WHEN Sam started walking, a friend suggested that I take him to Briarlands Farm which is adjacent to Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling.
Her reasoning was that Briarlands was the one place she knew where children can walk or run for what seems like miles, and still be in sight of their parents.
It seems an odd way to recommend or describe a visitor attraction but when I, the husband, Meghan (four) and Sam (15 months) finally made it to Briarlands; I suddenly knew exactly what she meant. In essence, Briarlands Farm is a huge field. Inside said field and all along the peripheries are animals and a range of incredibly appealing activities for children, but you could actually be at one end of the field and still spot your child at the other.
Briarlands is not just for toddlers, though. Before we’d even got to the cash desk, which is through the Farmer’s Den Tearoom, I was already trying to convince Meghan that she wanted to join Mummy on the free baking lesson, and learn to make oatcakes. Regrettably she was having none of it, as she had already spotted the double go-karts outside.
It’s amazing how quickly an adult and child can negotiate a go kart track. The first set of photographs was just blurs.
Next we headed over to the football skills game which again provoked much hilarity and then Sam just wandered off, which I suppose was the point of the visit. We followed his lead to play on the maze, which although he didn’t have a clue what he was doing, he enjoyed clambering on and off.
For me, the cable ride was calling. I calculated that at 4ft 11in I was short enough to get a good run on it and I was right. Meghan and I had a ball. Sam wandered off again, this time to one of the children’s wooden play structures.
After all this running about, we decided to take a breather and grab some lunch which was tasty and good value with the majority of dishes coming in under £4.
To avoid indigestion we steered Meghan away from the bouncing pillows for a quick look round the animal enclosures and then into the toddler ride-on area.
Then it was on to the legendary pillows and although Sam had never encountered them before as soon as he saw Meghan bouncing he wanted to join in. We had a lovely day out and we’re planning a return visit. Next time I might even get to make the oatcakes.
Briarlands is open year round, adults £4.25, children £5.75, family (2 adults, 2 children) £18, senior citizens free when accompanying a paying visitor or £3, under threes are free. Briarlands Farm, Blair Drummond, Stirling, tel: 01786 841309, www.briarlandsfarm.co.uk