As we only live around 20 minutes from Millets Farm we are regular visitors. In fact I remember even as a child going to Millets for a ‘day out’ in the holidays. My Nan would take me and my sister to the maize maze every year, starting right from the very first one which was a world breaker (at the time it was anyway – not sure if it still is?!). Over the years Millets has grown and changed in many ways but in particular recently has been the addition of the Millets Falconry Centre.
The falconry centre opened in 2013 and is home to over 80 birds of prey plus meerkats, ferrets, skunks, reptiles and my personal favourite – Rocket the raccoon! The birds of prey include a wide variety of owls, falcons, eagles, vultures and more. There is a fascinating variety from all over the world. On arrival at the centre we were greeted by a friendly member of staff who stamped our hands and showed us where to go. She informed us of the flight display times and other activities taking place that day. The stamps on your hands mean you can come and go as you please throughout the day, so if you want to go to the main farm house restaurant for lunch then go back to see a flying display at the falconry centre later on then you can do. I think this a great added bonus.
As we looked around the falconry centre it was clear the birds were very well loved and cared for. The staff were very kind and affectionate towards the animals whenever we saw them and the enclosures were in good condition with fresh food in each of them. We were impressed by the size of the place and just how many animals/birds there were to see.
My personal favourite was Rocket the raccoon who was just gorgeous. I have never seen a real life raccoon before and he was seriously cute!! The kids loved the meerkats and could have happily watched them all day.
As for the birds I adore the owls, in particular the snowy owls and barn owls, both of which are stunning. I particularly liked the well chosen name for this owl!
After having a good look round we entered the shop (also the exit) to find there were lots of different reptiles and mini beasts to look at as well. This included tarantulas, stick insects, bearded dragons, snacks, etc. As it happened there was a special ‘Reptile and Raptor’ weekend event on at the time of our visit so Lenny’s Lizards were also there with lots of snakes and reptiles for visitors to handle. This was included free with your entry ticket.
After some reptile handling and a trip to the farm shop for much needed cake we headed back to the falconry centre to watch the flying demonstration. The man doing the talk was very entertaining and had great knowledge of the birds as individuals as well as species. He was very informative and the flying display was excellent. We saw a variety of different birds and how they move and hunt in different ways. It was a great experience and something I would really recommend you go and see if you visit.
The paths around the falconry centre are mostly laid to gravel, however they are disabled and pushchair friendly and there was plenty of special for disabled guests to sit at the front in the flying display field. There are no toilets within the actual falconry centre but there are plenty in the adjoining restaurant and garden centre on site. I think the fact that your entry ticket allows you to come and go all day is a major plus point for this place. There is loads to see and do at Millets farm so its great that you can go off to the park and let the kids burn off some energy or go and get some lunch in the restaurant, then return later on for another look around or to see one of the talks/displays. The pricing is very reasonable with a family of four costing only £20 and under 3s are free. Do check their website by clicking the link at the top of this review to see what the opening times are and events timetable before you visit. There are hawk handling days and bird of prey experiences available too. Remember as well that every penny you spend here goes straight back into feeding the birds and other animals and keeping the centre running.
To the small team of staff who run this place – keep up the great work and thank you for such an enjoyable visit!
Address: Millets Farm Centre, Kingston Road, Frilford, OX13 5HB
Disclaimer: The Millets Falconry Centre kindly gifted us tickets to come and visit, however they had no involvement in this review. All photos, words and opinions are that of my own