Lifestyle: Day out with little ones at The Balloon Tree

Yay, we're coming out of Lockdown, after a crazy year and a half of, at some points, not being allowed to leave our homes and certainly not going further than the local park.

We're now tentatively finding our way out of lockdown, each of us with different levels of anticipation, excitement and anxiety, and although some things may be opening inside this last week, not all of us are there yet.

With the vaccine now being available for my age group, this might change within a few weeks, but for now we are still looking for days out and fun that is outside.

Step forward The Balloon Tree. I sometimes like to look for things that provide us all with something fun, as, even though seeing the joy on my littles faces at parks etc is amazing, I like our family day to be just that sometimes. Something for the whole family. So maybe a walk for us, or some nice food, as well as play options.

I am forever envious of those that live near Daylesford Farm, and am in hope that I will find something similar in Yorkshire one day. That search led me to find The Balloon Tree Farm, which is a 40 minute drive away in North Yorkshire. 

It offers a gorgeous organic farm shop. Tick. A lovely cafe full of seasonal produce. Tick. A pick your own farm full of farm fresh fruit and veg. Tick. Plus a gorgeous enclosed play area where you can actually sit with a coffee and watch the kids run wild, safely from your covered seating area. There's also the cutest ride on jeeps to play with and, outside of covid times, a animal petting corner.

We arrived during that awkward nap time stage, requiring a few laps of the street to get littlest to sleep, before being taken to our table for lunch.

We perused the menu, full of tasty sounding dishes, and sunday roasts. We had missed out on breakfasts unfortunately but that just means we will have to go back again.

We both ordered toasties that sounded unreal. Mine was a pear, gouda and mustard creation that was delicious, and the Carnivore went for a ham cheese croque monsieur vibe.

The kids had hummus and beetroot wraps and some fries, of course, which all went down a treat. However, as soon as they spotted the play area, food was the last thing on their mind.

There were tractors with slides to climb on, wooden play structures and hidey holes and the cutest play house with mezzanine where they played imaginary games.

We could safely see them from our perch and it was so nice to talk to each other and relax, well for a few minutes anyway.

Once we'd all eaten, played and were ready to stretch our legs, we headed over the PYO field but learned it was still closed due to Covid and the late picking season. It will hopefully be open late June.

We still walked around the various fields and managed to get a nice leg stretch in, even if the kids were furious with us that the promised strawberry picking was not on offer.

We managed to bribe them around with promise of buying some plump berries from the farm shop on our way back.

We grabbed our wicker basket and made our way inside to discover an Aladdins cave of fresh, tasty produce. The little ones absolutely loved spotting all of the different fruits and vegetables, and even some varieities they hadn't seen before.

It really is the little things, like not being able to take the kids to supermarkets or shops for a large chunk of their young lives, that bring this period home. The littlest particularly has never enjoyed the delights of a market or spotting unusual fruits.

We bought freshly picked asapragus, strawberries, merigues and stone baked pizza, among other things. They had a lovely shop full of gifts, foodies treats and skin care from the amazing Wolds Way Lavender. 

On our way out we spotted the milk vending machine and decided to buy a few pints of creamy whole milk. It reminded me of Cherry View Milk near our house, which has a similar vending machine, but oh my how kids love the experience.

We then went back into the play area for a few strawberries and a last play before heading back on the road to visit grandparents nearby.

It really felt so indulgent to be out somewhere a little bit further away from home and somewhere that offered us all something for our interests.

This is what family days out were made of and it fills my heart with so much joy that we can start to do things like this again.

What days out have you missed during lockdown?

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