Best Family-Friendly Restaurants in London

London is a fantastic place to eat out with your kids, as long as you know where to look. Wander along the main tourist thoroughfares of Knightsbridge, Oxford Street and Regent Street and you could quickly enter panic mode as the time creeps nearer to dinner time, and the ‘I’m hungry’ whines turn to ‘I’m starving’ and you’re searching in vain for a decent restaurant.

The answer is normally to head down a side street, or alternatively, call up this blog on your smart phone. Here are my recommendations:

Peter Pan Afternoon Tea at Lancaster Hotel in London

Peter Pan Tea at Lancaster Hotel

Typical British

The Wells | Hampstead

You can’t come to London without visiting a pub and pubs across the Capital have been busy turning themselves into gastro dining rooms recently. One of my favourites is The Wells on the edge of the picturesque London village of Hampstead. Dishes like smoked ham hock terrine, Scottish Angus hamburger and Cumberland sausage are made to make your mouth water. Or visit on a Sunday for a typical British Sunday lunch of rib of beef and Yorkshire pudding. Children’s menu also available.

Posh

The Savoy Grill | The Strand

If you want one fancy meal in London, consider Gordon Ramsey’s Savoy Grill, in the newly refurbished Savoy Hotel. The three-course weekend menu is good value at £26 a head and the £7.50 children’s menu with it’s deep fried halibut, pea puree and chips is a great mini introduction to fine dining.

I’m told Nobu is also good for kids, but I’m too tight to explore that option!

Kids Fish Finger Pizza at Fire and Stone London

Kids’ fish finger pizza at Fire and Stone

Fun

Fire and Stone | Spitalfields

Fire and Stone is the place to go for a fun take on pizza and a great kids menu, created by the British daddy cook of the moment Nick Coffer of the My Daddy Cooks video blog. Spitalfields Market is one of London’s buzziest food destinations and Fire and Stone is right in the heart of it. My kids loved the fish finger pizza and I enjoyed the Peking duck one, doesn’t sound like it should work, but it does. The Tiffin cake ice cream pudding is also worth leaving room for.

There is a Fire and Stone in Covent Garden and one in the Westfield Shopping centre too.

Lunch at Tibits London England

Lunch at tibits

Vegetarian

tibits | Piccadilly

Most British restaurants now cater for vegetarians, but if you don’t want to always feel like the after thought, head for tibits, a stones throw from the fantastic Hamleys Toy Shop. Here you’ll find a delicious buffet of wonderfully fresh salads and hot daily specials. Eat downstairs where there is a specially designed kids area full of toys and games.

Afternoon Tea

Peter Pan Afternoon Tea at The Lancaster Hotel | Hyde Park

You can’t come to London without sampling a typical British afternoon tea. The prices charged at some of London’s top hotels for enjoying this privilege, however, could quickly make you lose your appetite. Tea at the Ritz currently starts at £42.

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But, I recently discovered the hidden gem of the Peter Pan afternoon tea at the Lancaster Hotel. The hotel itself is housed in a dated skyscraper, well it’s tall to me, it’s probably a little house to my American audience, but don’t let this put you off.

Inside you’ll find a spacious lounge where kids can freely run around in between bites from a rather tasty afternoon tea, complete with Lost Boys cucumber sandwiches, Mrs Darlings scones with cream and jam and yummy patisseries. Tea is served with a map directing you to the Peter Pan Statue in Hyde Park just opposite and a fairy pouch filled with breadcrumbs to feed the ducks with when you get there.

Royal Garden Hotel London Hotel

Royal Garden Hotel London Kids Cookery School

Kids Foodie Hotel

Royal Garden Hotel | Kensington

During the school holidays, the Royal Garden Hotel runs special Junior Chef stays. Book a two-night package and your kids get to take part in the Kids Cookery School run by the hotel’s Executive Chef Steve Munkley. It’s aimed at introducing five to ten-year-olds to the kitchen in a fun way, whilst Mum and Dad take in the shops on Kensington High Street.

Ella and Lily came back to the room with boxes of scrummy cookies and truffles that they’d made, a cute little apron and chefs hat and some mini utensils to start them baking at home. As part of the package you also get to enter into a very high tech treasure hunt around adjacent Kensington Gardens, where you have to enter the answers by text. We never did find the final clue though, so we didn’t win the icecream sundaes!

The Chains

In the last few years, London has cottoned on to the fact that parents actually enjoy eating out with their children, providing they are fully catered for and a number of upmarket chains now offer some great kids menus. Look out for:

Leon

This relative newcomer successfully achieves what many still only strive for: good, fresh, healthy, fast-food. We’re particular fans of the sweet potato falafel wraps and the meatballs. The kids menu comes with an activity pack.

Giraffe

We normally end up sharing out the plates from this scrummy world cuisine hangout. The menu is eclectic running from mezze to enchiladas but you can’t go wrong. They also have a kids menu and activity kit on offer and they will always find you a highchair.

Carluccios

The brainchild of celebrity Italian chef Antonio Carluccio, Carluccios restaurants can be found dotted across the city and offer a mouth-watering range of antipasti, pasta, secondis and dolcis. The kids menu is a miniature version of the adult menu and comes with crayons, puzzles and games.

Pizza Express

For luscious pizzas and salads, you’re never far away from a Pizza Express and their set price Piccolo menu includes dough balls, side salad, pizza or pasta, icecream sundae and Bambinoccino.

Wagamama

Perfect for a warming bowl of Ramen and a smoothie, but you might find the communal tables a strain, especially if your toddler fancies a bite of whatever the stranger next to him has ordered.

Photo Credit: Lancaster Hotel, tibits, Fire and Stone, Anna Tobin

 

Relevant Links:

Ciao Bambino recommended family hotels London

72 hours in London with kids: Day1

72 Hours with Kids in London: Day 2

72 Hours with Kids in London: Day 3

Top kid-friendly activities in London with kids

London Eye photos and tips

London Double Decker Bus photos and tips

2 Comments

  1. Do you know of any restaurants that cater or accomodate food allergies (specifically peanut/tree nut)? Thank you!

  2. Most UK restaurants are very clued up on allergies now. Prezzo, Wagamama and Carluccios are very good chains that are particularly on the ball, but as long as you explain the situation when you arrive or book, you will find most mid to upper end eateries very accommodating.

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