Newham Grange Farm is one of Middlesbrough’s most popular family days out. Bouncing bunnies, guinea pigs, tortoises and goats team up with wallabies, chickens and more to put big smiles on the faces of visiting children. The farm is even more magical at Christmas, with a Christmas Town, Santa’s Grotto and the Head Elf’s Workshop open to explore. We are Middlesbrough visited on a frosty Saturday afternoon to experience Christmas at Newham Grange Farm.
A big sign pointing to the Farm made it easy for me to find in my car. The parking was easier still, I swiftly found a space and pulled up before zipping up my parka coat – it was -2 outside!
FUN AT THE FARM: A map greets me at the entrance
I walked round to the front entrance, which is in the gift shop, and was promptly greeted by a friendly elf. I showed her my pre-booked ticket (a bargain at £8.50), and eagerly exited the gift shop toward my magical Christmas experience.
First up was the barn. Here, I came across an array of fantastic farm animals including a little pony, a giant snoring pig, two tortoises, a goat and some energetic bouncing bunnies. My favourite bunny was Marble, a befitting name for a rabbit with such a beautiful fur coat. I tried to take a picture of the guinea pigs, who immediately squeaked and hid when I pointed my camera at them! In the barn were also a few families with young children who were enjoying watching and talking to the animals beneath the warm glow of Christmas decoration lights.
BOUNCING BUNNIES: Marble and friends chill in the barn
A helpful member of staff gave me directions to my next stop – Christmas Afternoon Tea. This was upstairs in the café, although I should have just followed my nose to find it; the smell of hot cakes was glorious! I sat amongst families and soaked up the atmosphere, enjoying a selection of sandwiches, savouries and hot chocolate with marshmallows. About halfway through a special visitor popped in: Mrs Claus had arrived to talk to the children!
FESTIVE CHEER: Mrs Claus pops in for afternoon tea
I continued out into the farm where I came across two clock towers with a banner reading ‘Welcome to Christmas Town’. I just had to check it out, so stepped through to find another friendly elf who pointed me towards Mrs Claus’ Hot Chocolate hut. I grabbed another hot drink before scooping up some free reindeer food from the Reindeer Station to scatter on my lawn at home to entice Santa’s reindeer on Christmas Eve. The Christmas Town was beautifully decorated with giant gingerbread houses and candy canes, perfect for children to feel like they’re in the North Pole.
CHRISTMAS CHARACTERS: A warm welcome to Christmas Town
After feeding the goats next to the playground, which was full of children running round together, I walked down candy cane lane to see Middlesbrough’s Christmas donkeys. As I was watching them trot around in the mud, a little red robin walked across my path, and at that point I truly felt the spirit of Christmas.
Christmas at Newham Grange Farm runs every day up until and including Christmas Eve. You can book your slot to visit on the Newham Grange Farm website, along with extra added activities like ‘Visit Santa’, ‘Christmas Afternoon Tea’ and ‘Santa’s Head Elf Workshop’.
We are words and pictures by Alex Backshall