A guide to London’s city farms

Even in the middle of a metropolis, llamas can find repose in London's City Farms. All photos: Kirsten Amor

It may be surprising for anyone living in London to learn that barnyard animals and green fields could be just around their corner, but in fact there are a large number of City Farms throughout London.

These rural spaces are community-managed projects that promote awareness of gardening and farming to the local community. Most of these farms provide free entry, making them a great day out for families and small children. In addition to this, many of the city farms also participate in a wide range of voluntary projects in the local community, such as day visits for disadvantaged children, work experience placements, and visits for the elderly.

Each farm has different facilities or animals, so it is well worth visiting each one and seeing what they have to offer. Take a look below and see where your nearest farm is.

Freightliners City Farm

Originally built on wasteland behind King’s Cross station, the animals were housed in disused railway vans, hence the name. Today this working farm is nestled in the heart of Islington, with a wide array of rare breed animals and plants to see. Moreover, Freightliners Farm hosts regular of events and classes to involve the community: on Wednesdays there is a gardening club, they provide teaching for qualifications in bee-keeping, and even host Shakespeare plays in the summer!

Newham City Farm

One of the oldest working farms in London, Newham City Farm is home to a wide variety of animals, including cows, pigs, geese, and Shire horses. The central attractions however are their rare pygmy Golden Guernsey goats and birds of prey. This farm is particularly good to visit if you are organising an educational trip, as the staff help develop educational activities and allow children to get involved with any activities going on.

In a city where you can't even have pets in some flats, a farm is a welcome alternative

Mudchute City Farm

The llamas are the main attraction at Mudchute City Farm, which also houses donkeys, goats, pigs, turkeys, and sheep to name a few. This is one of the largest city farms, and as such also hosts an equestrian centre that caters lessons for all ages and abilities. Whilst you are there pay a visit to their Mudchute Kitchen, which according to them ‘is the perfect place to get a taste of the countryside without leaving the city’.

Vauxhall City Farm

This farm has a lot to offer visitors, with a wide variety of facilities and over 80 animals, including alpacas and ferrets. Like the Mudchute, Vauxhall City Farm also offers a riding centre, but also a herb and vegetable garden and a textile group called ‘The Spinners’, which cultivates plants to extract the dyestuff from them to produce yarns for sewing, knitting, etc. Vauxhall City Farm also runs a charity project called SLaM, which teaches people horticultural therapy as a means of mental well being and self healing.

Llamas, pigs, goats - London City Farms have it all!

Wellgate Community Farm

Have you ever wanted a pet you could not have? At the Wellgate Community Farm Animal Share scheme, you can give them the barnyard pet of your dreams, and they will care for it with the other animals, allowing you to visit and help take care of it whenever you wish. Along with this scheme, the farm also works in partnership with a local outdoor centre to provide work placements and qualifications in farm-based and outdoor vocational activities to young people. Other than that, the farm is home to a number of animals, such as ducks, turkeys, and Shetland ponies, and provides a picnic area to spend an enjoyable day out.

The Woodlands Farm Trust

This 89 acre farm is part of a charity that aims to educate visitors about conservation and sustainable farming with their small collection of farm animals. For anyone wanting to get involved and try their hand at farming this is the City Farm to visit. Volunteers are welcome to get involved in all aspects of running the farm, including animal care, rural crafts, even publicity. The Woodlands Farm Trust have a busy schedule hosting events like barn dances and farm shows throughout the summer, so visit this farm often for fun days out.

See The First Pint London City Farms Guide in a larger map.