One of our favourite places to visit on the Isle Of Wight is Tapnell Farm Park. It is one of those places that you can guarantee a day full of fun where you leave wishing the day was longer.
We had been invited along to their Christmas Experience during our December trip to the island. We’ve not been to the farm over the festive period before.
The Christmas Experience was running during the weekends of December and the final few days leading up to Christmas. Tickets were super reasonable and included entrance to the farm park too.
It was £18.95 per child and £11.95 per adult ticket. It would cost a family of five £80.75 on the date we visited. That’s only £34.85 more than the usual entrance cost and after seeing the Christmas Experience, it is totally worth every penny!
We had booked to have our Christmas Experience for the first time slot. We figured this would probably be the safest time to go when everything was clean. We made our way straight for the entrance to the Christmas Experience which is located at the far side of the Adventure Barn, actually in the Events Barn.
With COVID regulations, you are given a time slot to arrive and it is limited to one family at a time. Face coverings are required and there are hand sanitisers throughout the experience too.
There’s a story behind the Christmas Experience which starts with a letter sent in your email about Santa losing a gift. It’s a super important gift because it’s his gift to Mrs Claus. He asks the children to help him find the present and that’s where the journey begins.
The Christmas Experience is done in scenes, going through each part of the journey to find the present. We started by being in an airport. The theming, props and actors were incredible at setting the atmosphere.
The actors all wore visors or masks, there were clear social distancing markers on the floor but it was done in a subtle way to keep the magic alive.
We completed each room being completely immersed in fun and entertainment. One thing that I noticed is how relaxed it felt, there wasn’t a rushed feeling about the experience.
Each room felt so magical and festive. It was chilly as it was in a barn but this added to the authenticity of the experience. The girls were laughing and helping each elf to do their tasks whilst finding Mrs Claus’ present along the way. Personally, I felt so enthusiastic about seeing Santa and finding out if I was on the good list.
Santa’s little room was super cosy. It had stockings, a washing line and a Christmas tree inside. There were bauble chairs (please someone tell me where I can get one of those?!) to sit on which were at a safe distance from Mrs Claus and Santa. It also felt slightly warmer too.
Although the Santa clearly had a fake beard on (I always think a real beard should be grown ahead of this kind of thing), he was the warmest and friendliest Santa Claus we’ve seen in a long time.
Santa was fantastic at speaking with each child, noticing that Elsa was not keen on speaking but not causing a fuss about it. The girls found it amazing that Santa knew certain things they had achieved.
Santa asked Eva, who had been keeping Mrs Claus’ pressie safe, to pop the present inside a little box. A subtle way of returning something without contact. Then each child was given a Christmas Cringle which was inside another open-top box. These were to be used in the next and final room.
The last part of the Christmas Experiences was very well thought out. Children can exchange their Christmas Cringles for a present from Santa. You actually get to keep the Christmas Cringles for hygiene reasons. You are greeted by a very enthusiastic singing elf.
The girls were able to pick from the selection of gifts available which I thought was a brilliant idea. The elf then whizzes behind the curtain and comes back out with a gift-wrapped version of the chosen item.
The part I thought was so good but also exciting for children was the slide that Elf slid the gift down. This was to keep to social distancing guidelines but I also felt it made the experience that more enticing for kids.
I left the Christmas Experience feeling so full of festivity and excitement. We had such a magical time wandering through and although it wasn’t a very long experience, it felt like it was such a chilled out grotto. We all absolutely loved it!
As our tickets included entrance to the farm park, we headed out into the Adventure Barn to enjoy the rest of our time at Tapnell Farm.
The Adventure Barn is not only my daughters favourite part at Tapnell Farm, but it’s also my husbands too! They play the same game every single time and it’s where my husband chases the girls but he’s not allowed up onto the straw bales. They love it and would probably spend the entire day doing that if we let them.
Another top favourite thing to do is the Pedal Go Karts. I love that we can all ride them as they are adult-friendly and some are even double. We spent so long racing around the track that I nearly forgot about the rest of the farm we needed to see.
There are lots of animal adventure parks that are losing the animal side of things. I love that Tapnell Farm has a dedicated barn full of their gorgeous animals. It’s all undercover and the animals are so friendly. In particular, the goats, which for some reason Freya and Elsa are always drawn to.
Having the barns undercover mean that Tapnell Farm is an all-weather day out.
It was so satisfying to find that Tapnell Farm has done some upgrades since our last visit a few years previous. Their outdoor spaces are so brilliant now! A new playground, the jumping pillows had relocated and there’s even mini-golf and so much more to see outside. This is all at the back of the Adventure and Animal barns and has the most gorgeous views.
There is also a lovely area to visit the outdoor animals too.
Tapnell Farm also has a brilliant soft play. Sadly during these uncertain times, you have to prebook a time slot to enter. We decided we wanted the girls to enjoy some soft play seeing as our local ones have sadly shut down permanently.
The time slots have limited capacity and are for 45 minutes.
The area was spotless and the seats/tables were freshly disinfected. Face coverings have to be worn and there are hand sanitisers throughout. We felt as safe as we were possible.
It felt odd being in a soft play after such a long time. It also felt a bit bittersweet seeing the children play relatively freely and laughing with each other and other children too. Those 45 minutes flew by!
At the moment, you can book onto a morning or an afternoon session. Sadly, you aren’t able to stay the entire day, unless you pay I assume. We had luckily been booked onto both sessions. The farm park closes for about an hour between the sessions allowing for cleaning.
We had a short bit of time left after our soft play session so we headed into the new giant sandpit and ride-on tractor area.
This bit has had a total transformation from the last time we visited. This used to be the home to the wallabies, jumping pillows and outdoor play area. It’s now a little suntrap beach vibe area that overlooks a new lake!
The lake is actually there for Tapnell Farm Park’s new Aquapark. After seeing pictures on social media and their website it looks absolutely amazing and we’ll definitely be heading back when the weather is hot again.
We left the farm when it closed between sessions. I’m not sure if it’s encouraged, but we stayed in our car and ate our picnic until it was time for the afternoon session. I feel so grateful that we were able to get onto both sessions because Tapnell Farm is most definitely an all-day kind of day out. A few hours is not long enough unless you are a local islander, and have an annual membership and can return whenever you fancy.
Our afternoon included mini-golf, posing by animal statues, spending far too long on the ride on tractors (Elsa was obsessed), stroking the farm animals and running around the straw bales again and again.
It was a chilly day, but it was certainly a day we all needed. Despite Hubby and I wearing masks all day long, this day felt like a bit of normality and a family adventure we’ll cherish forever.
I filmed our day out but had to separate the Christmas Experience with the day out footage so not to ruin the surprise for anyone attending the experience. I hope you’ll enjoy watching both videos!
I would highly recommend a visit to Tapnell Farm Park when the government guidelines allow to. It always offers us a fabulous family adventure.