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Recommended London unique family friendly pubs

Hello, looking for recommendations for family friendly unique pubs in London to have late night dinner around 9 pm in late August with my girls ages, 8, 10 and 12. Would love to have a "pub" experience. Girls are also huge Harry Potter fans so if there are any pubs that have any Harry Potter decorations and themes that would be great. We were looking at Wacky O' Conners and the Blind Pig pubs since they looked unique and have great food but not sure if it is family friendly at night for dinner.

Posted by ramblin' on
Royaume-Uni
1240 posts

Children won't be allowed in pubs at 9pm at night. Either eat earlier (out by 8pm and it depends on each pub) or find a restaurant.

Posted by emma
London
4014 posts

Pubs will usually stop letting children in from about 6-7 o'clock.
Many, although by no means all will also stop serving food at about 9pm so you might want to try going earlier for a decent choice of food.

It's Waxy O'Connors not Wacky. I'm not sure how family friendly it would really be in the evening, it tends to attract the after work drinking crowd. "Little Waxys" is accross the road might be worth a try.
The Chandos pub by Trafalgar Square is quite a traditional pub and had an upstairs dining room so that might work. But again I'm not sure what their kids policy is.

Posted by jane
611 posts

Pubs are generally drinking establishments in the evening, not for family dining.

Posted by Judy
Adelaide, SA, Australia
977 posts

Forget dinner with kids in most London pubs. As another poster mentioned they are usually full to over flowing (out into the street quite often) with the after work drinking crowd.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
11218 posts

If you want a pub experience, lunch is a much better idea.

Posted by Yin OP
41 posts

Thanks everyone, I guess dinner at a pub with family is out. Any suggestions on great kid friendly "unique" pubs in London for lunch?

Posted by jane
611 posts

You do know pubs are bars, right? I ask this because you keep saying you want to give your kids a pub experience but to me a pub experience is an adult thing: getting together with a bunch of friends either at lunchtime or the evening, and drinking.

Some pubs will offer family meals at lunchtime but a lot will be full of people standing around the bar drinking. That's a pub experience-- I'm not sure if it's what you think it is!

Posted by Yin OP
41 posts

Thank you everyone for your replies. @ Jane, yes I know pubs are bars but from what i've read in guidebooks etc some can be family friendly. "Pub experience" not meaning watching people drink etc but London feel. I've read many pubs have unique decor etc "Harry Potter Like" more so than restaurants, but not sure if family friendly so that is why i'm asking. Where I come from, though Pubs are for drinking, they are also known for excellent food and kids are always welcome with kid menus and its not all about drinking. If that is all I will be seeing at a Pub in London then no thanks. My kids won't be interested in watching people drink and won't pay attention to that but Pub experience meaning the great unique decor and physical environment i've read about in so many that i haven't read about for restaurants.

Posted by Mark
Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
2025 posts

I think what you are thinking about pubs is more for those in small villages in the country side where there still isn't that much else around to provide meals and communal gatherings. Those pubs don't seem to be just about drinking and I have been very impressed with meals I have had at some very out of the way spots. With the large number of true restaurants in London, pubs there have moved more toward being only drinking places. Sure, you can get a meal of some sort at most, and many have a vaguely Harry Potter look to them, but I have not been overly impressed recently with the food at any London pub in my visits.

Posted by jane
611 posts

Mark has very nicely summed up what I was trying to say.

If you're looking for historic buildings, take a look at the George in Southwark or the Old Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street - both famous & very old. But I don't really see them as family lunch places.

Country pubs outside of London - different matter.

Posted by Yin OP
41 posts

Thank you, so pubs are out. We will stick with our Gordan Ramsey restaurant reservations and afternoon teas for now :)

Posted by emma
London
4014 posts

I think the "Harry Potter like" requirement might have been a little confusing. I interpreted it as actually Harry Potter themed, spells, potions, butter beer etc. What you see as "Harry Potter" locals will probably just see as a traditional London pub.

Anyway a quick google brought up a couple of lists of london's child friendly pubs that might help.
Many of them will be in more suburban locations but some are central

https://www.designmynight.com/london/pubs/child-friendly-pubs-in-london

https://www.timeout.com/london/bars-pubs/the-100-best-bars-and-pubs-in-london-family-friendly

Posted by Alan
Folsom
1435 posts

These do exist but as other have said, they are country places by and large. We stumbled across this one a few weeks ago: http://www.thefarmhousehorley.co.uk. There was a playground. Not sure if the pub owned it but lot's of young moms enjoying a pint while the kids played. (There was also a wake going on, but folks seemed jolly!)

Posted by Yin OP
41 posts

Thank you again for all the suggestions. I will review and see but seems for now Pubs will be out for us as we will be spending most of our time in London. My kids are big Harry Potter fans so when mentioning "unique" "Harry Potter like" was referring to a Pub with decor that is somewhat like The three Broom Sticks or Leaky Cauldron in the Harry Potter movie (no need for wands, butter beer and etc). Probably doesn't exist but that's what I wanted to find out from this forum as I had no luck in my internet search. Thanks again.

Posted by Yin OP
41 posts

Emma thanks for the link, I will review and see if anything comes up that I am looking for.

Posted by Mark
Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
2025 posts

This topic did get me interested in a Potter-Pub combo.

There is a pub opening in 2018 called the Cauldron that will be Harry Potter themed with magic wands used to order drinks, floating candles, and various things described in the Potter books. But it is for adults only.

There is a Harry Potter pub tour going on for the summer. But it is a string of drinking games and is also restricted to adults of drinking age only.

