When most couples become parents, they often become resigned to the fact that their days of Friday night dinners out and lazy Sunday brunches are behind them. Going out to eat isn’t quite the same relaxing experience when you have a toddler in tow.
But little people have to eat too, and you don’t have to give up on the idea of eating out entirely. Family-friendly cafes and restaurants are the answer to every parents’ prayer, with a dedicated menu of kid-friendly food, toys and activities to keep them busy, plenty of high chairs and clean changing facilities for babies, and staff who are as warm and welcoming to children as they are to other customers.
We’ve rounded up five of the best child-friendly cafes and restaurants in London, so you can make eating out with the whole family an enjoyable experience, whatever their ages.
1. Bear + Wolf
Tufnell Park’s Bear + Wolf Café was founded by a foodie dad who couldn’t find anywhere to eat with his toddler that both offered plenty of toys and activities and great, healthy food.
The entire back room of this café is an inviting play space (no dingy corner with a few broken toys here!) so mums and dads can bring their little ones and enjoy a coffee in peace when they need a change of scenery.
Up front, the café has large, family-style tables and tempting bakery treats on display. The menu pleases both kids and adults alike with a variety of toasted sandwiches, fresh salads, smoothie bowls and ice cream milkshakes. For the pickiest kids, there are old favourites included like beans on toast and egg & soldiers.
Open 7.30am – 5.30pm Monday to Friday, and 8.30am – 5.30pm Saturday and Sunday.
153 Fortess Rd, Tufnell Park, London, NW5 2HR
2. Hygge Pygge Café
This Camden café has embraced the Danish concept of Hygge to create a cosy, family-friendly space that kids and adults alike will enjoy spending an hour or two.
There’s a fenced-off play area with plenty of toys, beanbags, and children’s books downstairs, so you don’t need to worry about your toddler running off. The lower floor also doubles as a community space, and there are organised activities such as mum and baby yoga, kids drama, and Montessori baby classes.
You can get a great coffee here, and the menu is full of tasty treats for all ages, with the all-day brunch taking centre stage. There’s beer and wine for the grown-ups too!
Open 7.30am – 5.30pm Monday to Friday, and 9am – 6pm Saturday and Sunday.
37 Chalk Farm Rd, Chalk Farm, London, NW1 8AJ
3. Yummy Yummy in My Tummy
This Stoke Newington café is designed specifically for kids, and is a sister café to the popular brunch spot, Café Z next-door. The ground floor hosts a spacious café, and there’s soft play, toys, and a space for regular kids’ art classes downstairs.
There’s a dedicated kids menu that includes baby food, a variety of kid-pleasing breakfasts, fresh fruit juices, and simple meals like mini meatballs, and chicken and cheese wrap.
Adults can enjoy great coffee, courtesy of Shoreditch’s Nude Coffee Roasters, sample a cake from La Belle Epoque patisserie, and order from the full Café Z menu, which is famous for its delicious Turkish breakfasts
Open 7am – 7pm Monday to Sunday.
56 Stoke Newington High St, London, N16 7PB
Looking for a family-friendly spot for dinner? Try Roka in Canary Wharf. This contemporary Japanese restaurant offers a sophisticated ambience and menu for adults, but is equally welcoming to the smallest members of the family.
Unusual for some restaurants, Roka even has a play area to keep the little ones entertained while you’re waiting for your food.
Sunday brunches are also a popular option here, with enough food on offer to please even the largest appetites. Adults get all-you-can eat sushi and robata grill, and kids under 10 get a free bento box and drink.
Park Pavilion, 4, 40 Canada Square, London, E14 5FW
It may be a chain, but Wahaca is miles away from unhealthy fast food and bland menus. This Mexican restaurant has their own kids’ menu with toned-down spice. The build-your-own tacos option is a particular favourite with older children, and come with apple or orange fizz or organic milk.
There’s no need to balance your baby on your lap, as they provide high-quality Stokke highchairs, and the staff seem to genuinely love kids. The kids’ menu also doubles up as a colouring sheet to give you a few minutes of peace before the food arrives.
Various locations across London.
Check website for addresses and opening times.