Cannon Hall Farm
- Sector: Travel & Leisure
- Region: Yorkshire and the Humber
A family-run working farm, Cannon Hall Farm is a “completely joined-up business and the perfect family day out in Yorkshire”, as Richard Nicholson, Director of Cannon Hall Farm, describes it. With an adventure playground and indoor play area, as well as opportunities to meet the animals, it caters to family outings and educational school trips.
Cannon Hall Farm employs over 350 people in a variety of roles, including farmers, chefs, bakers, and serving staff, and the farm has been voted best farm attraction and best farm shop in the UK. It opened its doors for business in 1989 and has experienced both opportunities and obstacles along the way. “Never has there been a more challenging economic outlook with huge uncertainty ahead. However, we’ve always forged forward despite troubling economic times,” says Richard.
The owner of the farm, Roger Nicholson, came up with the concept of opening to the public, but the bank advised that it would have to be sold as “he’d never be able to support his wife and family”. However, Roger managed to find another bank, opened in 1989 and last year the farm turned over almost £10m.
The company continues to adapt and expand too, and recently opened The Lucky Pup, a dog-friendly café. “After unprecedented success, we are now opening a new dog-friendly restaurant three times larger to cope with increased demand from the dog-owning sector,” says Richard.
Although a relatively traditional business, Cannon Hall Farm has won several awards for its digital marketing, online and through social media. “We have marketed our farming family and business on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In some weeks, our Facebook reach has been up to 2.5 million.” Roger recommends taking advantage of social media. “It’s mostly free and it allows you to give your business a personality so people know who you are and can put a face to the organisation.”