Address: Cogges Manor Farm, Church Lane, Witney, OX28 3LA
We recently had the pleasure of visiting Cogges Manor Farm in Witney. I very vaguely remember visiting Cogges as a child in primary school but knew it would have changed somewhat since then. I didn’t really know what to expect and had no idea what activities there would be.
When we arrived the receptionist kindly gave us a map of the site to help us find our way around. The kids were also given a pot of food for the animals and a wool activity pack each. We were told that a tour of the house was about to begin so decided to join it. This is included in your entry fee but depends on the availability of volunteer guides on the day.
Our tour of the house included all of the downstairs rooms in the house as well as some of the rooms upstairs which can only be seen when on a guided tour. We were told a lot about the history of the farm/house which was really interesting. It was also fascinating to see some of the original wallpaper from Victorian times which still survives today. One thing to note is that the house tour takes approximately 1 hour. If you have very young children they may get restless but the tour guides are quite happy for you to take them off outside if you need to.
If you are a Downton Abbey fan you may be aware that Cogges was the set for ‘Yew Tree Farm’. In the dining room you can see photos taken during filming. There is also a short video of the production team. I haven’t seen Downton Abbey but still found it really interesting!
Another part of the house we really enjoyed was the dressing-up. Cody particularly loved the Victorian waistcoat and jacket. He felt like he was The Greatest Showman! There were different sizes and styles of outfits from different eras of the manor’s past. It was really good fun trying them on.
Next to the house you will find several barns and the pig styes. In one of the barns is a soft play area for under 5s which is fab. For older ones there is a basketball hoop next to it so they can practice shooting some basketballs!
There are lots of guinea pigs, rabbits and chickens in one of the undercover areas next to the barns. At weekends there are animal handling sessions so you can have a cuddle with them. Next to these is also a lovely sandpit inside a wooden log cabin house. It’s very cute!
We were lucky that during our visit there were lots of volunteers working on the vegetable garden and one very kindly showed us round. There’s all kinds of things growing in the garden, including cut flowers which are used in the house as decoration. There were also lots of varieties of apple. We were able to have one each straight from the tree. Can’t get any fresher than that! Do have a chat with the volunteers as you walk around. They are full of knowledge and really passionate about Cogges.
Through the gate in the garden into the adjoining field you will find sheep grazing and a hay bale maze. This was a highlight for Lois and Cody who really enjoyed playing on it. In fact we ended up returning to the maze 3 times during our visit! There are tunnels and tyre paths in the maze which made it good fun.
We had fun exploring the woodland area with a rope bridge and lots of logs for climbing on. This led in to the park which is fab. It’s huge and has loads to keep kids occupied, even older ones. The huge fort has a climbing wall and zip-wire as well as a fireman’s pole, monkey bars, 2 slides and various other obstacles. There is also a basket swing and second play frame to enjoy.
As well as this area there is a challenging ‘ditch’ play area. This has cargo nets and tightropes across from one side of the ditch to the other. It was a little tricky for Cody but they both still enjoyed it. Just be careful of any stinging nettles as this is next to a wild meadow.
Cogges is very much about being outdoors having fun on a traditional farm. There are plenty of animals to meet and feed including goats, ponies, sheep, chickens, ducks, pigs and more. You can play croquet on the lawn or wander through the garden and orchard. We loved the wonderful feeling of stepping back in time here and could have happily stayed all day (sadly I had to go to work so we only stayed 4 hours).
There is currently a yarn bomb trail around the site. Pick up a wool activity pack from reception and you can find the trail sheets inside as well as lots of other activities to have a go at. Our favourite creation was the mouse in the farmyard.
Facilities at Cogges include toilets (baby changing and disabled), cafe, shop, free parking. Most of the site is wheelchair accessible with some gravel paths. Dogs are welcome on leads. Water bowls are provided and you can find free doggy treats in the cafe!
We really enjoyed our day here at Cogges and would definitely return again. At less than £20 for a family of up to 5 I think its very well priced. Look out for special activities at the weekends and in the school holidays to really make the most of your visit.
Disclaimer: Cogges kindly gifted us entry tickets and gave us animal feed and wool activity packs as part of our visit. They have, however, had no involvement in this review and all words, photos and opinions are that of my own.