• With Kids in the Westcountry

Barleymow’s Farm Shop and Café with indoor and outdoor play areas (Chard)

Updated: Jul 9

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Hands up if your baby or toddler is not one to sit up to the table for long? If that’s you, then you might like to give Barleymow’s farm shop and café on the outskirts of Chard a try, next time you need somewhere to meet for coffee, breakfast (a really good traditional English breakfast served all day), lunch or all-day snacks.

The cafe has a little fenced-off play area with a toy box for tots (we loved that it’s actually got a fence, this proved handy in keeping our intrepid first born from crawling off into the towers of artfully stacked jams in the farm shop) – and although it’s just a small provision, it goes a long way when you’re trying to have a successful coffee date with small fidgets in tow. It felt like a great little find when we were new parents looking for a child-friendly café for all weathers.

Menu-wise, the choice is pretty vast – there are proper cooked lunch specials, sandwiches, ploughman’s, breakfasts, ice cream, milkshakes, cakes – the whole works – and any adult meal on the menu is available half price as a child’s portion, so you won’t be stuck for options.

There’s plenty of high chairs, changing facilities, a large car park, and is accessible for buggies and prams both inside and out.

It does get quite busy at lunchtime so it can be a good idea to book – and also if you want a table close to the kiddie’s corner you can ring and request!

Our visit today was on a very cold and wet February morning, but it’s a great venue in spring and summer too – you can eat outside in large garden with picnic benches (fully enclosed from the car park and surrounding fields) and the children can clamber on the small play structure. Truthfully, it’s basic and a bit worn out – but since when did kids care about that!

You’ll have to use your imagination with my wintery images but in the warmer months the garden is filled with planters overflowing with flowers and it’s a really nice place to stop in for an ice cream and a run around on the lawn. (Or a nice grass-stainy roll down the steep bank and a play in the willow den, as favoured by my two!)

During the school summer holidays, Barleymow’s open a fantastic seasonal play attraction and traditional maize maze in the field beyond the garden – there’s a tractor and trailer ride, huge haybale tower, sandpit, trampolines and much more – keep an eye on the Facebook page for opening announcements.

The farm shop itself has recently been extended and makes for a nice wander around – it has a florist, gift shop, butcher, greengrocer, deli, and range of children's gifts, so plenty to tempt you on your way through.

Barleymow’s Farm Shop and Café is open Monday to Saturday 8.30am – 6pm (restaurant closes at 5pm); and Sundays & bank holidays 8.30am – 4pm.