Review 2018: Cafe in the Park, Beggarwood

Thank you to Juliet for today’s Review!!

Cafe in the Park, Beggarwood

Cafe in the Park

I was so excited to hear that there would be a new cafe opening up in Beggarwood. I am a serious lover of coffee and cake and was through the doors on opening day, and I was not disappointed.

To date, I have found lots of cafes in Basingstoke that cater for young children, but only one where it has entertained my toddlers long enough for me to actually drink a whole cup of hot coffee before the whining or tantrums start. Until now that is. Cafe in the Park seems to be aimed at all, and this includes those families with young children.

About

The cafe is based at the new Beggarwood Community Centre, at the top of Beggarwood Park with big glass windows offering fabulous views over the park. The Community Centre has already started filling with activities, including Kids Kan Dance and Pop Up Play Village, but check the Facebook page of Hatch Warren Community Centre (who are running both centres) for more information and classes.

Cafe in the Park is run by a lovely group of people who seem really excited at the new opportunity and are actively seeking ways to adapt the cafe to suit the community. This includes holding a Dog Walkers’ Forum in March to discuss how to make the cafe more accessible to dog walkers. The part which interests me the most though, for obvious reasons, is what they have made available to occupy young children.

As you enter the community centre, there is a table in the entrance area with colouring books and crayons, and a few tables and chairs close by. There is a good selection of toys in the cafe area and our toddlers delighted in going back and forth, exchanging toys for new ones. In fact we were ready to leave way before they were, not something that happens often.

As an added bonus, I returned during the week and the main hall (which will going forward be closed off and hired out to local groups and for parties) was open with crafts available for the children. There was play dough, card making and colouring, and lots of toys laid out on tables. Sadly (for me) this will not normally be available. They are, however, hoping to open this area up again during the school holidays, if possible, and have the crafts available once again. This is an awesome idea and I really hope it happens, especially as the vast majority of playgroups and similar groups for little ones close during the holidays. When I left today the main hall was full of kids playing, so there is definitely a need. In the meantime, they will be looking to have a craft available on the table in the entrance hall during term time.

Food

There is a really good selection of hot and cold drinks, cakes and cookies, with prosecco and wine also available (so tempting!) I was also really impressed with the prices of the coffees and cakes.

There are gluten and dairy free options available. I was advised that all cakes are made fresh and they are open to cater for any dietary requirements, so make sure you mention if you have any.

I feel I need to make a separate comment about how good the cake was (and yes, I tried a few, just to be sure).

Take-away hot drinks are available and they hope to have ice creams on sale for when the warmer weather comes.

There are also free dog biscuits, however, dogs are not permitted in the cafe but there is a dog station outside.

Facilities

There are toilets and baby change facilities at the community centre and high chairs are available in the cafe.

Parking

There is a small car park to the front of the centre with additional parking available at the Beggarwood shops’ car park, next to the centre.

Opening Hours

The cafe will be open Wednesdays to Fridays, 9am-11am and 3pm-5pm, and weekends 9am-12noon.

Rating out of 5

5 out of 5. I have had some amazing visits to Cafe in the Park so far. We’ve been as a family, with friends, and a quiet visit with just me and one of our boys. Each visit has been brilliant, we are definitely going to be regulars.

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