Child Friendly Cafes in North East England

Thanks to our team member Bethanie for sharing some personal recommendations for child friendly cafes across North East England to try in this post. This post was published in October 2021, photos are a mix of Bethanies and my own. Please always check details (especially opening hours) with venues direct when making plans as information can change. Over to Bethanie......

Child Friendly Cafes in North East England

I still famously remember the time my mum and I walked into a café, pushing my then one year old in the pushchair, to feel all eyes turn on us. “There are no high chairs”, I whispered to mum as we slowly backed out, hoping to appear as inconspicuous as possible. It was clear that wasn’t a “child friendly café”. 

Depending on whether or not a café is child friendly, can either make or break a trip out. I have put together a list of child friendly cafes in the North East.

Hopefully this will help you plan a day out whether you are local or visiting on holiday. There is nothing worse than sitting yourselves down, laden with pushchairs and kids, to find you aren’t really welcome… 

Child Friendly Cafes in North East England 

Nelson’s At The Park – Swarland

Starting with a firm favourite of ours, Nelsons provides the best of both worlds when eating out with children. A cosy café, nicely decorated and located right next to an enclosed play park. 

The menu offers a range of hot and cold food and even a build your own picnic for the kids. Little touches like marshmallows in a small tin bucket with a child’s hot chocolate are a win for us. Be sure to try out their cakes as well (they offer boxes to take home leftovers as the portion sizes are very generous).

Child Friendly Cafes in North East England - Nelson's at the park, swarland

There used to be an indoor play area for the children as well, with a tepee, train set and a small stash of books, however since reopening post pandemic, these have been removed to make more space for the tables. Hopefully one day this may return however as it was always another great selling point; the kids loved it.  

You can sit and enjoy a relaxing cup of coffee and a catch up with friends, while the kids let off steam in the play park, with both indoor and outdoor seating. 

Booking a table isn’t essential but recommended as it is a popular spot. 

Opening times: 

Wednesday to Monday 9 – 4pm

Closed Tuesdays


Swarland Village,

NE65 9BQ


Carnabys Café 

“Eat, Relax, Shop” is the motto here. If you are looking for somewhere that provides a relaxing (as can be when out with children) dining area, quality food and something to keep the kids entertained, this is a bit of a gem.

Child Friendly Cafes in North East England  - Carnabys
Credit : Carnabys 

There are ride on tractors in the outdoor seating area and a cute play park as well as a menu for children including a packed lunch or hot food priced at £4.95. 

Sample menu : Credit Carnabys 

Please note, there is no phone line so if you have a query before your visit, you need to email:

Opening times:

Monday – Saturday 9.30 – 4pm

Sunday 9.30 – 3pm 


Adjacent to the A1, Carnaby’s is located ten miles north of Alnwick. 

Brownieside, Chathill, NE67 5HW


The Running Fox

With cafes now open in Felton, Longframlington, Shilbottle and Longhoughton, there is sure to be one you are passing if you are heading in to north Northumberland. 

Child Friendly Cafes in North East England - The Running Fox
Feeding the ducks outside of The Running Fox, Felton

While there are no play parks right out the door, each café is within a village setting so there is a play park to be found not too far away. 

The reason I include it in a round up of child friendly cafes, is because of the menu offered to children. If you are eating out with a fussy eater, the menu is sure to provide something they will like. My son loves their toast and butter (simple but delicious) with a glass of milk. 

They also have on offer: “Very Important Little Person Afternoon Tea” for £6, which includes a sandwich or a slice of pie or quiche, choice of either a cream scone or slice of cake, packet of crisps and unlimited squash. Other offerings from the menu include: “The picnic fox”, “The mini fox” and “The pocket fox”. 

Check out the Foxy menu:

Opening times:

Open daily from 8.30 – 5pm. 


Felton: Use postcode NE65 9EA

Longframlington: Use postcode NE65 8AE

Shilbottle: Use postcode NE66 2XX

Longhoughton: Use postcode NE66 3AG

Dobbies Garden Centres

There are Dobbies Garden Centres in Morpeth, Ponteland, Gosforth and Birtley and while they can be a bit pricey they are certainly child friendly. 

We make a trip of visiting our local Dobbies store by looking at the fish, browsing the toy section and finally ending up in the café and soft play. (Soft play only at the Gosforth and Morpeth store.) At Dobbies Morpeth, there is also the option of Dinosaur Mini Golf (no bookings - just turn up). 

