London is definitely a great place for a family day out. However, a long day of dragging your kids around the endless attractions is going to lead to some hungry stomachs, big and small. But where can you safely take the little darlings without having to go Nando's yet again? We're here to share the good news that there are plenty of terrific places to eat around London that will be just as accommodating to your child as they would to any adult.
Our pick of the best family restaurants London includes places you’d probably choose to go even without kids, because you deserve a treat too. We’ve rounded up the best fancy restaurants that are still child-friendly, as well as some more casual places to grab a piece of pizza from or enjoy a burger at should the craving for a little bit of junk food hit come the half term holidays.
Some of our choices below have special set-ups to help your meal go as smoothly as possible. While a handful of the best child-friendly restaurants provide entertainment via the likes of colouring in equipment, almost all of them provide specially selected kids menus with your mini me(s) in mind. These selections of dedicated dishes are carefully prepared to appeal to little taste buds so are often kept simple and delicious. On many menus you’ll find pasta options, while things like mini burgers and chips are also a popular choice. An additional bonus of taking your gang to a kids restaurant in London is the cost-factor. Everything is expertly portioned to allow fro as little waste as possible, and with that you get cheaper eats for the kids – plus menus often come with a a drink and a dessert.
So, whether you’re after something casual and easy or somewhere more formal where your kids will feel just as much of a grown-up as the person footing the bill, here’s our pick of the best child-friendly restaurants in London.
The best casual child-friendly family restaurants in London
If posh nosh isn't the order of the day, then there are plenty of more laid-back joints to bring your little ones to in London. A casual bite to eat will allow you to fully relax knowing that nobody is going to get upset if there's a bit of noise coming from your table, and there are sure to be options on the menus of the below restaurants that your children will enjoy. From pizza places to burger restaurants, these are the best tried-and-tested child-friendly restaurants to take your gang to.
The Garden Café, Lambeth
Why: One for those in the know, The Garden Café is an unassuming spot that serves up some properly good grub that appeals to little people as much as grown-up thanks to the simple, pared-back approach. Think gnocchi with wild garlic and Parmesan or plates of freshly baked focaccia. Sweets come in the form of sticky toffee pudding with cream which is universally accepted as being one of life’s best desserts we think. Thanks to its position to one side of a garden courtyard, you’re able to let the kids run wild without (much) chance of them escaping the confines of the prettily planted central garden.
Where: 5 Lambeth Palace Road, SE1 7LB
What’s nearby: Garden Museum, Houses of Parliament, London Eye
Book now: The Garden Café
Pizza East, Shoreditch
Why: Pizza is a failsafe when it comes to feeding hungry children and also works perfectly as a treat. The always jam-packed Shoreditch branch of this pizza mini chain means the buzz is kept to a max, allowing rowdy children to roam free. kid-friendly pizzas include buffalo mozzarella ones with tomato and basil or salami with mozzarella and tomato. It doesn’t end there, though, with other Italian classics such as mac 'n' cheese and beef lasagne up for grabs.
Where: 56 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JJ
What’s nearby: Geffrye Museum, Sky Garden
Book now: Pizza East
Heddon Street Kitchen, Piccadilly Circus
Why: Four words: ice cream bar menu. If the option of building your own cones, sandwiches and wafer baskets with ice cream doesn’t get your kids going ballistic, we suggest you seek medical help instantly. This fun little addition makes this Gordon Ramsay restaurant a no-brainer for dining with kids, but mains from the dedicated kid’s menu, such as meatballs with pasta, or fish & chips with peas should stock them with some nutrients before the ice cream madness commences.
Where: 3-9 Heddon Street, W1B 4BN
What’s nearby: Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Chinatown, Hamleys
Book now: Heddon Street Kitchen
The Broadcaster, White City
Why: The aptly named Broadcaster is a lively pub and dining room housed inside the former BBC Television Centre at White City. It's a great spot for those who want a Sunday roast with a side of childcare, as The Broadcaster has a child's table set up with all sorts of arts and crafts to keep your little ones busy whilst you tuck into roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.
