If you’re looking for a fun and sociable place to make new friends, let your children play or simply get out of the house then Ebbsfleet Coffee Morning is the group for you!
Ebbsfleet Coffee Morning is a group for all ages to come together to socialise, and you guessed it from the name – there’s coffee! Whether you’re a new mum with a newborn baby and would like to chat with other mums, have a toddler or pre-schooler who needs to let off steam or you’re simply looking to get out of the house and socialise no matter your age, there’s something for everyone. It’s a great sense of community and something to look forward to every week. Ebbsfleet Coffee Morning is sponsored by Ebbsfleet Baptist Church and Henley Camland.
Whilst the coffee morning is of course targeted for local residents to come together, all are welcome.
One of the great things about Ebbsfleet Coffee Morning is how much they put out for children – there’s a baby area with soft padded mats and baby toys, a train and vehicles area, books, soft play, a ball bit, a play kitchen, and a craft/colouring table, as well as plenty of other toys that make random rotated appearances. There’s plenty of choice, so whether your child is a young baby or a toddler there’s bound to be something they can happily play with whilst you have a coffee and a natter!
Despite my son calling the Ebbsfleet Coffee Morning ‘playgroup’ it is truly so much more than that.
Ebbsfleet Coffee Morning is held at the Castle Hill Community Centre, Ebbsfleet Valley, DA10 1AD. There’s plenty of parking directly outside the Community Centre in a good sized, free car park. There’s also a co-op and a pharmacy if you have errands to run.
Here’s the best bit… Ebbsfleet Coffee Morning is free! That means it’s completely accessible for everybody. It is able to be free due to sponsorship by Ebbsfleet Baptist Church and Henley Camland.
If you would like to donate towards the cost of refreshments, there is a donations pot at the entrance table when you sign in – however there is absolutely zero pressure to if you are unable to or do not want to. Nobody has ever approached me or asked me to donate – I have simply seen the donations pot and decided off my own back to pop a pound or two in each time we visit – in fact, Arthur loves his little job of putting his pound in the pot!
Ebbsfleet Coffee Morning is open between 10:30am to 12pm on Friday mornings. You’re welcome to drop in and out during these times, so you don’t have to worry about being there ‘on time’. The toys start being tidied away about 11:45am, with a little sing song with musical instruments for the children whilst this happens.
Myself, Arthur (my two year old toddler) and Ada (my baby) attend Ebbsfleet Coffee Morning in Castle Hill most weeks when we can.
When you arrive, you are warmly welcomed – the group is run by Penny who is normally around, but if not, another member of the coffee morning team will be around to welcome you. There’s always lots of friendly faces so you never need to worry if you’re feeling nervous!
If you have a pram or need somewhere to pop your coats and bags down then there’s a big open foyer – I normally carry my baby on my front in her ergo baby carrier so that I have two hands free, but I leave her changing bag and Arthur’s travel potty in the foyer for easy access if I need them. (There’s a large accessible toilet with a baby change in if you need to sort your baby or children out!)
Usually on the left there are two tables – one where you can sign in (name and phone number) with the donations pot, and one stocked with refreshments. Refreshments are all free – there’s usually tea, coffee and water for the adults as well as drinks such as fruit shoots or Capri suns for the children. There’s also fruit and snacks, such as biscuits, all individually wrapped.
There are so many toys out for children, but my son normally heads straight for the trains and vehicles – he loves the big plastic track and driving the cars on the road rug. Recently, he’s also taken a great interest in the play kitchen and play food – he loves it when there are children of a similar age or older to role play with. I’m very lucky as he always makes me a lot of ‘yummy dinner’ whilst we’re there!
When I need to feed Ada, I normally go and sit on the chairs by the baby section to talk to other mums with babies – it’s great that I’m able to socialise with mums with babies and toddlers. I find that most baby and toddler groups are either aimed at babies OR toddlers – it’s so lovely to have somewhere local to go that is perfectly catered for them both. As a mum of two I sometimes feel pulled in two directions, but this is such a safe and friendly space that I feel totally at ease, and there’s always plenty of adults around to watch your little ones if you need to pop to the loo or take a phone call.
When I first started attending Ebbsfleet Coffee Morning, Arthur, my two year old, had barely socialised with children his own age. COVID and multiple lockdowns, as well as shielding during my high risk pregnancy with his little sister, meant that he had absolutely no idea how to behave or play with other children. He had no concept of sharing toys or taking turns. I was so nervous about this – and I won’t lie, when we first attended we had a few meltdowns and snatching incidents that I felt so embarrassed! The one thing that made me come back each following week, however, was how kind all the mums were – every time something like that happened, I would profusely apologise, but the other mum would be completely understanding and make me feel at ease! Everyone is just so kind – you don’t have any of the judgey ‘cliques’ that you sometimes get at stereotypical baby groups.
It’s not just mums that I’ve socialised with, though, and I love meeting and chatting to all members of the community no matter who they are – in fact, it’s often the highlight of my day and I feel so lucky to be able to socialise with such a vast array of people.
Overall, I cannot recommend Ebbsfleet Coffee Morning enough for anyone local! If you do try it out – come and find me and say hello!
PS – If you visit off the back of my recommendation, please tag me in your photos on Instagram and use the hashtag #JodetopiaInKent
Are you looking for other things to do with children in Castle Hill? Why not try Splat Messy Play or Musical Bumps which are both also held in the community centre!