Top Family Friendly Restaurants in London by School Age

Photo courtesy of Disney Cafe Harrods

All parents have been there… That moment when you walk into a restaurant with your child or children and other diners look at you like you are carrying a ticking bomb. Going out for a meal with kids can be a minefield and a restaurant that is family friendly is just the beginning. But fear not parental warriors, for here is our guide to the coolest age appropriate places in London to keep your mini me out of trouble, entertained and well fed.

Pre Schoolers

At this age children are growing at a scaringly rapid rate, so good growing fuel is imperative. They are also constantly learning and exploring the world around them, hence the incredible love for movement and anything colourful or different.

Stepney City Farm

Photos courtesy of Rowena MacCuish (Scruptious Food Photography) and Stepney City Farm

Photos courtesy of Rowena MacCuish (Scruptious Food Photography) and Stepney City Farm

Yes, you read that right. There is a farm in the middle of London’s East End and it’s free to visit! Your little one will not only be able to pet and feed the animals, but they can also play on scooters and mini tractors, learn a little about rural arts and craftsmanship and, of course, eat! Stepney City Farm has an award winning cafe that offers the best of seasonal farm food and cooks as much as it can in house, think home cured ham and freshly baked bread.
It also hosts a farmers’ shop and market, so you can even bring the spoils back to your serviced apartment for a snack later! If you child likes a quiet corner or reading, the Cafe is home to a children’s library. If they like to get involved and exploring, it’s worth checking the Stepney’s event calendar as they are always hosting different events and exhibitions. If you have older children, there is an important message here about communities clubbing together to preserve heritage and the countryside.

 This is a working farm, so it closes early. To get the best of it, go in the morning. While there is no entry fee, you will pay separately to feed the animals (usually around £1 per feed bag), use the toys and dine.

Address: Stepney Way, London E1 3DG

Phone number: 020 7790 8204

Cafe Opening Hours: Wed – Sun 10am to 2:45pm for hot food

Farm Opening Hours: Tue – Sun 10am to 4pm

Price*: £5 kids’ meal deal

Eddie Catz

With various locations across London, this is the ideal place if your child is feeling a little restless. Here you will be able to set them loose and let them burn any stored energy. Each site has a soft and secure play area split by age groups to avoid bumps and crashes. It’s worth checking their website to see if they have any special events going on too, as they host of few throughout the year and even out of school holidays. Once your little one has burned some steam, their cafes buy organic and local as much as they can, focus on healthy eating and have a good selection on the menu including vegetarian options as well as nut and gluten free goodies. All Eddie Catz venues also cater for different age groups, some from babies all the way up to 12 year olds, so if you have children in different age groups, check if the venue you are intending to visit caters for all of them.

Indoor play areas tend to be quite noisy, think dozens of over excited children contained in a giant climbing frame screaming with joy, so if you or your child don’t enjoy noisy places, this might not be the place for you. There is an entry fee for adults and children if you are eating or not and prices depend if rather or not you visit at peak times. However, they do offer a meal deal package that includes food and play. Check the age limits for particular venues as some have a lower age limit than others. If you are having food, play sessions are limited to 2 hours. If not, the session’s duration is 90 minutes.

Address: various locations

Phone number: 020 3475 5268

Opening Hours: check individual venues as opening times vary from venue to venue

Price*: £9.50 or £8.50 child play & eat meal deal depending on venue, please check individual venues for details

Little Dinosaurs

Little Dinosaurs is the green hideaway. Set in Alexandra Park, it is surrounded by greenery and, in addition to the indoor soft play area, it has an enclosed garden and veranda for nicer days, when you can soak up the vitamin D while your mini me burns some energy. The cafe focuses on healthy homemade food and has a selection of organic goodness. They are also open for breakfast! Here, the fun starts early.

 Little Dinosaurs is not really near any tube or train stations, but they do have a free car park (you don’t hear the words “free car park” very often in London!) or you could have a lovely walk in the park on your way to get there. There is a height and age restriction for entry so, if one of your children is close to 9 years old or particularly tall, make sure they can actually play. All playing sessions last a maximum of 2 hours if you are having food and you need to check they are not hosting a private event before you set off. There is an entry fee per child if you are dining or not and prices depend if rather or not you visit at peak times.

