We discovered The Balloon Tree a few years back when it was nothing but a great farm shop. Back then we’d never have imagined it would be somewhere that our kids would nag to go, but that’s what it’s become. It’s a lovely countryside destination just outside York, with just enough to keep everyone happy. We spent a couple of hours there again today, and had a really good time. Here are our top five reasons to visit The Balloon Tree as a family.
1.You can pick your own fruit and veg
At this time of year, our number one reason to visit The Balloon Tree is for fruit picking. Today we picked two punnets of bright red strawberries, but there are also gooseberries, raspberries, blueberries, redcurrants and loads more. It’s a great reminder for children about where their food actually comes from, and it tastes a lot better than the stuff from the supermarkets too! It’s all seasonal, of course, so best to check what’s ready for picking before you travel. In the autumn, we love picking our own pumpkins to carve.
2. The play area’s a hit with kids
It’s not an adventure playground of epic proportions, but there’s just enough equipment and space to run around to keep children happy. Our two girls (2 and 4) love the playhouse and tractor, while our 7 year-old is more keen on the climbing frame and slide. The fact that there’s plenty of outdoor seating so parents can oversee what’s going on while enjoying something to eat or drink is a bonus too.
3. The cafe is a great place to meet friends or have a family lunch
The cafe seems to be bigger every time we visit. As well as the outdoor seating, there’s lots of seating indoors, making it a good option for meetings friends and family. Food is served all day, and there’s an emphasis on home-cooked meals from seasonal ingredients. The kids’ menu has plenty of choice to please even the pickiest eater (although our kids always insist on a gingerbread person over everything else), and highchairs are available.
4. The shop is full of tasty treats
The shop also seems to be growing by the day, with a massive range of local food. There’s fresh fruit and veg from their own fields, as well as a big bakery selection, meats, cheeses and deli options. You won’t need to stop at the supermarket on the way home.
5. It’s stunning and it’s probably closer than you think
We’re always amazed that it only takes us 15 minutes to get to The Balloon Tree (terrible York traffic permitting). It might not be the Dales, but The Balloon Tree is in a very pretty spot just a hop, skip and jump from the city. The children love seeing the animals and running about in the fields, and we all love getting a good dose of Yorkshire fresh air.
Address: The Balloon Tree, Stamford Bridge, York YO41 1NB
Approximate travel time from York: 15 mins
Website: Visit The Balloon Tree website