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Having both an energetic toddler that doesn’t like to sit still, as well as a young baby, I know how daunting the idea of visiting a restaurant with your children can be, especially during Winter when the option to sit outside is relinquished and the stress of Christmas is on your mind. If you’re a foodie like me, you probably get serious FOMO when you see others share delicious meals on their social media. But, alas, you don’t have to arrange childcare to enjoy a delicious meal – here’s 5 family friendly restaurants in Kent to visit during this festive period.
PS – did you know that if you book your meal through SquareMeal you can earn exclusive reward points?!
The Fighting Cocks Pub has been on our list of restaurants to try for a long time – mostly because they have what looks like an amazing playground for children! Yes, it may be cold this Winter, but anything to enjoy some good pub grub and drink in peace, ey?! I know a lot of people locally who say the playground, service and good food makes it one of the most family friendly restaurants in Kent, so I would absolutely love to try it out and see if it lives up to the hype!
📍 The Fighting Cocks Pub & Riverside Restaurant, The Street, Horton Kirby, Dartford, Kent, DA4 9BY
The Cricketers Inn is one of our favourite restaurants – both before and after having children! We have taken our children here many times and have never had a negative experience no matter how much mess or noise they’ve made, and guess what – the food is absolutely delicious! I highly recommend a Sunday lunch, but you can also never go wrong with their burgers and fish and chips. They have IKEA high chairs with the trays (always a winner so your child isn’t squished on the table!), step free access and a large accessible toilet with a baby changing table. They also have the option of venue hire for special occasions, and I know first hand that they are excellent at hosting parties as my sister had her engagement party there!
For Christmas, you’ll find tasteful decorations and specials on the menu. On Friday 10th December 2021 they are celebrating Christmas Jumper Day with free mulled wine and a mince pie for showing off your festive knitwear. What are you waiting for? Grab your kiddos and go and get that well earned mulled wine!
Psst! Want to make a day of it? I highly recommend the Hemsley Conservation Centre which is just down the road.
📍 The Cricketers Inn, Wrotham Road, Meopham, Longfield, Kent, DA13 0QA
The Twig and Spoon is located inside Woodlands Garden Centre in Ash, near West Kingsdown. I grew up nearby, but for some reason I’ve never actually eaten at Twig and Spoon, despite only ever hearing good things. Woodlands Garden Centre is a great garden centre – it has a good selection of garden wares as well as a big gift, home and toy section. It’s also one of my favourite garden centres to visit at Christmas time – their festive displays are brilliant and they have plenty of reasonably priced Christmas decor and stocking fillers.
A little known and brilliant hidden gem is that the Kent Fire Fighting Museum is also based from Woodlands Garden Centre! It’s tucked away right at the back of the outdoors section and has a real fire truck on display as well as a fire truck shaped children’s climbing frame.
Why not have a full festive family day out in Kent by visiting Woodlands Garden Centre and stocking up on festive treats (your children will love looking at the Christmas displays and it is SUCH an easy way to kill half an hour or more!), a play on the fire engine climbing frame and finish off with a spot of lunch in Twig and Spoon?!
📍 Twig and Spoon, Woodlands Garden Centre, Ash Lane, Ash, Nr Sevenoaks, Kent, TN15 7EG
Everyone loves Pizza Express, am I right? In my opinion, they’re one of the most family friendly high street restaurant chains. With an impressive Piccolo children’s menu and even the opportunity to host children’s pizza making birthday parties, you know your children (and the noise and mess they bring!) are always welcome in a Pizza Express.
We love the Bluewater Shopping Centre restaurant (or should I say restaurants, as they actually have two to choose from – and one of them is right next to Dinotropolis, the dinosaur themed soft play!). It’s an excellent choice to break up the day if you’re spending a day Christmas shopping!
📍 Pizza Express, The Village, Bluewater, Greenhithe, Kent, DA9 9SE
Last but not least is The Lion in Farningham. This has been one of our favourite restaurants for years – we used to visit here at least once a week (before having children, that is!). We have taken Arthur, our son, to The Lion on multiple occasions and have always been very warmly welcomed – even during the absolute mess that is weaning. Their generosity and kindness to children, as well as great location alongside a river (there’s often ducks!) is what makes this a great family friendly restaurant in Kent.
📍 The Lion, High Street, Farningham, Kent, DA4 0DP
PS – If you visit off the back of my recommendation, please tag me in your photos on Instagram and use the hashtag #JodetopiaInKent