Lovely Cake and Great Catch Up
This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Powerchair
Lovely wheelchair accessible café offering delicious homemade cakes, breakfast and lunch is also served and cooked with all locally sourced produces. Farm shop selling more locally sourced produces and beautiful gifts for different occasions.
Transport & Parking
The large car park for Longparke is situated beside the building and has 3 accessible parking spaces right outside the entrance. The ground of the car park is covered in grey gravel which was challenging for my powerchair, especially in thicker areas. Luckily, beside the accessible parking spaces there was paved slabs at eithers sides of the space. This is great because it’s a smoother surface for people to transfer to their wheelchairs, walk on or drive on. Unfortunately, though I exit my car from the back where there’s no paved slabs but, I managed to drive through the gravel and get on to the slabs. If there were no accessible spaces available wheelchair users may struggle to visit because of the gravel all around the other spaces, also parking spaces aren’t marked so there’s the problem of others parking too close. Accessible parking isn’t easily sign posted when you first enter the car park but, it’s usually near entrances so that’s where we headed. Dobbies Garden Centre is beside Longparke and there is a bus stop there. However, when you walk from Dobbies to Longparke, you would struggle to cross over the road because there is no dipped kerb. You would also need to walk up the road to Longparke because there is no pavement. The same problem would also occur with the gravel in the car park. If you walked to Longparke from the main road I feel wheelchairs especially, would get stuck in the gravel.
There are two double doors at the entrance to Longparke, they don’t have accessible pads to open them but, there is plenty of turning space for wheelchair users to manoeuvre around to open the doors themselves or to let someone past to assist. When you enter Longparke you are first greeted with the Farm shop. It is a wide area to get through to the café however, it’s slightly narrow to get around the shelf units where items are on sale. When you get to the café there is an area where you wait for a table. I noticed when we were waiting that there were seats beside the queue which I thought was great for customers who struggle to stand for a long length of time. Whilst waiting though it became a problem because it meant that the area was very narrow and with myself waiting in my wheelchair people struggled to get past me when leaving, especially customers with prams or others in wheelchairs. It’s a great idea, but I don’t know if there’s another way for it to be laid out. The café was busy when I visited and it was quite narrow between the tables but, it was manageable. Mostly all the tables are at a great height for wheelchair users. There is an area with comfy chairs and low-down tables however, this is only a small area and staff seat you where you find easiest. The counter height a cake stand area is at a good height for wheelchair users. I would say though that the labels that say what each cake is and the board with all the specials might be difficult for customers with a visual impairment to see. It’s a black board with writing in chalk, I was struggling to read it myself.
There is an accessible toilet within the Farm shop area of Longparke. It is a reasonable size for an accessible toilet, with enough turning space for a wheelchair/powerchair and space for two people if someone requires assistance. Within the toilet there is a small baby change bench and grab rails beside the toilet and sink. There are two bins inside the accessible toilet however, when I visited, they were neatly tucked in the corner. The emergency red cord was tied around one of the grab rails which I untied before I left and left a Euan’s Guide card. It would be good if there was a Changing Places toilet though, to allow customers who are unable to use standard accessible toilets to visit too.
All the staff I interacted with when visiting Longparke were very welcoming and helpful. It was very busy the day I visited so, they asked me which table would be the best to access.
Anything else you wish to tell us?
I would recommend visiting Longparke if you are looking for a café to have lunch or just some tea and cake. I’m looking forward to visiting in the summer because there are seats to sit outside, swings and a big green area for children to play. The only thing I would say about the play area for children is that there are horses right beside it which parents might be a little wary about.