I’ve been to the Old Shed near Charlbury a few times now, summer, autumn and most recently a very cold winter’s day. If you’re looking for a child friendly cafe/restaurant with somewhere for the kids to run of some energy outside first, then I highly recommend a visit.
Set in the grounds of Banbury Farm which also has a lovely looking campsite, Cotswold View, The Old Shed is a welcoming coffee house with a fantastic range of cakes, delicious hot and cold lunches and a good cup of coffee.
Rough hewn wooden clad walls and muted colours ensure that the Old Shed provides a relaxed and natural atmosphere. In winter their huge woodburning stove gives off a welcoming warmth and it’s got a sturdy gate around it so you don’t have to worry about your little ones. The tables aren’t packed too tight together so there’s space to move around easily and a good stack of highchairs available. While it’s child friendly, you could easily come here for a coffee with your friends or a grown up lunch too.
The long counter is always piled high with delicious looking cakes and the chalkboard has a great range of meals. Portions are generous and you can really tell it’s homecooked rather than bought in. On my last visit, I had a velvety macaroni cheese with garlic ciabatta bread and a mixed salad. My husband wolfed down his lasagna which did not scrimp on the rich bolognese sauce. Kids are well catered for too. There’s a selection of hot meals like sausages, beans and chips as well as a kids meal sandwich pack. You can choose from ham, cheese, jam or cream cheese sandwiches which are made fresh from lovely thick cut white bread with a yoghurt, raisins, pom bears and a carton of Cawston juice. I’ve also had their giant homemade sausage roll in puff pastry before, they’re super yummy too!
What has made each trip extra relaxed for me with my fidgety boys, is that they have a few activities on offer that keeps them occupied. There are always sheets of colouring in and pens as well as a selection of toys on a mat in front of the gated woodburning stove. My kids will happily sit playing happily on the floor while our lunch is being prepared. On warmer days, eating outside is also relaxed and pleasant. A mid sized wooden tractor is great for children to clamber over and there’s a large rabbit hutch too.
The campsite grounds have alot going for them and you’re free to roam around. I love to do a little walk and play with my kids before eating so we’re all good and hungry. There’s a nice little circular walk you can do without straying too far and you can make last as long or short as needed. There are a few animals to look at from pigs to a donkey, a woodland and several play areas including a zip wire, swings and slide.
During the school holidays, the Old Shed often set up a trail which is an ideal distraction. We had fun on a pumpkin trail last Halloween and most recently their Valentine trail for Feb half term. The trails are free, just pick up a sheet outside the cafe and head off on your adventure. The last few trails we’ve done have included a free biscuit prize for the kids.