We now usually stop at a National Trust or English Heritage site and I would recommend doing this if you are a member of either. They usually feature a play park and lots of space for kids to run around, decent home-cooked food and are a much nicer place to sit with a cup of tea than the side of a motorway. Brodsworth Hall is a nice place to stop near Doncaster and Bolsover Castle is also recommended as a fantastic place to stretch your legs near the M1 in Derbyshire. During our recent trip to Tattershall Lakes in Lincolnshire I was tempted to stop off at Fountains Abbey near Ripon but thought I would perhaps wish to spend longer than an hour here so decided to save it for another day. A quick google and I found Fodder Food Hall & Cafe, not far from A1 near Harrogate and thought it looked like an ideal place to break up our journey.
First impressions were good, there was plentiful free parking and I loved this little coffee hut affectionately known as Fodder on the Hoof which sells seasonal hot and cold food and drinks to take away.
We ventured inside and I loved this basket of fruit for the kids to help themselves to. There was also a book corner in the food hall - 10/10 to Fodder for distraction techniques! This meant that Steve and I could browse the magnificent hall in relative peace.
There were so many local and seasonal products to buy and I will admit we couldn't help blowing the budget and picked up some meat from the butcher's counter, bacon for breakfast, handmade butter, farmhouse bread, speciality sauces, artisan chocolates, seasonal fruit and veg and more....... everything was just so tempting! We spent around £50 which actually worked out very good value considering the amount we bought and the obvious quality.
I took the kids outside to play on the grass leaving Steve to pay! Haha!
It was almost 12 noon and I will be honest - we were starving so after packing the shopping away we headed to the cafe located to the rear of the food hall. Although it was busy, we were seated quickly and the children were given colouring pencils and worksheets to keep them occupied.
The kids decided to order a 'kids picnic' from the children's menu. Priced at £4.50 it included a sandwich (with 'proper' ham), a handful of crisps, a piece of fruit or flapjack and juice. Everything was deliciously fresh and went down well.
Look at that Flapjack!
Steve and I were both tempted by the Pork sandwich with apple sauce, a jug of gravy and homemade chips from the specials board. Priced at £7.95 it was well worth the money and our sandwich was packed with delicious slices of pork. The chips were spot on too.
Service was super quick and friendly and our total bill was less than £35 for the 5 of us including drinks so pretty en-par with what we would have spent at a service station but clearly a thousand times better!
I'd love to hear if you have any gems you visit as a service station alternative too.
Visit www.fodder.co.uk for further information.