Yesterday was the first ever Peak District Highland Games which were held at Matlock Farm Park and we were invited down to join in the fun.
The day got off to a rocky start when we ended up running late followed by two toilet stops that didn’t come with quite enough notice when you’re on a motorway. Nevertheless we eventually made it to our final destination, Matlock Farm Park.
The combination of fantastic weather and the Highland Games meant that by the time we arrived the car park and overflow car park were full. Plus there were still plenty of people arriving which meant additional parking had to be sourced. Luckily we were directed to an empty spot just inside the gates.
Having never visited before we didn’t know what to expect so we were all eager to get inside and explore the park. On this visit there was the added bonus of the Highland Games hosted by Man Beast Events.
Matlock Farm Park Regular Attractions
Once inside our first stop was for a pony ride which has an additional charge of £2.50. After a lap around the paddock it was time to move on to the ferret racing, which the kids loved. There was also sheep racing too.
We found time to stop off and watch The Amazing Lorenzo in the marquee. This allowed us to have some respite from the glorious sunny weather while we watched his entertaining magic show.
The small animals were another hit with the kids. Although we didn’t get the handle the animals we did get to see the rabbits and ferrets as well as the birds outside. We also saw some llamas, emus and alpacas.
Unfortunately because of the event and our delayed arrival, we didn’t actually get time to see all of the animals or the adventure playgrounds. That will be top of our list on our next visit.
We opted to take a picnic with us for this visit which worked our for the best as the food venues were really busy. However the food I saw from the cafe looked lovely. We did stop off for a couple of hotdogs and a burger for tea before we left once the queues had died down, which were basic but nice.
In between the regular attractions at the park we stopped off to watch the events taking place as part of the Peak District Highland Games. The kids also attempted the strongman assault course that had been set up.
We had a fantastic time cheering on the competitors in the various games. However, the highlight of the day for me was definitely the stone carrying event. One or two of the contestants decided to raise the bar by carrying the stone back again after reaching the end, which resulted in it being a competition about distance rather than time.
In addition to this there was a tractor pull and caber tossing. Both events had the guys showing sheer determination and impressive strength.
On the day of our visit the farm was extremely busy. After chatting with the staff we found out that they had nearly double the number of people attend than usual.
However the attention to things like emptying the bins and keeping the toilets clean was still there. It was nice to see smaller details not being overlooked despite over 1000 visitors. It really made a big difference.
My only criticism would be that it was difficult to navigate around the park. The map/leaflet wasn’t easy to read/navigate. Additional signage around the park and on the enclosures would make big difference.
With a few small improvements, especially when hosting an event, Matlock Farm Park could be an amazing day out for everyone.
We had an amazing day and will definitely be back for another visit. I will also be keeping my eye out for next year’s Highland Games.
Hopefully they will be back at Matlock Farm Park and I can get the date in the diary.