Horniman animal walk
Horniman Gardens, 100 London Road, Forest Hill SE23 3PQ, entry free, open daily 12.30-4pm
This is a very small animal enclosure, and though it’s pleasant it’s not really worth a visit in and of itself. It’s great as part of a more extensive wander through the Horniman Museum and Gardens.
Crystal Palace Park Farm
0208 659 2557, Ledrington Rd, Crystal Palace SE19 2BS, entry free, open 12-4pm closed Wednesday
This is a little farm within Crystal Palace Park. After a brief look at the animals, you can proceed to the attractively landscaped dinosaur walk, the lake, the playground and the cafe (well, actually you might be better off bringing a picnic).
Surrey Docks Farm
020 7231 1010, Rotherhithe St, Surrey Quays SE16 5ET, entry free (suggested donation £3), open daily 10am-5pm summer & 10am-4pm winter, cafe closed Mon
This farm is in a quiet corner of London, right across the water from Canary Wharf. It feels like a real farm (and it smells like a real farm too) with all the right animals and lots of vegetables. There’s an apple orchard with beehives and Piccalilli Cafe, which is held in high esteem by locals. You can buy bags of food to feed the animals for £1. There are gardening and farming clubs for local kids. See the website for details.
Mudchute Park & Farm
020 7515 5901, Pier Street, Isle of Dogs E14 3HP, entry free, open daily 9am-5pm, cafe closed Mon
Mudchute is quite a large farm under the shadow of Canary Wharf. There is a riding school, little hilly fields, animals and… a massive anti-aircraft gun. It’s not strictly south east London, but it’s very easy to get to on the DLR. Bring carrots.
Vauxhall City Farm
020 7582 4204, 165 Tyers Street, Vauxhall SE11 5HS, entry free (donations welcomed), Wed-Sun 10.30am-4pm
A small inner-city farm. There’s probably only enough for a fairly short visit and it could be combined with a picnic in the adjacent pleasure gardens.
Battersea Park Children’s Zoo
0207 924 5826, Battersea Park Chelsea Bridge Gate, Battersea SW11 4NJ; adults £8.95, child 2-15 years £6.95. child under 2 free, family £29; open 10am-5.30pm summer & 10am-4.30pm or dusk winter
If you want to see animals, this is not a farm but a small, charming, high welfare zoo. There’s a great playground, a list of feeding times through the day, and the rest of Battersea park to enjoy. It’s not strictly south east London but it’s easy to get to by public transport.
Woodland Farm Trust
331 Shooters Hill, Welling Kent DA16 3RP, entry free (donations welcome) open 9.30am-4.30pm Tue-Sun
They have a few animals, some vegies and rolling fields – walk down the dirt road at the back of the farm and you’ll feel like you’re in the country. Ahhh…
Tilburstow Hill Rd, Godstone, Surrey RH9 8LX; winter/summer adult £7/8 child 2-16 £7/8 baby 1-2 £3 baby under 1 free; open 10am-6pm summer, 10am-5pm winter
There’s a play barn, tea rooms, animal feeding, tractor rides, animal holding, pig feeding and God knows what else. You’ll be exhausted and cranky by the time you’ve got your money’s worth, but your kids will undoubtedly love it.
01372 363764, Young Street, Fetcham, Surrey KT22 9BS, adult £9.30, child 3+ £9.95, toddler 2-3 £8.20, child under 2 free; open 10am-5.30pm
Another purely commercial farm venture, this one offers a soft play area, outdoor playgrounds, ride-on toys, excavator sandpits, animals to feed and cuddle, goat milking, pig racing, plus a tea room and gift shop. Tractor rides are an extra £1.25 and pony rides are £2.