It might seem a little random to travel two hours to get to a garden centre, so I should probably explain that we have friends nearby; we’re not some kind of garden centre anoraks that travel around the country with notebooks and flasks of weak lemonade. And the reason for heading to Country Gardens isn’t exactly the begonias; it’s the free soft play area and cake.
Facilities: Baby changing, a children’s book section of the shop (which Weasel could quite happily spend the whole time in), cafe with good cake/machine coffee (go for a tea if you actually like coffee), a decent amount of seating and, the main attraction, a corner soft play area.
Possibly the biggest ‘free’ soft play area I’ve seen, it can still get a bit crowded on weekends. As it seems to calm down in the hour before it closes, it might make since, if you have a wee one like Weasel, to just go in the late afternoon. This Saturday there were a few kids clearly above the age 8 limit and a few over-aggressive, half-dressed, under-parented types in there, but I’m assured it’s almost empty during the week.
Verdict: Definitely worth a trip if you’re round these here parts and, given that it’s free, you can always leave if it’s over-crowded. Definitely beats Cambridge parking and paying £4 to get into a soft play only to discover it’s full of kids that could do with a bit of decent parenting.