Days out: Hopefield Animal Sanctuary

I was lucky enough to be invited to an exclusive bloggers event at Hopefield Animal Sanctuary for a tour of their rescued animals, as well as try out their Afternoon Tea! Anyone who knows me knows my husband calls me Dr Dolittle, as I absolutely love animals, so as you can imagine I literally bit their hand off to accept my invite! I had such a fantastic afternoon with my niece, Lola (10) at the bloggers’ event, that I decided to go back only a few days later as a paying customer with my toddler (2) so I could write my review both as a blogger, but also as a Mum.

Costs: Hopefield is based in Brentwood and was easy to find with the use of my sat nav so the journey was easy. There was plenty of parking on site and the entry costs are very reasonable for such a lot of animals to see; £5 for adults, £4 for children aged 3-15, £3 for senior citizens and FREE for under 3’s. There is also a family ticket for £16. I thought for what you got there, there is a lot there for your money so an ideal day out for those with children.

Under 5’s: My son is 2 and I thought was the perfect day out for him. As well as being free for him to get in, most of the animals were easy to view with low down cages, there were opportunities to stroke some of the animals and there is also an enclosed play and picnic area with little tykes toys and slides where you can eat lunch while your children play. It was easy to find your way around and we spent a good 3 hours there looking around and having lunch and could have easily stayed longer, but toddler tiredness had set in. I didn’t notice any changing facilities there but I didn’t have the need for them so I’m not sure if there are any but might be worth checking before your trip if this is important to you.

Food: There is a wonderful little tea room on site which does a selection of Vegetarian and some Vegan food. I was lucky enough to try their new Vegan Afternoon Tea they were trialling which was absolutely delicious. Falafel and Houmous, Coronation Chickpea, Vegan Cheese, and a Vegan soft cheese and cucumber option, finished with a Vegan scone with their homemade vegan cream which was to die for!  It also included a delicious fruity dessert too. They also have a children’s menu, and as they have vegan options it meant my son who has a dairy allergy could choose lots of things from the menu too. They have a nice selection of fruit and snacks as well as hot and cold drinks. I thought the cost of the food was very reasonable too for such a nice menu.

Animals: It really is amazing what Hopefield have done for the animals here, the staff care so much for the animals and you can see the trust they have built up with them, even after some of the terrible and very sad backgrounds they are from. There are a large variety of animals there ranging from owls and birds to horses, alpacas, pigs, cows and sheep, to more exotic animals like Marmosets, Raccoons, Reptiles and even down to the more recent additions like Reindeer!

Overall: I can see this being one of our favourite little days out! For the small cost to get in, you really do get an amazing day out and can easily have lunch too! Your visit funds the work that Hopefield do, and once you visit you can’t help but feel heart warmed and want to visit more to help! It’s a stress-free day out with the kids that they really enjoy! I also took my lovely Mum in law on my most recent visit and she had a wonderful day too – it suits all ages, I can highly recommend.

If like me, you’d like to do more than just visit, you can support Hopefield in the following ways;

Visit their open days – the next one they have is a Kids Mega Fun Day on 28th July with heaps of activities (entry costs slightly different on this day)

Adoptions – Adopting animal makes a great gift and really helps Hopefield!

Pony Mornings – Learn how to handle, muck out, feed and groom a pony of your choice! (age 8 and up, call and speak to Lianne on 01277 201110)

Sponsorship – As Hopefield is a non-profit organisation, they rely on donations and funding and are always looking for potential sponsors. You can also sponsor the animals.

Gift Aid – Make a charitable donation and gift aid it, which gives 25% extra!

Legacies – Consider leaving a legacy with Hopefield.