Farm tractor.
There’s also a busy timetable of hands on interaction with the friendly farm animals including over 20 rescued heavy horses, donkeys, miniature ponies, Kunie Kunie pigs, goats, sheep, alpacas, rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, ducks, snow dogs and many more!
If you didn’t want to stick to the program, there was plenty to do for the kids with two play barns, one for younger children with a gentle slide, hay bails to climb and a see-saw, whilst the second barn had a giant tractor wheel to swing on and a death slide.
Other attractions included a Go Cart Track, and there may have been some racing going on.
The boys adored the boat swings, whilst Eliza preferred bouncing on the bouncy castle both of which were nicely set in barns in case it rained.
There was a huge park to play in with climbing frames, slides, swings and a huge trampoline too.
One of the highlights of the kids day was getting to drive the tractor around the arena which had a huge puddle to splosh through as well as plenty of bumps to keep them amused.
They also got to enjoy a pony ride.
The tractor-trailer ride was a real experience in itself as it took your down the valley, around a very bumpy field and back up again all whilst playing “I’ve got a brand new combine harvester” to the passengers.
Thankfully the Horse and Carriage ride was a lot more gentle and one lucky passenger even got to ride up front and help drive.
I would recommend you get to the Heavy Horse Centre for opening as you really can spend all day there. My only disappointment was that it closes at 4pm, we could have stayed an extra hour or more with ease.
The talks were fun, informative and interesting as we got to meet all the horses that have been rescued. They were all beautifully behaved and happy to be stroked and tickled, despite their size.
The Heavy Horse Centre costs £9.45 for adults, £8.95 for children aged 3 and over and £4.45 for children aged 2 and is worth every penny. For an extra £1 you can buy a bag of food so you can feed the animals as you go around, which was a lovely treat for the kids. Some animals you could feed by hand, but you could also place the food in a tube if you weren’t quite brave enough.
The Heavy Horse Centre is in Verwood, Dorset and very well signposted and I cannot fault it for a fabulous family day out.