Address: Alexandra Park, London N22 7AY

Phone number: 020 8444 1338

Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 9.30am to 5.30pm; Sat – Sun 10am to 6pm

Price*: £2 – £6.50 kids’ menu

Disney Cafe at Harrods

Every parent knows the joy of having Disney films on repeat. Here, they jump out of the screens and adorn every corner, making the decor ring a bell with the youngest of Disney fans. The menu includes hot dishes as well as soups, sandwiches, salads and Mickey shaped toasties. After your meal, if you are feeling brave, you can also shop the Disney store inside Harrods, with its lifesize characters statues. If you have a little girl, the princesses’ corner is quite impressive. If you recently had a Disney overdose, there is no need to despair. Harrods has become a London attraction for its extravagant decor, glamour, amazing window displays and the memorial to Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed, so there is plenty for grown ups to see too.

 Harrods is not a cheap store. If you are on a budget, a meal here might set you back a considerable few pounds in comparison to other places. If you are visiting the Disney Cafe, take a meal deal and avoid going just for nibbles or drinks as the individual prices can be quite high. 

Address: 4th Floor, Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road, London SW1X 7XL

Phone number: 020 7730 1234

Opening Hours: Mon – Sat 11am to 7pm; Sun 11.30am 6pm

Price*: £6.50 – £10 kids’ menu

Cubana

Photos courtesy of Cubana

Photos courtesy of Cubana Smithfield

Family friendly during the day, Cubana is the ideal venue if you have children of different ages. A mix of Latin American, Cuban, Spanish, Caribbean, French and African food and boasting a vibrant and colourful decor, it has enough to keep small children absorbed and older children interested. Menu wise you can chose from main courses, a children’s meal deal or tapas and Cubana has a passion for ethically sourced ingredients, focusing on free-range meats and eggs, local, single-origin or organic sourcing. They even make their own gelatos! There are two locations in London – Waterloo and Smithfield, with Cubana Smithfield now child friendly too. A super cool place to start encouraging the kids to explore different foods and experiment.

Cubana is also a nightlife venue, serving cocktails and becoming quite lively at night, so they kindly request that children finish in the restaurant by 10pm. They will open exceptions for special family occasions and celebrations.

Address: Cubana Smithfield, 59 Charterhouse St, London EC1M 6HA

Phone number: 020 7490 1209 (Smithfield)

Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 8am to 9.30pm

Price*: £7 kids’ meal deal

Byron Hamburgers

Byron is the fresher, dare we say it, healthier version of the children’s favourite golden arches. Although the meal combo is more expensive than a happy meal, this burger will elevate your children’s idea of what a hamburger should taste like. Call it education and say it’s part of their foodie curriculum. Menu wise, they have a meal deal for kids called Mini Byrons which comes with carrot and cucumber sticks as well as the usual main, side and drink set. With branches in many locations in London and speaking the intergenerational language of hamburger-nese, Byron is ideal for families with small and older children.

Address: various locations

Phone number: 020 7092 0600

Opening Hours: check individual venues as opening times vary from venue to venue

Price*: £6.50 kids’ meal deal

 

Primary Schoolers

Children at primary school are starting to explore other cultures, the natural world and history. They are still very curious and start recalling and connecting things that they have learned at different times and situations.

 

The Rainforest Cafe

Photography by Dan Martin

Photos by Dan Martin

World famous, the Rainforest Cafe aims to bring a taste of the Amazon to the centre of London. Recreating the feeling of the rainforest through the decor and special effects (see virtual tour), the restaurant aims to create a truly unforgettable experience and it is a strong advocate for preserving and protecting the rainforest. You won’t be short of things to see and talk about here! You won’t be short of yummy things to eat either. From smoothies to an extensive allergy sensitive menu, there is plenty of choice. And if it all fails, you can always make your own pizza.

The Rainforest Cafe is similar to a themed park and, while you dine, you will watch a type of a show with all the special effects. So it’s no surprise that a meal here it’s reasonable, but not as cheap as in some other places. It’s worth the money, though, and it is not something the kids will forget. 

