But if you’ve got young kids in tow, it can be a big ask for them to stay seated whilst parents enjoy their meal, however many colouring and activity books you’re armed with. Having a play area just makes parenting life easier when eating out.
The majority of pubs and cafes in the Peak District are welcoming to families, and may have separate kids’ menus. But if you’re looking specifically looking for pubs with playgrounds in the Peak District or cafes with a play area, then read on…
One of the best Peak District pubs with playground has to be the Bulls Head in Monyash. Oozing with charm and serving fantastic food, it’s a lovely pub in its own right. But add the fact that there’s a fantastic playground to the rear of the pub (photo at the top of this article), complete with zip wire and basketball ring, it’s perfect for families.
The playground isn’t actually part of the pub. It’s the village playground, conveniently located right next to the pub’s large beer garden. So parents can enjoy a drink whilst keeping an eye on their little ones in the playground. Easy! For older kids, there is also a pool table in the pub.
If you’re following our Magpie Mine walk, this is the half way point for a lunch stop.
The Wheatsheaf in Baslow has a perfect beer garden for families and is always popular on a summers day. Large climbing frames and slides are situated right in the middle with picnic tables spread around, so it’s very easy to find a spot to enjoy your drink and watch your little ones play.
It does have a rather ‘chain feel’ to it and whilst the food is good value (lunches from £6), it’s not anything special, although there is a separate kids menu. Easy going is the vibe here. Parents may enjoy the gin menu.
Kids are more than welcome at this traditional pub in the Hope Valley. There’s a large enclosed garden with a play area with loads of space to run.
All the meals on the kids menu are just £4.45. The food is standard pub grub though, although I personally appreciated the range of veggie options on the main menu.
This kid-friendly pub is not too far from the caves at Castleton and a very short walking distance from Hardhurst Farm Camping & Caravan Site. But really, on a warm summers day, this is the place to come for a full afternoon spent in the beer garden.
Peak District cafés with a play area
1. Thornbridge Gardens and Café, Ashford-in-the-Water
But why is it so special for kids? Well first and foremost is the splashingly fantastic fun paddling in the fountain and catching ducks with a net (rubber ones, not real ones!) Honestly, this keeps the kids entertained for hours. Parents will find it fascinating watching kids of all ages meticulously line rubber ducks along the sides and search for ‘special ones’.
Encircling the fountain, marked with coloured festival bunting, is the outdoor kids play area; including a den, hammocks and swings, blocks to play with, chimes, and painting easels. Lots to spark imaginations! There are even pop up badminton nets (complete with rackets and shuttle cocks) and a basketball hoop for older kids nearby.
Plus there’s the extensive gardens to explore (with a few more games along the way including croquet) and also Quackers Café serving lots of scrummy food!
Blaze Farm is free to enter and you can walk round to meet all the various residents – cows, sheep, chickens, pigs, goats – and if you’re visiting in Spring, you can see lambs being born in the lambing shed! There’s also a short family walk around the farm (detailed here).
But one of the top reasons to visit Blaze Farm is to taste their homemade Peak District ice cream. From the Tea Room you can also order delicious home made lunches, including sandwiches, paninis, soups, jacket potatoes, traditional ploughmans, and mouth-wateringly good deserts.
Just outside the Tea Room is a courtyard with picnic, and kids will enjoy the tunnel slide her and tractor to climb on and pretend drive.
There is no nature trail here, but the outdoor and indoor play area is much bigger. The indoor play area is inside a barn and there are small ride on tractors to play on, as well as coin-operated go-carts. Adjacent to the café is a separate seating area with a small softplay area for toddlers, and a large wooden train set to play with. To use this area, you must have spent at least £2 in the café.
Hassop Station Café has a lovely menu, including vegan options and a separate kids menu. There’s an outside playground area with wooden climbing frame, as well as a covered outdoor area.
Adjacent to the café is a shop selling books and gifts, as well as Monsal Trail bike hire with adult bike hire starting from £19 and child seats and trailer hire available. Parking is free if you’re eating in the café, otherwise there is separate pay and display parking.
5. Buxton Pavillions Tea Room, Buxton
The Pavillion Cafe inside Buxton Pavillions has a small soft play area for toddlers with some soft play shapes and cushions. Best for aged 3 and under. There are some very scrummy cakes on offer, and it’s a good choice for brunch.
Afterwards, it’s worth popping to The Conservatory, which houses beautiful plants, several of which are extremely rare to find anywhere else in the UK and feels like a small indoor rainforest. If you’re visiting at the weekend or school holidays, there is a miniature railway that circles the garden to ride, and a couple of really good playgrounds.
Hello! 'Peak District Kids' is the go-to website for parents both visiting and living in the Peak District, run by Bakewell-based mum-of-two, Jenny Lynn. Find out about the best walks, bike rides, attractions, pubs, and accommodation for families in the UK's oldest National Park.