Visiting Lathcoats Farm, Essex, with Children

Lathcoats Farm is primarily a family run fruit farm near Chelmsford in Essex. It has over 40 varieties of apples and a wide range of pick your own fruit in the summer months. Throughout the year they have special events which are fun for children, but it is a lovely place to visit all year round though thanks to the addition of some animals, a cafe and a farm shop.

A donkey eating grass in a large field at Lathcoats Farm
Lathcoats Farm has PYO, Farm Shop, Cafe and animals

Visiting Lathcoats Farm, Chelmsford

Why Lathcoats Farm Is A Good Place To Visit With Children

  • There is a small, free to enter, animal farm on site.
  • There is a small natural play area and ride on toy tractors.
  • You can pick your own (PYO) vegetables and fruit including strawberries, plums, courgettes and sunflowers in the summer months and apples in the autumn.
  • All Things Alpaca offer (paid for) experiences onsite including: walking alpacas and meet and greets with pygmy goats.
  • There are regular events with special activities for children including an Easter egg trail and pumpkin patch.
  • The coffee house has a children’s menu, highchairs and indoor and outdoor seating.

What Is There To Do At Lathcoats Farm?

Farm Shop

Lathcoats Farm shop sells a range of their own products (including fruit and their own apple juice) and local produce including bread, meat and pies. They also sell some frozen food and refillable staples like pasta. 

Inside Lathcoats Farm Shop showing a selection of the products they sell
Lathcoats Farm Shop sell a range of their own and local products

A selection of the refillable foods on sale at Lathcoats Farm Shop
Refillable products at Lathcoats Farm Shop

The Bee Shed Coffee House and Shack

The Bee Shed Coffee House sells cakes, sandwiches, toasties, light lunch, breakfasts and afternoon tea, as well as hot and cold drinks and snacks. Outside of PYO season they offer afternoon tea (which must be prebooked). The cafe is so welcoming and beautifully decorated with farm style wooden beams and fireplace. The menu (available online) is simple and classic with much of the produce from the farm itself, or sourced locally. If you are going at busy time you can prebook a table.

At peak times The Bee Shack is open selling a smaller selection of hot and cold drinks and take away toasties. A note on the menus states that the kitchen is small and so whilst allergens may be removed from your order, cross contamination could potentially occur, they request customers let them know about allergies when ordering. 

The Bee Shack is a vending window selling food and drink
The Bee Shack is open for drinks and snacks at peak times

The serving counter at Lathcoats Farm Bee Shed Coffee House
The Bee Shed Coffee House at Lathcoats Farm sells snacks, breakfast and lunch

Pick Your Own

There is a wide range of Pick Your Own fruit and vegetables available in season. What can be picked each day depends on the weather and availability. In order to access the fruit fields you need to buy a fruit voucher which costs £2 per person including children (2022 price, 2023 price not yet announced). The vouchers allows the farm to manage the number of people in the fields. The cost is redeemable against fruit picked. The vouchers are available to purchase from 7pm the evening before. You also have to buy the containers for picking fruit, but these can be reused. If you plan to use your own containers they need to weigh them before you go into the field.


There is a small animal farm onsite with goats, chickens, a large pig, donkeys, and alpacas. You can walk around the whole farm quickly if you only wanted to pop in, or, you can take your time and read the descriptions of each animal (with beautiful hand painted illustrations) and get up close with every animal. The fencing allows you and your children to get a great view, and many of the animals like to get close for petting. In the spring the baby animals are kept in an enclosed area which you can look at, but not touch (although you can prebook some hands on activities via All Things Alpaca).

A green gate at the entrance to the animal area at Lathcoats Farm
Entrance to the Animal Area at Lathcoats Farm

A field of Alpaca at Lathcoats Farm
You can book hands on experiences with the animals via All Things Alpaca

An enclosure with goat in
Goats at Lathcoats Farm

Play Area

The farm also has a small play area for children (aimed at young children) with ride on tractors, tractor wheels for climbing, a fallen tree, tree stumps for stepping, and a tunnel for walking/crawling through.

