London, and indeed the UK in general, has a thriving pub scene. Many pubs serve a hearty selection of tasty and traditional fare, and there is also a really wide array of gastro-pubs where great dining is as much of the whole experience. A lot of pubs cater well for kids too, such is the lively and welcoming pub scene. You may find places that have entire soft play areas inside and those that have terrific outdoor play grounds that are wonderfully enticing for a child. There are also those that have large outdoor beer gardens, great for kids to run and play in the warmer summer months. Many offer special child menus and a good amount have high chairs and baby changing facilities for even younger guests.
Whilst the law says that people cannot drink alcohol until the age of 18 but that people over the age of 16 can have a drink with a meal and that children are allowed in pubs up until a certain time, it is, ultimately down to the licensee or landlord to set their own rules as long as they are in keeping with the relevant laws. You may therefore find that some places do not allow kids at all, some will only allow underage teenagers if they are also eating, and others that will only serve alcohol to people aged 21 and over.
Pubs are often a great place to enjoy a delicious and reasonably priced lunch whilst enjoying a glass of one of the local beers. Whilst you certainly wouldn’t want to get drunk whilst out with the kids there are numerous places that sell a good array of craft beers, ales, bitters, and ciders, a glass of which can sometimes go down a real treat with your meal.
To avoid disappointment when in London and to be able to enjoy the famous pub scene without worrying about whether the kids will be happy or not, check out these five family friendly pubs in and around London:
Duke of York
Located in Barnet, the Duke of York is a popular spot with local families. You can enjoy a traditional roast dinner on a Sunday, although reservations are advised as it can get pretty busy. The beer garden is great for families as everyone can enjoy the sun and the kids can play under the watchful eye of their parents. As well as a separate children’s menu with smaller portions the pub also offers colouring and activity sheets and crayons to keep the little ones happy. A real olde-worlde atmosphere awaits, with warming fires in the winter months and lots of interesting old photos and traditional furnishings. You can find out more here.
You’ll find the Florence in Herne Hill. It boasts both indoor and outdoor play areas for young guests, making it a great choice whatever the weather. Children can also bring their favourite toys back to the table with them, meaning that they can play next to you whilst you eat … you don’t need to make them come away from playing or take turns to watch the kids whilst the other adults eat. There’s a children’s menu as well as kiddy cutlery! Adults might like the fact that there is a small onsite brewery. You can find out more and make a reservation atwww.florencehernehill.com.
The Narrow Boat
Who can resist dining on a converted narrow boat bobbing on the waters of the canal? Close to Angel Islington, this is a terrific place to take older kids. Whilst you won’t find large beer gardens and play areas, what you will find is a charming and relaxing place with great views over the canal, friendly and accommodating staff, delicious burgers (a speciality of the Narrow Boat), other tasty meals, and pretty walks close to hand. Oh, and did we mention that you get to eat on a boat?! Visit the website for more details.
This lovely pub in Islington not only dishes up great food, with a good variety to suit almost all tastes, but you can also hire board games to have a fun and leisurely afternoon playing together as a family. Another interesting feature is that it’s located underneath a theatre … with a long history, it was previously a great Victorian music hall that hosted shows by many famous faces from the past. You can find out more information here.
The Windmill on the Common
Sitting at the heart of Clapham Common, the Windmill on the Common serves an excellent assortment of pub fare favourites and you can ask for the portions to be made smaller for your little diners. Summertime barbecues are very popular. Spacious interiors and friendly staff help to create a warm welcome. You can also choose to sit outside and soak up the fresh air and nice views. There’s a terrific play area right next to the pub, which, although not part of the pub itself, is close enough for the kids to be able to enjoy whilst waiting for your food or enjoying a post-meal rest. Visit www.windmillclapham.co.uk/ for more details.
In addition to these five options, other excellent London pubs for families include The Drapers Arms, People’s Park Tavern, the Ivy House, the Eagle, and the Latchmere. Of course, there are also many, many more too!