Stepney City Farm is a working farm in East London and is home to a range of animals including chickens, ducks, geese, donkeys, pigs coats and cats. I first visited here several years ago with a friend and was really charmed by it so was keen to return with Pea.
The farm is just a few minutes walk from Half Moon Theatre so I decided to combine the two since it was unlikely I’d be in the area again in the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, the weather was not in our favour on the day so the whole outing was a very soggy an chilly affair.
We visited on a Saturday when there’s a farmers market but by the time we arrived in the late afternoon almost all of the stalls were either already gone or in the process of packing up. This was about an hour and a half before closing time so I’m not sure of the market traders usually pack up at this time or if they’d just all understandably had enough of the rain by that point. With not much happening in the market, we headed to the on-site cafe and I knocked back a much needed and very strong coffee. I also had a very satisfying tofu sandwich/panini thing which Pea kept pestering me for, even though he had his own food. When I relented and gave him a bit, he pushed it around the table for a while before throwing it on the floor. Naturally.
The rain just wouldn’t let up and Pea started to get twitchy so in the end we left the shelter of the cafe for what felt like a very token walk around the farm to look at the animals. I didn’t have waterproof clothing or wellies for either of us, so had no choice but to stick Pea back in his pram under the protection of the raincover making it impossible to really interact with him or get him interested in the animals. Many of them were taking shelter and those that weren’t looked about as miserable to be outside in the cold and wet as we were. This was a huge shame as the farm has a good variety of animals, including a funny-looking rabbit type critter that reminded me a bit of Fizzgig from The Dark Crystal.
There’s actually lots here for tiny people, including a play/picnic area complete with brightly coloured picnic tables, wooden stacking blocks, a wendy house and a tricycle or two. For older children, there’s the Key Stage 1 Literacy trail. There’s even a classroom on site for events such as Family Friendly yoga and Family Farm club.
The farm overall has a ramshackle, artsy feel about it that I really liked and it’s clearly apparent that there’s a good deal of community engagement happening here too. Although our time here really was a washout, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this city farm for a family outing on a more pleasant day. Even on a pissy day, the cafe is cosy, decent value and equipped with high chairs so is still an option for a bite to eat.
Stepney City Farm is at Stepney Way, E1. Entry is free and the farm is open from 10.00am-4.00pm Tuesday to Sunday, closed on Mondays.