For many Londoners (myself included), the closest we get to farm animals is the butcher’s counter at our local supermarket. What many people do not know is that there are several working farms within London, even in such urban neighbourhoods like Hackney and Vauxhall. When I am in the mood to play ‘Old McDonald’, I head over to London’s largest city farm – Mudchute Farm.
Located just minutes from Canary Wharf, the farm feels completely separate from the world of stock and bonds in the hectic financial district. The sights (and very strong smells) of the animals remind me more of the simpler ways of life. Our food does not magically appear in ready-to-eat packages. Spending time with the animals in Mudchute Farm reminds me of that.
Mudchute Farm has plenty of animals you would expect at a farm (pigs, sheep, chickens) and some you might not (hello llamas). There is also a pets’ corner and scheduled ‘animal encounter’ sessions to give young Londoners a closer relationship with farm animals. The staff is happy to answer questions and depending on the time of day and what needs to be done, they might enlist the help of the young (and young at heart) to assist with some farmyard tasks.
I tend to spend most of my time leaning against a fence watching the young horses gallop around their enclosure. A couple hours here will give you a taste of the peaceful country life without leaving the confines of the city.