Writer Kate Freud takes her two children to the Oxfordshire pad to see what all the fuss is about
Since its grand opening last year, everybody has been raving about Soho Farmhouse, the latest outpost of the Soho House group. Though my husband and I were initially tempted to sneak off for a weekend à deux, we decided to take our two children, Jago, four, and Georgia, 18 months, to see if it might just prove the perfect child-friendly country escape instead.
Our home for the weekend was a beautiful riverside wooden chalet, set over two floors. It’s brilliant for families because it meant we could make the kids’ breakfast, heat bottles in the microwave, and so on without having to call room service. Though there wasn’t much we were lacking, as the staff had thought of everything from travel cot and baby monitor to wellington boots in all our sizes.
Upon arrival we took the children for tea in the Main Barn, which, with its log fires, sofas and open kitchen offered plenty to look at and room for the children to stretch their legs. Later, Jack and I opted for a bottle of rosé and cheeseburgers from room service before an indulgent Cowshed bubble bath, taking full advantage of the products on offer.
We were up bright and early on Saturday. Everybody cycles around the complex, so our bikes were fitted with kids’ seats, but the staff had also fitted a bike for Jago with stabilisers, giving him his first taste of cycling freedom.
After a morning of exploring, we headed to the Barwell Barn for lunch. The enormous room is laid with long tables, where families sit hugger-mugger in noisy chaos. The buffet has great options for the kids and everything from hot roasts to healthy salads for adults. Best of all, it opens out onto a vast patio, set up with table tennis, football and croquet.
During the afternoon, the children rode on Shetland ponies, and we spent time in the Teeny Barn. This playroom proved a godsend when it rained. Jago loved the fancy dress, and Georgia had a captive audience, so was happy.
Later, we arranged a babysitter through reception and Jack and I headed to Pen Yen, the Japanese restaurant. We bumped into friends and had cocktails in the Main Barn, before drawing straws about who would do the early morning shift with Georgia at 6am.
On Sunday morning, any sign of a hangover was remedied with a swim in the indoor-outdoor pool. Our weekend ended with a horse and cart taking us back to our car, which was probably the only way you could have dragged us away, as we could have happily stayed, forever.
Cabins from £350, sohofarmhouse.com