Tell us about your Family Friendly moments and win £100 Matalan vouchers NOW CLOSED

(115 Posts)
carriemumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 16-Jul-13 14:14:36

We now have more than 20 companies signed up for Mumsnet's Family Friendly programme and we'd love to hear about any Family Friendly moments you have this summer - this could be great service from a company, store, family attraction, travel company etc or something in your workplace that's made family life better or easier for you.

Everyone who posts on this thread will be entered into a prize draw to win £100 Matalan vouchers. (Thanks to Family Friendly members Matalan). Closing date August 18th 2013.

Thanks and good luck,
Family Friendly Team

lindsey3uk Mon 19-Aug-13 20:32:59

Had fantastic family friendly service in Starbucks in Braintree Freeport (Essex) unusual to find children's toys in a Starbucks but they were there and kept the kids amused whilst we had a quiet ten minutes. Starbucks offer free babychino for children and as we asked for cream to be added we expected to pay for it but wasn't charged. They were polite and friendly and we didn't feel in the way at all. lots of buggy space - always a bonus, especially in a Starbucks.

MichelleMumsnet Netherlands (MNHQ) Mon 19-Aug-13 11:26:02

Hi all, thanks everyone for adding your thoughts to the thread. Congratulations to rusmum who has won the prize draw for £100 worth of Matalan vouchers.

Raahh Spain Fri 16-Aug-13 21:00:57

It's dd1's 7th birthday- she requested a trip to the Giraffe restaurant at the Trafford Centre, and it was great. They really bent over backwards to make it a really special meal, the usual colouring books etc, but staff who genuinely seemed to be interested. And children eat free til the 23rd August, (with an adult having a main course), so it was loads of fun, and great value too!

jimeyrose Fri 16-Aug-13 17:27:01

The Tavern in Tansley near Matlock are very child friendly. Never complain about the noise and mess and the staff are really friendly. Lots of highchairs available too.
Also Costa Coffee in Matlock were very helpful to my mother when she was babysitting my baby and toddler for me.

rachel19784 Fri 16-Aug-13 01:24:43

A fantastic Day and evening celebrating my Grandmothers 80th Birthday.
My auntie transformed her garden into a wonderland filled with about 40 tea lights and candles hung all around her magical looking garden.
The kids had a child friendly area to play in, the BBQ was on the go as well as every sort of food imaginable, Friends and family celebrated my grandmothers 80 years and it was so touching to see her reunited with old friends.When the music stopped playing( my Aunt's friend is a DJ, so we had a DJ in the garden) and we all sang 'Happy Birthday' it was very emotional and such a great day, her sick brother even came from his home 2 hours away as a surprise which really made her day.
My children met family members who hadn't seen them since they were babies.
This by far was the nicest, sweetest and most fun day we have had this Holiday.smile

lottietiger Thu 15-Aug-13 22:39:56

For family friendly it has to be The Flight Centre. I rang up to book a long haul flight for me, my husband & 7 month old son and without asking they called the airline and arranged a bassinet for the flight, a baby pack incl food & toys and a pushchair loan at our connecting airport. Absolutely fantastic service and they were cheaper than others smile

skyeskyeskye Thu 15-Aug-13 12:30:48

The Red Deer at Crediton. It is a Marstons pub and it has an outside play area and a small indoor play area. The staff are fantastic, they put families at one end and couples at the other, and minimise any complaints that way. The staff are great, they are helpful and friendly and have given DD things to play with. A drink was accidentally knocked over and they replaced it free of charge.

poorbutrich Tue 13-Aug-13 17:21:45

We have a noisy DS who doesn’t like to sit still, so I was quite nervous when our friends booked a table in Strada. As predicted, he didn’t want to sit in his chair and escaped out of the door. However, the staff were great and extremely patient. One thoughtfully brought over some nibbles for him and a glass of milk and they also provided some paper for him to draw on.

It’s great when companies have all of the facilities to entertain little people, but it’s their manner and attitude to children that really matters and I am very grateful to Strada for making it a lovely, relaxing evening when with the wrong staff, it could have been extremely stressful.

teabagpleb Tue 13-Aug-13 14:49:59

John Lewis are particularly good at asking if I need help with a tray etc, when I have a buggy and a walking child.