Where: 89 Wood Lane, W12 7FX
What’s nearby: Shepherd's Bush, Westfield, White City
Book now: The Broadcaster
RedFarm London, Covent Garden
Why: Kids will love the retro theme at this Cantonese fast-food joint on Russell Street in Soho. Toys line the bright-red walls, gingham tablecloths cover the tables and there’s a Pac-Man-shaped dumpling dish that is sure to bring on giggles. Dishes such as cheeseburger spring rolls and dumpling soups with straws add to the novelty but tasty remarkably good, so will be enjoyed by all generations. Go at lunchtime as it can turn quite boozy come dinner time.
Where: 9 Russell Street, WC2B 5HZ
What’s nearby: London Transport Museum, Vertical Chill Ice Wall, Lyceum Theatre
Book now: RedFarm London
Gordon Ramsay Bar & Grill, Chelsea
Why: Turning out comfort food both for adults and children alike, this family-friendly restaurant benefits from friendly staff, a warm environment and a dedicated kid’s menu. Parents can devour rare-breed steaks, fish and poultry hot off the grill, whereas kids can sit happily with meatballs and pasta; chicken and chips with peas; or bangers and mash. Dessert keeps things classic with the choice between chocolate brownie; vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce; or a sticky toffee pudding.
Where: 79 Royal Hospital Road, SW3 4HN
What’s nearby: National Army Museum, Chelsea Physic Garden, Battersea Park, Purple Dragon
Book now: Gordon Ramsay Bar & Grill
The Rosebery at Mandarin Oriental, Knightsbridge
Why: Afternoon Tea is an experience for the whole family, but there’s no denying that, traditionally, it has a more adult touch to it. That’s where The Rosebery at Mandarin Oriental comes in. Treat your kids to a ‘Mini Afternoon Tea’ with an Asian twist. From the sandwich selection, the little ones can enjoy the likes of peanut butter and jam; Nutella and butter; and ham and cheddar cheese. Milk chocolate lollipops, marshmallow sushi and panda chocolate biscuits are all a part of the extensive hand-made pastry selection, which will all bring a smile to their faces. Mini scones and fruity teas complete the line-up.
Where: Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, SW1X 7LA
What’s nearby: Huntfun London Hyde Park, Winter Wonderland (Christmas only), Science Museum
Book now: The Rosebery at Mandarin Oriental
All Star Lanes, Holborn
Why: This bowling alley-cum-American diner has the unique advantage of not only being a place you can take the young’uns for dinner, but also giving them something fun to do. At All Star lanes, it’s all about the three B’s: bowling, booze, and burgers. With the exception of the booze, kids are guaranteed to love this place, and parents should too. While there are lanes reserved for walk-ins, it’s definitely worth booking ahead.
Where: Victoria House, Bloomsbury Place, WC1B 4DA
What’s nearby: British Museum
Book now: All Star Lanes
The Coal Shed, Tower Bridge
Why: The idea of restaurant that is focused on serving predominantly steak and fish-based dishes probably sounds rather grown up. Luckily, The Coal Shed by Tower Bridge serves a children's menu which offers bite-size versions of the restaurant's signature dishes. Kids can therefore tuck into either fish and chips or a minute steak, followed by homemade churros or ice cream for just a tenner a head.
Where: 4 Crown Square, SE1 2SE
What’s nearby: The Tower of London, The Shard, Borough Market, HMS Belfast, The London Bridge Experience and Tombs
Book now: The Coal Shed
Franco Manca, Covent Garden
Why: This unbeatable sourdough pizza chain has a Covent Garden branch that is a perfect pitstop during a day out in the capital. The low prices offer fantastic value for families: the kids’ menu includes a pizza, a drink and ice cream for just £5.95. The fuss-free tables means spills aren't an issue and there's a speedy turnover time to prevent the age old issue of hanger.
Where: 39 Maiden Lane, WC2E 7LJ
What’s nearby: Covent Garden and Strand theatres, Royal Opera House, the London Transport Museum, Trafalgar Square, Somerset House ice rink
Book now: Franco Manca
Granger & Co, King’s Cross
Why: Bill Granger’s relaxed, cool, and seemingly effortless café is well known for its brunch options, especially its ricotta hotcakes. Such sweet treats are bound to be a hit with kids, and at this child-friendly eatery parents can opt for more savoury options including an endless selection of egg dishes and the fabulous soft-shell crab fried rice.
