Say goodbye to tears and tantrums at your next family lunch out with our top picks for London’s best family-friendly restaurants.
From crowd pleasing pizza joints to restaurants that feel grown-up but know how to charm your little ones, here are our favourites…
He may be ferocious in the kitchen, but he’s obviously a softie at heart: Gordon Ramsay not only welcomes children to most of his restaurants; he also lets those under eight years old eat for free from the kids’ menus at Bread Street Cafe in Ealing during the summer holidays.
Kiddies can look forward to the likes of fish and chips with peas; mac and cheese; meatballs and pasta; and chocolate brownie for dessert. While adults can tuck into the likes of butter chicken and cashew nut curry; steamed sea bream with braised leeks, cherry tomatoes, samphire and brown shrimps; or try the beef wellington with creamy mashed potato, honey roasted carrots and red wine jus.
Simply order from the a la carte menu when you dine and for every adult main, kids can enjoy a main and drink on Gordon.
8 High Street, Ealing, W5 5DB
Granted, there are probably a tonne of places you’d rather spend your evening but there is no doubt kids go wild for this place.
Located in the heart of the West End, the Rainforest Cafe is an exotic jungle-themed restaurant and a thrilling assault on all the senses for animal-mad little ones. Dine amongst the sights and sounds of the Amazon rainforest, let little ones’ imaginations run wild thanks to the magnificent animatronic elephants, crocodiles and gorillas; and keep them happy with a child-friendly, global menu, from Jungle kids burgers to sundae desserts.
There is also a cocktail menu should any parents or guardians be in need of a sharpener amongst all the jungle chaos.
Rainforest Cafe, 20 Shaftesbury Avenue, Piccadilly Circus, London W1D 7EU
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What kids don’t love pasta? And pasta doesn’t come much better and more affordable outside of Italy than at Padella.
Both the original Borough and newer Shoreditch restaurants are brilliant and affordable, with pasta dishes from just £8.50.
They don’t accept bookings but you can queue virtually with their QR codes.
Padella Borough, 6 Southwark StREET, London SE1 1TQ
Padella Shoreditch, 1 Phipp Street, London EC2A 4PS
With multiple locations in the capital, a dedicated kids’ menu, crowd-pleasing pizzas, banging brunches and some of the best coffee in the capital (for knackered mums and dads), CARAVAN is a fine choice for casual, fuss-free family dining.
Head to the Kings Cross restaurant (our fave) for cool, stripped back, industrial-style interiors, an outdoor terrace if you’re still unsure about eating inside and Granary Square’s famous fountains – which children absolutely love on a warm summer’s day.
Kings Cross, The City Exmouth Market, Bankside and Fitzrovia
Big banqueting tables, buzzy atmosphere and a place that parents will enjoy just as much as little ones, Pizza East is a great choice if you’re in Shoreditch.
The menu doesn’t have a dedicated kids’ section but there’s plenty to choose from, from their signature pizzas to mozzarella sticks, baked carbonara to gelato scoops. Oh, and they have Aperol Spritz on draught for the adults.
Pizza East, Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JJ
Getting little ones on and off the bus or the Tube in Central London is no mean feat, so plan a family lunch out at this hidden gem of a family-friendly restaurant. Tucked away in leafy Richmond, Petersham is essentially a garden centre with a gorgeous store and a charming restaurant.
The Teahouse restaurant offers everything from delicious seasonal salads to child-friendly cream cakes. There is also plenty of open space for them to burn off their energy afterwards and a bounty of plants and blooms to keep them engaged.
Petersham Nurseries, Off Church Lane, Petersham Road, Richmond TW10 7AB
No dedicated children’s menu as such but we defy you to find a child who doesn’t love Bill Granger’s hot ricotta pancakes.
This place is the perfect choice for a late breakfast or lunch with little ones in tow when you can’t face another bowl of chips.
Plus, grown-ups will love the seasonal, Aussie-inspired interiors, quality ingredients and easy-going attitude.
Chelsea, Kings Cross, Clerkenwell, Notting Hill
The facade of London institution The Wolseley, on Green Park, might look imposing from the outside but inside, the restaurant is anything but pompous.
The team are friendly and great with children, there’s always plenty of atmosphere to soak up and it’s great for people watching too.
Tuck into everything from soups and salads to posh sandwiches and their famous burger, or treat your little lords and ladies to afternoon tea. They will be welcomed like royalty.
The Wolseley, 160 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9EB
Smith’s Bar & Grill
Heading over to Paddington to search for the famous bear this summer? Bring the kids in tow and book in for lunch at Smith’s Bar & Grill where the little ones can eat free!
Enjoy one complimentary kids meal for every full paying adult main meal for kids under eight. Offer available until Sunday 4th September.
25 Sheldon Square, Paddington, W2 6EY
Pan Pacific London
A tiny tea for you and your little one? Yes please!
Pan Pacific London’s Orchid Lounge offers a ‘Little Kopi Tiam’, a miniature version of their afternoon tea, complete with adorable finger sandwiches, scones with cream and jam and two sweet treats.
They’ll be kept entertained throughout the afternoon thanks to the children’s colouring activity pack, including pencils and word searches.
