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Short visit to Cotley Farm (Aga Kowalska Photography)

A few weeks ago I watched a promotional video done by my super talented friend Paul Foster of Tempo Media. It was a video he did a few years ago for a local christmas tree farm the Cotley Farm. I instantly fell in love with the place and knew this would be one of the places we would be visiting this year in the run up to Christmas. I loved everything I saw in the video and couldn’t wait to check it out myself.

I didn’t plan it well enough probably but at a spur of a moment on Sunday 1st December I packed all my three kids (Emilia, Filip and Canon-the-camera) and hit the road. I was busy in the morning shooting and then had other commitments so we couldn’t leave until 3.30pm. I knew the place wouldn’t shut until 6 pm but I completely forgot that it gets dark around 4.30pm. Silly me.

My daughter has a very strong hatred of my camera so I only take it for super special occasions when I am confident she will be distracted by fun and will not mind the camera. When I took the camera bag out today she gasped: „Mummy, you took your camera? Wow!” This is how special today was 🙂

We arrived at around 4pm and really rushed through all the stops. We got a taste of what we can find there and definitely feel unsatisfied – we want more! And we will surely go back for more.

Stop 1.

As we walked from the car park we quickly spotted beautiful sleigh that my kids quickly jumped on.

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Stop 2. Christmas Shop.

If you are looking for decorations or gifts that are thoughtful, special and locally made, Cotley Farm Christmas Shop is your destination. Chocolates, local honey, condiments, decorations and many many more. My kids were squeeking with joy and wanted to buy everything. I didn’t know how much more was left to see so I rushed them and we sadly didn’t buy anything but we have a list of things to go and get.

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Stop 3. Calves

Ok, they were super cute but the smell… Hm.. So organic. We had some giggles there and walked off to find some christmas tree scent to overcome the barn fragrance.

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Stop 4. Christmas Trees

It is not like a typical Christmas tree stand at B&Q or The Range. The whole farm is one Christmas tree shop and you are spoilt for choice. My kids wanted to take at least 5 or 6 of them but we agreed that daddy would need to be with us to complete the purchase (NB. Buying a Christmas tree is our annual tradition that we have been cultivating for years. We always go together and choose together. This is an an aftermath of Christmas 2008 when my husband wanted to surprise me and bought the biggest tree he could physically carry up to our second floor studio flat. The tree took up 60% of our living room, covered whole window and half of the TV. My husband still has a sore spot in his heart every time he remembers the day when he was jumping with joy and impatiently awaited my arrival only to be welcomed with my ‚What the fish (replacement for the actual word that was used) is that??” We did not speak for 2 days. So, all the wiser we now buy the tree TOGETHER. That’s why we left with no tree today.

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Stop 5. Reindeer

I must confess – I have never seen a real reindeer (not that I can remember) so I was probably more excited then my kids. I told them a few days ago that there is a place not far from us where we can see them. I honestly thought there was maybe one or two. I was so surprised to see so many of them. They are such beautiful creatures.

In the reindeer hut there were also some donkeys (I think?) and some goats. Also a beautiful nativity scene, some cut out photo scenes and again – sleigh. Wow, wow, wow.

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Stop 6.More Christmas trees.

Seriously, they are everywhere and it is awesome!

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Stop 7. Reindeed Lodge

Just as we thought we were done seeing cute animals we found this hut with small piglets, more reindeer and some ewes with lambs. The kids were besotted. And it wasn’t just a simple barn, it even had decorated Christmas trees, mock up fireplace and wall decorations. Again, wow.

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Stop 8, More reindeer

Just look at these stunning creatures grazing on Devonshire grass. The view I never thought I would see. The sunset behind them is real – it was a really cold but sunny day so the sunset was truly spectacular.

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Stop 9. Mulled wine and mince pies

I discovered and tried both for the first time in England so to me Christmas can’t happen without mince pies and mulled wine.

Before we eft home I checked that there was hot chocolate available in the cafe and I tempted the kids with it. Unfortunately, it had already shut down by the time we got there. But we were invited to help ourselves to mince pies and wine instead. They were complimentary, however there was a collection box for anyone wishing to support a great charity ‚Send a Cow’ which the farm promotes. You can read about their chosen charity here

It tasted well and it felt good.

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Summary

We definitely feel like we popped in, instead of visiting. Cotley Farm is a great place to not only get your Christmas tree but also to experience some Christmas magic. We can’t wait to take daddy with us and enjoy the hot chocolate that no one is forgetting about.

Do you want to see some more images when we visit next time?

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