Monday, August 2, 2021

Owl Tree Cafe Newcastle | A Review

This post has been written by Jennifer Storey. 

One of my favourite places to visit in Newcastle with my young children has got to be the Owl Tree Cafe in Red House Farm. The cafe is a community interest project, set up to help combat the issue of social isolation which many parents face.  

Owl Tree Cafe Newcastle | A Review

As well as boasting a very tasty a menu, you can expect lots of fun for ages 0-5 including:

  • Role play
  • Messy play
  • Sensory play
  • Craft activities
  • Interactive song time
  • Enclosed baby area
  • Outdoor area

Based within the Red House Farm Junior Football Club (Kingston Park Road, NE3 2HY), the cafe has plenty of free parking, and is just a 2-minute walk from Wansbeck Road metro station. Opening hours are from Monday- Friday (including school holidays), with three 90 minute sessions each day; 9.30, 11.30 and 1.30. Spaces currently need to be pre-booked, which can be done via the website: 

On the day spaces are also advertised via the cafe Facebook page: 

The cafe aims to be accessible and affordable for everyone; so entry is set at £3.50 for children (£1.50 for siblings) and free for adults. A ‘pay it forward’ scheme allows customers to buy an entry, a cuppa or cake, which are then offered to anyone who may need them.

Hannah Tait


The play side of the cafe follows set themes, which change on a weekly basis. Two themes run each week which are alternated between sessions - this gives staff chance to clean the resources between customers, and is also fantastic for a bit of variation if you are regulars like us. My most recent visit was with my youngest, Thomas (2.5) and my friend and her son (2), the theme was fairy tales.

The room set up consisted of sensory tuff trays which allowed the little ones to explore well known and loved stories in a very hands-on way- always a favourite with my son! There was a role play area where he really enjoyed pouring a cuppa for the three bears. I especially loved the gingerbread scented playdough, although I did have to remind Thomas (and myself) that it wasn't edible several times! It really is clear that so much thought goes into each and every activity, and you really do feel that you are getting value for money. 

For younger children there is an enclosed baby area, with plenty of age-appropriate toys and a fantastic sensory tent. There are also two extremely comfy sofas, perfect for feeding, or just to cuddle up with a book if your little one needs some quiet time.

There are 2 tables set up for craft activities which also followed the fairytale theme, and could be adapted to suit the full range of ages and abilities. Nicola, a lovely trainee teaching assistant, was on hand to help the children, and had so much time and patience. Thomas had a great time painting a somewhat Piscasso-esque bear on a paper plate, whilst I had a great time drinking my cuppa and having a chat with some of the other parents! Baby wipes are aplenty but if your kids are anything like mine, I would recommend wearing clothes that you don't mind getting messy (for both you and your children).

Towards the end of the session there is an interactive song-time, a big black suitcase full of toys and puppets is wheeled out, and many of the children gather round in anticipation. If your child doesn't want to participate, there is absolutely no pressure to, and they can continue to play.

The staff are so full of life and really engage the children, making sure even the quietest feels included. The puppets tickle and high 5 little hands, eliciting many a giggle as they make their way around the audience.

In fact, I have to say that it is the staff who really do make the Owl Tree Cafe what it is. They work extremely hard to make sure that all of their visitors feel welcome and they help initiate conversations and friendships between parents.

Having so many sessions running each week means that the cafe never feels cliquey, and new friendships are often formed. Recently the cafe has been running special sessions for new parents with babies born during lockdown, who may have struggled to meet other families. The cafe helps connect its community of parents via a Facebook group: ‘Owl Tree Grownups’, where parents can chat, and offer support to one another. 


The cafe is well known for its reasonably priced and really yummy food, especially the toasties which are starting to gain quite the reputation! The food is made fresh on site, and the kitchen boasts a 5-star hygiene rating. The menu has lots of options for weaning babies and toddlers, which was such a big help when my children were younger.

We decided to go for the ‘pick and mix plate’ for Thomas, as he is a grazer. He was really excited when it was brought out to him on the lovely colourful plate!  With all the activities of the cafe, he didn’t eat much, but the staff quickly offered to box it up for us to take home. Food can also be ordered to go.


One of my children’s’ favourite parts of the cafe has to be the outdoor area. You can pop in and out throughout the session, and also play outside for an unlimited amount of time once your time slot has ended. When we visited there was a fantastic purple mud kitchen, sand, a slide, building blocks and a selection of garden toys and ride-ons.

If your child is a runner you may wish to come dressed appropriately in workout gear, as the area is not enclosed, and backs on the vast Broadway playing fields!


The roots of the Owl Tree are firmly anchored in the community. Hannah Tait, who runs the  cafe openly talks with visitors about the challenges she faced after the birth of her 2nd child, recognising that parental isolation is unfortunately a common struggle. The cafe set out to be a welcoming, non-judgemental, supportive place where parents can meet, socialise and learn through peer-to-peer support, and I certainly feel that it achieves this.

Owl Tree Cafe Newcastle | A Review  - children's menu

Owl Tree Cafe Newcastle | A Review - adult menu

Owl Tree Cafe Newcastle | A Review  - pick n mix menu

Hannah has created such a warm welcoming space, which really meets the needs of parents as well as their children. Having recently celebrated 2 years of opening, what was initially a hidden gem, is now a firm favourite venue amongst many parents. We will certainly be back very soon!

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