Abbotsham, Bideford, North Devon, EX39 5AP
On paper I’m not sure that we should love this place as much as we do but The Big Sheep is fantastic. My kids all love animals and enjoy getting up close to them so an open farm seemed like a good idea the first time we went. There are so many other things to do here as well that we were there from opening to closing.
The site isn’t massive so if you didn’t do any of the shows then you wouldn’t actually be there for that long. It really is the shows that make it though. At the inside show area they have a sheep show, a beer show, a milking show (Hubby won the milking competition), shearing show and lamb feeding. They also do sheep dog trials and (Hubby’s favourite) the duck trials. Who doesn’t love an Indian Running Duck??!! The climax of the day is the Sheep race. We’ve been to the big sheep three times and I’ve won twice. Woolly Jumper is my top tip for you all – we proudly use our prize trophies all the time.
In addition to the shows they have a couple of rides for smaller children, some other rides as well, a roller coaster, really good soft play area, boats, pets corner, pony rides, giant pillows, a miniature train, tractor safari, trampolines, pedal karts and a live combat game (which we’ve never done). For the adults there’s a brewery too. The soft play area is well maintained, varied and clean. It has a cafe inside which isn’t extortionate.
We have been here at various times of year; May half term, summer holidays and outside of the holidays. Even when there are a lot of people there it doesn’t feel crowded and you don’t have to queue for ages to get onto the rides. If there isn’t a queue they’ll happily let you stay on the ride and have another turn. The roller coaster is weather dependent and doesn’t run if it’s drizzly or raining.
One thing I particularly like about this place is that it’s genuinely an all weather attraction. Even if it’s raining, there is still plenty to do. You are under cover for all of the shows, the nursery barn and soft play are indoors. Even the tractor safari has a cover to protect you from the “Liquid sunshine” as the driver called it.
The thing that stands out the most about the Big Sheep is the staff. It seems to be only a small team so I think we’ve met all of them and each of them were a delight to deal with. The people who present the shows are funny and personable. The man who was driving the tractor was cheeky, but in a good way. At all times there is a liberal dusting of sheep and animal based puns. The staff are a real asset to this place and definitely add to the experience.
We’ve been here three times and I have other friends who highly recommend it too.
Entry – £11.96 per person when you book online. Under 4 feet – £4.80. Under 1’s free.
Tesco vouchers are accepted but make sure you purchase them to cover the on the door price, not the online price as they cannot be used online.
Blue Peter badge holders go free, but ONLY when you pay on the door (£14.95 per person). They cannot be used with Tesco vouchers.
Parking – on-site, free
Toilets – on-site
Food – There is a cafe in the welcome centre and a smaller one in the play barn. Picnics are welcome and there are various places you can have them, including some under cover. At peak times there is also an ice cream kiosk.
Rating – 5 / 5