Jordan’s Mill in Bedfordshire has been on my review to-do list for a while now. The post-Christmas lull seemed a perfect opportunity to check it out. I’ve described it as cereal’s equivalent of Cadbury’s world, but without the price tag. It doesn’t have any of the facilities, but it is the original home of Jordan’s cereal. Jordan’s Mill is just outside a little village called Broom, near Biggleswade and about 20 minutes from Bedford.
Within the grounds there’s a woodland area, meadow and mill gardens to explore. Dotted all around there’s information boards about the plants and wildlife you can find on site. There’s also a “let’s go wild” trail and “cereal safari.” Jordan’s Mill is all about food heritage and conservation and they present the information in a kid friendly way.
Jordan’s Mill Museum Review
The original mill is still working (which is pretty impressive) and there are two ways you can have a look around it. There’s a self guided tour (£2.50 per adult, under 16’s free) or there are the guided tours which are £5 per adult, under 16’s free. We did the self guided tour, but I really wish we’d had the chance to do the guided tour.
The Mill is set over four floors with a very small exhibition on each. There’s a video explaining what happens on that level and a floor to ceiling window to see it all in action. Annoyingly the bottom row of text on the videos is cut off! That means you only get to read part of the story.
You can only go into the machine rooms themselves if you’re on a guided tour. I completely understand why, but it was a shame as the kids really didn’t have any interest in just looking through the window. The owners of Jordan’s Mill have tried to make it more of a museum by telling you more about the history of the site, farming and the family etc but it is quite sparse. They have included some kid friendly elements such as a wheel you can spin and the bread shapes are hands-on but it’s not all singing-all dancing. It really just didn’t get their attention.
The descriptions I’ve seen of it did seem to oversell it somewhat. To show you what I mean, these two photos are the entirety of the first floor (with significant overlap between the two photos) and all floors are the same size. It was much smaller than I’d been expecting.
I actually found the mill fascinating and I really wish we’d been able to do the guided tour. It would be nice to hear more about how the machinery actually operates and I think the kids would have been more engaged with that. The thing to bear in mind is that it’s only a couple of quid per adult and it would be silly to go to Jordan’s Mill and not actually see the mill! We were in there for about 20 minutes until I got fed up of the (disinterested) kids messing around.
The restaurant and coffee bar
From things I have seen, I think they have had a bit of a re-design here recently. Both the restaurant and coffee bar at Jordan’s Mill are in the same building and share seating areas. You order your hot food and drinks from the restaurant but if you want cakes etc then you have to queue up at the coffee bar as well. Slightly frustrating for those people who wanted desert. That said, the food arrived quickly, it was reasonably priced and it was very nice. Disaster though, they’d run out of clotted cream! My “cream tea” was forced to become a scone with jam and tea for one. Sob. Good job the scone was yummy though!!
We spoke to four different members of staff here and they were all lovely. The lady who (didn’t) serve my (cream) tea was very apologetic. If it’s not December and cold outside there’s a lovely veranda alongside the river which looks like a brilliant spot for lunch on a nice day.
The mill shop and gardens
The shop acts as the entrance to the mill and sells the full range of Jordan’s cereals, as well as various other foods. It’s £2.50 per box of cereal so slightly cheaper than in the supermarkets (unless it’s on offer of course). This is also the start and end points for the various trails they run. The lady working in here was really lovely. That’s despite the fact that Smallest Child seemed to have gone on a shopping spree and had been secretly shoving things into the basket. Honestly, we haven’t had many family days out over Christmas because we’ve been visiting family etc and I think all three kids just needed “walking”. They’re like unruly puppies sometimes.
Anyway, back to the review of Jordan’s Mill gardens. They’re set out a bit like a mini farm, apparently shaped to reflect the flow of the River Ivel. We visited in December so there really wasn’t much to see but you could tell it must look beautiful in spring / summer. The garden is relatively small but they’ve packed a lot in.
The mill meadow
At this time of year it’s basically just a large patch of grass sadly. I have seen photos of it during the summer and it’s really pretty. It’s also a good place to spot the wildlife, including the resident kingfisher!
Again, I think “woodland” might be a slightly optimistic description, but this was the highlight for me. It’s not large, but they’ve got some lovely features in here. There’s a couple of bug hotels (always fascinating to Smallest Child), a little wooden car/cart, a den, a little table and chairs and a stepping stone trail. Today, this was exactly what we needed, and the kids loved it! I imagine that in the summer this is really lovely.
I really had to drag the kids away from here when Smallest Child needed a nap otherwise they could have stayed in here for ages. Thankfully there are a couple of benches for adults to sit on, if you do want to give the kids time to explore.
What else is there to do at Jordan’s Mill?
We were there for two hours today. If it had been a nicer day I imagine we would have been able to stay a lot longer. You can certainly stay a lot longer in spring / summer. It’s not an all-day family day out though. If you want to bulk out the day you can take a walk alongside the river or why not visit nearby Wrest Park?
Admission to the grounds, gardens, woodland and shop is FREE. Self guided tours of the mill are £2.50 per adult (under 16’s are FREE). The guided tours are only available at weekends and are £5 per adult (£5.50 including gift aid). You can pre-book by phone or on the day.
Parking / How to get there
Address – Holme Mills, Southill Road, Broom, Bedfordshire. SG18 9JX. Use SG18 9JY for sat nav. Keep going through the village when it tells you you’ve arrived (you haven’t yet) and follow the brown signs. There are full directions on their website.
Parking – There’s an accessible car park and a main car park onsite with free parking
There are toilets on-site, including baby change. There are motion activated lights in the disabled / baby change. Fun fact, in order to keep them on for longer than 2 minutes you need to basically be flailing all your limbs around! In the time it took me to change Smallest Child’s bum the lights went off three times. That was when she was co-operating! Goodness knows how many times we would have been plunged into darkness had she been kicking off.
There is the coffee bar and restaurant on site. There are signs up in the meadow saying no picnics are allowed. If you’re bringing your own food, it will have to be a car picnic I’m afraid. Or you could have lunch by the river, but off site.
Our Jordan’s Mill Review
4 / 5. In a way the mill itself is almost a footnote rather than the main attraction. I assumed I’d be going to do a review of the mill at Jordan’s Mill but actually the best bits for me were the outdoor spaces. Less than 1/6th of our time was spent in the mill!
It’s a small site, and I want to make that clear so people aren’t surprised. It is free to access most of the site, and the mill itself is really cheap. These both balance out what it is lacking in size. I really want to go back and see what it is like in spring / summer as I think it will be a totally different place then. Today we needed a cheap place to get out of the house and this was perfect for that. If you’re fairly local I’d say a visit any time of the year is worth it. If you’re travelling a bit further, and unlikely to return, then I’d suggest going when the gardens look their best.
I’m Vicky and I am a mum of three living in Aylesbury. I set up Free Time with the Kids to review free and cheap family days out in Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire, mainly because I kept forgetting all the fabulous places that were recommended to me!! I love getting out and about with the kids (and hubby of course) and we have adventures all over the place. My reviews tell you all the things you need to know about the family days out and activites we’ve done such as how much it costs, if there’s parking, toilets and if there’s a cafe or if picnics are allowed. I really hope you find the reviews helpful. If there’s anywhere that you’d recommend please get in touch email@example.com or get in touch via Facebook