Posted by: MummyTravels | April 21, 2012

Family-friendly pubs

By the time the mini traveller makes his or her appearance, I’ll have been off alcohol for the best part of a year – apart from one sip of champagne on New Year’s Eve, which sadly tasted vile to my discombobulated taste buds.

So with a bit of clever timing involved, I’m looking forward to being able to enjoy the occasional cold glass of something which isn’t sparkling water. Or Becks Blue. The trick, apart from coming to terms with the fact that my tolerance level has probably vanished entirely, is finding somewhere not too far from home, where both I and the baby can enjoy ourselves.

Luckily, Tourism South-East has thought ahead and come up with these five useful suggestions.

Monty’s Inn, Beaulieu, Hampshire
More relaxed than its sister hotel and next-door neighbour, the Montagu Arms Hotel, Monty’s has local award-winning Ringwood ales for the grown-ups, and a kids’ menu using organic ingredients for their offspring. There’s also plastic plates and cutlery, plus games and colouring books to help with entertaining plus a changing area. The food has an AA rosette and uses herbs and vegetables from the Montagu Arms’ kitchen garden, where you can also stay in one of the 22 bedrooms.

The Chequers, Laddingford, Kent
This pretty 15th-century inn in the heart of the Kent countryside has the traditional white wood-slatted frontage, dotted with black framed windows, along with outdoor tables and yet more award-winning beer plus its own festival. The family pub has traditional English food, including roasts and homemade pies and one bedroom tucked away from the bar, with room for an extra child’s bed.

Duke of Cambridge, Ilford, Surrey
In a converted barn-like structure amongst the pines of the Surrey countryside, the Duke has a large beer garden and play area for the summer, as well as a roaring open fire for the winter. Throw in some colouring pens, local beer and wine, it’s a great gastro pub option. There’s even dog bowls if the whole family’s going.

Feathered Nest, Nether Westcote, Oxfordshire
Winner of Pub of the year 2011, the Feathered Nest started life as a Cotswold stone malt house dating from around 1665. Looking out to Oxfordshire’s Evenlode Valley, there’s a family room as well as the dining area and open-plan bar, along with a kids’ menu (the front cover design is drawn by a competition winner so there’s pens for colouring too), and it’s not just dog-friendly, there’s a horse-tethering pole outside. Plus there’s four individually decorated bedrooms to stay in, some with views out to the Cotswolds.

Queen’s Arms, East Garston, Berkshire
This 18th century inn is oozing with horse-racing heritage, so look out for trainers and jockeys in the bar, while there’s also an acclaimed restaurant, which serves smaller dishes for children. As well as the outside play area, there’s a garden and terrace, while the pub’s eight bedrooms have huge walk-in showers and individual artwork.

Image: evilpeacock/Flickr

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