Address: 20 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 7EU  

Phone number: 020 7434 3111

Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 12pm to 10pm; Sat – Sun 11.30am to 10pm

Price*: £12.75 or £15.95 kids’ meal deal

Wahaca

Photos courtesy of Wahaca

Wahaca aims to bring real Mexican street food to London using fresh ingredients and balancing healthy eating with hearty eating. For kids this is a way to explore a different culture. The decor is vibrant, colourful and arty. There are various branches in London and every restaurant is uniquely decorated with Mexican street art. Wahaca has also teamed up with Flying Eye Books and Kentish Town, Brixton, Islington, Wimbledon and White City branches all host a children’s mini-library. Menu wise, they have a good selection and cater to gluten intolerances. They also have a children’s meal deal with fun choices that follow the grown up ones. So if you fancy having a coffee or tea at the end of your meal, you mini me can have a babyccino.

The Canary Wharf branch has a naked woman on the their street art. It’s very modest and the most innocent child might not pick up on it, but the more savvy watcher will.

Address: various locations

Phone number: contact individual venues directly

Opening Hours: check individual venues as opening times vary from venue to venue

Price*: £5.25 kids’ meal deal

Kidspace

Photos courtesy of Kidspace

Kidspace is an adventure play zone. Think floors of adventure driven climbing frames, video games, go karting, wall climbing and dance machines all included in the admission price. And of course, there is food! Kidspace is home to Pod Pizzeria in the Croydon branch and Hobnosh in Romford, serving all the typical options – pasta, salads, burger and made to order pizzas as well as smoothies and milkshakes. So while your child plays, you can enjoy a glass of wine or a beer, or… You could become a kid yourself and get in on the fun! There are also facilities for younger siblings.

As with all indoor play zones, there is a time limit on the admission ticket of 2.5 hours, but you can extend this to 4 hours for an extra fee. Meal deals including food and play are available and you can buy your ticket online to receive a discount, but both adults and kids have to pay an admission fee.

Address: branches in Croydon and Romford

Phone number: contact individual venues directly

Opening Hours: check individual venues as opening times vary from venue to venue

Price*: £8.25 to £14.45 eat & play meal deal depending of venue and if you are an adult or child

Inamo

Photos courtesy of Inamo

Japanese restaurant Inamo takes digital to dining. All tabletops here double up as giant tablets and you order your food and drinks by flicking through an illustrated menu and tapping your choice. While you wait, you can redecorate your table by choosing different backdrops, play games or even watch the chefs prepare your food via livestreaming. And when you are ready to leave, you just tap for the bill. Apart from the obvious, the beauty of Inamo is that it allows kids to try a different cuisine knowing what to expect, as they see a picture of the food beforehand. You should also have a quiet meal while they try to figure out how the table works! For the more tech curious, there are two branches – one in Covent Garden, which uses tablets to order the food, and one in Soho, which uses projections of the menu.

Good sushi is never cheap and Inamo is not different. So while it might look more expensive than a regular restaurant, the prices are actually not bad for sushi. Watch out for raw fish and nut content if you child is allergic.

Address: branches in Covent Garden and Soho

Phone number: contact individual venues directly

Opening Hours: check individual venues as opening times vary from venue to venue

Price*: £5.50 to £37.50 normal menu

All Star Lanes

We are going around the world on this list! Think American vintage dinner meets bowling alley, but the posh version. With a few locations around London, at All Star Lanes you can have a family bowling championship then enjoy a meal in the restaurant where you can choose from a selection of classic American dishes (including freshly baked American pretzels!) or you can build your own burger. You will be able to opt for a kids’ meal deal that includes a game of bowling and All Stars have lighter bowling balls, ramps and bumpers available to help your child play. A small selection of vegetarian options are also available.

All Star Lanes doesn’t really open until lunchtime for all venues. In smaller venues where the number of lanes is limited, bowling lanes are reserved for diners only during peak times, so avoid peak times if you don’t intend to dine. All under 18s must be supervised by an adult and children are requested to leave the bowling lanes by 6pm, although they are still very welcomed in the restaurant after this time. Make sure you and the kids are wearing socks if you want to play a game, as you will be required to wear special bowling shoes.