Where: 7 Pancras Square, N1C 4AG
What’s nearby: Platform 9 ¾ and the Harry Potter shop at King’s Cross, St Pancras station
Book now: Granger & Co
Inamo, Covent Garden
Why: Inamo is a no-brainer for any parent dragging kids around London. This futuristic restaurant’s tables double up as an entertainment centre where you can spy on the kitchen with ‘Chef Cam’, play retro videogames like Pong or design your own place setting. Ordering the Asian cuisine by iPad will thrill the kids, too.
Where: 11-14 Hannover Place, WC2E 9JP
What’s nearby: Covent Garden and Strand theatres, Royal Opera House, the London Transport Museum, Trafalgar Square, Somerset House ice rink (in the winter only)
Book now: Imano
Pique-Nique, London Bridge
Why: The perfect option for London-bound families in the summer, Pique-Nique’s location in Tanner Street Park is a great place to soak up the urban buzz. It also means there’s somewhere to let the kids run around after you’ve tucked into some affordably-priced rotisserie chicken with properly crisp French fries, allowing you to relax with a glass of something chilled and white.
Where: 32 Tanner Street, SE1 3LD
What’s nearby: Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, The Shard, Fashion and Textile Museum, London Bridge station
Book now: Pique-Nique
Poppie's Fish & Chips, Camden
Why: Over time Poppie's has earnt itself a reputation for serving some of the finest fish and chips in the Capital and the good news is that it doesn't just do vast adult-sized portions. A section of the menu called 'food for kids' includes small portions of favourites including cod bites and sausage with chips, which cost just £6.50 each. Head to the Camden outpost which has a particularly relaxed vibe, and then head on to the colourful markets which the children will love.
Where: 30 Hawley Crescent, NW1 8NF
What’s nearby: Camden Market, Regent's Park
Book now: Poppie's Fish & Chips
The Arber Garden, Fitzrovia
Why: The thoroughly relaxing Arber Garden makes a great stop-off for those in need of a bite to eat in a tranquil setting. As well as a tasty menu of pub classics, The Arber Garden also offers a complimentary supervised kid's corner for over 3s, and there's a kid's table to keep them busy with arts and crafts.
Where:1 Pearson Square, W1W 7EY
What’s nearby: Russell Square, The British Museum, Regent's Park, London Zoo, Soho, Oxford Circus
Book now: The Arber Garden
Rainforest Café, Piccadilly Circus
Why: We couldn't write this guide and not include Central London's most famous themed restaurant. The Rainforest Cafe isn't just child-friendly, it's made for children. Featuring a dining room designed to look like a jungle, complete with sounds and life-sized toy animals, the Rainforest Café also boasts an ultra-child-friendly menu of crowd pleasing dishes and staff who are used to screaming toddlers. It's also perfectly located for a pre-show meal.
Where: 20 Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 7EU
What’s nearby: Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, and China Town
Book now: Rainforest Cafe
Why: Wahaca’s South Bank outpost is made up of eight recycled shipping containers which are decorated with graffiti and murals, something that should keep younger visitors distracted – as too the riverside location. An affordable children’s menu at Wahaca gives the choice of building your own tacos or cheesy toasted quesadilla sandwiches with a drink for £6. You can also add ice cream (if they've been good!) for an extra £1.75.
Where: Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX
What’s nearby: National Theatre, Royal Festival Hall, IMAX Waterloo, the London Eye, Waterloo station
Book now: Wahaca
York & Albany by Gordon Ramsay, Regent's Park
Why: This Gordon Ramsay-owned gastropub is great for people watching, while children receive the red-carpet treatment. Kids under 12 eat free at York & Albany, as long as there is an adult dining from the a la carte menu, while slam dunk meatballs are among some stealthily nutritious dishes. A collection of children’s activities can be found and the menu is curated by Ramsay’s daughter Tilly.
Where: 127-129 Parkway, NW1 7PS
What’s nearby: Regents Park, Madame Tussauds, London Zoo, Primrose Hill, Camden Market
Book now: York & Albany by Gordon Ramsay
The best formal child-friendly family restaurants in London
There's a place and a time for formal dining, and if you have the whole gang with you there's no need to miss out on a special meal. In the capital there are plenty of formal restaurants that are also child-friendly, from Soho to Shoreditch, and make the perfect spot to celebrate a birthday or catch up with friends (big and small).
