In my continuing search for Oxford’s best baby-friendly restaurants and cafés, one of the places I keep returning to again and again is the Jam Factory. I first discovered this fabulous café-restaurant when my baby was a tiny tot and I was a nervous new mother. With their friendly and attentive service, they made me feel that both I and my baby were very welcome. Staff are great at chatting to babies and toddlers and they’ll also take it upon themselves to do you little services here and there – like bringing you hot water to warm your baby’s bottle or delivering your drink to your table if they see your hands are full and you can’t make it to the bar. It’s all done in a relaxed and easy manner, which rubs off on you and relieves the day-to-day parenting stress that we all feel sometimes. They also have a good, clean baby-changing facility in their disabled toilet. Now that my little one has turned into an energetic toddler, we still go there to enjoy meet-ups with friends and quiet teatimes (and by quiet, I mean that I lucked out and she’s sleeping in the stroller!). If you have a baby, toddler, or young child, this is a lovely place to go.
Where is it? Hollybush Row, 26 Park End Street, OX1 1HU – very close to the rail station (extra convenient if you’re meeting a friend who’s coming in from out-of-town; even more so if they’re bringing children of their own).
Opening times? Monday-Friday 8:00-22:00, Saturday 10:00-22:00, Sunday 10:00-21:00 (for kitchen opening times, check the website)
What’s it best for? It’s great for meeting with friends who also have babies or children – there’s lots of room for prams and strollers. At any time of the day you have your choice of a little nibble or a more substantial feast, be it breakfast, lunch, teatime, or dinner. Their cakes are especially nice and they have some great small plates at lunchtime for £5.
Better with babies or children? It’s good for both! There are comfy benches for breastfeeding mothers and high chairs for babies who want to sit at the table. Children are also well catered for. The kids’ menu offers more interesting fare than the usual spag bol or sausage, egg, and chips, and it’s a very affordable £5 for a main plus dessert.
Keep in mind! The Jam Factory has free WiFi, so lots of people come here to work or have meetings. It’s not a free-for-all space for kids to play in – they do need to use their restaurant manners (and voices!) – but there are lots of nice things to keep them visually and intellectually amused, including a selection of art books and a colourful display of hand-knitted tea cosies.
Good to know! The Jam Factory is also an arts centre, so it not only features art exhibitions but also offers painting and drawing courses for adults. If you fancy a little time away from the kids, this may be a great way to relax and focus on yourself for a while. Or you could join in their legendary Scrabble nights, their knitting club, or their live music evenings. Sometimes we parents need to re-energize ourselves with a little adult time!
Keep in touch with the Jam Factory! Follow them on Twitter at @TheJamFactory or visit their website www.thejamfactoryoxford.com.
Thanks a lot to our OxfordMommy, Nadia Arbach! She has been blogging at oxfordmommy.com since July 2013, reviewing Oxford’s eateries, attractions, and activities for baby-friendliness. You can also follow her on Twitter : @oxford_mommy