Review: Marsh Farm, South Woodham Ferrers in Essex

We have been lucky enough to work with Marsh Farm for several years now and have visited lots of times over the last 4 years. The attraction is a great place to visit with children and they are continually improving the site. While you can easily spend the whole day there whatever time of year you visit, I really recommend going on an event day because this is really where the Partyman Company really excels: the decor, characters and performances all add magic to the day. Find out our top tips for visiting Marsh Farm and all about their special events in this post.

A young girl posing against a floral backdrop at Marsh Farm in Essex
Everything you need to know about visiting Marsh Farm

Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park Review -
A Fun Family Day Out In Essex

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What To Expect From A Visit To Marsh Farm

Once you are inside Marsh Farm everything is included in the entrance fee and you will only need to spend money (if you want to) on food, drink and ice cream. This means the rides, crazy golf and animal feeding are all free.


Animals definitely aren’t the star attraction at Marsh Farm, but they are cute to visit. They have general farm animals like pigs, goats and sheep as well as rabbits, ponies, llamas and exotic birds. Check the programme for the day as there are times you can meet or feed animals during the day.

A group of chicks a few days old cuddled together
See varying ages chicks close up

A young girl feeding goats from her hands
You can feed some of the animals, check the programme for times to meet them

Sheep, lambs and cows
Say hello to animals at Marsh Farm

A group of piglets cuddled together
Cozy piglets


Since we started going to Marsh Farm over 4 years ago there has been a children's tea cups ride and carousel. These core rides have now nbeen joined by the gallopers. On some visits (mostly at Halloween) there have been other rides too and they also now have a permanent train track for train rides. The last time we visited they had:

  • A carousel
  • Children's teacups
  • Gallopers (minimum height 1 metre and only one rider per horse)
  • A train ride 

A preschool on a galloper horse ride
Unlimited goes on the rides is included in the entry price

Play areas

  • There is an adventure playground (Farm Playground) on the left soon after you enter Marsh Farm. This has a good range of climbing frames, slides and swings for all ages on a wood chip base. 
    An adventure play area at Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park
    The Farm Playground has lots of space to run around, swings, slides and several climbing frames.

  • There is another play area (Giant Play Towers) with a large climbing frame at the far end of the site, slightly tucked round a corner. There is a section for younger children, but most of this area is better for children age 5 and up.
    The giant play towers playground with colourful walkways, climbing and slides
    The Giant Play Towers Playground is great for older children with lots to explore

  • There are 2 large bouncy pillows next to the activity field. One is meant to be for younger children, the other older ones. On peak days I have seen staff members supervising to ensure numbers are limited, but not at other times. 
    Children on a colourful large bouncy pillow trampoline
    There are two giant bouncy pillows to enjoy

  • The Role Play Village is an outside area with a number of themed wooden houses eg a Police Station and supermarket. These have been added to with a number of props like hats.
    A role play village sign and a number of colourful wooden huts
    The Role Play Village allows children to play in their own world (and has seating for adults)

  • The soft play is inside the Play Barn. It has a large play frame for older children and a smaller soft play area for toddlers. The Play Barn restaurant is inside the same building serving hot and cold meals so the soft play does tend to get very busy around lunchtime (and on colder or wet days).
    A toddler in a soft play area
    The toddler soft play area

    A large, multi level soft play at Marsh Farm
    The main soft play frame is a good size and great for a break from the sun or rain

  • The Giant Sand Pit has had previous incarnations as dino and jewel dig sites where you could find small fossils or gems buried in the sand, but on our last visit it was just a sand pit with a big pile of buckets and spades. If you are lucky you might find some of the previous treasures though. 
    Children digging in the giant sand pit at Marsh Farm with provided buckets and spades
    Digging in the sand pit

  • Splash pool and beach - new for 2022 they opened a splash pool area (replacing the larger paddling pool that they have in previous years). This is good fun for cooling off in warmer weather, but you MUST have pool shoes to go in it so either bring some with you or buy when on site. There is another sandy area next to the splash pool as well as a patch of grass you can sit on.
    The Marsh Farm Splash Pool
    The splash pool area opened in 2022 (this photo was taken Spring 2023 before it opened for the season).

