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Have baby, will socialise!

Mum of two Sara Payne runs baby and toddler classes across Leicestershire. So when she's not busy entertaining little ones, changing nappies or cleaning bottles, where does she like to take her own little ankle-biters?

Take it away Sara…

Red Lion, Great Bowden

While on maternity leave last summer, about the same time we were all ‘Eating Out to Help Out,’ we came across the newly reopened Red Lion in Great Bowden (voted Best Destination Pub in the 2021 Muddy Awards). The food was to die for and wheeling a pram in to sit in the garden and enjoy the sunshine was fabulous. A great place to spend a lunch time with your other half before they have to go back to work. And now, they’ve had a fabulous new revamp with gorgeous booths, incredible food and an atmosphere that makes it feel like you’re on holiday.

Tollemarche Arms, Harrington

If your little ones will no longer sit quietly in a pram and watch you happily sip your drink, you can head to the Tollemarche Arms in Harrington. OK, so it’s technically Northamptonshire, but it’s a great pub with a sprawling garden, play area, outdoor pizza oven, live bands, incredible roasts and if you get caught short on your nappies, wipes or creams – they have them in the baby change!

Optimum You Yoga and Wellness, Market Harborough

If you’re looking for a class to complement your Hartbeeps class, head to Optimum You Yoga in Market Harborough (voted Best Yoga Studio in the 2021 Muddy Awards). Thursday mornings at 10am is the slot for Postnatal yoga in this relaxing, blissfully peaceful space. Jenny helps your recovering body, provides a nurturing atmosphere to Mum chat and has a magical way to calm and soothe your little one whilst you enjoy a well earned savasana.

Tropical Birdland, Desford

For something a little bit out of the ordinary; little ones can get up close and personal with all manner of feathered friends. Word of warning though, make sure you hide any sparkly necklaces when you meet the macaws, otherwise you may find yourself with a new best friend.

The Paint Pottle, Market Harborough

A beautiful pottery painting shop nestled on St Mary’s Road in Market Harborough, that specialises in making hand and foot prints before the little ones get too big. Claire has an amazing way with babies. I’ve got mugs and coasters of both my little ones when they were tinies, and even a vase decorated in a beautifully contemporary abstract style courtesy or Jude.

Splash Babies, Leics

Photo by Lavi Perchik on Unsplash

This is the place to head when you want to introduce your little ones to the water. You can get in the pool from as early as 8 weeks with wonderfully gentle instructors who get to know your little one and help them build water confidence. If you are lucky enough to get a spot at Kirsty’s class at West Gate School then you have the added bonus of a lovely warm pool in a room with sensory lights and projections.

Oadby Gymnastics Club

If you haven’t taken your little one to the parent and tot session here yet, then make sure you do. A mixture of bouncy inflatables, fun lights and music with real gymnastic equipment with instructors that can help your toddler take their first steps towards Olympic Gold.

Langton Greenhouse Cafe, Market Harborough

A great place to head to for a brunch – you can’t go wrong with the eggs benedict here. The food in the stunning greenhouse is delicious and while you’re waiting, take your little one to see the tropical fish. A guaranteed hit with a calming hypnotising effect, like a free sensory experience.

Gates Garden Centre, Oakham

Is it too early to talk about Christmas? For us, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to Gates Garden Centre. It’s a full immersive experience where you can be a kid again, taking in all of the sights of a mega Christmas. Don’t forget to book your slot with Santa well in advance as they sell out super fast.


(Main image Photo by Guillaume de Germain on Unsplash)

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