On a rare Sunday afternoon with absolutely nothing to do we decided to go out for a drive, with no intention of doing anything in particular, just to go on a mini-adventure and see where the day took us.
As it happened it took us to a lovely little dairy farm tucked away in Northumberland where we found everything a two year old could dream of; tractors? Check. Cows? Check. Toys? Check and possibly most importantly, ice cream? With bells on!
The Parlour, serving a range of fresh food, hot and cold drinks and a variety of award winning ice creams, uses fresh, local and organic ingredients where possible and their hot drinks are made using their own unpasteurised milk. They offer a variety of delicious ice creams all of which are made onsite with the promise that whatever’s in the tub will be top quality, home-made Northumbrian fare. Molly went for chocolate (of course, is there any other flavour to a 2 year old?!) but the pistachio and passion fruit and coconut flavours caught my eye (as I’d already had pancakes for breakfast I decided to be good and refrain from the ice cream but it was a tough call!) Molly’s ice cream came in a “character cup” (we chose an octopus, or a “tickle-tickle” which she was then able to take home with her and it came with a choice of two toppings, all for £3.75 which I thought was fantastic value!
The pre-school only indoor play area, including a wooden wendy house, train set, books and play farm was so much fun that an odd thing happened. The play area trumped ice cream. My two year old, ice cream obsessed child actually left her ice cream in favour of playing. I was impressed. There was also an outside play area set in a beautiful Victorian orchard which featured a slide, tyre swing and a real tractor. Molly had great fun running around and picking up apples to eat. It actually looked beautifully autumnal with the apples and fallen crimson and gold leaves but I can imagine this would be really fun (and popular) in the Summer months as well!
For children aged between 4 and 12 there is also a fantastic looking playbarn which includes a straw bale maze with tunnels and ropes, a giant wooden climbing frame with cargo nets, balance beams, monkey bars and a low level climbing wall.
The facilities were fantastic with ample room to park buggy’s and a lovely spacious baby changing room and just to prove how family friendly they are, the Parlour hosts meetings of the NCT Babes in Arms group twice a month.
We didn’t stay for lunch on this occasion as we’d already eaten but the food that we saw coming out looked really nice and home-made. The menu uses their own meat and dairy products and sources local, organic produce where possible. Children could choose from a child’s size portion of hot home-cooked meals or alternatively they could have a picky meal of cheese, vegetable sticks and fruit etc… so there seemed to be enough options to satisfy even the pickiest of children!
On the way we popped into the barns outside to say goodbye to the cows and found the sweetest calves EVER. We had great fun mooing with them, or at them really, they didn’t have a lot to say and then we bundled a very happy little girl back into the car and went home for our Sunday Dinner…don’t worry, we had pork.
If you haven’t already, I would definitely recommend visiting Wheelbirks Parlour even if you just pop in for a coffee and a play, which is all we did, but we soon found that we whiled away a lot longer than we expected!