Posted 11th January 2015
So, having a baby has altered my eating out habits pretty drastically. These days I care slightly less about wine lists and slightly more about highchairs and changing facilities when it comes to choosing a place to eat or drink.
But our wonderful city has a great selection of independent cafes, bars and restaurants suitable of families with babies and young children. I’m happy to say that I have loved visiting each and every one of the places on this list with the Bristol Foodie baby in tow.
The Social, Stokes Croft
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One of my favourite places. Spacious, so rocking up with a buggy is no problem, comfy sofas (perfect for breast feeding), lots of highchairs and a cabinet full of toys to keep babies and toddlers entertained.
The coffee is good and the lunchtime deal, £6.00 for a sourdough bap with fries and a soft drink, is a bargain – which is what you need when you’re on maternity pay. Wines and ales are also available – the house sauvignon is particularly good (a nice treat for tired mummies!)
Read our full review here
The Canteen, Stokes Croft
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For starters, the food in the Canteen in brilliant, and great value too as everything comes with a free bowl of soup – meaning you can get two courses for under a tenner. There are highchairs available and a couple of sofas, they also offer kids portions for all food. There’s tons of room for pushchairs and a very relaxed vibe. All in all the Canteen has a nice, relaxed atmosphere which makes it perfect for parents with babies and toddlers alike.
@Bristol Cafe, Millenium Square, City Centre
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Possibly THE most baby friendly place in Bristol. Good changing facilities, stacks of highchairs, a microwave and bottle warmer for milk and baby food, small softplay area, sofas and tub armchairs, plus outside seating next to the fountains in millenium square. The staff are lovely and didn’t bat an eyelid as Leo smushed his cream cheese and jam sandwich across the table with his chubby little hands (I cleaned it up, honest!).
@Bristol also offers a great selection of kids snack food and baby finger food with lots of healthy options. For grown ups, the coffee, cakes and food on offer is also pretty good. Local and fresh ingredients, with lots of organic and fairtrade items on the menu. I particularly love the fish goujon sandwich served on soft doorstop bread – yum.
The Hop House, Clifton Village
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There aren’t that many stand-out baby friendly places in Clifton Village, which is surprising given that there are LOADS of Clifton mums. The Hop House, might be a pub but they are however a cut above their Clifton counterparts with lots of space for pushchairs, baby change facilities and highchair available.
On Tuesdays they host a free NCT coffee group (open to everyone – just turn up) from 10am with teas, coffees and cake available. It would be good for them to invest in a toybox for older babies and toddlers, but its certainly a good location for mums with newborns.
@TheWell, Stokes Croft
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Its something of a tardis as there’s more room in @TheWell that the outside lets on, You could comfortably fit a 3 (maybe 4) pushchairs in there, but there’s lots of seating including a sofa and a few outside tables too. They are breast feeding friendly and very welcoming of new mums.
The coffee is simple – filter only, but the blend is really very good. The menu is simple but tasty and the hard boiled eggs with soldiers and the blueberry pancakes get a big thumbs up from me and, (arguably more importantly), from the Bristol Foodie baby.
@TheWell also has a children’s kitchen and play area in the window which makes it an ideal location for keeping slightly bigger little ones entertained whilst you enjoy coffee and cake or a spot of lunch.
Better Food Company, St Werburghs
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Organic veg and baby food and natural cleaning producst are usually my excuse for going to The Better Food COmpany, but undeniably, I’m really just there for coffee, cake and a bit of a relax.
Just two little sofas in the corner but lots of seating elsewhere and room for a buggy. There’s a small toybox, a handful of highchairs and good changing facilities. The cakes really are something special, last week’s Victoria Sandwich Cupcake was a highlight! Main meals are also pretty good, I’ve enjoyed the breakfast stack on a couple of occasions – well cooked and stacked with flavour.
After indulging in coffee and cake I recommend going for a wander around Artrageous upstairs where you can buy beautiful musical instruments and puppets as well as loads of art supplies (many of which make great baby sensory play items)
The Watershed, Harbourside, City Centre
The cafe might be upstairs but the lifts mean this isnt a problem. There are highchairs and good baby change facilities available. The cafe is spacious with a relaxed feel, tasty coffee and cakes are available and the main menu is pretty good too.
The Watershed also do cine-babies on a Monday – a nice treat for parents and carers for whom the cinema feels like a distant memory.
Windmill Hill City Farm, Bedminster
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Even babies enjoy watching the ducks and chickens flapping about – not to mention the goats, sheep, cows and pigs which makes a city farm a lovely place to go with a baby. Windmill Hill have a lovely childrens menu – which includes a plate of baby finger food, thats a winner in my book. For mummies, I’d opt for tea over the coffee but the cakes are delicious so be sure to dig in to one of those. The play areas for older children are great too.
St Werburghs City Farm, St Werburghs
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The cafe itself doesn’t have loads of room for pushchairs but there is plenty of buggy parking space outside. This hobbit-hole style cafe is a real treasure though. The coffee and cakes are both amazing, the chocolate brownies here really are second to none. Also worth a try is their homemade fruit cordial which is perfect for a refreshing drink on a hot day. The farm is quite small but small babies will enjoy looking at the ducks, pigs and other animals. The play area for older children is pretty fabulous too.
Boston Tea Party, Gloucester Road, Bishopston
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This is a huge Boston Tea Party compared with the others across Bristol. It’s very baby friendly with loads of room for pushchairs, a small play area and baby change facilities. I love the breakfasts – my favourite being smoked salmon, scrambled egg & avocado on sourdough toast. The kids menu is good (the foodie baby loves scrambly eggs with soldiers). I particularly like the fact that whilst you order at the bar, everything including your drinks is brought over to your table. Other parents will know that not have to negotiate a pushchair / carrying a baby and carrying a hot tea / coffee makes life a whole lot easier!
There are loads more places for me to add to this list, I’ll be updating it as frequently as I can. Please let me know your top baby places in the comments box below.
Pictures by Virginia Allwood from LeShopUK