Happy kids, happy parents right? You just want to grab a bite to eat, chat to a fellow parent or friend, and let the kids loose to have a bit of fun? Well read on…
With Lauren being a parent of a ‘tweenager’, and seeing many people ask over and over again in various groups about places to eat out that also have something to entertain the kids, we thought we’d put a list together!
We decided not to include actual paid facilities or play cafés, but more regular pubs, cafés and farms shops that have these facilities as an added bonus. Some even accept fur-babies too!
So thanks to the various parents in some great FB groups and on other socials for letting us know where you like to visit – a few had plenty of votes or recommendations so as well as researching the venues, we have included some quotes from real parents too.
If you have any others to add, please message us!
Exeter and surrounds
Greendale Farm Shop, Farringdon – this ever evolving farm shop has a restaurant with covered terrace serving tasty local produce, wooden dome pods, picnic tables, tractors to climb on, small climbing frame plus farm animals to walk around and see, you can even buy some chicken feed and feed the chickens.
Darts Farm, Topsham – another evolving, award winning farm shop. Darts has a large outdoor green space with picnic benches, and a wooden play area plus some animals. If your kids are a bit older, there’s plenty of space for a light kick about, running around or walk to the top of the fields and round. Food-wise there is the Fish Shed and The Shack. This is also an excellent base for walking or cycling to the bird hide in Topsham, or the exe estuary trail towards Exton, Lympstone and Exmouth.
The Tally Ho Inn, Exeter – A traditional local pub, serving homemade food and well kept real ales with a small wooden play corner.
Double Locks, Exeter – riverside pub with large outside eating area with plenty of grass to run off steam plus a small wooden play area.
The Cat & Fiddle Inn, Clyst St Mary – a traditional pub and carvery, they have an indoor play area (refurbished late 2020) where you can dine in the same room as well, and children eat free offers(pls check website for latest days/times for these offers)!
Café at 143, Cranbrook, Exeter – A lovely little cafe in Cranbrook serving lunches and naughty treats, with a small indoor ‘garden’ corner as they call it, ideal for small children. With bright green matting and various toys including a baby bouncer.
The Cowick Barton, Exeter – one parent told us “it has a nice garden with a small play area and does a really good vegan Sunday roast. The garden is very good for hide & seek.” It has a little treehouse too!
The Twisted Oak, Exeter – home cooked meals and Sunday carvery, this family friendly pub has an outside play area consists of a slide, climbing frame, tunnels and games. One mum said they loved this pub for the “Booster seats for kiddies, high chairs, good food and they have mats you can put under your children’s chairs to stop for going on the floor.” – anything to make parents lives easier we say!
The Buckerell, Exeter – a local parent nominated this venue because “They have a lovely new outdoor play area and gardens. They also have an indoor play area. We’ve been a couple of times and they’ve always been friendly, nice food, reasonably priced and the kids have been happy playing! They were also really good about my daughters allergy.”
Swans Nest, Exminster – their website states “a welcoming ‘homely’ atmosphere in a traditional British pub providing a renowned four meat carvery roast alongside a modern bar menu”. They have just put a new small indoor soft play area in too.
The Waie Inn, Zeal Monachorum – Lots of votes for this venue, and with so much going on here, we’ve used their website words to describe what’s on offer: “The Waie Inn offers that rarity in the South West of England, all weather enjoyment! It doesn’t matter what the weather does. If the sun is shining pass the time in our glorious gardens, activity play areas, try your hand at a spot of fishing or even a game of football. If it rains, entertain the children in our fantastic indoor play barn with slides and toddler area, our indoor swimming pool or try a game of pool, squash, darts or skittles! However most of you may just prefer to exercise your right arm with a glass, knife and fork!” We notice on their socials that they now have goats too! The gardens and outdoor play area are free, but some other activities are for an entry fee, please check the website.
Belluno Italian Restaurant, Newton St Cyres – an italian venue serving pizzas from their woodfired oven, and more. Their large garden has some play equipment.
Baobab Cafe, Crediton – serving nutritious meals for adults and children they post their current meaty, veggie and salad offering most days on their Facebook page. One mum said “it has a play area suitable for little ones”. and another says “they have books and toys too, and are very welcoming to families”.
Crediton Baby Hub Café, Crediton – A new play cafe with complimentary facilities. The owner says “We have a small playroom with soft play, jumperoos, baby swings and bouncers and lots of toys, books and puzzles for little ones to enjoy!” Food-wise, they have a large range of drinks, sweet treats and light lunches available at very reasonable prices, including Baby Lead Weaning options for your little ones and children’s lunch boxes for the slightly bigger ones.
The Otter Inn, Honiton – A traditional pub, with a lovely riverside beer garden and outdoor play area, and the River Otter to paddle in during the summer. Menu includes 2-4-1 offers and a little piglets menu, the pub is dog friendly too.
Heron Farm, Honiton – serving breakfast and lunch, this was a popular suggestion. Newly opened vineyard with Vineyard Kitchen, beautiful walled garden dining area, separate play park, fairy trail and even goats to feed! They are also featured on our Devon Vineyard Map & Directory.
