The Blue Ball – Braunston, Rutland

Glorious family run pub the couldn’t do enough to make the little ones feel welcome.

This week we settled down for a chilled afternoon in the Blue Ball in Braunston. We headed here a few weeks ago but The Dixie was asleep and we just ended up driving around Rutland Water for ages. And I’m glad we decided to give it another punt… This +300 year old pub has many of the same olde world characteristics as others in this area; thatch roof; church views; country village setting; log fires; exposed wooden beams; locally sourced food; their very own (and very drinkable) Blue Ball casked ale, but what makes this place really stand out (if that long list hasn’t already tempted you to visit) is their little touches for the pint-sized ones. Along with the spacious bar area and seemingly endless dinning room space, there is a side room kitted out for the little ones, with an array of books and toys and even a couple of old desks with colouring utensils.

There is also a ‘Picture of the Month’ competition they run for the kids with the winner receiving a pub voucher (I think that’s meant for grownups!?), art materials and the winning scribble is proudly put up on display in the pub. But what really deserves a big round of applause is the changing facilities – changing mats, nappy bags, and even free nappies (that’s a new one on me!)… All in the gents loos. THE GENTS!!! Bugger me. Granted, a wave of sadness washes over as I realise how excited this makes me, but as a Dad out on your own with a toddler you’re often left to ‘make do’. Generally changing tables are tucked away in the girls loos – and no matter how politely you ask, they don’t let you in. With all these nifty parental touches you might think this place would be spoiled by loads of screaming kids running around sucking the enjoyment out of it for everyone else, but it really isn’t. It all just works. And works well. Kids or no kids this is a terrific pub.

Perfect For: Sunday Roast treat when the thought of cooking is too much

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