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
3575 posts

The SWAN on Bayswater Road, near Lancaster Gate tube station is a pub that looks family-friendly. There is a large outside dining area in front with picnic tables, shade trees, and road traffic passing by. The pub is huge with ample inside seating, so rain does not cancel. The food is typical British fare with things like shepherd's pie, etc.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
11218 posts

I loved Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese (I believe Dickens was a frequent patron). But don't sit at the room at street level, start walking down the stairs, all the way to the bottom where there's a large dining room. But choose one of the nooks in-between to sit. Pubs have good lunch food for everyone and plenty of soft drinks. I can't think why it wouldn't be a good place for a family to have lunch. And I'll be your girls would love an afternoon tea instead of lunch one day.

Posted by Suki
New York
2605 posts

You're to lucky to have been able to get reservations at Gordon Ramsey. Will your children be dining there with you?

Posted by Jane
Sapulpa, OK, USA
2367 posts

Yin, when we were in London last year we had lunch at Blackfriar Pub, 174 Queen Victoria Street. There were several families there with children. The food was good, and the decor would probably satisfy Harry Potter fans.

Posted by Claudia
Land of La
4027 posts

Well you could always visit the glass covered Leadenhall Market Place and have the kids search for the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron.

As a location scout I can spill the beans and admit that often a location is a cheat . In other words, the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire exists. However it's a door way to an opticians office. That's why it's called
"movie magic."

As far as pubs to keep the little ones intrigued maybe the Churchill Arms simply for all the flowers outside. Very unique. Might wonder who the fat man with the cigar and funny hat is as well. Loads of Churchill memorabilia inside. Or visit the Lord Nelson pub on Union Street in Southwark where you'll find Teletubbies, Snoopy and spider pigs and Nelson Mandela as Lord Nelson. Quirky enough for all of you to enjoy. Definitely do a pub lunch!

Might also intrigue them with a visit to Liberty. A very one of a kind department store and of course let them experience Hamleys toy store. Lastly, if they love animals tour Mud Chute Farm.

Posted by SA
Midwest
328 posts

Second BlackFrair pub. Took my kids there ironically after out tour of the Harry Potter studios. Are you going there ? Highly suggest it.

Posted by andi
franktown, colorado
1373 posts

And I will "third" the recommendations for Blackfriars. It's become a family tradition to visit there whenever we are in London. We also went there after a London Walks HP tour! Our kiddos loved the place. It's decor is unique and engaging and has several offerings on the menu to please children.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
10804 posts

Well are you only in London for two nights ???

Can't you go out for dinner at 7 instead of nine with such young children ? If you went out earlier you could take the kids to a pub , it's your " after 9 pm" that is the problem .

Posted by JC
Portsmouth
1863 posts

There are no laws relating to set times when children are no longer allowed in pubs, the only laws refer to accompaniment with an adult and consumption of alcohol. Pubs differ with their approach and a lot depends on the type of establishment, what they offer in terms of food and whether they have a designated 'family room' or not. Some pubs will not allow children after 7 pm, others 8, 9 or even later.

Posted by Yin OP
41 posts

Thank you everyone for your suggestions! Very helpful!

@ suki, no I do not have reservations to the Gordan Ramsey Restaurant itself, but I do have reservations to Hedon kitchen and Maze as the girls are big Gordan Ramsey fans. I did look into The Gordan Ramsey Restaurant a month ago and there was availability but viewing the menu, the kids would not have enjoyed the food, they are too picky so for that great amount of money it would be such a waste!

@ Rachel, I didn't think about a Sherlock Holmes pub, I'm sure the kids will love it! I looked at the website, it says it's a pub/restaurant, do you think they will accommodate families for dinner? Asking as most on this website have been saying the pubs are not suitable for family dining for dinner time. Since it's says pub/restaurant wondering if this applies too.

For those of you that have suggested Black friar Pub, we will definitely check it out! Thank you so much, sounds great and what we are looking for. Do you think it will be appropriate for dinner too?

We are in London for 7 days and I already have a jam packed schedule and yes 2 days with afternoon tea. Dinner would fit us in better but might try to squeeze in a lunch but will be hard as not much time considering if there is a long wait to be seated and etc.

Posted by Rachel
Washington
701 posts

Yin, the Sherlock Holmes is a pub on the first floor with a dining room upstairs (if it's still the same set up). Someone else mentioned The Swan on Bayswater. I had dinner there a few years ago, and it's also a pub on bottom with dining room upstairs situation..

Posted by emma
London
4014 posts

I'm not sure if you are aware but afternoon tea can be a really filling meal.
On the days you are planning to have it you can skip either lunch or dinner.
Personally I would plan on have a big breakfast, skip lunch, afternoon tea and then a smaller dinner later in the evening.

Lunch, afternoon tea and dinner would send you into a food coma!

Posted by andi
franktown, colorado
1373 posts

Hey, Yin. To answer your "Blackfriars appropriate for dinner" question, I say yes. But we follow a different, um..... feeding schedule when traveling with the kids and grandkids. We will nearly always eat our "big" meal later in the afternoon (maybe around 4-5pm?) and have snacks later, if they (or we!) are hungry. We never have a problem at Blackfriars feeding our crowd. There are good choices for both snacks and meals.

Posted by stan
The Heartland USA
3198 posts

Yin, if you are near Kings Cross rail station, check out the Gate 9 3/4 display (I understand its a Harry Potter thing). You can get your photos taken there "going through the wall" with props.

Posted by Laurel
Lincoln City, OR
7467 posts

Yin, the Sherlock Holmes is a pub on the first floor with a dining room upstairs (if it's still the same set up).

Yes, it is still the same. Their pies are very good.