BY LUCY BURTON
Little Brixton recently took a holiday to the depths of rural France. A starker contrast to Brixton would be harder to find – it’s possible to walk for half an hour without seeing another person, let alone a car. The littlest Brixtonite took to her new surroundings very enthusiastically, demanding to go out and see the local cows and sheep approximately once an hour, so when we got back I thought we would go and check out our local city farm. Not strictly Brixton, but it’s so quick on the tube (or the number 2 if you want a buggy friendly option) it’s a very feasible quick trip.
The farm is in a corner of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens (if you get there early enough you’ll probably see people coming out some of the clubs, which is always a bit discombobulating as a parent of a young child – why would anyone voluntarily stay up all night??), so a 3 minute walk from the tube. It’s only open from Wednesday to Sunday, which we found out to our cost earlier in the summer, but there are often a few animals in the paddocks visible to the park even when it’s closed. There is a also a large enclosure where they have riding lessons. The farm itself is pretty compact, so unless your child is particularly obsessed by animals I wouldn’t plan for the trip to take more than half an hour. They have sheep, goats, horses and alpacas, as well as a well stocked duck pond, and smaller animals. My daughter was particularly fascinated by the ferrets, despite me trying to interest her in the far cuter (but admittedly more boring) rabbits. There’s also a great nature garden which is probably best suited for older children who can be trusted not to pick and eat any plants that come within their reach.
They also offer children’s parties, and schemes for local young people to learn more about farming – their website has more details at www.vauxhallcityfarm,org. We had a great time, and the baby learnt a new noise – an approximation of a goat – and I struggled to answer questions about what noise an alpaca makes; anyone?
And the best bit (for me) is that it’s pretty close to the Vauxhall Theatre tea rooms, which is not only child friendly, but does amazing cakes.