Farmyard antics at the Hayloft and Sandy Lane Farm – A Clued in with kids review.
The Hayloft and Sandy Lane Farm is located just on the border between Widnes and Warrington. This third generation family run farm is also an ice cream shop and tea room. We are starting to hear more and more positive things about this venue, and so we decided to put it to the test with three adults and a toddler on a showery day in Mid August 2019.
The Hayloft is well signposted and there’s plenty of parking. When we arrived our toddler let out an incredibly high pitched squeal of excitement and ran off towards the gorgeous horse grazing nearby before toddling off to say hello to the other animals. There are a fair few animals to see considering the venue is free entry. We saw horses, sheep, goats, ducks, rabbits, Guinea pigs, and pigs.
We then lost her for a good 45 minutes as she absolutely loved playing on the ride on tractors and diggers. These come in a range of sizes, perfect if you are bringing kids of different ages. She also enjoyed playing on the large play frame which is a wooden structure built to look like a treehouse. There is a wavy slide, mini climbing slope, single swing, double swing and monkey bars. Older kids had a great time using their imaginations whilst monkeying around here. The wooden treehouse is ideally suited for kids aged three to ten but there is a smaller little tikes slide located in the same area. The ground is barked and it is partly covered so should keep some of the rain off if it decides to shower on the day of your visit (as it did with us).
Unimpressed that we told her it was time for lunch, she reluctantly joined us after promising she could go back on the tractors later. We were impressed with the Hayloft as the interior was bright, light and modern whilst managing to still keep that rustic farmyard feel. There were lots of nice little touches including a reading corner for the kids, baby food warming station, a great choice of gin for the adults, and a selection of home made cake, meals and light bites. Breakfast is served until 11.30am before the menu swaps over to sandwiches, jacket potatoes, paninis and a few specials.
We ordered the cowboy pie for the toddler at only £2.95, the special home made chilli complete with tortillas and rice for £7.95, a tuna and mayonnaise sandwich for £4.95 and a Caesar salad. Food was cooked fresh to order and portion sizes were generous. The cowboy pie was exceptionally good value with at least two good quality sausages and enough to feed a larger child. We fully enjoyed the chilli which contained plenty of meat and the Caesar salad also contained a very generous portion of chicken. The sandwich again was generously filled but nanny feels as though it could have done with a little seasoning but was still worth the price paid. Food was also delivered in good time. Tables were immaculately clean and our advice would be to take a comfy seat by the window so that you can eat your meal watching the horses in the field.
The best part of our visit was the trip to the maize maze, made even more exciting as we were escorted to the start of the maze on a coal powered steam train run by Whitfield Light Railway. The clued in kid was super excited and Ian our conductor was incredibly good with her and very chatty. He was full of useful information sharing details about the animals and the farm which goes to show that he makes the effort with businesses he works with and their visitors. The maze costs £2.50 for kids over 3 and £2 for anyone aged over 14 years. If you decide to take the train to the maze you receive a 10% discount on our rail fare so its worth mentioning this to Ian. For two adults and a child our rail fare came in at £6.30.
Please note that the railway runs on select dates.
The maze itself was great to explore. There was lots of open space and families simply follow the clue sheets, write their answer on the quiz sheet and then the kids can win a prize. We loved that it was a straight forward maze which took us around 20 minutes. This is just the right amount of time to keep pre-schoolers entertained. For older kids, to make sure they can spend longer just leave it so the exploration is child led or go off and explore again.
But Auntie B, I don’t care if I keep dropping it in the mud, and then licking the mud off….. I want to help!
Our advice would be to take wellies if you wish to venture into the maze. We don’t mind a bit of mud but wearing sandals is a big no no if there has been heavy rain as our nanny found out. However, don’t be put off as the entrance is the wettest and muddiest part. The rest of the maze seemed to have good drainage so was fine in trainers.
Comedy moment with the toddler and her adults laughing at her losing her shoe….. someone got stuck in the mud 🙂
Ian kept an eye out for us and picked us back up on the train so that we could collect our prize (kids choose a pack of sweets or a chocolate bar), and then of course we couldn’t leave without an ice cream. There is a great range of interesting Cheshire Farm flavours to choose from including liquorice, parma violet, candy floss alongside the traditional favourites. Portion sizes were again very generous and its nice to see flavours you don’t always see elsewhere. Due to the Hayloft having plenty of outside seating, it meant the adults could have a rest and a catch up whilst she went off and burnt off that ice cream. Another hour on the play apparatus and ride ons and we were allowed home.
It is worth noting that the Hayloft run a number of family events such as the spooky maze and Pick Your Own Pumpkins from October. Don’t forget the popular Santa Experience is also available throughout December.
For the grown ups, there are a number of live music events and Christmas parties but these are for adults only. 🥂
Thank you to Emily and Team for making us feel welcome on our surprise visit today. The Hayloft has a great space where toddlers and older kids can play and the maze adds that extra bit of excitement. Portion sizes are generous and we enjoyed our meals today in such nice and cosy surroundings. We can definitely recommend you to our members if they fancy eating out with kids, or if they feel like a day out with kids in Cheshire. We spent three hours here in total and she would have stayed longer if we let her. We look forward to visiting again soon.
This review is based on our own experiences and are our own opinions.
*We therefore can not guarantee that your experience will be the same as ours and this article should be treated as a review and not a recommendation.
*All information is correct to the best of our knowledge. If there are any inaccuracies, please contact email@example.com so that this can be amended.
*We took another family with us and we are confident that this represents a factual and unbiased review.
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