2022 really was quite a year at Monk Park Farm. In just our second season under new ownership, we welcomed thousands of visitors, introduced more adorable animals, continued our programme of improvements and additions, expanded our team, and forged some fantastic partnerships with our local community.

We also held some very special – and, it turned out, very popular – seasonal events including Easter, Halloween and the farm’s first ever Christmas Experience.

As we prepare for a new season starting in March, we take a look back through the Monk Park Farm team’s highlights from 2022.

Working hard behind the scenes

Although our season starts in March each year and runs through to October, with additional opening for our Christmas festivities, there’s loads going on behind the scenes when we’re closed to visitors. As well as keeping our animals healthy and happy, our team also work hard on continuous maintenance and enhancements to make sure the farm is looking its best for our visitors when we open.

During the first few months of 2022, it was business as usual sprucing up the farm and carrying out essential maintenance. But there was also lots of additional work to do as our new owners had committed to a substantial programme of improvements which totally transformed our 84-acre farm and will continue to bring exciting new developments this coming year. In 2021, a lot of the essential work had been completed, such as focusing on the welfare of our animals, refurbishing the toilets and making the site more accessible for prams, pushchairs and wheelchairs. We’d also revamped favourites such as the barrel rides, electric go karts, huge play park and sandpit, and picnic area.

New for ‘22

2022 was all about adding to the improvements we’d made the year before, to make sure the farm offered the very best day out to our visitors. We also introduced season tickets and birthday parties, along with a range of special events.

By the time we opened in March, we’d introduced lots of fantastic new attractions including a mini train and two massive pillow bouncers, extended the petting barn and revamped the pond. Further improvements were unveiled throughout the year, including a brand new play park down by the pond. We also created some much-needed indoor space for rainy day activities by adding a huge new marquee with seating.


We have more than 100 farm animals and rare breeds here at Monk Park Farm, and our number one focus is on their welfare. Throughout 2022 we welcomed a whole host of ultra-cute baby animals including lambs, piglets, kids, foals, calves and even cria (baby alpaca).

It’s no surprise that they were one of the main attractions at Monk Park Farm last year, especially when they made an appearance in the petting barn! Our visitors and animals love getting up close to each other, and none more so than our adorable Valais sheep who like cuddles so much that we introduced a new activity to the barn – sheep snuggling!

And it wasn’t just the babies that got lots of attention. In March we celebrated a very special birthday when Morag the Highland cow, our longest serving animal on the farm, turned 21. She’s a spoilt lady at all times, but was given some extra hay to mark the occasion.

Special events

Our 2022 season officially kicked off on March 26th in glorious sunshine and just in time for Mother’s Day. We couldn’t let such an occasion pass by without a mention, so all the mums who visited on our opening weekend received some flowers!

Mother’s Day was just the start of a calendar of special events at the farm during 2022. From smaller celebrations such as Father’s Day, half-term Nerf Wars and the Queen’s Jubilee to our all-out special events for Easter, Halloween and Christmas. And with event tickets offering full access to the farm, visitors of all ages enjoyed a brilliant value-for-money day out!

Our ‘Easter Eggstravaganza’ ran for two weeks and was blessed with glorious weather pretty much throughout. With lots of fun activities including a giant Easter egg hunt and live lambing, we were inundated with visitors and tickets sold out completely on Good Friday and Easter Saturday.

In May we hung out the bunting and gave Monk Park Farm a red, white and blue makeover to transform it into Monarch Park Farm for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. With tickets once again selling out, our two-day royal celebrations over the extra June bank holiday were so much fun. Highlights were a Party in the Park with picnics and a DJ, a balcony appearance from our ‘royal family’, and our very own Queen’s speech. It was a fantastic celebration of the reign of our wonderful Queen, and is such a fond memory now that she’s no longer with us.

Our season culminated with a Halloween Spooktacular that ran throughout October and featured lots of not-so-scary activities designed to be fun for all ages: a spider infested barn, giant pumpkin patch, pumpkin picking, carving and painting, mini pumpkin trail, pumpkin catapult, witches’ lair and potion making, and a spooky farm tour. Fancy dress was encouraged and there was a free pumpkin with every child ticket. Any pumpkins we had left went to local charities and those in need. We even opened our gates at 5.30am so that a staff nurse from Leeds Children’s Hospital could collect some for her young patients.

We weren’t sure we could beat the success of our Halloween event – but our first ever Christmas Experience proved us wrong! Running on selected days through December, our festivities included Santa’s grotto, storytelling with Father Christmas, Mrs Claus’s kitchen, an elves toy shop, ‘Alice in Winter Wonderland’ giant illuminations, a real life nativity with our farm animals, gingerbread biscuit decorating and reindeer food making.

Particularly popular with visitors were our late night openings on Fridays which showcased our illuminations in all their glory, as well as ‘Quiet Thursdays’ for children, teens and adults with autism, sensory processing disorders and other cognitive disabilities.


The school summer holidays were a busy time for us during 2022, and the glorious weather made for some fantastic days for our visitors and all our team.

As the mercury began to rise, we were focused on keeping our animals, customers and team members cool. And when the heatwave hit, we worked tirelessly to make sure our animals were comfortable by adding extra baths, turning on the sprinklers, topping up water troughs throughout the day and adding extra shade where possible. Meanwhile our visitors made the most of our ice cream shop and the refreshing drinks on offer at The Hungry Monk Café.

But when the temperatures became excessive, we took the decision to close the farm to visitors for a day. Protecting the welfare of our animals and team is always our top priority.

The Hungry Monk Café

Thanks to the wonderful team at the on-site Hungry Monk Café, our visitors and team have been kept well fed and watered throughout 2022.

From providing Easter treats, Sunday lunches and amazing birthday party spreads, to Halloween-themed refreshments and cracking Christmas fare, the café has provided fabulous food and drinks time and again. Its revamped menu featured new additions alongside old favourites, and also catered for different dietary requirements including vegan and gluten free options.

Community partnerships

From hosting educational days at the farm to welcoming volunteers, supporting the Christmas lights switch-on in Thirsk and visiting The Dales School for children and young people with learning disabilities, we continued and built on our partnerships with organisations and schools in our local community.

One of the main charities we worked with during 2022 is Ripon-based Jennyruth Workshops, which teaches adults with learning disabilities skills in woodwork, painting, needlework, metalwork and card-making.

The team at Jennyruth have designed and hand-made a range of wonderful products for us, including birdboxes, Christmas baubles, toys, and decorations and signs for our special events. We have thoroughly enjoyed working with them and are really excited to continue our partnership in 2023.

Christmas gifts from Jennyruth Workshops in Ripon North Yorkshire

As well as building links with organisations in our local community, we also made many new friends in the farming world.

In March, our farm manager Hayley achieved her dream of meeting The Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owen, who gave her some tips on lambing. Later in the year Hayley and Jack had a great time at the National Farm Attractions Network (NFAN) conference in Wales and returned brimming with ideas for further improvements and activities at Monk Park Farm.

Thank you!

After such an awesome year, it just remains to say a massive thank you to our amazing team who help keep our animals and visitors happy. Thanks also to the brilliant gang at the Hungry Monk Café, and to our maintenance staff, volunteers and suppliers.

And finally, our visitors. From the very first day of our 2022 season to the last, we’ve received the most fantastic feedback and support from our visitors. Many of them have left us lots of lovely reviews on Tripadvisor, Google and Facebook, and we can’t thank them enough.

We have so much planned for 2023 and can’t wait to show you all – watch this space!