We recently visited Hopefield Animal Sanctuary with our 4-year-old and it was the perfect day out for a warm July day with sunshine (& a little rain!). Located in the heart of Brentwood, Essex, the sanctuary sits on 53 acres of beautiful countryside and currently cares for over 500 sick, unwanted, and mistreated animals. Their mission is to help animals in need and provide education and awareness for humane behaviour towards animals around the world.
Mammals & Reptiles
The sanctuary is a peaceful and scenic place, we had a great time with the animals. We started our adventure with the rescue reptiles in an indoor space dedicated to these fascinating creatures. We were happy to see different lizards and snakes up close and personal, and our little one was thrilled to get a closer look at them.
The farm area was the next stop, and it was a real treat. We saw ducks, swans, miniature pigs, alpacas, horses, miniature ponies, and sheep in large outdoor pens. The animals’ enclosures were spacious and well-maintained, and it was great to see so many animals up close. Our little one loved being able to interact with them, many of the animals are very friendly and some come up close so you can stroke them if you want to.
Pit-stop: Snacks & Playtime
The day was a mix of sun and rain, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying ourselves. We took the opportunity to stop at Max’s Cafe to grab a coffee and some plant-based snacks, including a delicious sausage roll, which was a perfect snack to satisfy our hunger. The staff were incredibly friendly and managed the chaos well when everyone arrived inside to escape the rain. Other food choices included sandwiches, jacket potatoes, and lunch boxes available for kids – all under £5. There was also a great selection of coffees – hot and iced, and you can even order a puppuccino for your furry friends.
The playground was a popular spot and provided a range of activities for the kids, including swings, see-saws, climbing frames, and some cute photo opportunities. Our little one had an amazing time playing, and we enjoyed it so much that we went back twice.
Drawing & Painting Souvenirs
We then visited the pigs, who were having a great time rolling, digging, and sniffing in the mud. We also saw and stroked the donkeys, rabbits, and geese, and spent some time observing the chickens. Our final stop was the arts and crafts hut where we spent time colouring in, using the pencils and pens available, and painting clay figures – for a small cost – which we took home as souvenirs. It was a great way to end the day.
Overall, it was a fabulous day out. We arrived at 11 am and left at 4 pm, and there were still more animals to see and play areas we didn’t get to. This experience is a wonderful opportunity for kids and adults alike, and every ticket purchased or donation goes towards supporting the work of the charity. We highly recommend the Hopefield Animal Sanctuary experience, and we look forward to visiting again soon.
You should plan to arrive by car to visit this attraction.
We travelled from Chelmsford and the journey time by car was 25 minutes.
We think this experience is best suited to: Children from 3yrs – 10yrs & all animal lovers.
For more ideas for family days out take a look at the Visit Essex website.