The White Horse, Woodbury Salterton – this pub on the Sidmouth Road enjoys a rear garden area that is higher up than the pub with good views and has a play area on grass with swings, slides and climbing frame you can easily see from your garden table and is fenced. Far reaching views and great for sunny evenings.
The Coffee Bank, Ottery St Mary – with a really beautiful little play area for young children, serving brunch, lunch and cake. Free wifi, short stay parking outside, with more nearby, eat in or take away, with options for gluten free, vegan and dairy free.
The Hare and Hounds, Putts Corner, Sidbury – serving daily carvery and pub classics the website states “there is a children’s play area set within a large garden which boasts beautiful views down the valley to Sidmouth and the sea.”
Ullacombe Farm Shop and Cafe, Bovey Tracey – serving breakfast and lunch, including a children’s menu, this popular destination has a lovely children’s area both inside and out with swings, a slide, and even a real vintage tractor to play on. They also have plenty of mischievous farm animals.
Torbay & South Devon
The Old Pottery Restaurant at The House of Marbles, Bovey Tracey – Apart from the free marble museum, games museum and pottery museum plus the toy shop, the eatery side of the business has a games garden consisting of giant floating marble, giant games and a (regular sized) children’s climbing frame. One mum said “Amazing food, lovely play area”. You can find a great write up about the House of Marbles on Devon with Kids.
Ten Tors Inn, Kingsteignton – their website states “traditional pub fayre, fresh fish and carvery served every day” and one parent has told us “they have a good outdoor play area”.
The Victoria Inn, Salcombe – award winning pub a short stroll away from the estuary. Roaring log fires, beer garden with stretch tent and sea views, kids play area, and dogs welcome too.
Anchorstone Kiosk, Dartmouth – (UPDATE – CLOSED from 30th May 2021 while new owners are incoming) a local mum and blogger said “we the Anchorstone, it’s right next-door to the playground (Coronation Park), does excellent breakfasts and Salcombe Ice cream”.
Avon Inn, Avonwick South Brent – serving food all day, one parent told us “they are the best one. Great little pub, secure garden, play area, some weekends they have a bouncy castle and they now have a pizza oven.” They serve smaller portions, have high chairs, the play area consists of slides and large climbing frame and they are dog friendly too.
Cantina Kitchen & Bar, Goodrington – they have games and toys inside, loads of outdoor seating and they are right next to a playground and the beach at Youngs Park in Paignton.
Sportsmans Arms, Dartmouth – we came across this venue on our Instagram feed and were impressed by their family play area. A popular traditional Devon pub with delicious food & drink served all day. Family friendly with kids play area, large beer garden and dog friendly too!
If you know any, do let us know!
The Anchor Inn, Exebridge – large riverside garden with fenced play area containing climbing frame swings and slide. Serving all-you-can-eat breakfasts and classic pub food lunch and dinner from Mon- Sat, carvery on Sundays and even making their own gelato (28 flavours!).
The Old Farmhouse Kitchen and Tearoom, Great Torrington – This place sounds lovely! In their own words: “a very family friendly, farm based tea rooms, selling good, home-made lunches, cakes, cream teas, afternoon teas, etc. The tea rooms are based around our farmhouse and our large enclosed garden, that is gated so children are very safe. In the garden we have a large trampoline, ride-on tractors, a sand pit and water play, a mud kitchen plus area for the children to run around. We also have a play house with toy kitchen games and toys. Indoors we keep another basket of toys for little ones and when covid allows we have quizzes and games on the tables for families to play. We also have a small shop inside the tea room with farm based toys and other items available to purchase. Outside the garden, when the weather allows, we have horses, donkeys, goats and shetland ponies in paddocks that can be viewed from the garden.”
The Waterfront Inn, Westward Ho! – A fantastic coastal location, besides 2 miles of award-winning blue flag beach this venue is “offering a relaxed atmosphere where they welcome families and children in the day, as well as muddy paws.” Serving breakfast, thena daily menu until 8pm as well as a Sunday carvery. Their open plan bar indoors, heated covered seating outdoors, beer garden and kids play area with a large ship! Dogs welcome.
Westleigh Inn, Bideford – charming beamed pub with a lovely large beer garden with lots of tables, a wooden play area and even a small football field with goal nets.
The Bell Inn, Chittlehampton – A family and dog friendly country pub with lots of options for dining or celebrations, they say “the kids can enjoy themselves in the large sunny garden containing play equipment with plenty of room to run off all that energy while you enjoy a quiet drink! Adjoining the garden is an orchard. Children can play on the swings or anywhere in the grassy play area.” Some outdoor seating is undercover. Dogs welcome.
The Old Station Inn, Blackmore Gate – With a good size childrens menu, this pub got enthusiastically recommended to us. “It has a lovely outside play area, the entire outdoor area has a fence so the children are safe, it’s particularly lovely in summer as you can sit outside and watch the animals that live in the paddock next door. The restaurant area of the pub looks onto the play area so for older children you could sit indoors and keep an eye on them that way. The owners and staff are lovely and go out of their way to help families, I highly recommend this pub!”
Drakes Farm, Crockernwell – “lovely food, sandpit, balance bikes, mud kitchen, tractor, farm animals. Highly recommended”. With an indoor play corner plus Oinkers Farm Shop on site too, this sounds like an all round venue!
If you know of any more venues, please do let us know!