Do the words ‘soft play’ send shiver down your spine? Stop right there mama, we’ve compiled a compendium of best play cafes across London for you and your littl’uns to check out across the half term holidays. Buh bye soft play hell, hello playtimes with brunch plates…
The Parent Hood
The brainchild of local mum-duo Lottie and Tanya, The Parent Hood is a brand new sanctuary for parents in the heart of Chiswick High Road. Crafted for kids to play, munch and safely meander their way around whilst mamas grab a Climpson & Sons coffee, Tanya and Lottie have thought of everything when it comes to keeping tots amused from a chic monochromatic play zone, walls clad with sensory treats and a child-friendly food offerings including nibbles and noshes from Ella’s Kitchen, Kiddylicious and Bear Nibbles. Pram parking, baby change and toddler-friendly toilets to boot ensure each facet of eating out with little ones is covered.
87-89 Chiswick High Road, London, W4 2EF
If towering soft play centres send shivers down your spine and bijou brunch spots with kid-friendly amenities are more your thing – let us introduce you to The Wilds. Nestled in New Barnet, this family run cafe complete with dinky baby / toddler soft play area keeps the coffee flowing thanks to Gentlemen Barista brews and the build your own breakfast is a brilliant addition to a corker of a food menu. For littl’uns, the porridge comes sweet with fruit compote, peanut butter and banana toast is always a treat and the hummus and salad bagels are perfect for light bites. Mezze plates for two come meat, veggie or vegan – ideal for summertime family lunches after a morning of play.
27 East Barnet Road, Barnet EN4 8RN
Apple Tree Children’s Cafe
Based just stones throw away from Brockwell Park is the adorable Apple Tree Children’s Cafe. This South London sanctuary if a local gem for families, especially those with younger kids and tiny tots. Powered by playtime, Apple Tree boasts a brilliant soft play area for kids and role play zone where little ones can engage in every day life roles and educational play based challenges. Bubs looking to explore can delve into their sensory basket, overflowing with textures, lights and colours to inspire and delight. Oh and there’s coffee – great, strong coffee from Volcano Coffee Works. Owner Emily has also crafted a family-friendly menu which embraces the best of local far including fruit and veg is from Herne Hills very own Seasons.
27 – 29 Norwood Road, Herne Hill, London, SE24 0JB
Hygge Pygge Cafe
The brainchild of owner Valentina, Hygge Pygge Cafe is a must-visit family-friendly find in the heart of Camden. This coffee sanctuary embraces the ideology of ‘Hygge’ offering a space filled with cosy and comfortable conviviality, oh and Insta-worthy food! The lower floor of the cafe is laden with bean bags, children’s books and highchairs a plenty making in the perfect retreat for a Taylor St coffee and story time snack.
37 Chalk Farm Road, London, United Kingdom NW1 8AJ
Bear + Wolf Cafe
If you’re kids are up and at ‘em at the crack of dawn, why not nip to Bear and Wolf in Tufnell Park for a spot of family breaky. Avo, eggs and a sinfully good bacon roll slathered with aioli and cherry toms in an onion brioche will satisfy even the most sleep-savaged souls! Tots will love the Breakfast Berry smoothies overflowing with their five a day and for a half term treat there’s buttermilk waffles with sliced banana! With a playroom packed to the rafters with toys, you can rest assure that your little ones will be in seventh heaven whilst you sit back and enjoy a bite!
153 Fortess Road, London, United Kingdom, NW5 2HR
Coffee and Crayons Cafe
North London mamas if you’ve not yet discovered Coffee and Crayons, here’s one for the list! Family run and decidedly family focused, Coffee and Crayons serve up soft play for mini ones each Monday and Tuesday where under 4s can burn some energy at their fantastic stay and play sessions. After all that play, keep kids hunger at bay with veggie finger sandwiches, smashed avo on toast and for teeny weeny ones Coffee and Crayons weaning plate has an array of veggie sticks for those embracing a bit of baby-led.
161 Ballards Lane, London, N3 1LJ
Owned by Zainab, half-French, half-English Parisian, families can shop, play and learn at Cuckoo Hibou. A neighbourhood nest for all things stylish and scrumptious, there’s toys, clothing and accessories from a myriad of French. luxury children’s brands. Canelés line the cafe and summer sees ice cream dreams served up by G Like Gelato. The upstairs play area, though bijou, is brilliant with its stylish playhouse and giant chalkboard wall. From Caterpillar Music and The Little Dance Academy to art classes by the crafty Paperbirds London, Cuckoo Hibou’s range of workshops are second to none and cater from newborn to 8 years of age.
181 New Kings Road, Fulham, London
A firm favourite with mums across Clapham, Fresh Ground not only serves up a corker of a coffee but their new Stay and Play, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, is the ideal local hub for mums to meet, tiny ones to play and toddlers to get creative with arts, crafts and themed sensory activities. Running 9.30am to midday, it’s just a mere £3 per child and you can drop in on the day – an ideal sanctuary for showery Autumnal days. With coffee from Nude Coffee Roasters and Gatehouse Coffee Roasters, brews pack a punch, plus their array of cakes, croissants and vegan sweet treats will keep you powered up after those early-wake up calls!
68 Battersea Rise, London, SW11 1EQ
Little Highness Play Cafe
The fabulous family team behind the Highness Café and Tea Rooms, voted Time Out London’s most loved café 2016 have just given birth to a brand new offspring – the delightfully named Little Highness Play Cafe. Cordon Bleu trained chef, Nes, has not only a crafted a menu laden with patisseries, cakes, salads and sandwiches but being a mum herself, has ensured every corner of the cafe is child-friendly from the much adored and sparkling-clean soft play area, buggy-parking nook and super array of sippy cups.
69 Highbury Park, London, N5 1UA
Bertie and Boo
The original Bertie and Boo opened in 2006 to much acclaim and has since become a Balham child-friendly coffee fave with locals. From cake to cheddar toasties, Bertie and Boo’s latest Restaurant and Play on Northcote Road is a family-friendly gem just a stroller ride away from Wandsworth Common. Their monitored magical play room lets little ones play with pals whilst grown ups can tuck into a hearty brunch. Priding themselves on healthy eating, Bertie and Boo’s children’s menu is filled with locally sourced fresh ingredients, oodles of veggies and fresh fruit for pud.
175-177 Northcote Road, London, SW11 6QF
Located within the beautiful conservation area of Chapel Place, Tunbridge Wells. Babycino Cafe is family friendly haven with a dedicated play area for children. Toddle on downstairs and your little ones can go wild with their imagination as they play shops, get creative in the play kitchen or whip up an ice cream or two with their pals (albeit wooden ones!). Painted Peppermint also swing by the cafe for paint your own pottery sessions – an ideal afternoon activity when British summer days take a turn for the worse. Homemade cakes by The Sugar Flake (@thesugarflake) and seasonal lunchtime specials fill up the blackboard. Buggy parking and changing facilities also ensure tiny tots are catered for.
13 Chapel Place, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 1YQ