A birthday celebration saw us making the drive to Derbyshire for a day’s outing walking Alpacas paired with a delightfully bubbly afternoon tea. Here’s how we got on with our furry friends at Charnwood Forest Alpacas.
What to Know Before you Go
- Arrive around 30 minutes early for your walk, you don’t want to be rushing around and if you miss the safety talk, you can’t walk. It gives you extra time to grab a cuppa in the café before you set off too!
- Wear comfortable muddy-weather shoes. You will be walking up muddy slopes with the alpacas and you don’t want to ruin your best shoes!
- The farm is super exposed so wrap up warm! I’m talking hat, scarf, thick coat, the lot!
- The entrance to the Alpaca walk sits between the car wash and the roundabout island, not at the house your sat nav will direct you to.
- Don’t worry about interacting with the alpacas, any fears about them not being lovely went out of the window as soon as we met them.
Arriving at the lovely Charnwood Forest Alpaca’s estate, after many wrong turns along the way, we were greeted with our first sight of the fluffy alpacas running free in the fields along with some interesting-looking pigs! As we parked up we took in the buildings and got ready for our day.
Having booked the incredible 60-minute alpaca walk and sparkling afternoon tea, we headed to the Chill Bean Café to check in and receive our special wristbands ready for the day ahead. This is also your chance to buy some alpaca feed and you will be warned, they are rather greedy! You can get a bag of feed for 50p each. We opted for two bags each to fill our pockets but you can get as much as you like. Don’t worry, if you don’t use it all on the walk (if the alpacas don’t find it all) you can have a go at feeding your furry friends once they are back in their pens.
Once it is time, everyone meets in the courtyard ready for the safety talk and your first interaction with ‘demo alpaca’. From here, you will be introduced to your very own alpaca buddy for the walk.
Meet Karma! The most fluffy thing I have ever seen and an absolute angel. At two years old, this guys is the cutest little walking buddy and couldn’t wait to weave in and out of the walkers, stopping for the odd much on a bit of grass as he went.
Once everyone was paired up and up-close-and-personal with their buddy alpaca we were off! Heading along with alpaca herd in-tow we made our rounds of the lovely backdrop of fields and greenery that surrounds the farm. Along our way we came across tiny (I mean tiny) ponies that ran up to greet us and the adorable maternity field full of baby-faced beautiful young alpacas who we couldn’t get enough of.
Part way around, the walk halted for a quick break where the alpacas get their fill of the treats that line the walker’s pockets. Trust me, these guys won’t be able to get enough of them and this is your chance to pull out all of the photo opportunities, if you can get them to stay still for long enough! Take the break in your walk to give your alpaca buddy a good cuddle, and feel you hands sink more than would seem impossible into the super-thick coat they all wear.
Alpaca Feeding Tip: Make sure your hand is out flat so they can grab all of the goodness. I found they caught a bit on my ring and ended taking it off so you might want to remove any before you set off.
As you head back, you’ll catch sight of the farm’s many other inhabitants along the way. Just bear in mind, your alpaca might like to weave (as mine did) so you might find yourself sloshing through more than your share of mud as you make your way through. Don’t be surprised if the odd alpaca face slips its way into your vision over your shoulder, these guys love getting up close and personal and won’t pay much heed to your personal space.
Heading back to the paddocks, we bid goodbye to Karma and Tailwind (my mum’s lovely companion) and led them back to their home in between walks. Our next stop was afternoon tea in the Chilli Bean Café, and what an experience that was!
Packed with delicious bubbly, yummy sandwiches, cakes and much, much more this was the perfect rustic afternoon tea. What better place to experience it too, than surrounded by lovely alpacas and greenery?
As with all afternoon teas, you will leave the table absolutely stuffed. This special treat however, contained some of the best cakes I have tasted, with the added extra of cheese twists to tuck into. What’s more is that the giant windows mean you will be joined by furry friends nosing in at the window, checking out what everyone is up to inside.
All in all, this was a day well-spent and the perfect introduction to the alpaca family. In the words of the birthday girl, ‘they were like big fluffy dogs’! With a yummy sparkling afternoon tea to boot, we couldn’t have had a better time! What’s more, the snow even held off until we were back home in the warm. Success!
📍 Charnwood Forest Alpacas
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