A Dad’s View – Winter fun on our doorstep

Winter can feel like a difficult time to keep little ones entertained, especially during school holidays when the regular groups and classes aren’t running. Fortunately, our area has plenty to offer both in and out of doors, including some you may not have heard about.

DanPlay cafés

As a parent to a smaller toddler, visiting a more compact play space can be reassuring for parents and the child alike. Often less publicised than the big soft play venues, play cafés have been springing up across the area in recent years and are now a popular stop for us, especially on cold and wet days.

Thé, Stay and Play in Chesham has a good sized soft play area and is pretty spacious for an independent cafe. For those preferring toys over soft play, the Hidden Tea Shop in Little Chalfont is a tucked away gem with a play house and plenty of toys in the centre of the cafe. Also worth a mention is the World’s End Garden Centre near Wendover, which has soft play in its sizable restaurant and a farm shop to tempt foodies.

The great outdoors

Don’t be put off by colder weather and mud; the countryside is on our doorstep and there are some excellent facilities nearby to encourage little imaginations to go wild in nature while never straying too far from essential facilities. All you need are plenty of warm clothes and a pair of wellies.

The biggest draw has got to be the Gruffalo trail and statue at Wendover Woods, which now guarantees that my daughter is every bit as enthusiastic about visiting the woods as I am. Add the child-friendly Cafe in the Woods and the adventure playground and there’s an excellent day out to be had. It can be pretty muddy but I’ve found the woods provide remarkably good shelter on dreary winter days.

Other favourites include the Aquadrome at Rickmansworth for a buggy friendly stroll around the lake followed by brunch at the Cafe in the Park while National Trust members shouldn’t forget Waddesdon Manor with its adventure playground and stunning setting.

Reviews of each of the venues featured as well as experiences of being a stay-at-home dad can be found on Dan’s blog at http://onemanandhissprog.co.uk/