Parent? Then you’ll be in need of a child-friendly boozer! I’ve rounded up my favourite family-friendly pubs with playgrounds in Bristol…
*Disclaimer: I haven’t visited all these pubs since the new Covid 19 restrictions came in on 12 April…do check the playground is still in use before you visit.
Finding a good child-friendly drinking hole with an outside play area is like coming across liquid gold. Somewhere the adults can get twirly on a cheeky gin and tuck into tasty grub, while the offspring wear themselves out tearing around the playground. A place where you can talk in uninterrupted sentences with other grown-ups, because the kiddos are busy racing around the garden. After many months of socialising restrictions and closed doors, I’m sure I’m not alone in eagerly seeking out pubs with playgrounds or outside space in Bristol.
It also helps if the pub in question has baby-changing facilities, a great atmosphere, staff who don’t blink twice through all the boob feeds, discarded food on the floor, tantrums and sea of buggies, plus great food and locally-sourced beverages. Here are my favourite pubs with playgrounds and all of the above (!) in Bristol.
Pubs with playgrounds in Bristol
I can’t shout from the rooftops enough about this place, it’s no wonder it won an award for it’s child-friendly efforts. Inside is huge – there’s tons of seating where family groups can snuggle themselves away and toys are available in the kids area to entertain the young’uns.
Baby and toddler groups run riot in the skittle alley/soft play room on weekdays and there’s a vast garden with great outdoor play area, including swings, slide and wooden climbing structure. To top it all off there are ducks and bunnies too! Parking onsite is a bonus and the food’s tasty too.
What a treat it was to discover that our local pub serves delicious grub, a lovely range of meals for kids and has a great outdoor play area and pizza oven (which can be hired for private parties during the summer)! There are toys and books should children get a bit antsy while you’re eating and the staff are forgiving (should your toddler try and join them behind the bar) and helpful too.
To find a drinking establishment in Bristol with this much outside space is excellent indeed. Inside it’s rustic industrial-chic, while outside is a large garden with artificial grass, tables and booths to sit and enjoy a beverage or two and little wooden Wendy house for kids to play in. There’s also games corner for kids, who are welcome until 7pm.
The Gloucester Old Spot pub, Horfield
This Bristol pub on Kellaway Avenue has that gastro vibe going on, so it’s perfect for a special lunch. The pub caters perfectly for families during the day (kids need to vacate the garden by 8pm) and the extensive menu features lots of locally-sourced, award-winning food, plus imaginative dishes for kids.
In summer their beer garden (now with covered heated terrace and a marquee) is great for whiling away a sunny day while the kids run amok in the wooden castle against a vibrant backdrop.
*REOPENING 17 May*
As pubs with playgrounds go, this is way up there. Based in a listed building right next to the start of Poet’s Walk and Clevedon Marine Lake, this lovely pub has a playground within view of some of the outdoor seating area, so you can sit, eat, and drink in pints and views while the kids play (the perfect parenting combo right?)
It’s a picturesque spot, particularly on a sunny day and the perfect place to refuel after a coastal stroll or dip in the marine lake. For extra family entertainment, there’s often a bouncy castle pitched just across the way on warm days, and the Salthouse Fields miniature train skirts the field opposite.
The Salthouse has a small-ish car park right next door and if you manage to get a space here you can redeem the cost against your food and drinks. If it’s full, there is a bigger car park right next door.
Plonked amongst sprawling allotments and animal paddocks, oozing urban grunge, this art-emblazoned pub is home to a lovely large beer garden with sheltered and open air tables. While it doesn’t have its own playground per se, it is just a stone’s throw from the animals and outside play area of St Werburgh’s City Farm.
Visit the pigs, goats, chickens and sheep, then let kiddies loose in the wooden playground of the city farm before refuelling with some excellent food and drink next door at The Farm.
Family-friendly pubs with outside space
This child-friendly pub ticks all the boxes when it comes to good ol’ family boozers. Inside is huge, so it’s particularly good if there’s a gathering of a few families with young kids and there’s a fenced-off indoor children’s area to keep little’uns entertained while you catch up over a swift half or two. They also have a big outdoor space with lots of tables and chairs (under cover of canopy) for kids to run wild in warmer weather, which is currently open for food and drinks.
