Some things just make you feel better straight away, and – for me at least – one of those things is the sight and sound of a happily snorting pig. So as soon as I got to Surrey Docks Farm I had a smile on my face.
Having grown up in the countryside, where a 'farm' constitutes miles and miles of open fields, I'm still somewhat bemused by the idea of a 'city farm'. But Surrey Docks Farm certainly packs a lot into its 2.2 acres. The pigs are accompanied by cows, sheep, goats, chickens, donkeys, geese, turkeys, bees, guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets, and of course a farm cat.
There's also a variety of plants and wild areas to explore, and fresh produce for sale. In fact the fresh eggs alone are reason enough for a visit – you really can't beat them (excuse the pun).
The café, apparently based on the tradition of Italian farmers opening up their homes, uses local, seasonal produce to create traditional Italian dishes. If it's traditional British you're after, never fear: there's also a selection of cooked breakfasts and Sunday roasts.
For those keen to get more involved, the 'have a go horticulture' group is always open and the 'young farmers' club meets every month. And if you thought farms were just about animals and crops, think again: this farm offers arts and crafts courses, music lessons, yoga, and it even has its own forge.
Right on the Thames Path, the farm makes a good stopping point as part of a walk or bike ride. Where else can you admire the London skyline while enjoying the special music of a snorting pig?