80 Houndsditch, EC3A 7AB
Not necessarily a ‘kids’ restaurant but one that is happy to serve even the littlest of diners (our kind of place), Holborn Dining Rooms has that perfect mix of great food, cool interiors and somewhere that children will feel all grown up in but you won’t have to worry about them breaking something.
Choose from a menu of hearty British classics from a scotch egg to delicious steaks and their famous pies.
Talking of which, next door in the Pie Room, budding Jamie Oliviers can take part in the Holborn Pie Masterclass experience.
Equipped with a personalised apron, hat and mini rolling pin, they will learn how to make one sweet and one savoury treat that they can take home, in a two-hour immersive masterclass with the restaurant’s pastry experts.
Have an eager Kung Fu fighter in your house? Then Proud Embankment’s new show is the perfect place to take them this summer.
Opening in September, Kung Fu – A Warriors Journey follows a young boy’s journey to become a Kung Fu master. It stars a master of kung fu, MJ, the only non-Chinese Shaolin Disciple of the Shaolin Temple to perform in the famous Shaolin ‘Wheel of Life’ show worldwide.
Watch masters of kung fu perform breathtaking feats of acrobatics whilst you indulge in a delicious three-course Asian feast.
PROUD EMBANKMENT, 8 VICTORIA EMBANKMENT, WC2R 2AB
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Let yourself unlock your inner child and journey to Neverland with Aqua Shard’s Peter Pan inspired afternoon tea. Created in partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, the experience will see you enjoying sandwiches, scones, treats and beverages all that hint to the children’s classic tale.
Each part has been carefully chosen and named after the colourful characters in the story, from ‘The Lostboys’ roasted chicken, crispy bacon, mayonnaise and mustard sandwiches to the ‘Tinker-Bell’ sweet pastry biscuit that’s topped with white icing and gold fairy dust.
For those wanting to add an alcoholic element to the experience, try one of the two cocktails on offer. The ‘Fairy Dust’, made up of mint and cucumber Ketel One, apple liqueur, ginger switchel, Kaffir lime leaf powder, Absinthe and gold fairy dust, is simply delicious.
LEVEL 31 THE SHARD, 31 ST. THOMAS STREET, SE1 9RY
You didn’t think we’d run a guide to eating out with children slide by without mentioning Pizza Express, did you? The chain has saved many a parent’s sanity over the years and while the food might not blow your mind, we’ll always have a place in our hearts for garlic dough balls.
Fine dining it’s not and the pizzas may have got suspiciously smaller over the years (or maybe we’re all just bigger?), but you know when you walk through those doors without a reservation that you are probably going to get a table, the kids are going to get crayons, colouring paper and stickers, everyone’s going to get a decent pizza, and the staff are going to be remarkably patient with your little ones.
If you’re aching to try Angela Hartnett’s Michelin-starred Murano but you’ve got little ones in tow, make this Plan B.
The sister restaurants, Cafe Murano, in St James and Bermondsey, are basically watered down versions of the real deal with better price points. Plus, they have an excellent build-your-own style kids menu of pastas. Basically choose a pasta dish with a sauce of your little one’s liking, from sausage ragu to cheesey parmesan.
St Martins Lane
With vibrant bookshelf spirals, cosy booths offering loads of space, high ceilings, and a fun playlist to match, The Restaurant at St Martins Lane inspires family memories with good food.
They have a dedicated children’s menu that invites little ones to choose a soft drink and tasty dish, all for just £12.
For the adults? Expect to sip on wines, spirits, and cocktails while indulging in their creative fusion menu which blends European delights with Eastern influences. It’s truly a feast for the family.
45 St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4HX
We’ve waxed lyrical about how much we love this place on many occasions but it’s just one of those places you can take anyone – friends, a date, your mum or indeed little ones. The menu is casual Italian fare – the pasta dipped in a wheel of cheese at the table is a must and the pizzas will please fussy little eaters – but we recommend going for the interiors alone. The highchairs look like they’re made by Gucci and we’d quite like to pop the crockery in our bags (we don’t). Oh and the staff are utterly charming with little ones.
Gloria, 54-56 Great Eastern Street, Hackney, London EC2A 3QR
South Place Chop House
South Place Chop House is a classically British restaurant, centred around carefully sourced cuts of meat, seasonal ingredients and freshly caught fish. For the kids, they have a dedicated menu filled with child-friendly saviours like fish and chips and plant-based sausages.
Oh and all kids under 12 eat for free! A nice little bonus this summer holiday.
South Place Hotel, 3 South Place, EC2M 2AF
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Who wouldn’t want their buttermilk fried chicken with a side order of skittles? This upmarket bowling alley and restaurant, which has four venues in London, is the quintessential retro American experience.
Children are more than welcome and there’s a finger lickin’ kids’ menu deal that includes food, a milkshake and a game of bowling.
There are also luxurious private rooms available for hire, should your little one want to get into the competitive spirit to celebrate their birthday.
Brick Lane, Holborn, Westfield Stratford, Westfield White City and Manchester
The Montague on the Gardens
Refuel after a morning strolling around the British Museum and book in for the Montague on the Gardens’ family-friendly afternoon tea. Expect plates to be laden with freshly baked plain and raisin scones, delicious cakes, and freshly hand-cut sandwiches including egg and mayo, smoked salmon, chicken, cucumber, and cream cheese.
15 MONTAGUE STREET, WC1B 5BJ