Despite being set on a farm with, Soho Farmhouse bills itself as ‘a club for adults, but we are child-friendly’. The country members club and resort is actually an adults playground and though doesn’t actively encourage kids, they certainly provide some great facilities for them.
There are actually only a handful of rooms that are family-friendly and therefore are very difficult to book especially on the weekend and during school holidays and need to be reserved many months in advance. Though you will see fair amount of children wondering around the grounds, they are likely to be the children of members visiting for the day or guests of members. With this is mind, I worried it might be years before I would be able to stay at my favourite hotel again but with Oscar still being tiny, I called them up to find out what the options would be. Hurrah! Under-1’s are still allowed to stay at Soho Farmhouse in a Studio Cabin.
So on a rainy November day we packed up the car and headed to Chipping Norton for Oscar’s first time at Soho Farmhouse! I’ve written about this hotel lots but I thought it would actually be useful to write about what it’s like to stay there with a baby and how we found it.
As I mentioned the Studio Cabin is the room that you are allowed to stay in with a baby. Though it’s the smallest room in the cabin category, it’s still incredibly spacious and I think great value for money. As I’ve stay in the large studio cabin, one bedroom cabin and the three bedroom cabin I’ve got quite a lot to compare it to.
The Studio Cabin are sort of like semi-detached houses, there are two joined together in a stand alone structure and they over look the water. Each cabin is allocated with a pedal bike for each adult and wellie boots – they check your size via email before you arrive. There are bikes for kids but they must be supervised when riding.
Inside the door there’s a porch for hanging your coats, plus other bits and pieces you may need, books, board games, picnic stuff etc.
There’s also a kitchenette with a mini oven, coffee machine, a fridge full of beverages both soft drinks and alcoholic and a drawer full of snacks. Milk is delivered every day via the milk float and there’s also fresh bread and cheese and home made granola wait for you. Although having a kitchen in a hotel room at all is a luxury, I’m surprised they do not allow people with babies to reserve a one bedroom cabin as these include a full kitchen with aga, large fridge, toaster, microwave and even a dishwasher and washing machine and tumbler dryer which are all incredibly useful when you have a baby.
The Cabin interior has that distinctive rustic feel that Soho Farmhouse is known for with wooden clad walls, natural fabrics and retro touches such as a Roberts radio and a dial phone. There’s a large comfortable seating area, perfect for snuggling up with a hot drink and a blanket in front of the TV and wood burning fire (which we didn’t light this time in case the smoke was bad for little O).
There’s also a dressing area with a large mirror and all the electricals you may need such as hair dryer, straightening irons, phone charger etc.
On our request they’d included a crib for little O which was set up by our bed. We also bought a small travel cot with us which we ended up using.
Though the studio Cabin does have a good amount of space, I will say again that I think the one bedroom cabin would have been better as there would have been more space for the cot plus the bedroom is separate so Mr S and I could have watched TV and got room service sitting in the living area while Oscar slept in the bedroom.
There’s always so much attentional to detail when it comes to bathroom supplies at Soho House hotels and there are plenty of little amenities from deodorants, to lip balm, ear plugs and condoms.
A huge shower with rain head is stocked with full size Cowshed products, the signature beauty brand of Soho House. They also left Baby Cow products in the room for us once they saw we had a baby with us, which was a really love touch. A baby toothbrush and toothpaste was left for us which I kept for when Oscar has teeth!
You’ve probably seen the highly Instagrammable bathtubs located on the porch of the room and they really are very cool but in the pouring rain, I couldn’t get a proper photo! It also wouldn’t have been suitable to Oscar as it would just be too cold to bathe him outside.
Anyway, to sum up the room situation, it’s a really gorgeous room and would have been fine for just Mr S and myself but I do feel like the bigger rooms would be more suitable for babies and I’m unsure as to why you can’t reserve them.
One thing I love Soho Farmhouse is that there are so many options for dining, and even more have been added since I stayed this time last year. There are rules as to where children can dine which vary whether it’s a weekend or a week day.
The Main Barn
The Main Barn is the hotel’s signature restaurant and a hub of activity. Guests can enjoy all day dining from a menu of hearty and healthy options using product from the Farm garden. In the Main Barn children are welcome for breakfast daily and can then dine midday until 7pm on Monday to Friday. On the weekend they are welcome for breakfast from but the restaurant is child-free from 12pm. However, it’s not a policy they strictly enforce and they allowed us to have dinner in the Main Barn while Oscar slept quietly in his pram – I can’t promise it’s something they always allow but they did for us.
There are also two mezzanine areas in the Main Barn. On the right, Comfy Farm has sofas for lounging and a cosy log fire whereas Fancy Farm is a smarter area for a more intimate meal. Both of these mezzanine areas are designated child-free but the hostess suggested we wait in the Comfy Farm while our table was being prepared, so again this isn’t something strictly enforced.
