Another day of the holidays with no activities planned made for the perfect excuse to try out one more of the play cafes in the area. Little Beans & Co is located in the village of Chorleywood, handy for both SW Herts and South Bucks and just a few minutes off the M25. Chorleywood has a reasonable selection of shops for its size although it’s main attraction is the sizeable and unfeasibly picturesque common situated between the main road and the village. Access to the village is a little narrow but there’s free parking bays near the cafe with a car park for shoppers at the other end of the main street.
The cafe is has an appealing appearance if modest size but packs in a number of features including a soft play area, a play mat with toys and toys for sale. As usual we arrived not long after opening time to let Tilly have a go in the soft play before it got busy, however on arrival the cafe was already bustling with activity – the cold weather and holidays perhaps directing many parents here.
The soft play area is somewhat smaller than at Thé, Stay and Play in Chesham, which we reviewed a few days ago, however here the soft play is free. It still has two levels but it’s more of a climbing route around rather than containing play areas. For those wanting more sustained play, there is a play mat with a toy box containing puzzles and a range of toys as well as a blackboard.
The cafe isn’t terribly big so the tables do fill up quickly. I counted eight tables, five being two-seater. The size does mean it’s pretty easy to keep an eye on the soft play, although less so the play mat, which is tucked around the back of the soft play.
The service was helpful and provided an overview of the children’s snacks, which included drinks, crisps and biscuits. Children’s meals cost around £3.5o, which seems to be about the norm. As with our last cafe visit, we had a coffee plus ham and cheese toastie, which came to a little over a fiver. Both were good with the toastie being enjoyed by Tilly.
Little Beans & Co sell a range of the popular Melissa and Doug toys, so is handy if you’re in need of picking up a gift, although I had to disuade Tilly from picking them up a couple of times, as she hasn’t yet learnt the difference between toys on the mat and those on display.
All in all it’s a nice local cafe to have available and offered a distinctly different offer to other play cafes in the area. I’d like to revisit on another day to see if it’s a little less bustling than it was on this occasion, although it’s pleasing of course to see an independent business doing well!