The Bath Soft Cheese Company Shop – “The Cheesy Playground”

Great for: Cheese lovers, wet weather, walks in the countryside, seeing real life cows.

If you love cheese like our family does then this is a real gem. It’s in the beautiful countryside between Bristol and Bath (important note: Apple Maps does not take you to quite the right place so try Google Maps or good old fashioned paper maps!) There’s a lovely cafe where you can get delicious cakes, coffee, cheese platters or toasties, ice creams or milk shakes. There’s a really cute, well designed play area outside suitable for all ages and seating upstairs with a fab play area and a view of the cheese being made. My kids were fascinated. I have to mention the swish toilet there too. Always a bonus.

We live near Bristol Zoo and have membership so my kids are much more familiar with lions and penguins then cows and horses so we thoroughly enjoyed a stroll around dodging the cow pats and seeing the pretty countryside. We just head off randomly to look around but their website has a map of a circular walk nearby.

Please note although the cafe is open at the weekends, I don’t think any cheese is produced then so you won’t get to see it in action. Still worth a visit though!

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So well designed!

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Loads to do in this play area

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My kids watched for ages absolutely fascinated.

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Real cows!

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Victory Park – “The Circus Playground”

Great for: Older children who enjoy climbing, see-saw enthusiasts

A little while ago we ventured out to Brislington to check out Victory Park. It’s a cute, well thought out little playground in a really quiet secluded green spot making you feel like you’re in the countryside. We were there on a pleasant Sunday morning for almost an hour and didn’t see another child! It was a lovely little outing.

The highlight for us was probably the Kids’ Circus made by and English company called Huck. My 8 year old daughter really loved the rubber floor climber which you could try and scale or slide down. It was well designed and could accommodate loads of kids in many different ways.

The giant see-saw was also great fun

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All three loved this slide and the fact they could go on it at the same time.

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Cute little play area

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Lovely green surroundings

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The one sad piece which didn’t have drainage holes so had a puddle in the middle.

Crook peak – “the view walk”

Great for: spectacular views, tracking animals, earning your delicious pub lunch. 

Today the forecast was cold but sunny so we thought we’d attempt one of the walks from Nigel Viles’s “Kiddiwalks“. It was a perfect choice. It took us on a two mile hike up through beautiful countryside to a peak from where you could see all of Somerset. 

It was pretty muddy for much of the trip but there was not a singe grumble from the older kids as they could clearly see tracks in the mud of some exciting wild creature (probably deer). We took our standard winter snack of hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows 


Woodchester park – “the Play Trail”

Great for: escaping to the countryside, getting your kids to walk without whining (disclaimer: I offer no guarantee of lack of whining) 

 If you fancy getting out into the countryside with little ones I would highly recommend this national trust park in Gloucestershire. It took us 40 minutes to get there and there is a lovely little play trail with great activities every few hundred metres – we managed to get our three kids around the 3 mile clearly marked path pretty easily. 

There is a manor which apparently has a cafe but we didn’t manage to check it out this time as it’s closed until the 1st April 2017. Click here for more info. 

Entrance is free but the car park is £3 per day unless you’re a member of the national trust (then it’s free). 

Westonbirt Arboretum – “The tree playground”

Great for: tree hugging, instagramming, beautiful wooden playgrounds

Today we rushed over to Westonbirt Arboretum to catch the autumn colours. I think were a little bit early to get the full effect  so it looks like half term or possibly the following week will be the perfect time. It was incredibly busy, even though it was a Tuesday and friends of ours were turned away at the weekend last year so if trees are your thing, get there early.

Westonbirt is beautiful. It is, however, about 5 degrees cooler than Bristol and my toddler was tired, cold, cranky and hungry for most of our trip which spoilt the scenery quite a bit. Plus we barely got out of sight of the car park thanks to all the whingeing so I’m not convinced it was worth the £9 entrance fee (under 18s are free) and 40 minute drive. That being said, the photos make it look like we had a truly fabulous time in an autumn wonderland so that’s got to be worth something! In the moments between screeching at the top of her lungs, my daughter did really enjoy exploring the undergrowth and jumping in puddles so certainly on a less cranky day we would have had a fabulous time.

There is a really beautiful wooden playground aptly called the Exploratree. It was full of gorgeous carvings and had plenty to explore, perfect for toddlers and pre-schoolers.

It has a nice but very busy café with limited indoor seating and tons of outdoor seating as well as stands where you could buy bbq food or baked potatoes.

Top tips: get there early and wrap up warm.




Home from Home – “The Cake Playground” 

Great for: delicious cakes, fabulous views, feeling like you’re on holiday

Disclaimer: this wonderful place is not open all the time (at time of writing only Wednesdays and Thursdays) please check here for opening. 

Last weekend we managed to get the whole family out into what felt like the proper countryside but was in fact less than 30 minutes away. Unusually, Home from Home was open on a Sunday so we went to check it out. 

The weather was stunning and this place is a real gem. It’s basically someone’s huge garden surrounded by rolling Somerset hills and filled with toys to rival any toddler group. 

Home made cakes, ride on toys and a big trampoline = happy children

Most of the toys are aimed at toddlers but they have a large ground level trampoline and a basketball hoop so even my 7 year old was happy. They also have a fantastic selection of delicious home made cakes as well as coffees and teas (and light lunches though we didn’t try those). 

Hmmmmm. Yummy cakes.

Trampoline fantastic for all ages

Climbing frame, sand pit, Wendy houses – hours of entertainment.

It’s a hop and a skip from the beautiful Chew Valley  Lake so we popped there after  to feed the ducks and ended up having some delicious fish and chips from Salt n Malt – a fantastic place right on the lake. They have a decent wooden playground with an assault course that my older kids liked and swings and a small climbing frame so our toddler was happy too. 

We were only gone for the morning but it really felt like a mini holiday. 

There’s a pretty good playground right next to the Chippy

You can buy duck food in Salt and Malt for 50p

Stunning scenery and right on our doorstep

Hmmmm such good fish n chips

Tyntesfield Sculpture Trail – “The Bird Cage Playground”

Great for: getting your children into the woods, climbing, exploring, blackberry picking

Today felt like the first day of autumn so we fancied going out into the countryside and finding some blackberries. A brilliant way to tempt the kiddies and interest the adults was the Tyntesfield Woodland adventure play and sculpture trail which does exactly what it says on the tin. 

Head over to Tyntesfield* and climb up the steep hill and you will come across a fantastic selection of play equipment, sculptures and dens all surrounded by stunning woodland. 

I’ve tried not to take tooooo many photos to leave some surprises for you but it was packed with interesting things to spot so even the whiniest child would be entertained. Failing that, feed them some blackberries. Followed up by a lovely lunch in the café it was definitely well worth a visit.

* Note, you do have to pay to get in and it’s not cheap but National Trust membership is pretty fantastic if you can afford it or look out for their special offers

My 18 month old daughter spent a good half an hour feeding sticks into this tube while my 7 and 4 year olds rushed around collecting more for her and I enjoyed the view – perfect!

We found tons of blackberries. Yum

There’s loads of other stuff to do including immaculate lawns to roll down and other play areas.