Some Pizza Express branches are great, depending on the staff - the Walton-on-Thames one deserved medals recently when my children and my parents dithered and fussed for hours. Others much less good - my nearest you have to ring a bell to get them to move a table aside and open the accessible door, and there's no baby change - though a while back the manager kindly offered DP his office to change ds on, on top of a pile of pizza boxes! Luckily it wasn't a nasty nappy. Staff since then have been dithery and unhelpful (taking half an hour to bring a kids' icecream and then causing meltdown as it was the wrong one) so haven't been for ages.

Actually one that really stands out is my local Carpet Direct, where the manager lent my 3yo his Iphone with an app that copied all noises made in a funny voice, so ds chatted to it for an hour while we debated measurements. Ds has also been encouraged to wheel trolleys of carpet from one end of the store to the other and back. The manager was still charming after I only bought carpet and arranged fitting elsewhere, and asks after the kids whenever I pass - sadly I don't need much carpet or I'd buy much more from them!

And local HSBC where staff have always been very happy for me to have business appts with a baby in tow and said I'm welcome to breastfeed or feed the baby there and to change a nappy on the floor if need be, and given me water.

A bit of thought from staff is more important than anything else - though facilities at places like the Horniman Museum are appreciated too.

SaltySeaBird Mon 12-Aug-13 07:47:58

The baby facilities at John Lewis are fab. We stopped at one of their home stores to break a long journey up and do an emergency nappy change. Was a lovely, large clean room, plenty of space with a nice changing area (not just a fold down plastic thing), comfy chairs for a private breast feed and a cold water machine with cups. Love John Lewis!

BoysWillGrow Fri 09-Aug-13 20:40:43

As the prize is for matalan this is about them. I went shopping there brought a few bits, realised when we got home i'd left something in the trolley back at the carpark (25miles away) anyway...
3 weeks later when i was in the area popped in and mentioned to staff had it been handed in, manager came over and gave me a free one. Very nice of them and they didn't have to smile

HannahLI Thu 08-Aug-13 13:59:06

We love the National Trusts wicken Fen, they always have lots going on for kids to participate in, the staff are always really friendly. Plus there is plenty to explore on the boardwalks and you can go back and do a different route time and time again!

YoureAllABunchOfBastards Wed 07-Aug-13 19:22:30

We love Seven Stories, too - amazing place, and staff are fabulous.

Premier Inn hotels deserve a vote too - best one with the kids has been Putney Bridge, where they were given free chocolate medals and colouring sheets.

Also Belton House - NT place - so many staff made time to talk to the kids about the puppets they made in the Discovery Centre, and the indoor play cafe is brilliant.

BikeRunSki Brazil Wed 07-Aug-13 06:22:44

Absolutely Cannon Hall Farm, for all.the reasons * seslight123* has given. I live nearby and we go.often.

Also, the Barnsley Metrodome sports centre. Ok, so.I have not used Amy of the sports fa ilitues apart from the pool, but the pool.is amazing! There' s an interlinkied leisure pool and length pool and a seperate toddler pool. Big family changing rooms,fb with safety seats and playpens to put children in when adults are getting changed! Fabulous slides in the main pool, and some of the best, most patient swimming instructors ever. All sorts of swimming lessons. My DC have been going since they were a couple of months old each, and my 4 yo is just swimming confidently.without aids. OK food in the bar, lots of highchairs, staff will carry trays etc happily. The entry fee includes a swim nappy too. They do offers on.family entry for swimming and bowling, so when tgevdc are older I fully intend to have whole days there doing that. And they let yoy take pushchairs to the pool side, handy when dd was tiny and DS had a lesson.

rusmum Tue 06-Aug-13 23:32:25

Wheelgate Mansfield, always have great things for kids to do, staff are friendly and helpful. Annual passes so good value

fie181 Tue 06-Aug-13 22:19:18

Seven stories in Newcastle upon Tyne. Seven story building of fun, books, exhibitions, story time, craft sessions and more.cafe not the greatest but ok .

