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“Far too Expensive”
Review of Wroxham Barns

Wroxham Barns
Ranked #4 of 5 things to do in Hoveton
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Award-winning destination in the Broads with something for everybody. Craft Studios where visitors can watch and meet the craftspeople. From handmade fudge, stained glass, woodcraft, artwork & photography, ceramics, needlecraft and jewellery to delicious food and drink, including probably the biggest range of bottled Norfolk beers. There’s even a Rose & Plant Centre and Hair & Beauty Salon. The Gallery offers a beautiful range of gift ideas for all, plus favourite labels, ladies clothing & accessories as well as country clothing and gifts for lovers of the great outdoors. Junior Farm offers a daily programme of activities to join in and families also love the Funfair, Championship Mini Golf Course and Made By You craft studio. The Restaurant and Coffee Shop with outdoor Terrace are perfect for “foodies”, serving freshly prepared, homemade food all day with fresh, seasonal and local produce featuring on the menu. Relaxed Sunday Lunches & traditional Afternoon Tea - a firm favourite.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Reviewed July 14, 2013

I have visited the craft shops on a number of occasions and have bought pottery, but generally the items sold in all of the craft shops are expensive. This time I brought my two grandsons to the Petting Farm and was very disappointed. For £17.25 we saw a paltry range of animals that in most cases can be seen just as well in surrounding fields for free - all the animals can be seen in a 10 minute walk around the farm area. On top of that, visitors are offered the opportunity to pay to feed the animals! The boys did enjoy feeding the lambs, but at the time we visited they were pretty large, ditto the 'chicks' in the small animal nursery. The play barn is fun for younger children but they have to wear socks and, yes, these can be bought - for 50p. However, several bare-footed parents were walking in the play area and the socks I bought were filthy by the time my grandson had finished playing. We went to the coffee shop where a plain cheese sandwich was being sold for £4.80. Children's lunch boxes containing a drink, apple crisps and very small roll, were better value at £3.75, but would only satisfy a toddler. Mini-golf costs £15.60 for a family of four, and then there are the fairground rides for which tokens have to be bought... (I did not dare venture into this area).
On the whole I would not recommend families to visit this attraction unless they want to spend, spend, spend .

1  Thank Cooco7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wroxhambarns, Owner at Wroxham Barns, responded to this reviewResponded July 18, 2013

Dear Reader
We work very hard to deliver a good visitor experience for all our visitors so when we read a review like Cocoo7, our heart sinks (of course, it is hard not to take these things personally). All we can do is respond with complete and candid honesty. If we peddle untruths, we will be found out and of course that applies to reviewers as well. We will briefly tackle each point that Cocoo7 makes…
Our craft studios and specialist shops are all independent sole trader businesses. They (like the whole of Wroxham Barns) are open all year round; they will not survive if they charged too much. The majority of our customers are locals and they have choices. You simply cannot compare the products that these small businesses offer (many of which are made on-site) nor the expertise and service that comes with it alongside a “warehouse” retailer or seasonal gift outlet. But the joy of Wroxham Barns is you don’t have to spend anything…just enjoy the place (it’s very relaxing and very welcoming) and have a mooch.
Cocoo7 says they were very disappointed with our Junior Farm. We set out to deliver an opportunity to get very involved with our farm animals but it is not a “show”, nor a Disney manufactured experience. That may not be everybody’s cup of tea. We don’t lead you round in groups but we do offer a very full programme of activities every day. When Cocoo7 visited, we had 4 pigs and assorted cheeky piglets, 24 lambs being bottle fed, 2 donkeys, 2 ponies, 2 cows, 4 very cheeky pygmy goats, 6 even more cheeky adult goats, a flock of sheep and lambs, a small animal centre with guinea pigs, rabbits and chicken, a flock of laying hens (you can collect eggs from the laying boxes) and 6 enclosures of rare breed chickens. We have programme of daily activities...
11.00 Lamb Bottle Feed
11.30 Guinea Pig & Chick Cuddling
1.00 Piggery Lunch
1.30 Lamb Bottle Feed
2.00 Pony Grooming (weather providing)
2.30 Guinea Pig & Chick Cuddling
3.00 Guinea Pig & Rabbit Feed
3.30 Lamb Bottle Feed
4.00 Pygmy Goat Feed

Cocoo7 says you can walk round in 10 minutes...yes you can if you do not stop to look at anything and choose not take part any of our activities, but that would be pointless and not best use of your time and money.