Address: various locations

Phone number: contact individual venues directly

Opening Hours: check individual venues as opening times vary from venue to venue

Price*: £15 kids’ eat & play meal deal

One Aldwych

Photos courtesy of One Aldwych

This is the pièce de résistance and it will set you back a few pounds, but if you want to have the traditional English afternoon tea in style or if you are a tea lover, it will not get any better than this. Bring Roald Dahl’s famous story to life with the One Aldwych’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea – nibble away on sandwiches, sweets and candy floss, while sipping on your choice of tea, all inspired by this internationally famous story. For grown-ups, you can add some bubbles to your afternoon by paying a little extra and making it a Champagne or Cocktail Charlie. You have just found your golden ticket!

The One Aldwych is a beautiful hotel and while they are quite child friendly, if you have a particularly boisterous or mischievous brood, this venue might not be suitable. Not for the children or the hotel, but because this is a lavish eating experience and you want to make sure you can sit back, relax and enjoy it to the full. The afternoon tea here will cost you at least £27 per person. There are special prices for children, but this depends of the age of the child and how busy they are. You will also have to book ahead, as the One Aldwych is fully booked for afternoon tea at the weekends 4 to 5 months in advance. If you are travelling to London soon, pick a weekday in order to have a chance to get in.

Address: One Aldwych, London WC2B 4BZ

Phone number: 020 7300 0400

Afternoon Tea is Served at: Mon – Sat 12.30pm – 3.30pm; Sun 12.30pm to 4.30pm (tea seatings are for two hours)

Price*: £37.50 adults and £27.50 children under 12

High Schoolers & Teens

This is the phase where as a parent you are so uncool, the word uncool itself shows just how old-fashioned and uncool you are. In order to impress and get your teen off the smartphone, you will have to pull some serious tricks out of the bag. We have gone around the world to bring you some options.

Five Guys

Photos by Chicago Photographer Tyler Mallory

Photos by Chicago Photographer Tyler Mallory

Five Guys is the ideal choice if you have a fussy eater teen as you can build your own burger to incredible detail and it is cooked fresh for you. Your chips won’t even go in until your burger is ready, so this is as fresh as it gets for a burger and chips. Five Guys also have pop machines that allow you to jazz up your fizzy drink with over one hundred combinations of fruity flavour. You can do the same with your milkshake choice, albeit at a smaller scale. In a hurry? You can order and pay online and pop in to collect and eat.

Five Guys has amazing burgers, but it’s not cheap depending of how you pack it up. Having said that, you will not regret it one bit. The burgers here look and taste exactly like the picture. Tables are not reserved so it’s first come first served even if you order online.

Address: various locations

Phone number: 0800 0833 005

Opening Hours: Mon – Sun 11am to 10pm

Price*: It depends what you add to your burger, but a little hamburger (with not extras), fries and a drink will work out at around £11.25

Yo! Sushi

Yo! Sushi Mini Ninja Sushi Classes

Yo! Sushi Mini Ninja Sushi Classes

Japanese food on conveyor belts. You can just sit and eat straight away or order hot food from the menu. Each dish is colour coded with coloured plates that symbolise the price of the portion on said plate. Starting at £2 and going up to £8 per plate, you can eat as little or as much as you want, although we have found that a minimum of 4 plates per person normally applies. Still and sparkling water are on tap and free, but other drinks are extra. There are plenty of vegetarian options and all portions are small, so you can try something new without getting stuck. The restaurants are also decorated with mad Japanese art, so manga lovers might find it interesting. If you don’t want to eat in, you can order and take away and they have a child friendly menu and chopsticks in case you have a younger sidekick.

Sushi is not cheap, so you might be looking at a sizable bill if you and your teen are particularly ravenous. In Yo! Sushi you also tend to sit at a bar, rather than at a table, so there is a very strong likelihood that you will be sat quite close to a stranger. Having said that, most restaurants have booth tables and if you are willing to wait, you might be seated on one of them.

