I have retreated to my parents’ home for a week. OK, so I also have the Husband, the kids and la BF in tow, and I am working, but it feels a little like a break. We travelled up yesterday and I really wish I’d read this post from Hello It's Gemma, and stopped at Endcliffe Park near Sheffield, instead of breaking earlier and eating our picnic in the very unattractive surroundings of the car park Leicester Forest East services (Northbound).
Anyway, I digress. The lovely ladies at Crumbs asked me if I would write a post about a place I would recommend to eat with my family when out and about. “Oh yes!” I thought. “I’ll do that”. And then I thought about it. How often do I actually eat out with my family? Not that often, it turns out. We tend to picnic – the benefits of a camper van. There was a time when we were still in the naïve stages of parenting where we thought ‘Our lives won’t change now we have children. We can still eat out and enjoy it.’ Oh how wrong we were – but that’s for another post - when I'm psychologically far enough removed from the experiences we had proving ourselves wrong.
However, the post by Hello It’s Gemma did get me to thinking that where we live is a great place for a stop off if you’re travelling west on the M3/A303 out of London (or returning that way – obviously), so I thought why not do a little for the local economy.
Overton is about 6 miles west of Basingstoke, and is about 10 minutes from Junction 7 of the M3, or from the Popham exit off the A303. And yes, you could stop at Heston’s Little Chef, but why not head a little further into Jane Austen country (she wrote Pride & Prejudice just down the road, you know) and come and visit.
If you’re looking for refreshment, I can do no more than recommend the truly delightful Overton Gallery.
And despite what I have already written, we do take the kids here.
Not only is the tea room fronted by the most gorgeous cave of Emma Bridgewater-esque delights, the tearoom itself is now mostly housed in an airy conservatory/orangery type affair, recently constructed to make the most of the cute little garden while at the same time being realistic about the whims of the British weather. There are tables outside too, or you can lounge on the squashy sofa in the conservatory with the doors open to allow the summer breezes to waft you as you consume delicious homemade cakes. They have a delicious snacky meal menu too – there’s always a soup and a pate served with bread and salad, ciabatta filled with mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes and avocado, falafel pitta, bagel with salmon and cream cheese and toasted sandwiches which are good for kids as are the pitta with taramasalata and hummus. And the cakes. I cannot commend them to you enough. They are to die for. Honestly.
While you are lounging with your coffee and cake (or glass of wine - they are licensed if you are eating) the kids can check out the garden. Once you are fed and watered, there are a couple of great parks to run around in nearby, or you can feed the ducks on the River Test at Bridge Street. And on your way to or from the village, you can stop off at the fabulous Laverstoke Park Farm Shop for some truly delicious organic meat or vegetables, produced in the fields round the village. What more do you need to know?