A Guide To The Best City Farms In London

A welcome retreat from the metropolis... and a chance to look at cute animals

London has a plethora of city farms to choose from, boasting a vast array of livestock, home-grown food, cafes and activities for all ages. So button up your coat, dust off those wellies (Hunters not necessary), and get ready to muck in - here’s our run down of the ultimate detox for every stressed-out city-soul.

Hackney City Farm

Slap bang in the middle of the East End, Hackney City Farm is without a doubt the most fashionable of the urban farms. Between shimmying down Broadway Market for brunch and casually perusing Columbia Road for greenery, it’s the perfect mid-afternoon pit stop. From the smallest (guinea pigs), to the largest (the now famous donkeys), there’s something for everyone in this compact hideaway (including making friends with the free-strolling chickens!). There are also an incredible range of arts and crafts workshops to be taken advantage of, from pottery to mosaics, plus a cool zero-waste shop.

Farm lyfe! #hackneycityfarm #london #sheep #donkey #hackneyroad #bethnalgreen

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Mudchute Park and Farm

Mudchute Farm is the crème de la crème of urban farms. Sitting pride of place against the skyline of Canary Wharf, the farm boasts a fully-functioning and award-winning stables where adults and children can learn to ride on the 25 horses and ponies. But that's not all - from llamas to dumbo rats (yes, that means a rat with oversized ears), Mudchute Farm boasts over 100 animals. And at 32 acres, it's one of the largest inner city farms in Europe - try that on for size.

Stepney City Farm

Stepney City Farm is not only a farm, it's a working arts centre too. The dedicated workshop space is currently occupied by three Artists in Residence, practising crafts with historic and contemporary significance. These Artists provide educational courses and classes, with hands-on weekly sessions for all to try. Each Saturday adds a farmers market to the fray, offering the expected breads, cheeses, oils and fresh veg alongside the farm's bustling café where you can really taste the good life. This community run sanctuary offers an allotment scheme with 64 growing spaces set aside for locals, however, with the waiting list currently sitting at over a decade long, perhaps best to buy your greens from the Saturday market.

Lea Valley Park Farms

Set against the wonderfully lush background of the Lea Valley, the Lea Valley Park Farms are a truly tropical experience. Get up close and personal with the delightfully impish meercat family, watch the tortoises amble around their hillside retreat, or revere the daily birds of prey displays. From bearded dragons to chipmunks, stick insects to corn snakes, there's a vast magnitude of the animal kingdom in the one locale here, just waiting to be discovered by enthusiastic city dwellers.

Spitalfields City Farm

Not far from the hustle and bustle of Brick Lane lies a little-known oasis, set in a former railway goods depot. Spitalfields City Farm is a haven for wild flowers and herbs which grow freely around the farm - but it's the annual goat race that is the biggest crowd pleaser. The annual fundraising event is a tongue-in-cheek nod to the Oxford v. Cambridge Boat Race - but don't worry, you'll stay on dry land here.