Mumtochops12 Tue 06-Aug-13 21:48:04

Creswell crags in between Mansfield and Worksop, Nottinghamshire is a brilliant place for kids! First visit there last week and thoroughly impressed. Lots of information on the crags and you can even go inside the caves on a guided tour. Lovely play area for children and throughout the holidays they seem to have activities going on. Also really nice little cafe, quite pricey as visitors centre cafes usually are but food looked nice, can only comment on the coffee we had there! It's a free day out, all they ask for is a £2 contribution to help maintain the area, well worth it. Brilliantly clean baby change facilities too, you can't say that about a lot of places these days!

Family friendly and basic human kindness - my aunt and I went out for lunch to a family run Chinese restaurant in my home town. I'd had 6 weeks of DS1 crying with colic and having problems with breast feeding after labour complications.

The moment we sat down and ordered, DS woke up and started yelling for a feed. I fed him and then tried to wrangle baby and duck wraps.

The owner of the restaurant came over to us and told me I had a beautiful baby, and how much she missed her own grandchildren as they were in China. She said she had some accounts to do on the table next to us but that she would be honoured to hold DS and chat to him whilst we ate. I could have sobbed. She sat near enough to us that I felt DS was close, but o that we could still have a bit of privacy. She then ordered desserts for us on the house "to help with the breast feeding". It was the best customer service I have ever had, and just what I needed at the time.

Suffice to say it is still my restaurant of choice.

poachedeggs Tue 06-Aug-13 20:20:47

DH was in Carphone Warehouse last week with both DC in tow, and the assistant gave them a demo phone each. They came home 'texting and taking calls', delighted with themselves - I thought that was really nice and way beyond what I've come to expect from high street phone retailers who I now avoid due to terrible service. I've had a rethink about Carphone Warehouse though!

Chopsypie Tue 06-Aug-13 19:40:12

Seven stories centre for children's books in Newcastle. I know it's aimed at kids anyway, but every thing was amazing. Artwork was low on the walls, baskets of books ad dressing up stuff at random points and exhibits which were engaging for all ages. Toilets came in 3 sizes and I was given a cushion and offered a glass of water whilst breast feeding in one of there dress up areas. Always an amazing day out, and the staff are always helpful and spoke to the children as well as the adults. I can't praise it highly enough

ineedtogetoutmore Tue 06-Aug-13 18:23:55

mines a slightly different family moment about how my husbands workplace have helped us so much over summer.

I'm pregnant and found out at 13 weeks pregnant I needed to have an operation this was booked in for 2 days later. my dh's employer is a small employer and have to plan holidays well in advance in order to meet deadlines.

despite having no notice his boss allowed him to take 2 weeks annual leave so he could be with me and care for our dd. even though this meant the company had to deal with custoners who were pretty upset at being delayed.

since my dh has gone back to work even though he has used up all his annual leave his company have allowed him to still attend any scans and appointments with me as I'm currently not able to drive allowing him to make up time by working from home in the evenings or weekends.

because of how great my husbands boss has been we have been able to attend scans etc as a family and as they've let him catch up on work from home we haven't missed out on any time together as a family.

Mandy21 Tue 06-Aug-13 18:15:48

We love Manchester Aquatic Centre. It caters for little ones with a very shallow pool, with slides, water shoots. Its right in the centre of town, very cheap, has a lovely café where you can take a picnic and was really welcome during the hot spell. For more competent swimmers the main pool is huge and its just a really family friendly place.

xalyssx Germany Tue 06-Aug-13 17:24:07

Nasons department store in Canterbury is amazing for service, the staff are always willing to help but they don't go overboard. The man in the toy shop is always very friendly and jokes about with the children. It truly is a pleasure to purchase things from there and my son always looks forward to visiting.

afromom Tue 06-Aug-13 16:56:20

Cattle county in Gloucestershire is a favourite with us. Great for children from toddler to teen and the adults can get involved too! Loads of soft play, death slides, canoe safari, biggest climbing net in the UK (built by DS's friends Dad!), lots of space for picnics and loads more. And what's even better is that pretty much everything is included in the entry price, which isn't bad value for a day out.

As a child one if my favourite holiday days out was the Dart Country Park in Devon! We went loads of times over the years and never got bored!

Without doubt, The Book Nook in Hove. Independent children's bookshop with cafe and a pirate ship! Regular NCT coffee mornings as well as fabulous story times. Can stay there for hours!

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