Play area at Lathcoats Farm with tree stumps and a tunnel
The natural play area is simple, but fun in dry weather

A number of colourful childrens ride on toy tractors
Ride on tractors at Lathcoats Farm

Apple Day

All their events are worth a visit, but the highlight of the year is Apple Day which must be prebooked as it sells out. At The Apple day you can taste their apples (they have more than 40 varieties), pick your own apples, enjoy apple juice and cider, visit the farmers market, enjoy live music, children's crafts and other activities.

What Age Children Will Enjoy Visiting?

The farm and play area are particularly popular with younger children (8 and under). Events and PYO will appeal to a wider age range.

Is the farm suitable for pushchairs?

The paths around the farm are all suitable for pushchairs. Some events may take place on grass areas, but you will probably still be ok with a pushchair. PYO areas are obviously field based so access will depend on the recent weather.

Donkeys eating some straw
The animal area is free for customers

What You Need To Know Before Visiting

  • It is free entry to the site, but the animal area, tractors and play area are meant to be for shop, coffee shop and PYO customers only so you will have to spend some money during your visit.
  • If you plan to come to Pick Your Own fruit or vegetables you need to buy a voucher per person (available the evening before).
  • There is a charge for some of their events which will need to be prebooked, you can find out more about these on Lathcoats Farm's website and social media.
  • The animal farm area has no cover so if it is raining and your children will want to explore then bring wellies and waterproofs.
  • There is a hand washing station (with warm water) in the farm, make sure children wash their hands before eating. 
  • There are toilets inside the cafe.  There is one baby changing toilet on site and this is located outdoors (not ideal on a rainy day), it is large with baby changing table, you can easily fit a double buggy inside. At time of publishing the accessible toilet is being updated.
  • Lathcoats Farm is open from 9am Monday to Saturday (closed Sundays and Bank Holidays). The Coffee House closes at 4pm and the Farm Shop and animal area at 5pm. PYO opening hours are generally 9 to 5, but it depends on availability. 

Picnic tables in an outdoor eating area at Lathcoats Farm
There are indoor and outdoor seating areas available for eating food bought for the cafe

Is Lathcoats Farm dog friendly?

Dogs are not allowed on the PYO farm or inside the cafe, but are welcome to sit in the outdoor area of the cafe. 

What To Take With You When Visiting

Only food bought on sight should be consumed so if you have food or drink leave it in the car. Otherwise You might want wellies and waterproofs if it has been wet. 

How To Get To Lathcoats Farm and Where To Park


Lathcoats Farm, Beehive Lane, Galleywood, CM2 8LX


Lathcoats Farm is easy to find using the postcode (CM2 8LX), it has a large sign on the main road, with one way entrance and exit. 


There are two car parks. Both are free. There is a large car park (enter on the left) for longer staying visitors, and a much smaller one (enter on the right) for visitors popping in to the farm shop. 

some sheep cuddled up together next to a fence
Depending on the time of year you may see newborn lambs 

What To Do Nearby Lathcoats Farm

There is a Garden centre opposite, but nothing else in the immediate area. 

Lathcoats Farm is on the outskirts of Chelmsford so you could combine a visit with other Chelmsford attractions a short drive away including:

Chelmsford Museum (5 minutes drive)

Hylands Park (10 minutes drive)

Riverside Leisure Centre - Swimming or Ice Skating (10 minutes drive)

Essex Police Museum (10 minutes drive)

Jump Street Trampoline Park (10 minutes drive_

You could also stop by nearby playgrounds at Chelmer Park, CM2 8DB and Jubilee Park CM2 8NG which are a less than 5 minutes drive away and have free parking.

You might also be interested in checking out other Farm Shops In Essex

Recommendation and photographs by Meghan who can be found on Instagram here.

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