Yesterday I took 3 of our girls on my first ever bloggy PR day to see the wonders of the Maize Maze at Millets Farm in Oxfordshire.
The answer is, really an awful lot!
We started our day by meeting the two H’s from Millets and the PR company and finding out about the site and the 3 levels of Maize Maze. The 10 acre field (you really do get your moneys worth in terms of paths to follow!) is split into a nice easy maze, suitable for toddlers, a preschool/primary age one which says it takes about 30 minutes to complete (but honestly, the call of lunch meant we gave up looking for the last stamp after nearly an hour.. it was tricky!) and a tough one which I think we could have spent all day in and has over 3 miles of paths.
The first maze had coloured paint dots to collect on finger tips and then a fantastically clever fortune telling chart at the end, which depended on the order of dot colours on your fingers. It was perfect – mess, fairies, colour and an easy, visual thing to do at the end. Loved it and had we had smaller little people, it would have taken plenty of time. As it was, we used it as a warm up
The second maze, which was challenging enough, involved collecting Alice in Wonderland themed stamps and easily occupied us for an hour, as I said. The entire day was Alice themed, which was a great touch.
Among other things, I was really impressed by the flags they provided. Not only did it give our smallest person a sense of importance and leadership, but they are to wave if you get into difficulties in the maze and one of the watchers will see and rescue you. Sort of the Muggle equivalent of red sparks
In fact, one of the things that impressed me the most about the whole site was the thought and effort gone in to making it pleasant and enjoyable. So many great touches, from the themes and activities around the mazes, to the extra toilets laid on close by, the helpful staff and the extra escape route from the largest maze. They’ve been doing this 12 years and it shows – they know what they are about.
Lunch had been provided for us from their lovely restaurant which has food prepared on site from locally grown produce. The apple juice was divine, the salads sublime and the cake, quite frankly, to die for! During lunch a member of staff was on hand and chatted to us about the farm centre. She is clearly passionate about it, went out of her way to answer questions and told us how the maize grows (up to 1 1/2 foot in a sunny and wet week!) and that it is for animal feed and is harvested after Halloween. As a business owner myself I know that staff who enthuse about their workplace matters a lot – she was great, as was the lady at the PYO gate. I also now know that my corn will probably be what I was expecting!
Then it was onward to the BIG maize, cunningly designed like the white rabbit. You do get a map of each maze to use if you wish and there is a central viewing point too which shows you where to go for clues. In 90 minutes we managed less then half, although we tried not to use the clues. H had told us how the site is plotted out with GPRS and huge numbers of poles are added to mark it all out. It was a phenomenally complex route – I was glad we had our flag!
Eventually it all started to feel a bit “Day 3 in the Maize Maze and tempers are fraying…” so we called it a day! We wanted to see the rest of the site so we spent some time in the other free activities laid on once you pay to get into the mazes, which included trampolines, chess, bowling and various other bits and bobs. Oh, pedal cars and go-karts. It was all fabulous.
It would have cost me ??24.50 to get my party of five into the Maize Maze and I’m absolutely sure I would have considered it worth it.
Millets had also provided us with a voucher for a free punnet of Pick Your Own strawberries, which was great as our local one had run out! The strawberries were up on tables, which made it very easy.
and then we paid for our haul in the farm shop (having… ahem, decided to take home enough that I would HAVE to make jam!) Loved the shop, especially its rather fabulous veg hydration system.
My goodness, if I lived near enough, I’d never buy anything anywhere else! It looked so lovely in there. Makes you realise how limp supermarket veg really is
Our final bit of the day was to look around the mini farm. I finally met an alpaca. I sincerely hope this grimace conveys that actually, we had a very good time indeed.
I will go back, even though it is a two hour drive to do so.
Thank you so much to Hallane and Millets Farm and also Beth for our invitation.
Disclosure: Millets Farm gave us free entry for my family and also friends Claire and Charlie, free lunch and a PYO voucher in return for this post. The opinions are entirely my own.