On our website we have a YouTube film of the farms activities so you can see for yourself what is on offer.
In terms of value, are we charging more than is reasonable? We charge £5.75 (under 2’s free)...the other farm attractions in Norfolk are all good and all different but here are their prices...Melsop £7 (under 2’s free), Stow Bardolph £7.20 adults/£6.30 children (under 2’s free), Snettisham £5 adults, £4 for children. You decide how we compare.
The sock business in the Playbarn is frustrating for us. For hygiene reasons it is vital that all visitors wear socks when in the play areas…it is normal (and best) practice for all indoor play centres. We do offer socks for visitors whose children are in barefeet….but we do not treat this as a profit opportunity, just trying to offer a service and avoid the frustration of a child being denied the opportunity to have fun. But we absolutely understand Cocoo7’s point about grown-ups not respecting our request not to go into the play area in bare feet. We will continue to be vigilant to this but we are very keen to have a “light-touch” approach to these matters, most of our visitors are lovely, really enjoy our relaxed approach and the concept of doing what you want when you want, and paying only for what you want.
Finally the question of the “plain cheese sandwich…being sold for £4.80”…if only it were true! In the interest of fairness and balance, our sandwiches are priced from £3.50, stacks from £3.95, wraps and baps £4.25. We regularly price check against similar attractions and settings and will always put matters right if we are out of step.
All we ask, dear reader, is that you take a moment to read a few of the reviews on this site before making your decision as to whether you visit us….we hope you will. And we assure you that we will do all we can to make sure you have a good time when you visit Wroxham Barns; our staff are on hand to help, and are empowered to do whatever it takes to sort any requests you may have.
If you want to discuss this response or wish to raise any issues, you are most welcome to contact me directly via email ianrussell@wroxhambarns.co.uk. Thanks for your time,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"craft shops"
in 75 reviews
"junior farm"
in 72 reviews
"guinea pigs"
in 41 reviews
"fudge"
in 44 reviews
"mini golf"
in 32 reviews
"crazy golf"
in 29 reviews
"stained glass"
in 28 reviews
"soft play"
in 34 reviews
"afternoon tea"
in 24 reviews
"small farm"
in 24 reviews
"petting zoo"
in 22 reviews
"farm animals"
in 22 reviews
"scones"
in 25 reviews
"local produce"
in 22 reviews
"garden centre"
in 18 reviews
"fun fair"
in 16 reviews
"feed the animals"
in 15 reviews
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863 - 867 of 1,012 reviews

Reviewed July 10, 2013

Didn't have much time here lots of little shops to look round, has a sparkling new look to it.
The only trouble was finding it, only signposted from Wroxham not from Stalham

Thank Tilly168
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 10, 2013

I can't comment on the shops or farm as we didn't stay long enough, but perhaps they're really good. I would say that the signage to the venue is poor unless you come directly through Wroxham but with a postcode satnav this wouldn't be a problem.

We visited last week just before lunchtime and went to the restaurant, where we were told to wait by at least 4 waitresses and then told to go to the cafe instead (apparently too busy and not allowed to eat outside on the empty tables). Food choice was extremely poor (e.g. jacket potato fillings were available but no potatoes) and we ended up with two half sandwiches (@£3.50 - expensive and small for cheap white bread and ham) and a sausage roll (@£2.50 - overcooked). My wife then took our daughter to the toilets which were apparently awful.

We decided at this point that the nearby narrow gauge railway was a better choice and had a really lovely rest of day.

However, I did note that there were many people who had taken picnics and were eating their own food on the available grassy areas and tables, so perhaps this is the best approach. It's a shame as otherwise it looked quite a reasonable place.

2  Thank Ed G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wroxhambarns, Owner at Wroxham Barns, responded to this reviewResponded July 13, 2013

Dear Reader
This response is offered on the basis that you are maybe thinking of visiting us and quite sensibly use TripAdvisor to see whether we are what we say we are. Ed G raises 6 concerns….poor signage, waiting for a table, running out of jacket potatoes, prices of sandwiches, quality of sausage rolls and toilets.
Our signage on the public roads is not within our gift to control. Highways say that you can only be signed from the nearest settlement, in our case Wroxham. I guess it makes sense otherwise we will be covering the countryside with little brown signs. That said, I wish we had a few more signs.

Our restaurant is very popular both with locals and visitors. We have increased our covers this year from 80 to 120 which has made a big difference but it is quite usual for us to have a queue at lunchtime. We do offer the option to reserve a table, and many visitors take that option and then have a mooch round our lovely shops or just relax on our outdoor benches. The wait is rarely more than 10/15 mins. But if you and your family are pushed for time or just famished, then we offer our tray service coffee shop. There you have a selection of baps, sandwiches, wraps, sausage rolls and jacket potatoes. Our coffee is top flight barista, and we have a selection juices and milk shakes for the children. On price, we will never be able to compete with a supermarket (or anywhere that uses food as a loss-leader) but we do regularly check our prices against other attractions in the area. If you feel we are out of step on a product price, please do tell us and we will sort it.
The problem with TripAdvisor is we know when the review was filed but not when the visit took place. So we cannot fully investigate what might have been going on but I guess we were very busy…hence we ran out of jacket potatoes. We always learn from reviews so we are giving some thought as to how we can explain if we are temporarily out of something eg sorry, more on the way etc. On the subject of our sausage rolls, these (we think) are really nice. They are made by our friends at Tavern Tasty in Swafield, just outside North Walsham. Google them, great little business, they use only the best rare breed pork. But we are not infallible and would always want to put it right if you feel something is not to your liking. By all means share your experiences with TripAdvisor, but please do give us the opportunity to replace (without any fuss, we never quibble). No customer should accept something that is not up to scratch.

