If you’re looking for your next family day out, why not try the Stratford Upon Avon butterfly farm? I visited last week with my two children (2 and 4) and my niece and nephew (5 and 1), and it was a laugh! Let’s just say, I hadn’t prepped myself for so many butterflies!
Stratford Butterfly Farm is all geared up for visits in line with the current Covid-19 and is nearby to other lovely spots so you can make a whole day out.
Your 2020 Guide to Stratford Butterfly Farm
What to Expect
As soon as you enter the butterfly walk you’ll be bombarded with the pretty flutter of wings. There’s a feeding station set on the path, so you only have to take one step inside to see countless colours and sizes. I’m not sure I was expecting to see so many!
Some sit camouflaged on the leaves and stones, others on the path screaming for attention. They have no hesitation in perching on heads, bags, phones and anything else, really. The kids went wild when one landed on aunty’s head! And I might have let out a squeal when one went on mine..!
You simply follow the one way path on a loop walk, watching the butterflies do their thing in the rainforest flight area. About midway, you’ll reach a big pond complete with an impressive collection of fish and a couple of small bridges to walk over.
And at one end you’ll find the Minibeast Metropolis, home to a collection of insects, bugs, frogs and spiders. Everything is in glass cage, except for the leafcutter ants which walk along the rope over your head. If like me, you’re not especially keen on bugs and spiders it’s pretty easy to speed through without really seeing anything. And if you have a genuine fear, you can skip this part by just sticking to the loop walk.
During our one-hour visit we did two loops of the full track (including the minibeasts), which felt more than enough.
There’s no denying that Stratford Butterfly Farm has adapted in line with the current pandemic. There are hand sanitizing stations at various points on the walk, a one-way system marked out with arrows, a limit of one hour for your visit and the collection of data for the NHS Test and Trace.
In line with the new government guidance visitors also need to wear a mask in the gift shop. The loop walk brings you out into the shop in order for you to exit. Unless I missed it, I’d say it would be helpful to have a big sign just before the doorway. I didn’t realise I would be in the shop straight away and it was a scramble to get my mask out and hold onto the kids who had clocked the toys.
As much as there are measures in place, I did feel a little anxious at points. By the end of our visit it started to get crowded. People were politely keeping a distance, but I felt a little stressed trying to get the kids to wait for the path to clear so we could pass. As much as visits are limited to one hour, I didn’t see or hear any staff asking people to leave or checking ticket times.
Similarly, there are a few of those plastic curtain/room dividers to stop the butterflies escaping. To get through them you need to push them open and it’s hard to do that without them touching your body. There are hand sanitizer stations at each of them so you can immediately use them, but yeah, that’s how I felt.
At the moment the picnic tables, benches and cloakroom are not in use to help minimise any spread.
- Dress for summer, especially for the kids. It’s super muggy in there (to keep the butterflies happy).
- Bring lots of water, again especially for littles.
- Leave your stuff in the car – just bring in what you need. The pathways are narrow.
- This includes leaving the buggy in the car, unless you really, really need it.
- Buy some fish food (30p) when you buy your entry tickets.
- Wear red if you want to attract the butterflies.
- Watch out for butterflies on the ground.
It’s suggested that you pre-book your tickets (for an hour visit) in advance. This is because the number of visitors is currently being limited. Annoyingly (at least at the time of writing) this has to be done over the phone, rather than online, and the lines do get busy.
Tip: Supposedly lines are quieter after 4pm.
I booked three days in advance and managed to get the slot I wanted (a Friday at 10am).
You’ll need to pick an entry time (every 15minutes from 10am – 5pm) and give details of the lead passenger for the NHS Test and Trace.
The number is 01789 299288.
Tip: I’d recommend booking the first or last slot, when it seems to be quieter.
|Seniors (60 years +) and Students||£6.75|
|Children 3-16 years (under 3’s free)||£6.25|
|Family- 2 adults & 2 children||£22.50|
|Extra Child when purchased with a family ticket||£4.05|
If you’re visiting with friends it might be cheaper to buddy up and buy a family ticket.
Where is Stratford Butterfly Farm?
It’s in Stratford Upon Avon, which is a beautiful part of the UK. The full address is Swan’s Nest Lane, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 7LS. For fellow Northamptonians (yes, really!), it’s about an hour’s drive.
Set right by the river, it’s close to The Recreation Ground – a big green space, complete with a Big Wheel too. With the sweeping willow trees, it makes for a great picnic spot. From here you can then walk along the River Avon – see further down for more ideas.
There isn’t an official car park so I’d recommend parking in the big outdoor car park opposite the entrance (called The Recreation Car Park). There are lots of spaces, but if it is full there’s another car park just next door.
You can pay by cash or card, at the machine or via your mobile phone. I paid £6 for up to 9 hours.
You can find out more about the Stratford Upon Avon Butterfly Farm here.
Other Things Near Stratford Butterfly Farm
Picnic on the Green
As mentioned earlier, this farm is right by the River Avon. I’d definitely recommend taking a picnic to enjoy on the green opposite the car park. It’s a big space so really easy to keep away from others. And if you have water babies, it’s easy to sit the other end away from the river.
If you’re happy to spend a fortune on ice cream, there’s usually at least one van by the riverfront. It cost me £3.50 for one single cone, which was a bit of a shock to be honest! You can pay by cash or card.
Ride the Big Wheel
The Stratford Big Wheel is right by the car park and offers views of the river, town and more. I’m led to believe it’s a temporary thing, so check ahead if you really want to go on it.
Likewise with the ‘kiddie corner’ funfair. Expect to pay around £2.50 for the small rides, again, both cash and card. There’s also hand sanitizer at the entrance and exit points of the rides.
You can hire a boat (motor boat, row boat, punts etc) to enjoy the River Avon from Avon Boating Ltd. The office is right by the green.
Another option is to follow the flat path along the river. It’s buggy-friendly for a bulk part and depending what direction you choose and how far you go it then switches to a narrower, muddy track.
We walked for half hour or so, stopping to let the kids watch the fishermen and boats, and then turned round and went back for an ice-cream by the green.
Explore the Town
Stratford-Upon-Avon is a medieval town, so if you’re into old buildings it’s worth going for a wander. It’s also the 16th-century birthplace of William Shakespeare. From 1 August 2020 Shakespeare’s Birthplace is set to re-open, though in my opinion, better suited to older kids.
Find More Days Out With Kids
- The Best Northamptonshire Gardens With Kids
- Hitchin Lavender Farm
- Exploring Cosgrove (near Milton Keynes)
- 30+ Fun Things to Do in Northampton
- Your Guide to the Peter Rabbit Farm
- St Nicholas Park in Warwick
- Lovely Walks in Northampton
- Wild Things Country Park
- Thomas Land at Drayton Manor