Dating back to the 1600’s, this traditional country pub sits just off the A432 between Coalpit Heath and Yate. Outside is a lovely lawn and large play area with monkey bars, balance beams and a climbing wall, plus a new marquee for sheltering under with your pint (and good food!) Look out for the miniature pygmy goats (Joey and Chandler), sure to be a hit with little ones.
This charming village pub managed by Butcombe Brewery serves up oodles of atmosphere alongside a scrumptious menu of locally-sourced ingredients, seasonal dishes and pub classics.
Perfect for a scenic pint or Sunday roast after a family stroll, grownups will love the big beer garden and ‘Secret Garden’ for al fresco drinking and dining, while kiddos hang out in the play area.
This gastropub with rooms in the heart of nearby Backwell is run by the Ohh Pub Company. It’s great for families thanks to its large children’s play area and sizeable grassy beer garden.
If it’s a good ol’ family-friendly country pub with outdoor space you’re after, this characterful boozer in the country village of Littleton-on-Severn is just a 15-minute drive out of Bristol. Once a 17th Century farmhouse, the inside oozes old-world charm (open from 17 May), while outside there’s a great big garden with picnic tables and lovely views (although not an actual playground per se). Borrow a blanket if there’s a nip in the air. It’s also dog-friendly if you’ve got a pooch in tow.
Not far from Clevedon and surrounded by rolling green fields and hills, The Star has a big garden, spaced out tables and a kids’ playground. It’s been ages since I ate here and it’s recently been taken over by new management, but seems to get the thumbs up in the family-friendly stakes.
A 10-minute drive from Bristol, the Lock Keeper – as the name suggests – sits in a pretty spot on the banks of the River Avon, next to a lock. It’s been a licensed public house since the 1700s (albeit under a different name) and is a cracker of a pub that ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to kid-friendly boozers – massive outside beer garden (just watch them near the river!), tasty grub, and they serve an excellent-looking gin.
While there’s no actual play equipment for kids, their grounds are also large enough to fit in their very own Petanque pitch and there’s a large grassy area where you can see the water rushing over the weir up-close. If you fancy a pre- or post-pub stroll, there are riverside walks to Bath (Swineford) in one direction and Bristol (past the old Fry’s Chocolate factory) in the other.
The Swan, Swineford
It never fails to amaze me how you can drive just 25 minutes out of Bristol and find yourself in rolling rural countryside. Sitting at the foot of sloping hills and overlooking fields this Bath Ales-owned, family-friendly pub is a great place to end up after doing a walk nearby. Inside the pub has a characterful charm, with cosy country inn vibes and a roaring fire in the hearth on cold days, while outside you’ll find beer garden tables under a new marquee, overlooking an outdoor children’s playground, where you can enjoy your pint while the little ones play.
This family-run inn sits in a great location on the banks of the River Avon. As well as river views and sheltered outdoor seating, the pub has a large playground, with tables placed alongside the play area so you can sip your tipple in peace while the kids play (be aware you can’t book these though – it’s first-come, first-served). Well-known for their Sunday carvery.
Although more of a cafe/restaurant than a pub, you can still sink a cider or beer (alongside some scrumptious cheese) and there is a great outdoor playground for kids while you do it!
Not far from the Swan at Swineford, tucked away in the midst of rolling green hills and fields is Park Farm – the home of The Bath Soft Cheese Company. If you’ve ever tasted the award-winning, artisan handmade cheese, it’s idyllic countryside origins will go a long way to explaining why it’s so damn delicious.
Their website shows some fantastic country walks to do in the area – I recommend the short circular, riverside walk with young kids, before refuelling back at the cafe. *Tip: take an empty bottle with you to fill up with their super creamy milk before you leave.
Discover more child-friendly places and things to do in Bristol with kids:
- Buggy and pram friendly walks around Bristol
- Bristol parks and open spaces: family walks that avoid the crowds
- Bristol’s best kids’ playgrounds