Local Talk

Horton Park Childrens Farm- be Warned!!

(14 Posts)
MrsWingers Thu 28-Apr-11 07:29:33

Hi Other Mumsnetters,

I just wanted to share a really poor customer service experience that I recently encounter at Horton Park Children's Farm, in a hope that perhaps through word of mouth it will not occur again.
I booked my sons birthday party at the farm and informed the staff that we would cover within the cost of the party the charge for additional adults (those attanding without children) within our bill. After we left the party and I was assessing how much we had been charged I realised that we had been charged for a couple of extra additional adults in error. At the time I was intending on leaving it as it wasn't a huge amount of money but the following day I spoke to one of my guests who attended the party and she informed me that they had paid themselves for the additional adult that the brought into the farm, thus increasing further the amount that I had been overcharged. On this basis I contacted the farm the next working day to make them aware of the over charge. In a nutshell the staff were rather unhelpful informing me that they did not keep any paperwork related to party bookings post the event and therefore would be unable to help me; however agreed in principle to refund the cost of 1 adult as paid for by my guest. I asked to speak to the farm manager as I was not totally satisfied with this outcome when I eventually got hold of him (he did not return my call) I was encountered with the rudest, most arrogant 'business' man I have ever spoken to. I tried to explain the situation to him and he just kept speaking over me, refusing to allow me to speak. He informed me that he had reprimanded his staff for bothering to even speak to me about this matter as it was a waste of their time and told me that he was not bothered if I felt that I had been overcharged as he was 'running a business' and not in the habit of refunding money. I asked him about the refund that had already been agreed and he informed me that he 'had changed his mind' and decided that even though they acknowledged the overcharge on this count would not refund that cost either. He then proceeded to hang up on me, despite me managing to remain polite throughout.

I am frankly appalled that someone feels that this is the correct manner within which to conduct themselves and to run a business. My belief is that this guy also runs Godstone Farm, and so you would think that after all the bad press that farm has received recently they would want to ensure that they serviced their customers well. I wanted to warn other parents as from now speaking to others I understand that this man has a bit of a reputation for being rude and unhelpful.

It is such a shame as it has left such a dark cloud over what was otherwise a lovely day.

WhiteBumOfTheMountain Fri 29-Apr-11 01:26:28

You ought to put this in the AIBU section....get lots of people to comment and then email him the thread. Or report them to trading standards.

OR call u again and tell him unless he gives you what he owes you, then your cousin who works for the Daily Mail will print a story about him.

p2 Mon 16-May-11 16:36:04

I'm really surprised by this message. I have been there often and always found them really friendly and helpful. I've never had a problem myself, but I have heard Leslie, the manager, dealing with someone else's complaint and he was polite and really fair.

I would recommend the farm to anyone with small children. There aren't any roundabouts or bouncy castles, but there is plenty to do and the kids love it.

Dozer Sun 29-May-11 22:58:18

I went for the first time recently and was unimpressed.

Was expensive to get in, then additional for the soft-play. It was a rainy day and it is right next to the entrance, so the kids wanted to go on it straightaway, so they played for 15 mins or so, and when they later wanted to go in again we were asked to pay again.

Sad selection of small animals and it seemed like they were all trapped, being mauled around by kids etc.

Catering was basic.

Surly staff, felt generally unfriendly.

The only nice stuff was the outdoor play area, e.g. bouncy trampoline-pillow thing.

Rip-off-Britain feel.

YummyHoney Sun 29-May-11 23:13:38

Totally agree about surly staff and bad customer service - let's all stop going there.

Personally, I think they've got a nerve charging you farm entrance when you only want to use the indoor play area - because it means the adults have to pay (and it's not cheap) to sit in a shitty little shed and drink tea out of a plastic cup. Dreadful place - never again.

Bear1973 Wed 15-Jun-11 11:38:00

I went to Horton Farm with my mother and young sons yesterday. I have been left totally unimpressed. In fact, to the point where I've taken photographic evidence, although not sure where to send it as I'm not in the habit of making complaints. My 20 month got speared by uncut chicken wire, which was not stapled down on the cages properly, was left poking out at toddler height, my 3 year old got caught on barbed wire down by the sheep pens as it had obviously come away in the winds and had just been rolled over the nearest post (makey do!). I was so cross at the total lack of care and unprofessionalism of the place. Also, due to the bad winter, there are pot holes everywhere, having to constantly watch my 20 month old in case he was to trip. Down by the pigs, the pot holes are rather large and of course, pigs do wee... hence the pot holes are full of stinking wee. My 20 month had to walk around most of the day with wet feet and trousers, stinking of pigs wee after tripping up. Its not right at all, the neglect is worth the complaint. I will never go there again, nor will I recommend to anyone. I'm most cross about the whole situation, if thats how they treat the farm, what about the animals?!

Tina2003 Wed 06-Jun-12 21:15:19

Thank you for the heads up! Was planning on hosting my little one's party there but will think it over.

FootballFriendSays Thu 07-Jun-12 15:01:41

Bear in mind the oats above are one year old, things may have changed.

Belshels Fri 13-Jul-12 22:32:26

i just looked on their website and it says it's shut till July '12 and are re opening as Hobbledown...much more upmarket and even more expensive! Birthday parties are now £14.90 per head instead of £7 ish!

FootballFriendSays Mon 16-Jul-12 19:22:31

Given the weather we've been having it's good to know there'll be something else available locally. But ouch! at £14.99 per child.

We've just bought a pass as they were offering 20% off annual passes for local residents last week so we decided to try that instead of Chessington for a change. DD1 loved it and is pestering me to go back. I hadn't been to Horton farm but she had with DH and she says it's better (she is only 4 though!).

Only 5 visits and we've paid for it but we do live very locally though so would wander over for an hour or so. DD1 has been invited to a party there in a few weeks which I'll be interested to see as I see the cost of parties is eye watering!

elemis Sun 09-Jun-13 10:25:49

really not sure when the changes were made, but this place is amazing now
went on a nice day at half term, we were there early
Stayed 4 hours, could have stayed all day
you do have to book a time for the indoor play, but I think that's the only way they could organise it
It is a bit pricey, but imo that reflects the full day out

Poems Sun 09-Jun-13 19:39:03

Hi Elemis. We haven't been to the new place. I think it's 1-2 years old now. It sounds pretty good, though. Do adults go free? I'm thinking at £15 a head it would be difficult to justify £60 for me and the kids (that's what yearly National Trust membership used to be, may have gone up meanwhile).

elemis Mon 10-Jun-13 10:05:34

it is pricey, its £11.50 for adults and £12.50 for kids, under 2's are free.
They don't do family tickets and I can't seem to find any special offers

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