Returning from the Peppa Pig World and Isle of Wight adventures, we rested up a few days, did some laundry and headed back out for the second leg of our summer holidays. This time, we were off to the Cotswold for a few days. But before that, we were doing a brief stopover to visit Millets Farm and Mollie’s Motel and Diner.
Date Visited: 18th July 2021 – hottest day of 2021 at day of posting at just under 32 degrees.
Location: Millets Farm; Kingston Rd, Abingdon OX13 5HB and Mollie’s Motel & Diner; Shrivenham Rd, A420, Buckland, Faringdon SN7 8PY
Getting There: By car. Not sure what public transport is available, however there were bus stops outside Millets Farm and Mollie’s Motel & Diner, so assuming there’s a bus from somewhere!
Millets Farm – it’s time to pick!
We decided to start making our way to the Cotswold a day early and make a stopover at Millets Farm for some fruit picking. This would break up the drive and get us to explore a part of the UK we wouldn’t normally. Cara had never been fruit picking before, so it was fun and education to see that strawberries do not grow at Sainsbury’s. It took us about 2.5 hours from SE London to get there, it was a fairly uneventful and smooth drive.
Visiting on a Sunday, it wasn’t as busy as I expected. To be fair, it was an extremely hot day so perhaps people were looking for a beach or air conditioned activity. With plenty of parking on site, we made our way over to the fruit picking area. Note – there’s two parking lots, one for the fruit picking, one for the garden centre and farm shop area. At our time on Millets Farm, there were strawberries, raspberries and blackberries available. We stuck with the red ones. Rather than by weight, Millets Farm charges by bucket size. There are suggested levels to fill up to, but we saw some folks test the limits of physics by stacking their fruit as high as possible!
Cara did well and got into a rhythm with the strawberry picking. She picked a few raspberries before calling it quits due to the heat. The reward was making her own fresh berry flavoured water. There’s plenty of fruit to pick, and if you’re willing to walk to the end of each row, there’s a lot more selection.
Once we hit our limit, we headed back to the main centre for some lunch and nose around the farm shop. Besides fruit picking, there’s an abundance of activities to do at Millets Farm. From a falconry area, farm animals and llamas, outdoor playground and a soft play area for kids.
Sprouts Play Barn
Due to Covid restrictions, you have to pre-book tickets for entry to the Sprouts Play Barn. We hit the afternoon session and it’s one of the larger soft plays we’ve been to in the UK (and we’ve been to a few!). Over three stories, it fills up most of the barn and includes amenities like bathroom, gift shop and cafe. The cafe came in handy as we needed cold drinks and ice cream to stay cool. It was hot inside!
Cara still loved it and all the kids had red faces after 5 minutes. Slides, mini-flying foxes, role play areas and lots of climbing. There’s also an outdoor space where Cara tricycled around like a little clown. We ended up staying for an hour before Cara had enough with the heat and tapped out.
If you’re planning to make a trek from east to west or vice versa, or are in the Oxfordshire area, it’s a great option to stop by and stretch the legs. You get some fresh fruit and farm produce while the kids get to enjoy the activities. If you have teenagers, then probably not the place for you unless they’re into nature and fruit. But for kids around Cara’s age, great way to spend a day out!
Ratings for Millets Farm:
Burn Time: 5 out of 5 – Spent a good few hours here, from later morning to early evening.
Value: 5 out of 5 – It’s free to visit. If you want to play at Sprouts Play Barn, then there is an admission fee, c.£7 for Cara and £3 for me. If you’re fruit picking, then there’s the cost of the basket size.
Overall: 5 out of 5 – An enjoyable way to spend a Sunday with the family, fruit, food and fun. Would’ve been even more enjoyable if it had not been so hot, but given we live in the UK and were on holidays, you can’t really complain about being ‘too hot’.
Mollie’s Motel & Diner
Set randomly off a main road and next to a BP service station sits Mollie’s Motel & Diner. Currently in two locations, Bristol and Oxford, it’s owned by the Soho House empire. So at around £65 per night and not requiring membership to book, we thought we would give it a try. On arrival, we were greeted warmly and swiftly checked in to our room. It’s a very minimalist motel with majority of items available behind the main desk – e.g. hairdryer, toiletries, tea and coffee. The rooms (and common areas) were very clean and the large king bed was very comfy. The bathroom was a little odd as the sink was outside, next to the entrance but we made it work. There’s not much else available in terms of facilities, but given we were just stopping over to rest we weren’t too bothered.
The good news is if you’re hungry, their diner is located outside, one minute walk away. We dined there for both dinner and breakfast the next morning and the meals were delicious. For starters, we tried the corn fritters and chicken wings. And for mains, I had the buttermilk fried chicken burger and Cara had a kids hot dog meal. Their milkshakes are tasty, I downed mine before the starters even appeared. But they are kind of small for £5 (kids were £2 with the meal) Perhaps I’m just greedy and wanted more. For breakfast, Cara ordered the full English but ended up only eating the hash browns and picking at the other bits and bobs. On the other hand, I scoffed down my berry and syrup waffles. Overall, pretty good for a diner in the middle of nowhere.
Ratings for Millets Farm:
Burn Time: 4 out of 5 – There’s not much else to do around here, so it’s mainly for stopovers.
Value: 5 out of 5 – Cheaper than some standard hotels, and definitely cheaper than City of London hotels, but with the same premium service and stylish rooms.
Overall: 4.5 out of 5 – If ever visiting the area again, like Oxford, would definitely recommend trying to stay here for at least a night just to try it out.
Onward we go…
Next post, we’ll continue our journey with a brief visit to Blenheim Palace before making our way to Cheltenham and day trips to the Cotswold.
Have you visited Millets Farm or Mollie’s Motel & Diner? What was your experience? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Be sure to check out the other posts of our 2021 summer holidays below:
And some other summer holidays ideas from previous years: