This weekend, a birthday party invitation for our son took us to Mudchute Farm on the Isle of Dogs.
Ridiculously easy to reach via the DLR (Mudchute and Crossharbour serve either end), Mudchute is a 32 acre park, comprising a farm and some undulating grassland, which makes a great picnic spot, so long as you don't mind dining amongst copious amounts of delightfully varied types of dung.
Mudchute is the largest city farm in London and it is home to most of the farmyard classics, including pigs, sheep, cows, donkeys and chickens, as well as some more exotic fare, like llamas and chipmunks. The animals are happy to be hand-fed by gaggles of kids and seem well-kept - one parent commented that it was the least smelly farm she'd ever been to.
It's also a brilliant children's party venue. After a tour of the animals, we went back to the education centre, which doubles as a playroom at weekends. The food served - pizzas, sandwiches, dips - was cooked and prepared on the farm and delicious enough to keep kids and adults happy.
Set against the backdrop of Canary Wharf, the farm is big and rugged enough that you feel like you've escaped even with skyscrapers peeping over the treeline.