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What makes a family friendly pub? Share and you could win £100 NOW CLOSED(387 Posts)
As part of the Mumsnet Family Friendly Programme we'd love to know what you think makes a family friendly pub and to name any pubs in your local area which you believe have a great family friendly environment.
Here's what Carrie Longton, co-founder of Mumsnet says "we all know you can have a great family time in your local - but also that it can often be disappointing. We'd love to know what's good and not so good in your local pub - or even about one you discovered on holiday!"
So how do you think pubs could be more family friendly? Should they include a nutritious family friendly menu? Maybe there should be adequate baby changing facilities in the bathrooms? Perhaps slot machines should be replaced with a toy chest for younger children? How about older children - how would you like to see them catered for in pubs? What about customer service - how important is this? Would well-insulated outdoor areas do it for you? What do you NOT want to see?
We'd also love to hear what local pubs you think have a really good family friendly environment. Please state their name, and location (town or village) where they're situated.
Add your views (and pubs!) and you'll be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £100 Amazon voucher!
Click here to learn more about companies who are working to make the UK a more family friendly place
Thanks and good luck
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We like a pub with good food options for both children and adults - not just things in breadcrumbs with chips, but those too! My children don't like tomato sauce with their pasta, so a carbonara option always appreciated. Not too long to wait for food, an outside play area is a bonus. Friendly staff, and enough room for all the clutter!
Baby change facilities, high chairs, and low sofas which are comfy for breastfeeding are my priorities at the moment. Outside play area would be amazing!!
Pubs with space between tables so you can walk an impatient toddler out without disturbing everyone else. Walking out to a play area or outside space.
A pub that has just smaller versions of the regular menu for children rather than a choice of Mac and cheese, fish and chips, nuggets or a burger.
Baby changing, yes, and high chairs/booster seats offered freely, but most important for us would be the attitude of staff to children - do they get treated as valuable customers, or as a nuisance to be reluctantly tolerated? I don't think children should be allowed to run riot or anything close, but I do notice when my DC are addressed directly and listened to by waiting staff. The flexibility to (for example) leave a sauce off a dish, or do a half portion, is also great, as are "real food" children's meals.
Indoor and outdoor play areas would be fantastic
Baby changing (and not just in the ladies toilets)
High chairs (which have been wiped down)
Waiting staff who ask if you want the children's meals first
Children's meal options which include vegetables, I can cope with things in breadcrumbs, but it annoys me when there are no veg at all served (I don't count chips!)
Maybe a gated family dining area - to stop littlies making a break for dangerous areas like the stairs, kitchen, bar etc. and so that waiting staff are on the lookout for littlies under their feet when entering the family area?
One of our local Pizza Express restaurants offers kids the chance to roll pizza dough and use animal cutters and then have their shapes baked - great way to keep children entertained while waiting for food.
We like places that are nice and spacious where you aren't rubbing shoulders with the people on the next table. My DS number 3 has got ADHD and we find it uncomfortable sometimes with people staring if he's struggling a bit. We also like a varied menu for the adults and children and ideally places that do a teenagers/ mini adults menu to suit our young teenagers appetites. Good toilet facilities are a must and we appreciate the extra touches like a complementary little packet of crayons and colouring sheet for the younger ones.
Baby changing facilities, high chairs and booster seats. At least some healthier options for the kids menu, rather than just breadcrumbed stuff and tomato pasta. Or mini portions of the adult menu choices where possible. An outdoor play area is a bonus, but at the least a more open area outside where they can run off a bit of steam between courses.
The attitude of the staff is really important.
Good food options for children/appropriately sized portions.
A safe area to play - doesn't have to be a play area - a patch of grass or room inside to move around a bit without causing chaos or getting in the way.
No loud music.
Toilets or changing facilities.
Our favourite local child friendly pub doesn't have a play area, but it does have a few toys and colouring things and the village green is just over the road for running around. It's a family run pub that does a great Sunday roast. The staff are all friendly and welcome children. It's not the perfect family pub, but it's definitely family friendly. It's more about the pub's attitude than all the extras.
Baby changing in both male and female assessable areas! I get fed up with h I got designated nappy changer because there's on,y a changing station in the ladies.
We like when there's a meal platter or deals I the whole family can tuck into dishes on the table, it makes it feel a bit more relaxed and inclusive.
The option to order a child portion of the main menu rather than something and chips is always a winner too.
Also please don't do a children's menu where they get dessert included, sometimes we don't want a dessert! Make it an extra by all means but I don't want to pay for a pudding we dint want.
Have a jug of tap water and glasses on the table as standard.
Have highchairs that are clean and have working adjustable straps.
IKEA antilop highchairs with tray. Please don't use the stupid wooden ones that younger children struggle to sit up in. I always rate a place that has these as I know someone who works in there is a parent of a young child!
Baby changing facilities and toilets cubicles that are big enough to go in with a toddler.
Healthy, varied menus.
Space between tables so you don't feel you're on top of the family next to you.
Booking facility, online if poss.
If,you're going to offer activity sheets, make sure you have crayons/pencils too, and at they're not chewed/broken.
Adequate and safe parking.
