Spur of the moment unplanned days are sometimes the best. My friend was going to Rectory farm so we invited ourselves (that’s their quiet family time screwed)
This is going to be a difficult review because i can see the potential. I wished we’d have gone earlier in the year when there were more pyo options.
It’s about half hour away, fairly simple drive. Make sure you put the correct sat nav in though! Lots of parking so we didn’t struggle. We got there around 1.30 pm and it was fairly quiet….probably because everyone else knew there was fuck all left to pick.
Rectory Farm Produce
We followed the signs to the start of the fields where you pick your tubs up. this is when we realised our mistake. After reading the website I was a tad excited about picking all this fresh produce, bringing it home and cooking an awesome dinner with it knowing full well my kids would look at the food like I’d dished them up a plate of dog turd from stoke woods! The huge sign pretty much said everything bar strawberries and redcurrants were out of season.
One of my friends started to lose her shit a bit because the only reason she came was to pick a carrot! (Yep I have Strange friends) the kids were so excited Clark was like a ball of pure energy which is weird for a child that hates strawberries and most veg.
Follow the signs at rectory farm….if you can
We started to follow the chalkboard signs pointing us in the right direction. Good luck with this! It’s like trying to safely navigate your way down mount Etna in a blizzard. Whoever made those signs has a brilliant sense of humour. It’d brighten my day watching parents getting lost while dragging their whinging kids round asking where the strawberries are!
We deserted the signs and went our own way. There were strawberry plants everywhere but the ones we saw had no strawberries on them. We came across the raspberries which were out of season….load of crap there were plenty to fill a punnet. The kids had a great time picking them (Elliot eating them) then we went in search of the bloody carrots to shut the moaning one up (she’s 42 and acts worse than the kids) we came across beetroot. Shit loads of them pretty cool the kids had fun yanking them out of the ground. My kids won’t touch them but thought I’d bake a brownie I’m sure I’ve read somewhere to put beetroot in them. (Cant bake for shit will post photo of finished product)
Then we found the carrots among the weeds how the hell they found them I’ve no idea. Those carrots were the puniest things I’ve ever seen. Hilarious but it shut the 42 year old up she was chuffed having fulfilled her life long dream of picking a fecking carrot!
We found the strawberries after that. It was a bit of a ball ache but we got there. Was pretty cool we didn’t have to bend down to pick them either they were all on a table type thing (all our kids could reach). We really had to forage for fully ripe ones. Did you know strawberries don’t continue to ripen after you pick them? Again the kids loveddddd picking them (Elliot eating them. He can’t read so technically he didn’t ignore the signs telling him not to eat them)
Cafe and farm shop
Picking finished we headed over to the cafe and farm shop. Walking into the farm shop i suddenly realised where all the fruit and veg had gone. The bloody staff had picked it all for the shop 😉 haha in all seriousness the produce looked amazing! I wish i had time to shop but my kids were tired (aka being dicks)
This area used to allow picnics however this is something that they decided to stop. I remember seeing all the mum’s kicking off about it. I’ve known no different and couldn’t care less. The cafe offers food so it makes sense. You wouldn’t walk into McDonalds, sit down and eat your KFC would you? We got ice cream for the kids and me (my other 2 friends are skinny and only eat dust) Elliot started his hour long tantrum for various reasons at this point ?
Rectory Farm Play area
Now I’ll be honest I personally didn’t like this area. It was a big ball of stress because Elliot wanted to play on the big kid stuff. There are hay bales, a bouncy castle slide, bouncy castle and a sand pit. All for free fantastic! Buttttt they are unmanned and used at your own risk. Aka big kids acting like feral lunatics in a sweet shop. Seriously I get letting them climb and learn etc but ffs have some control over your little darlings if not for other kids safety their own!!
The sand pit was nicely shaded and had lots of sand toys in which the younger ones loved until they realised it was way more fun to attempt to either kill themselves or their mothers in the way of a heart attack. This area is not for kids from waking age up to around 4/5 if older kids are there. It’s still a brilliant area for older kids Clark LOVED it. So much so he cried when I told him we were leaving.
We spent around £5 on 2 punnets of strawberries a punnet of raspberries and 2 beetroot (which will mold nicely in the fridge) that plus the rest the kids are on the way round is a fantastic price!
Rectory farm stats:
Distance from Bicester: 25mins
Sat nav: Stanton St John, Oxford OX33 1HF Click for sat nav
Wheelchair friendly: yes but we did struggle with the pram
Equipment upkeep: 5/10 loads of weeds and broken bits but I’m guessing because of the season winding down.
Cleanliness: 9/10 very clean no dog poo in sight just looked a bit messy
Facilities: 10/10 cafe, toilets, parking etc
Age range: All ages apart from the play area
Safety: 6/10 young kids and older kids don’t mix well on a bouncy castle
Fun factor: 10/10
Dog friendly: yes only on a lead though. Don’t pick the fruit at the bottom though it’ll taste of dog piss.
Final verdict. Amazing day! Especially for free/cheap. Take your friends and enjoy the pick your own avoid the play area with younger kids in school holidays. Research the harvest before you go though. I personally wouldn’t recommend anyone go at this time of year unless they’re happy with just strawberry picking. However I 100% will be going next year and would recommend you all do the same.
For more farm park reviews click HERE
For Rectory farm website click HERE