It’s oh so pretty in purple, smells absolutely divine and dogs are welcome too. What are we talking about? Surrey’s summer hot spot, the dog-friendly Mayfield Lavender Farm of course.
Tucked away in sleepy Banstead, the Mayfield Lavender Farm opens its gates at the beginning of June to people and pups who want to take a stroll among the rows (25 acres to be precise) of sweet-smelling lavender.
If you haven’t been yet, you should – but you will no doubt have seen many a photo of the lavender field on the ‘gram. It is literally an Instagrammer’s dream, news of which seems to have spread far and wide as people descend on the farm daily in search of that perfect pic.
When’s the best time to visit the Lavender Farm?
Although the farm opens at the beginning of June, it depends on how warm a start we’ve had to the summer as to when the lavender blooms and therefore when you want to visit. Regular updates about how ‘in bloom’ the lavender is, are posted on the farm’s Facebook page so you can plan your visit to catch the field in peak ‘purpleness’. We went a week ago and the lavender was perfect in the main field (where the Phone Box and Vintage Airstream Café are) and coming into bloom in the top field. The lavender will stay in bloom until the end of August so still plenty of time to pop by!
The farm advises to visit on weekdays as weekends get very crowded, so together with our little pal Lilliput the Maltese, we decided to do just that. It wasn’t insanely busy but it was busy enough that you had to form an orderly queue for your turn for a picture with the famous red phone box. Turns out that it’s a picture that is quite hard to get when you only want your pup in the pic and she insists on lying down!
Otherwise, we were able to stroll around the farm enjoying the beautiful scenery and scents without encroaching on anyone’s space and them on ours. The farm also advises to avoid visiting between 11 am – 3 pm and one thing I will say is that visiting earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon would not only miss the peak time but it’s also better for photos in terms of light. We were lucky as it was cloudy but bright mid-afternoon sun is not necessarily your friend for photos.
Dog-friendly Mayfield Lavender Farm – What You Need To Know
Dogs are welcome at Mayfield Lavender Farm and there are no restrictions on where they can go as long as they are well-behaved and on a lead. We let the dogs off lead briefly for the purpose of taking photos but they are both trained to stay in position. If your pup is the type that would take off in gleeful delight to romp through the lavender field, keep them on a lead even for photos.
On that note, we’re sure you wouldn’t, but to preserve the lavender for everyone to enjoy and allow it to grow, visitors are asked not to pick the lavender (you can buy lavender bunches and other lavender goodies from the on-site shop), jump over the rows of lavender or to have picnics in the lavender fields.
Entry to the farm is from 9 am to 6 pm daily with the gates closing at 7 pm and costs a very reasonable £2.50 per person. This includes parking if driving and dogs go free.
There is also a farm tractor tour and dogs can come along too – you don’t actually ride on the tractor but the tractor pulls a wagon behind which is where people and pups sit. The tractor tour costs £2 (dogs also go free), taking about 15-20 minutes to go around the farm and is a great way to get a sense of the lavender in all its awesomeness.
Aside from the famous red phone box which looks spectacular against the lavender, there are several other ‘attractions’ at the field – ‘Fergie’ the tractor which is great for kids to take pictures in (although Belinha wasn’t too impressed) in exchange for a donation to charity as well as a Vintage Airstream Café, with seating in the welcome shade for a break on a hot day.
Afternoon Tea At The Café
After strolling around the farm, you can also take a break at the al-fresco café with plenty of bench seating under marquees and a much more extensive menu than at the Airstream Café (including options for vegetarians and vegans). Dogs are welcome in the café area too and staff asked us if we needed water for the dogs which was a nice touch.
I decided to try the Lavender Afternoon Tea for the full ‘lavender experience’. Yes, that means everything included in the afternoon tea is infused with Lavender in some way…even the cheese and chutney sandwich! Although I was worried that the lavender scent would overpower the taste of everything, I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t and there was just a hint of lavender which was sweet and subtle with the exception of the macaroon which had too much lavender for my tastebuds.
Although the Lavender Afternoon Tea (£18.50) was delicious, it was actually too filling for one person and definitely favours the sweet side of the menu. Therefore, I would recommend choosing your savoury dishes from the menu then sharing the tea as a dessert rather than getting one all to yourself.
Top Tips for Visiting the Dog-friendly Mayfield Lavender Farm
- If possible try and visit during the week to avoid the busy times
- Visit in the morning or late afternoon if a hot sunny day – better all round for pups, people and pics
- Although not strenuous, turns out it is hot and thirsty work walking around a lavender field so make sure to bring some water / a travel bowl for your dog
Was It A Paws Up for Our Visit?
Visiting the dog-friendly Mayfield Lavender Farm definitely gets a ‘paws up’ from us. Despite its popularity, there is a sense of peace and tranquillity about the lavender farm and the smell of lavender is simply divine.
Dogs are made to feel welcome and you will definitely get some beautiful pictures of your pup amongst the lavender to create wonderful memories for years to come.
How to Get to Mayfield Lavender Farm
By Car: Driving to the farm is the easiest option and there is parking on site which is included in your entry fee. We didn’t have any trouble finding a parking spot midweek, but on a busy weekend you probably will, so you may need to park nearby and walk. If you live in South West London it would take about 35 minutes to get there. From Central London, it’s about 15 miles so expect approx. an hours drive. The address is 1 Carshalton Road, Banstead, SM7 3JA.
By Public Transport: There are several ways of getting to the farm (some below are as indicated on the Mayfield Lavender Farm website):
- Train from London Victoria to West Croydon and then take the 166 bus to the gate (can get busy when it is peak season)
- Train from London Victoria to Sutton and take the S1 bus to Banstead (Woolpack stop) and then the 166 bus to the gate (slightly faster route)
- Train from London Victoria to Purley Station, cross the road to the large Tesco and from the front of the store take the 166 bus to Oaks Park. The Oaks Park bus stop is directly outside the front gate
- Train from London Victoria to Sutton and take a cab from outside the station to the farm. (Listed as the fastest route). There is a taxi pick-up and drop-off point just inside the farm
- Train from London Bridge to Woodmansterne and then it’s approx. a 35-minute walk to the farm