Healthy drinks such as smoothies/mocktails.
And from the other perspective, family friendly working conditions - shifts/pay/leave allowance/contracts.
Oh and not those bloody tub high chairs! Drives me mad when the children keep kicking their feet against them because they like the drumming sound.
Oh yes, and don't offer children that expensive and delicious freshly squeezed apple juice when they're expecting the ordinary stuff out of a packet, and will consequently refuse to drink it!
Indoor and outdoor play areas. Space between tables and designated family areas. Signs that tell other patrons that it is a child and family friendly area. We like the Black Lion, New Quay, Wales and the Greyhound in Llanrhidian.
Children's menu,with an option to make an adult option into a childrens meal,not on every menu option,just a few.
Crayons (lots of them) & activity book/paper.
Good option of different childrens drinks (with straws,if needed)
A small packet of wipes or those lemon wipes in small packets are also good(in case you forget wipes)
A separate changing room,that can be used by Mums or Dads.
Clean highchairs and a anti bac wipe available to use gets my vote!
Baby change available for both men and women, and kept clean with that nappy bin emptied frequently. It always makes me wonder how clean the kitchen can be if the baby change is gross with a overflowing bin .
Also agree on having smaller portions of the adult menu available, i don't want to feed my children shaped processed meat, chips and beans...... Everyday
Plastic beakers would be preferred rather than glass tumblers which seem to be the only option for children.
Clean tables and high chairs is essential - the amount of times we've had to clean our own high chair, it's gross! High chairs should be cleaned in the same way as the tables IMO.
Smaller versions of the adults main menu would be better than the bog standard; chicken nuggets and chips, fish fingers and chips, burger and chips and pasta with tomato sauce.
Exclude a children's starter from the 'meal' - I resent having to pay for a starter which fills him up and results in leaving most of the main course.
I'm not too bothered about a play area but always appreciate the kids packs that some restaurants give out which include crayons and something to colour.
Flexibility about the menu. For example, if sausage and mash is on the menu, make it possible to substitute the mash for chips. If burger in a bun is on the menu, make it possible to serve the burger without the bun. Sounds obvious but we've been in pubs that have refused to change the menu item (they didn't get any repeat custom, obviously!).
One pub we went to had packs of cards and board games you could borrow. We loved that - it was great to play a game together while we waited for our food and we stayed longer with more drinks as a consequence.
Decent food for children - small portions of the adults menu. Gluten and dairy free dishes available for children
Outdoor play area thats looked after so its not a sad, tatty thing
Outdoor seating under a roof so you can sit outside in a sheltered area. We frequent a cafe which has this and its brilliant as the kids can play till their food comes, you can sit and enjoy yours when they go off again, and you can take the dogs. This place supplies fleece blankets and hot water bottles as well
Clean toilets, changing units, high chairs.
Offer of plastic glasses and plates for toddlers.
Pubs need to strike a balance. I avoided my former local because in daylight hours (and beyond) it was overrun with badly behaved/uncontrolled children. I preferred an atmosphere where provision was made for families with young children, but they weren't catered for with any more attention than, say, people with accessibility needs.
Same as any pub, the loos should be checked regularly (particularly given the number of parents who think it's ok to throw used nappies into standard bins rather than taking them home with them).
I like a pub where parents are politely asked to
piss off home keep an eye on their children when they're running amok.
Firstly there should be a complete smoking ban including outside areas. There are some great child friendly places near us but inconsiderate people spoil it by smoking at the entrance or near the out door play areas. The food is also high priority, good wholesome foods instead of frozen chips and nuggets! A selection of kids activities for at the table are great, colours / activity sheets are a must to occupy the little ones, good clean high chairs, children's cutlery and finally children's toilets with good baby changing facilities to include travel cot and finally a comfy chair for breastfeeding mums.
Outside areas where DC are welcome to run about that have fences are priceless for parents of toddlers.
My DS was a runner as a toddler. I was always on the lookout for places with fences, because it means he gets to run free while I sit back and watch from a distance. A glass of beer and a pub lunch while I watch him? What luxury!
Non fenced-in places - however child friendly in other ways - meant me running after him when he inevitably ran off out of the place we were meant to me in.
There's a pub near us with an adventure playground, the DC love that. Again fenced, and arranged so we can see them from our table outside.
YY to activity sheets. The simple provision of a few pencils / crayons and a sheet to colour in / do puzzles on or whatever works wonders for keeping the DC happy.
Yes I could bring my own stuff and often do, but it helps when the pub provide stuff because the DC see it as infinitely more cool and interesting than anything I give them for some reason.
It also make the adults feel comfortable IMO as it sends a signal - this is a place that welcomes you and your DC.
One of our best days in a pub was a lovely country pub where the pub garden was at the top of a field. We had Sunday lunch and the kids from all the different tables got together and had a fantastic time running around the field.
It was great because they had space to run free and make friends together while the adults got to have a child-free chat.
I know not all can rustle up a spare field! But my point I think is that they didn't need much. But what made them, us and I imagine the other pub goers happy was that kids and adults got to spend some time doing their own thing, within sight but not on top of each other.
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