Crawleys Only Secret Gem: Tulleys Farm
If you are in Brighton or London, particularly if you have children, Tulleys Farm near Crawley offers a fantastic day out. Within just a one hour train ride from London or Brighton Tulleys Farm offers year-round fun and is particularly well-known for its annual Shocktoberfest event voted UK's No.1 Halloween Attraction many times.
To be honest, I’ve always viewed Tulleys Farm as the saving grace of the Crawley area. Like so many other once burgeoning towns in England, Crawley seems to have been forgotten. It is within close proximity to Gatwick, and so there is a lot of potential and yet nothing seems to happen. Perhaps it has already had its heyday when The Cure, born and bred Crawlians, left to find stardom?
My boyfriends' dad has a house nearby, so I regularly find myself in Crawley wondering what to do. Last Sunday, I woke up and wondered how to spend the bright but cold day and ta-da like magic Tulleys Farm popped into my head. So, I thought I would write about the one reason to go to Crawley and hopefully you can all visit and support Tulleys Farm.
“It’s so fluffy!"
There are a number of well-looked after happy rabbits which children, and I, love looking at in their large pens called the Animal Patch. I was particularly impressed with the rabbit hutches that were designed to look like detached houses! On Sunday there were also some young goats who were lazily feeding whilst trying to avoid standing on the frozen cold ground. On-site at Tulleys they also have a few cockatoos who happily tweet away minding their own business as you stare at them, attempting, as I do, to tweet in communication. I wasn’t getting too much response from the animal-kind so instead, we popped into the cafe to warm up as it was bitterly cold.
Homemade good food
The Cafe is open year-round and offers classic English countryside style food from jacket potatoes with fillings to cheese sandwiches. The main reason to go though is to enjoy the homemade cake selection which they have on offer, I treated myself to a chocolate brownie and as you can see it was happily welcomed by my stomach. I was also impressed with their drinks selection, offering more than just the regular coffees and teas they also had specialist drinks on offer such as a snowy white hot chocolate. Yum. On a summer day, this cafe can get busy but there are plenty of benches and nooks to sit down and enjoy the meal with a view.
Go get lost
Your third option of entertainment is the two Escape Rooms on site. It might seem a bit odd to have an escape room in the premises but actually, it works really well and is a popular way to spend a few hours, that is, if you can escape in the first place. You'll be transported back to the year 1971 and get tangled up with artificial intelligence testing, can you survive? Or, go back further and you'll be in the golden age of piracy, 1672, trying to survive the ship mutiny!
Here it is, their biggest event of the year! I have been to Shocktoberfest with my boyfriend and was literally scared out of my wits. Pre-sale tickets go on sale every March and so booking early means that you can enjoy a big discount. The year that I went there were different ‘zones’ to explore, which to me translated as 'different ways we're going to terrify you.' Involving talented actors you’re taken through buildings and outhouses, things chase you, grab you, and pop-out at you. The scariest by far is the maize-maze where late into the night, in torchlight, you can attempt to find the exit although things rustle beside you in the darkness, you can't see more than a few meters in front of you and screams deep in the night keep you on your wits edge. Once I thought I had found the exit, but it involved walking through a darkened cargo-trailer that had swinging black bags that illuminated human shapes against the metal interior. I knew someone or something was hiding for me in there, but I didn’t expect it to be a man with a chainsaw, it took me a good few attempts to garner the courage to run through. Luckily there was also a kids section which offered my beating heart a happy respite.
This year, having seen the buildings that they are constructing I’m expecting bigger and better things. You can purchase tickets here, or if you’re interested in working at the event then you can apply here.
Shocking or Snuggly
There you have it, the hidden gem of Crawley, and in my mind, the saving grace of the area that offers something for everyone regardless of if you like to be shocked or snuggled! Have you been to Shocktoberfest or planning to go this year? I’d love to hear from you about your experience.