Kate Middleton makes surprise visit to farm in Northern Ireland – best photos


The Duchess of Cambridge discussed her early childhood survey.


The Duchess of Cambridge made a surprise visit to Northern Ireland on Wednesday, in support of her early childhood survey. Kate, 38, visited The Ark Open Farm in Newtownards to speak to local parents and grandparents about their experiences of raising young children and their thoughts on the early years.

The Duchess launched a landmark online survey last month, ‘5 Big Questions on the Under Fives,’ which aims to spark a UK-wide conversation on raising the next generation and will run until 21 February. Kate has already visited Birmingham, Cardiff, Woking and London to carry out engagements in connection with the launch.

The mum-of-three has been focusing on the importance of the early years since marrying into the royal family in 2011 and convened a steering group of experts in 2018 to aid her work.

Kate’s unannounced visit comes after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre Stanford Hall with the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall. The foursome toured the centre’s facilities and Prince William and Charles shared a sweet father-son moment when the Duke tried wheelchair basketball.


The Duchess shook hands with staff as she arrived at the Ark Open Farm in Newtownards. The Ark Open Farm opened in 1990 as one of the first open farms in Northern Ireland. Having initially specialised in rare breeds of farm animals, the farm has now developed a number of play areas and activities for children. 


Kate was given a tour of the farm and she seemed quite taken with this alpaca! 


The Duchess met a number of children and families during her visit to the farm. She crouched down to speak to one little girl. 


In another cute moment, the Duchess met children from local nurseries and helped them to feed a lamb. 


Kate sported new gold banana leaf style earrings for her visit to Northern Ireland. She wrapped up in a pale blue roll-neck and her Barbour jacket.