One of our favourite things about summer is being able to eat outside. The kids are more relaxed – except when wasps and bees make an appearance – so we are, too. The Balloon Tree is one of our top destinations for simple, outdoor eating. We checked out their new refurbishment and enjoyed a family lunch in the sunshine.
The concept The Balloon Tree describes itself as a farm shop, but it’s not just a place to buy fresh eggs and veg. As well as having a well-stocked shop packed with freshly picked treats, there’s a decent sized café with plenty of tables inside and out (some of which are right next to the small play area). Depending on the time of year, you can pick your own fruit and veg (our kids love strawberry and pumpkin seasons) and there’s also a small number of animals to coo over.
The menu The café might have a smart new look, but the menu is reassuringly familiar (but we’re still sobbing about the disappearance of the delicious cinnamon toast). Breakfast is served from 9am to 4pm, and lunch from 11am (great for kids who get hungry earlier than the average adult). Adults can choose from all-day breakfast treats like poached eggs on toast, tasty sandwiches, tapas and daily and seasonal specials. The cakes are fab too. For kids, there’s a short but sweet menu including sandwiches, mini cooked breakfasts and fishcakes.
Why it’s family-friendly Plenty of highchairs, baby changing, a self-contained play area with tables so you can supervise while you chat and eat, and friendly staff who take the trouble to make sure you’ve got what you need are just some of the reasons we like it here. The fact that you can make it into more of an adventure by indulging in a bit of pick-your-own and visiting the animals is a bonus too.
The verdict For a family-friendly lunch in the country just 15 minutes from York, The Balloon Tree is a great destination. It feels like a real change of scene and is refreshingly relaxed. The menu is simple and fresh, and you can pick up something tasty for tea while you’re there.
The Balloon Tree, Stamford Bridge Road, York YO41 1NB Farm shop open 9am to 6pm Monday to Sunday; Café open Monday to Sunday 9am to 5pm
This review is taken from the Summer 2014 issue of the Little Vikings magazine.