Most people who live in Deal will have likely tried Solleys Ice cream before. Maybe you’ve bought a cone from one of their vans at an event or enjoyed a little tub with a plastic spoon. We’re lucky to have the Kentish ice cream makers on our doorstep. They produce the famous ice cream in a farm in Mongeham. The farm is open to the public all summer long so we popped in for a visit.
A thirty minute walk from Walmer train station brings you to the farm, just one of many planned routes you can take. For the keen walkers among you, there's a selection of maps on the Solleys website that plot out routes to and around the farm. For those who prefer to wing or it there's leaflets available in the ice cream parlour.
We took a ride around the farm on the tractor. This runs every day, as long as it hasn't been raining in which case the trailer can get bogged down in mud. The tractor pulled us around in a trailer where we sat on hay bales and we took in the sights of the farm. It was another glorious day and great to be out and about in the fresh air. While the tractor ride is traditionally a children's activity, we turned up at midday on a school day with no kids, so there were no children in site and it was still thoroughly enjoyed by all.
The farm looked so beautiful in the sun and it was a charming experience that reminded us not only are we minutes from the beach we're only a short trip to proper countryside. If you do have children there are plenty of things to keep them occupied, from tigers to look out for along the journey, to helpful guidance from the driver. A playground was in the process of being built whilst we were there, which looked promising and is set to be finished this summer.
There’s lots of trails to follow around the farm for kids. You can learn about wildlife and how the farm works throughout the seasons by reading the signs dotted around. You can even arrange to have a guided tour of the ice cream factory. These take place in the afternoons when the factory isn't as hectic.
Finally we went along to the ice cream parlour, as great as the other activities are this is the main attraction. Solley's creations are on display and there's a plethora of flavours to consider. There's a sundae menu to choose from, sandwiches and a good selection of drinks, from Kingsdown Water to San Pellegrino.
We got an ice cream each, Charlotte chose the aptly named Minty Moo. An ice cream sundae with chocolate and mint ice cream, mint chips, chocolate sauce cream and a Cadbury flake. A delicious sample of what Solleys has to offer, it’s as creamy as it is minty.
Ben got the waffle, with a choice of two scoops. We opted for black forest gateau and Jamaican rum and raisin. Two incredible flavours. The cherry was a real highlight, the smoothness of the ice cream and tangy cherry flavour really working well together. Although the rum and raisin came in a close second, a real rich treat. Both of them tasted delicious with the warm Belgian waffle.
Overall it’s a great way to spend a sunny day, with or without kids. It’s a great chance to sample some locally made ice cream, you can even purchase larger tubs at the shop. Make sure you pay the farm a visit this summer. Ice cream and the countryside, what could be better!