  • Looky Look Lego - this area outside the Play Barn is used for something different every time we visit, but last time we visited they had giant LEGO like building blocks which were fun to make giant structures with.
    A brick cherry tree made with giant lego type bricks
    A cherry tree made with giant building blocks

  • Puzzle Maze - what comes first: the chicken or the egg? Find out in this maze where one person can take the egg route and the other the chicken and you race through.
  • Tractor Town - ride on mini tractors. 
    3 children lined up and sitting on blue toy tractors
    Enjoying the toy tractors

  • Mini Golf - grab a ball and club and battle it out on the crazy golf course. I love that this isn't a paid for activity as my children always want to play mini golf, but get bored after 15 minutes so I never like to pay for it. 
    A preschooler playing mini golf and holding the club incorrectly
    Playing Mini Golf at Marsh Farm

Indoor Performance Spaces

There are currently 3 main indoor performance spaces being used: the Animal Theatre, the Cabin and the Barn Theatre where they have activities and shows on event days (there is also another space, the Show Barn, they sometimes use). The performances include magic shows, 3D cinema, disco and interactive stage shows. The Barn Theatre has permanent tiered seating, the other spaces are set up depending on the current use.

a family posing in 3D glasses at Marsh Farm
Getting ready for a 3D cinema

Food & Drink

The main place to get food is in the Play Barn  and it can get very busy around lunch time so if you want to eat there aim the worst of the lunch time rush. Last orders are normally an hour before the site closes, but this venue is open whenever the adventure park is. The Play Barn sells hot and cold meals as well as snacks and drinks. At peak times there are a number of concession stands around the site selling ice cream, snacks, drinks and chips. These include next to the Barn Theatre, opposite the main entrance to the Role Play Area and in the activity field.

Marsh Farm serves Rossi Ice cream which includes a number of vegan friendly options.

You are welcome to bring your own food and there are picnic tables across the site where you can eat. On a busy summers day you might want to bring a picnic blanket in case all the tables are busy. In wetter weather they have put up a marquee to provide somewhere for people to eat.  They ask you not to eat your own food in the Play Barn as tables need to be prioritised for those buying food.

3 children at a picnic bench eating Rossi Ice Cream and chips
Enjoying ice cream and chips at Marsh Farm

Tips for visiting Marsh Farm

  • Download the Marsh Farm App and check out the programme of events before you arrive. Most events are repeated throughout the day, but plan where you want to be and when to make sure you don't miss out.
  • If you are unable to access the programme on the app then the information is shown on a board just past the mini golf or they may be able to provide a paper copy.
  • Book your tickets in advance to save money and speed up entry. Once bought you can save the tickets to your app for easy access.
  • The site is cashless so you will need to bring cards or contactless.
  • Be sure to make the most of their Instagram worthy backdrops when visiting for cute photos.

Coming Up for Marsh Farm - New Dinosaurs Area

Marsh Farm always seem to be planning improvements. Last year they were successful in getting planning permission to add a dinosaur section to the park which will include 16 non moving replica dinosaurs, a climbing area and palaeontologist tent. There is no word on when this will be open yet, but I would guess at some point in 2023 as all details have now been approved, and it looks great. It will be at the back of the site behind the playground and animal theatre with a walk around the dinosaurs ranging from babies to a couple at 5 metres.

Visiting on Wet Days

We have spent a few wet days at Marsh Farm and it is definitely more fun when the the weather is good. However on event days there are shows inside, some of the animals are under cover and the soft play is a great place to warm up and dry out so don't worry if you have some rain forecast.

What age is Marsh Farm good for?

Marsh Farm is aimed at children up to the age of 12. My children have enjoyed visiting as a toddlers and my 11 year old wanted to come with us when we visited at Easter and she had a great time. So it really is a lot of fun for 2 to 12 year olds. I would say babies wont get much out of it so not really worth visiting before they can toddle around unless coming with older siblings. 

Special Events At Marsh Farm

Easter Eggstravaganza

During the Easter holidays there is an Easter Eggstravaganza. As well as the obligatory Easter Egg hunt (collect a number of coloured eggs and exchange for a chocolate treat or non-dairy treat), you can meet the Easter bunny, watch a show and enjoy performances. For 2023 they had dance time with Mother Goose and a performance with the Easter bunny and a cheeky fox. They have always had a dairy free option available when we have visited at Easter, but this year we were excited to see it was chocolate as opposed to sweets.

