Eight of the best pubs where you can take your kids and be guaranteed a stress-free time. They all serve food and excellent real ales. All will warm up bottles and have nappy changing facilities. A word of advice: it¹s always best to call ahead if you are travelling a long distance, just to make sure opening times haven’t changed.
The Old Station House Inn
Blackmoor Gate, Kentisbury EX31 4NW; tel: 01598 763520; opening Times: 11-11;
12.10.30 (Sun); directions: six miles south west of Lynton at the junction of
the A39, A399 and B3226 Popular pub on the edge of Exmoor with a timber play area. Food ranges from a standard kids menu to small portions of the main menu (excellent homemade pizzas and pasta). Full nappy changing facilities, microwaves at the bar for
bottle and food warming and the pub sells baby food at reasonable prices. The
staff hand out colouring books to children as they wait for their food. Nearby
attractions include the Exmoor Zoological Park.
Five Miles From Anywhere No Hurry Inn
Old School Lane, Upware CB7 5ZR; tel: 01353 721654; fax: 01353 722425; email:
opening times: 11-3, 7-11 (12.30am Wed, 2am Fri, Sat); closed Mon; 11-2am summer
Sat; 12-10.30 Sun; directions: two miles off A1123, between Wicken and Stretham
Unique modern pub which sits beside the River Cam. Children are allowed everywhere,
though during the summer it would be hard to keep them away from the large secure
play area with a tree house, slide, swing and other play activities, as well
as a large bouncy castle. Excellent for walks, especially at Wicken Fen National
Nature Reserve, with its nature trails and children¹s activities.
Niton Road, Rookley PO38 3NZ; tel: 01983 840314; www.chequersinn-iow.co.uk;
opening times: 11-11; 12-10.30 Sun; directions: off A3020
Popular and busy family-friendly pub with children allowed in the no-smoking family room and the sunny lounge, where there is a Lego table and colouring books. Outside in the secure garden there’s a play area for the young plus a climbing frame, swings etc for their older siblings. Well placed for country walks, while there’s a model village several miles down the A3020 at Godshill.
The White Horse
1-3 Parsons Green SW6 4UL; tel: 0207 736 2115; www.whitehorsesw6.com;
opening times: 11-11; 12-10.30 Sun
Former Victorian coaching inn which is very popular for its food and selection of beers. The landlord has two youngsters and children are allowed in all the areas where food is served which amounts to the whole pub. Outside the pub there¹s a large seated area where there are occasional summer barbecues. Keep an eye on children as the area is open onto the road. No nappy-changing facilities as such, but the pub say that the loos are big enough or if you ask they will direct you to a space upstairs. No kids¹ menu but smaller portions of what the landlord calls Œreal food¹ are served. Excellent chips. Very handy for getting to places like South Kensington with its museums and Kings Road.
The Barn at Mwyndy
Cardiff Road, Mwyndy CF72 8PJ; tel: 01443 222333; opening hours: 11-3, 5-11
(11-11 Sat); 12-10.30 Sun; directions: M4 jct 34, up A4119, through two sets
of lights, 100 yards on right filter lane; down lane, pub on right hand side.
Award-winning converted 16th-century barn. Children are allowed anywhere in
the split-level bar pub, though parents are requested not to let them run about.
Outside there¹s a large, secure beer garden with a play area. A clown performs
occasionally during the summer. The kids¹ menu at £2.25 is very well-priced,
especially as ice cream is thrown in. Young diners are also given colouring
pencils and paper. In the immediate area there is a farm park and many walks,
while attractions a short drive away include the Museum of Welsh Life at St Fagans.
27 Baird Road, Ratho EH28 8RA; tel: 0131 3331320; www.bridgeinn.com;
opening times: 11-11 (midnight Fri, Sat); 11-11 Sun
Only minutes from junction 2 on the M8 and just a short distance from Edinburgh
Airport yet the Bridge sits in rolling countryside alongside the Union Canal.
Landlord Ronnie Rusack MBE pioneered the idea of Children’s Licensees in Scotland so it’s not surprising that this old inn is a deeply family-friendly place. Children are allowed in the comfortable no-smoking family room in the ‘Pop Inn’ lounge where toys and books are available. Outside there’s a well-stocked play area which includes a carousel. It is described as ‘parent-powered’! A popular canalside inn which has its own restaurant canal boats which offer a variety of cruises on the Union Canal, including ones for children parties and the Santa cruise at Christmas.
Fancott near Toddington LU5 6HT; tel: 01525 872366; email:
email@example.com; opening times: 11-11; 12-10.30 Sun; directions:
off the M1, jct 12
During weekends and school holidays in the summer, the garden at the back of
the Fancott is a hive of industry as the Fancott Light Railway takes the strain.
The enterprising folks who run this friendly 200-year-old pub have a miniature
train (ŒHerbie) and carriage on which children take a ride as it does a circuit of the garden. As you can imagine, this is very popular and while they¹re waiting for the next ride, there’s a big climbing frame that looks like a castle, complete with wobbly bridge, on which they can work off their energies. As if that¹s not enough, there’s a football pitch at the end of the garden and footballs can be hired for a deposit of £5 – how are you ever going to get them to leave! Ideal for stopping off from the M1, while Whipsnade and Woburn are also within easy driving distance.
41 Sandbach Road, Rode Heath ST7 3RW; tel: 01270 875670; opening times:
12-11; 12-10.30 Sun
Very family-friendly pub which was built in the 19th century. Children are allowed everywhere though it would be hard for them to resist the large, gated and fenced garden where there¹s a big play area including swings, a slide and even go-karts. Further family fun occurs during the two regular beer festivals which are held over the Easter weekend and August bank holiday. As well as a goodly selection of real ales for mum and dad, there is usually a bouncy castle and a magician for the kids. Based in good walking country.