At the end of a busy week (or towards the start of a new one), nothing beats a glass of wine or a pint of ale with friends in a cosy local hostelry. But what if you or your friends have young children who aren't quite ready for a swift half? Never fear, we've rounded up some of the capital's favourite family-friendly pubs, with everything from healthy kids' menus to facilities for the smallest of customers.
Family-friendly pubs in north London
The Londesborough, Stoke Newington
A super-friendly, cosy pub with comfy couches galore. The Sunday lunches are delicious — make sure to save room for dessert — and they welcome parents with children of all ages. Ideal for a lazy weekend brunch.
The Londesborough, 36 Barbauld Road, N16 0SS
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York and Albany, Regent's Park
Situated right on the north-east corner of Regent's Park and owned by Gordon Ramsay? You can probably already see the pound signs totting up. But you do get extra bang for your buck at York and Albany, as children under 12 eat free when accompanied by a dining adult. That's right, all day, every day, completely free. Makes that pasta and meatballs dish look extra appetising, doesn't it?
York and Albany, 127-129 Parkway, NW1 7PS
The Spoke, Holloway
A cafe by day and tavern by evening, The Spoke offers a healthy home-cooked menu, fresh juices, toys, games and crayons for young customers, plus high chairs galore. The small bites menu is perfect for kids. Popular with baby-wearing Islington dads, this cycle-friendly pub is directly opposite Whittington Park for superb outdoor play facilities.
The Spoke, 710 Holloway Road, N19 3NH
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Family-friendly pubs in east London
Queen's Arms, Walthamstow
This locally popular gastropub has exceptionally child-friendly staff. With generous portions of food and a pretty beer garden, this is an excellent choice for a family Sunday lunch or a weekday prix-fixe with friends. Children are welcome until 7pm.
Queen's Arms, 42 Orford Road, E17 9NJ
Prospect of Whitby, Wapping
Teeming with history and right on the River Thames, Prospect of Whitby is a popular choice for all ages. At peak times it's a no-go for families, but time it right and it's the perfect pit-stop after a morning mudlarking along the river banks. There's no dedicated kids' menu but small plates like tomato soup, chicken tikka and fish goujons are well suited to littler appetites. You can even scooch a buggy down the alley to the side of the pub to reach the teensy beer garden out back.
Prospect of Whitby, 57 Wapping Wall, E1W 3SH
People's Park Tavern, Victoria Park
Boasting a beer garden backing onto Vicky Park itself, this is a great place to relax with the kids in summer — and, thanks to the outdoor heating — into the chillier months. A kids' menu offers small portions of home-cooked roasts and pub favourites.
People's Park Tavern, 360 Victoria Park Road, E9 7BT
Family-friendly pubs in south London
The Bolingbroke, Battersea
A tavern with welcoming staff, a plentiful children's menu (available until 8pm), books and crayons for the little ones to dig into. The Bolingbroke serves modern British food in a conservatory setting with ample room for buggies. Sister pub The Rosendale is also worth checking out for Dulwich-dwellers.
The Bolingbroke, 174 Northcote Road, SW11 6RE
The Vanbrugh, Greenwich
A large beer garden and airy conservatory together with a small but tasty children's menu, good selection of ales and a relaxed vibe make The Vanbrugh a favourite with Greenwich families. Children are welcome until 8pm.
The Vanbrugh, 91 Colomb Street, SE10 9EZ
The Florence, Herne Hill
Up until 7pm, young children are welcome in The Florence pub. On a sunny day, that means maximum time frolicking in the giant beer garden, complete with children's play area. Activity sheets are on hand for rainy days, while a special menu will tackle rumbling tummies. And while the little ones are occupied, the grown ups can indulge in beers made in the on-site brewery. The Florence's neighbour, The Herne Tavern, is also family-friendly.
The Florence, 131-133 Dulwich Road, SE24 0NG
The Rising Sun, Twickenham
This family-focused pub gets bonus points for a children's menu that strays from the standard nuggets 'n' chips fare. Sure, chips still feature heavily, but alongside slightly more innovative offerings such as chicken and avocado salad, or mac and cheese with brioche breadcrumbs. Sundays provide ample opportunity for a mini roast, while DIY pizza topping are a hit any day of the week.
The Rising Sun, 277-279 Richmond Road, TW1 2NP
Family-friendly pubs in west London
The Eagle, Shepherd's Bush
This charming Shepherd's Bush local has bright, candy-coloured walls and an amazing outdoor space filled with picnic chairs in all the colours of the rainbow. Rock away the summer days on the swing benches in the garden or curl up on an indoor sofa by the fire and enjoy a kids' menu of pub classics. Visit during warmer weather for a seasonal barbecue menu.
The Eagle, 215 Askew Road, W12 9AZ
Drayton Court, Ealing
This 19th century hotel and hostelry is one of Ealing's oldest. Today it's a large and characterful pub serving delicious burgers and superior pub-grub. Outdoors, the large garden and playground will have young visitors well occupied. Children receive a warm welcome indoors too thanks to a dedicated menu with top-notch puddings like sticky toffee pudding. Birthday parties can also be arranged.
Drayton Court, 2 The Avenue, W13 8PH
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The Windsor Castle, Kensington
Nestled in the residential area between Hyde Park and Holland Park, The Windsor Castle is a pub in prime position for families looking for a post-park pick-me-up. The kids' menu is decently priced for this part of London — three courses for £8.95 — and even comes with a word search to make time fly by. For the grown ups it's a charming, traditional boozer. Bonus points for the little courtyard garden out back.
The Windsor Castle, 11 Campden Hill Road, W8 7AR
The Island, Kensal Rise
With an outside terrace and attractive interior, The Island has a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere and is popular with Brent families for Sunday lunches and early dinners. The mini roasts on Sundays go down a storm with younger palettes. Children are welcome until 7.30pm and can stay in the restaurant later if eating.
The Island, 123 College Road, NW10 5HA
Search for more family friendly pubs (or dog-friendly ones, or pubs with a dart board) with our extensive London pub database.
Do you have a favourite family-friendly local we should know about? Let us know in the comments.