Children grabbing a green egg and putting in a bucket as part of the Marsh Farm Easter Egg Hunt 2023
Collecting eggs on the Easter Egg Hunt

A cheeky fox and the Easter bunny performing an interactive stage show
The Easter bunny and a cheeky chocolate loving fox

Toddler Festival 

Running in June before the schools break up.This is a great time to visit Marsh Farm with toddlers and preschoolers. The Toddler Festival runs weekdays and is filled with fun for little ones.

Bubble N Bop Festival 

Running in the summer holidays the Bubble N Bop festival is a great day out. Previous years have seen discos, foam parties, glitter tattoos. There is likely to be a bouncy castle and other form of inflatables. Make sure to bring towels, swimming clothes, sun cream, hats and pool shoes. It's not a festival in a Reading or Glastonbury style of festival, but more of a summer event with activities and plenty to do.

Children standing in front of a wooden B N B sign decorated in flowers and saying Bubble n Bop
The Summer holidays see the return of the fun Bubble N Bop event at Marsh Farm

A close up of a child in swimming costume with foam all over her face
Cool off in the foam party during the Bubble n Bop festival

Inside a wooden teepee with haybales to sit on
Catching some shade in a teepee in the Summer at Marsh Farm

Halloween Festival and Pumpkin Picking Village

Running October half term week and weekends earlier in October Halloween sees Marsh Farm get a spooky makeover. Fancy dress is optional. There will be dancing and halloween shows. Last year saw a trick and treat hunt where you had to find clues to get a reward. Children get to take a a pumpkin home with them. 

You also get free entry into the Pumpkin Picking Village where there are a huge range of pumpkins to spot in the pumpkin patch and and lots of photo opportunities. The Pumpkin Picking Village area can also be visited separately (fee payable) which means adults can visit for pumpkin patch photos without children (adults can't enter Marsh Farm without a child). They run night time sessions so book a visit at dusk for a more spooky visit.

Two children dressed up as witches and posing in front of a halloween backdrop at Marsh Farm
Scary witches

Pumpkins and hay bales
Pumpkins and poses galore in the Pumpkin Picking Village

Two witches at Marsh Farm posing with some children
Meet the witches at Halloween

Father Christmas Experience

Running from mid November to Christmas Eve Marsh Farm is only open for families booked onto their Christmas event. We have been lucky enough to be invited to review the Father Christmas Experience on a few occasions and I hugely recommend it. I have a really in depth post here, but in short it’s a two and a half hour magical journey. From the point you enter passport control through to Elf School, decorating Gingerbread in Mother Christmas's kitchen, seeing Father Christmas and leaving the toy shop in Elf Ville it's magical. Before or after the event you can go in the soft play, on rides and ice skating on a real ice rink.

Two children in Christmas Jumpers in front of a sign saying Passport Control at Marsh Farm's Christmas grotto
Getting ready for the amazing Father Christmas Experience at Marsh Farm

Other events

Superheroes and Princesses - the characters vary each day but you get to meet a great range of superheroes and princesses during this special event. Check the website when you are book to find out who to expect each day. Fancy dress optional.

Children posing with superhero props at Marsh Farm Princess and superhero event
Are your children team superhero or team princess?

The Big Dinosaur Days Out - A must visit for dino fans this day out is all about prehistoric themed fun. 

Let It Snow - Wrap up warm and meet the Frozen sisters in this event. There may be snow!

Fairies and Dragons - This is a great event where you can meet a range of dragons, fairies and learn to be a knight.

Children queuing up to meet a green fluffy dragon at the Fairies and Dragons event
Meeting a friendly dragon

A male and female knight at Knight School
Learn to be a knight at knight school

Information for Visiting

Address: Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park, Marsh Farm Road, South Woodham Ferrers, Chelmsford, Essex CM3 5WP. 

There is plenty of free parking on site, but it can be muddy in wet weather.

Marsh Farm has seasonal opening, so check their website to confirm they are open. The normal opening hours are 10am to 5pm.

The price of tickets vary between events and depending on the time of year. Tickets are the same price for anyone over 2 years old, and free for babies under 6 months. Off peak weekdays are currently £5.99, £8.99 for non event weekends and £12.99 to £14.99 for most events, apart from Christmas which ranges from £35 to £75 per person (plus booking fees).

What's Nearby

We always spend the whole day at Marsh Farm and have no time to go on anywhere, but we often grab some food nearby before we head home. 

There is a McDonalds a few minutes away (CM3 5SY) although worth noting access is from inside Asda and it's not drive through. There are a few other food places in this area too.

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