Café Murano, Covent Garden
Why: Expect an old-fashioned Italian welcome for families at Angela Hartnett's Café Murano. The restaurant offers a dedicated children's menu which costs just £10 and includes either chicken Milanese or a bowl of pasta, followed by ice ceam. The perfect way to bring families together - whether a stop off from a day at the theatre, or just the treat of a grown-up lunch, the menus are deliberately made to the same high standards as the adult a la carte.
Where: 36 Tavistock Street, WC2E 7PB
What’s nearby: Covent Garden and Strand theatres, the London Transport Museum, Somerset House ice rink (winter only)
Book now: Cafe Murano Covent Garden
Daphne's, South Kensington
Why: While it may be the personification of its Chelsea clientele – handsome, refined and utterly assured – that doesn’t mean this classic Italian won't welcome children. One of Daphne's trump cards is the usual slick service from owners Caprice Holdings (The Ivy et al), not least from Italian waiters who win reader praise for having “a good sense of humour” – which should come in handy when they're dealing with kids. Little ones might like the meatballs with little roast potatoes or plates of pasta in all kinds of sauces.
Where: 112 Draycott Avenue, SW3 3AE
What’s nearby: Science Museum, Royal Albert Hall, Hyde Park, Natural History museum and its Ice Rink in winter
Book now: Daphne's
The Goring Dining Room, Belgravia
Why: Only a stone’s throw from Victoria, The Goring can provide a quiet respite from the mayhem around the station. The children’s menu might not be the cheapest around, but the likes of a gooey cheese omelette or knickerbocker glory are worth paying for. The Goring’s garden also provides an opportunity for kids to blow off some steam.
Where: The Goring, 15 Beeston Place, SW1W 0JW
What’s nearby: Buckingham Palace, The Apollo Victoria, Palace and Other Palace Theatres, Victoria station
Book now: The Goring Dining Room
The Grill at the Dorchester, Mayfair
Why: The Dorchester’s grown-up glamour might not scream child-friendly, but being a parent shouldn’t stop you enjoying the high life, and the hotel’s famous Grill will happily accommodate you and your child(ren), offering a dedicated menu for little ones (including a special mini roast on Sundays). Take in the striking Murano glass chandelier while tucking into one of the many delicious dishes on offer. The kids’ menu at this family restaurant includes favourites like fish, chips and peas as well as spaghetti Bolognese and a backed chocolate brioche for pud.
Where: The Dorchester, 53 Park Lane, W1K 1QA
What’s nearby: Hyde Park and Winter Wonderland, Green Park, Buckingham Palace
Book now: The Grill at The Dorchester
Le Gavroche, Mayfair
Why: Michel Roux Jr’s two-Michelin-starred bastion of haute cuisine probably isn’t somewhere that most parents would dream of taking their kids. But Le Gavroche does indeed welcome little ones, although it’s worth noting that they do not provide high chairs or baby-changing facilities. There’s no children’s menu, but tip them off when booking and the kitchen can arrange appropriate dishes.
Where: 43 Upper Brook Street, W1K 7QR
What’s nearby: Hyde Park, Selfridges and Oxford Street shops
Book now: Le Gavroche
Nobu London, Mayfair
Why: Nobu is the savvy parent’s secret posh lunch, providing all the necessary amenities, as well as helpful staff happy to warm bottles or recommend child-approved dishes. Although dinner gets booked up well in advance, at lunchtime, same-day bookings are common. The children’s bento box includes the likes of tiger shrimp and squid tempura.
Where: COMO Metropolitan London, 19 Old Park Lane, W1K 1LB
What’s nearby: Hyde Park and Winter Wonderland, Green Park, Buckingham Palace
Book now: Nobu
OXO Tower Brasserie, Southwark
Why: For a meal with the children which has the bonus of an incredible view across London, the OXO Tower Brasserie is tough to beat. The brasserie sits up on the eighth floor of the famous tower, which overlooks the Thames, and serves a dedicated children's menu which costs £15 for three courses and features dishes such as hummus with crunchy vegetables, fish and chips, and a chocolate brownie.
Where: Barge House Street, SE1 9PH
What’s nearby: The London Eye, Royal Festival Hall, The Southbank Centre, The National Theatre
Book now: OXO Tower Brasserie
Looking to treat the little ones like royalty? Why not check out our round up of the best children's afternoon teas in London and across the UK.