Address: various locations

Phone number: contact individual venues directly

Opening Hours: check individual venues as opening times vary from venue to venue

Price*: depends of how much and what you eat, but dishes cost from £2 to £8 per portion

Homeslice

Photos by Charlie McKay

With three locations in London, this restaurant is any pizza lover’s dream. You can buy the whole 20” pizza and share the love or you can buy it by the slice and mix and match. The beauty of Homeslice lays on the fact that you can eat as much or as little as you want for a good price, there are some really quirky flavours on the menu and the pizzas are baked on a wood oven. What does that mean? Italian wood pizza ovens are the proper way to bake a pizza. It’s an art form and gives the pizza a different taste and texture. You can’t go wrong with a pizza and a teenager.

They only sell the top three options on the menu by slice. If you want something specific you will have to order a 20” pizza. Each restaurant also has it’s own menu, so you might not find the same pizza across all of them.

Address: branches in Covent Garden, Fitzrovia and Shoreditch

Phone number: contact individual venues directly

Opening Hours: Mon – Sat 12pm to 11pm; Sun 12pm to 10pm

Price*: £4 a slice and £20 for a full 20″ pizza

Planet Hollywood

Bring the movies to life at Planet Hollywood, especially if your teen is a Bond, Terminator, Rocky, Rambo or Star Wars fan. With memorabilia hanging on every wall, there is plenty to take selfies of. Menu wise, all the favourites are on offer – sandwiches, pizzas, burgers, pasta, salads and grills. There is also a children’s menu, smoothies and an extensive gluten free menu.

 Anything attached to Hollywood cost a little higher, so be prepared to pay around £12 for a sandwich. Planet Hollywood is also located close to the Trocadeiro in London, so it’s tourists’ holy ground and it could be really busy, especially later on in the day.

Address: 57-60 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4QX

Phone number: 020 7287 1000

Opening Hours: Mon – Sat 11.30am to midnight; Sun 11.30am – 11pm

Price*: £9.25 kids’ meal deal

Belgo Soho

Belgo - Food and Interior

Photos courtesy of Belgo Soho

Famous for their decor, underground eating halls, Belgium beers, mussels and rotisserie chicken, Belgium restaurant Belgo is another cool hang out teens might appreciate. The Soho branch has a particular gothic rock-pop look with their vaulted booths and picture covered walls. Every room is different and tells a story. Menu wise, Belgo is quite straightforward. The menu is not huge, their offering is focused – they offer a couple of staples with the option to change what they come with, but they do it extremely well. A kid’s menu is available and they are also very thorough on their allergen menu. For grown ups only… they serve 52 types of crafted beers!

Belgo Soho has a big eating area underground. Think low vaulted ceilings with no windows. If you don’t like this type of space, try Belgo Bromley or Holborn. These restaurants also get quite lively later on in the day, especially at weekends, so if you have a younger counterpart, you might prefer to go earlier in the day.

Address: Belgo Soho, 29-31 Old Compton Street, London W1D 5JR

Phone number: 020 7437 7284

Opening Hours: Mon – Sat 12pm to midnight; Sun 12pm to 11.30pm

Price*: £5.99 kids’ meal deal

Masala Zone

This Indian jewel has several locations in London and aims to bring real Indian street food to the capital. The walls of each restaurant are covered with different types of art, from Rajasthan puppets hanging from the ceiling to Indian tribal, poster and pop art, so this is the ideal place for an arty teen or one that loves to explore different cultures. Food wise, there is plenty of choice and prices are very reasonable.

The kids’ meal deal offers both Indian and mainstream options, but if you would like your child to try something new and they don’t like herbs/spice seasoning or strong flavours, you can always ask them to make a plain dish or to recommend mild options. Please note that some of the restaurants close in between 3pm and 5.30pm.

Address: various locations

Phone number: contact individual venues directly

Opening Hours: check individual venues as opening times vary from venue to venue and most venues close in between 3pm and 5.30pm

Price*: kids’ meal deal – £4.90 for 1 course and £5.90 for 2 courses not including drinks

 

*prices taken at the time this article was published and used as a guideline only

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