Managing toilets in a very busy setting like Wroxham Barns is always a challenge. We can service our toilets (we do every two hours) but they can be chaotic within 5 minutes (toilet paper on the floor, somebody has an accident etc). We have signs in all the toilets asking visitors to let us know if things are amiss, it can happen. That said, we are not complacent so we have reminded all our staff and tenants to help us by checking our visitor toilets whenever they can.

We really hope that you will choose to visit us, and enjoy our food (we were voted Best Food & Drink Attraction in Norfolk for 2012), visit our shops and studios, have fun on Junior Farm and the Childrens Funfair. We have something for grown-ups and children. And most importantly everyone who works at Wroxham Barns is determined that you will have a great time…and will sort anything that might spoil your enjoyment.

Many thanks for taking the time to read this response; if you want to comment on our response or anything else in respect of Wroxham Barns, please email me ianrussell@wroxhambarns.co.uk.

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Reviewed July 2, 2013

We came along on Saturday with our family and 2 small children and had a wonderful time, the funfair is ideal for under 5s as is the train and other attractions. The farm is fabulous and for a very reasonable price you can pet many animals and feed them as well. My daughter was able to hold and stroke a newly born chick.

The farm is very clean and has hand washing facilities everywhere.

Well done to the staff for being very friendly and obviously happy in their work. a lovely day out resulting in happy children.

Thank TaffW61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 28, 2013

We ate in the restaurant, - Sunday roast. The meat was tough and fatty, the Yorkshire puddings were overcooked and shattered when we tried to cut into them. The vegetables were overcooked and mushy - at £10 a head, I expected more.
The public toilets were horrible, dirty and no proper facitlities.
The shops were overpriced.

1  Thank Wendy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
russell777norwich, Owner at Wroxham Barns, responded to this reviewResponded June 29, 2013

Dear Reader and Wendy S. It is really important that we get three things very clear from the outset. We got it badly wrong for Wendy S and we are very sorry about that; we only wish that she had felt able to let us know that her meal was not up to scratch…we would have done all we could to put matters right. Secondly we try hard to hit the spot in terms of quality and service (most of the reviews here testify to that) but sometimes we mess up…and you need to be reassured that we will put it right if you tell us. Thirdly we always learn from reviews like this. No prizes for being defensive. We have messaged Wendy S to see if we can welcome her back and restore her faith in us, we really hope she responds.

Back to the detail points that Wendy makes. Dealing with the roast lunch first, we purchase all our meat direct from our local farmer. We are talking small herds and a non-intensive way of rearing livestock. Most of our meat will not travel more than 30 miles from farm to abattoir, back to the farm for butchering then finally to your plate. Their meat is always of great quality & consistency although it does come in different shapes, sizes & will sometimes contain a bit more fat due to the natural diet they have lived off which we think adds to the flavour. We would always accommodate personal taste, I fully appreciate that some enjoy some fat, some don’t. No excuses for overcooked vegetables and Yorkshires. Please be reassured that our vegetables are locally sourced, as are all our ingredients.

We cannot and would not argue with Wendy’s criticism of our toilets if they needed cleaning; we clean them to a very high standard each morning and our duty managers should check them regularly during the day (we clearly failed on this occasion). We are less clear about Wendy’s comment “No proper facilities”. We have gents loos (6 urinals/2 cubicles/4 basins/baby changing bench/2 x air dryers), Ladies (4 cubicles, 3 basins with a large mirror, 2 x air dryers and baby changing), and one large toilet for disabled visitors, also with a baby changing unit. But in summary, this review is a wake-up call for us to make sure that our toilets are as good at 4.00pm as they are at 10.00am.

Wendy’s final comment “Shops overpriced” begs more questions than it answers. We will never be the cheapest, a small farm shop with no facilities (toilets/play area/picnic facilities etc) will be cheaper. We actually have 9 independently owned shops, of which one has been trading at Wroxham Barns for 29 years, most more than 10 years. Together with our own outlets, our shops are open all year round and we survive on the support of our local customers. They would not shop with us if we did not provide quality merchandise (as opposed to cheap) with very good service in a lovely setting. That said, we continually monitor our merchandise against other similar establishments and will amend prices if we get it wrong.
In conclusion, we really hope you will come and see us. Please take a moment to look at the reviews on this site but also have a look at the VisitEngland and Broads Quality Charter (Food Accreditation) reports on our own website (bottom of the homepage).

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