Hay Barn is a new restaurant concept since we last visited and the menu is inspired by Italian and Californian cooking. Set in a large open barn with sofas, comfy cushions and coffee table books, it’s an extremely relaxed and casual space. It’s probably one of the most child-friendly of the restaurants and little ones are welcome between 4pm – 7pm Monday to Friday and on Saturday and Sunday between 8am-7pm. Once again this isn’t strictly enforced as we took Oscar here for dinner after 7pm on the Sunday. It was actually really ideal and better than the Main Barn the night before which had been really crowded. The food is great too, there’s small plates, pizzas, pasta and grill options. There is also a kids menu.
My S had a huge pepperoni pizza and I had crab and chilli spaghetti.
There is a complimentary kids tea in the Hay Barn from 4-7pm every day.
The Farm Feast is served in the Barwell Barn. It’s slightly less cosy and intimate as it’s mostly long sharing tables and only a few individual tables. Due to the popularity of the feast, an extra marquee has been added for more table space, we were sat out here and I found it a little chilly despite the heaters.
The feast is only available at weekends and children are welcome to enjoy the farm spread of starter salads and charcuteries, roast dinner options and desserts served on Saturdays 12 – 4pm and Sundays 12 – 5pm. I’m not usually a big fan of buffets but I found this feast really well done with the food fresh and piping hot with some of the Soho House signatures such as giant Yorkshire pudding, sausage rolls and pig in blankets. It’s great value for money too as it’s £28 all you can eat.
Mr S and I have previously very much enjoyed dining at the hotel’s Japanese restaurant. However, it is strictly child-free though we were told we could dine from the menu if we sat in the boat house adjacent to the restaurant which we didn’t do this time. Parents wishing to enjoy the child-free environment for a date night could organise baby-sitting through the hotel. More on that later.
The Farmshack hosts varying restaurant pop-ups and currently houses The Little Bell. A small gastro pub-like dining area in the central area of the hotel serving a daily changing menu of wood fired dishes. As far as I know they are child-friendly but we didn’t eat there ourselves.
Farmshop and Deli
The farmshop serves a selection of salads, sandwiches, cookies, fresh cheese and wines. You can eat at the long table at the deli or takeaway to eat in your room or for a picnic in the warmer months. A perfect option if you have a little one.
The Milk Floats
Regular readers might remember that Soho Farmhouse offers the option milk floats to the room. You can have your breakfast prepared freshly right outside your by calling the breakfast milk float in advance. Or in the evening you can call the cocktail float to your room to get cocktail mixed freshly! Really good options if you have a small one and you’re limited in restaurants / bars to visit.
Teeny Barn is the main children’s space and it’s a super cute area with indoor play such as crafts and games, TV, a library, a mud kitchen and outdoor playground. There’s also a children’s farm with bunnies, chickens and goats that can be petted. Kids can be left for a maximum of two hours a day and need be signed in and out by an adult. The Teeny Barn is more for children over four but Mr S and I checked out the space for Oscar to go in for the future. We were informed that they would even take little ones as small as him but as this involves one on one care, there is a £15 per hour fee. They can look after the baby for as little as fifteen minutes and can do so in the Teeny Barn or in the room. The perfect option for a date night during your stay
A Long Walk
There’s not a huge amount that you can do with a four month old so we just enjoyed walking around the grounds (despite the weather!) and getting Oscar some fresh country air! We showed him horses for the first time, ducks and other fun things they had on the farm.
Mr S and I are still yet to take Oscar swimming and I thought our Soho Farmhouse trip could be the ideal opportunity for his first time in the water as there is both an indoor and outdoor pool. Unfortunately the timings didn’t quite work out. The pool is open to adults from 6.30am – 10pm seven days a week and children may swim between 9.30am-11.30am and 3.30pm-6pm Monday to Friday. At the weekends they only have the morning swim session which we ended up missed. The policy is very strict as the pool can be dangerous for children, especially as small as Oscar, with adults taking alcoholic drinks in and jumping in drunk etc.
Soho Farmhouse has it’s own horses and horse riding is available for children four and up. Something for the future for Oscar!
Boats and Bikes!
There are both bikes and boats on Soho Farmhouse which children are welcome to use if accompanied and supervised by adults. Of course, not one for little O yet but again something for the future.
No one under the age of 14 is permitted into the spa but I thought it was worth mentioning the pre and post natal treatments that the Cowshed spa offers. I didn’t get one here but I loved my treatment at Babington House, the sister property to Soho Farmhouse. They do offer children’s hair cuts though.
You can also purchase products from the Baby Cow range which are made with natural ingredients perfect for baby’s delicate skin.
The Electric Barn cinema shows kids films and has family screenings for little ones.
As you can see we had a fantastic time taking Oscar to Soho Farmhouse, there’s no need to compromise on the experience and taking a baby can be just as fun as going as a couple!