Child Friendly Cafes in North East England - Dobbies Cafe

There is an option to build a lunchbox, choosing between hand and cheese sandwiches, a drink, crisps, piece of fruit and one more snack choice, all for £5.20.

Dobbies Morpeth 

The cost of soft play is £3 or £2.50 with a Dobbies club card. It says pre booking is advised but they do accept walk ins. We always just turn up and have always got in no problem. 

Opening times (restaurant):

Monday to Saturday: 9 – 5.30pm

Sunday: 10.30 – 4.30pm


Morpeth: Dobbies at Heighley Gate, NE61 3DA

Gosforth: Gosforth Park, NE3 5EP

Ponteland: NE20 9BT

Birtley: Chester-Le-Street DH3 2BQ


Tea Room at Brocksbushes

Brocksbushes is famous for its Pick Your Own fruit, but there is also a lovely tea room here too. We have stopped off here on our way over to the Lake District for an early breakfast, with the kids.  

Child Friendly Cafes in North East England - Brocksbushes

Comfy seating and plenty of tables spread out. (At the time of writing there are slightly less tables than usual to make space for social distancing.) There is no need to pre book if visiting the tea room but if you are planning on doing any “pick your own” you need to book that in advance.

The tea room offers a range of homemade cakes, scones, quiches, soup and pies, all produced in the Farm Kitchen. There are high chairs and a cute farm shop to browse as well. (The main attraction for the kids of course will be the PYO). 

Opening times (tearoom):

Monday – Saturday : 9.30 – 4.30pm

Sunday 9.30 – 3.30pm


Brocksbushes Farm, Corbridge, NE43 7UB


The Watling Coffee House – Corbridge 

Another café we have used as an en route breakfast to the Lakes (can you see a pattern here?) is The Watling Coffee House in Corbridge. 

Child Friendly Cafes in North East England - The Watling House

I always feel a little nervous taking the kids to Corbridge because I feel people go there for a relaxing day out and potter round the gorgeous shops. However, this coffee house was a great stop off for us and we were made to feel very welcomed. 

The children both had beans on toast, which was a good portion size without being too big. There wasn’t a huge choice on the menu but it was enough to keep everyone happy. 

The atmosphere was very relaxed and there is a seating area upstairs as well as down. Next to our table were crayons and some colouring paper; always a hit! 

The staff were friendly and knew just how to treat the children. This might sound silly but sometimes that is what makes a café child friendly. We were only there for breakfast but we all eyed up the large chocolate cake on the counter as we left. It looked delicious…

Opening times:

Monday – Saturday: 9-4pm

Sunday 9.30 – 4pm


Corbridge NE45 5AG


The Pavillion – Carlisle Park, Morpeth

Newly opened in 2021 is the Pavillion café found in the heart of Carlisle Park in Morpeth. It is the perfect accompaniment for a day out in Morpeth. After spending time in the play park or walking around the formal gardens, head along to the Pavillion which can be found next to the bowling green.

Child Friendly Cafes in North East England - The Pavillion Cafe Morpeth

There is seating both inside and out, which on a lovely sunny day is in a perfect sun trap. The menu is very reasonably priced and offers both hot and cold dishes, as well as your usual tray bakes, drinks and ice creams. Toilets are available inside as well so you don’t have to use the public ones in the park. Handy for nappy changes etc. 

Right in front of the café is the old tennis courts which are now used as a running around space for the kids. There are two picnic benches here and a giant connect four game. 

Don’t expect five star food, but for location and price I would recommend a visit while in the park. 

Opening times:

Monday – Saturday: 9 - 5pm

Sunday: 10 – 5pm


Carlisle Park, Morpeth, NE61 1XX


Canny Cuppa – Causey Park

A recent discovery for us after we visited as a large party, to try the afternoon tea. The owner is lovely and very good with the kids. It isn’t very big inside, cosy more like, but there is also plenty of seating outdoors with stunning views over the cheviot hills. 

Child Friendly Cafes in North East England - Canny Cuppa

It is the first right hand turn straight off the A1 so very easy to get too. 

We went for afternoon tea, which is served from 3.30pm when the rest of the café is shut. Our children didn’t like the sandwiches on offer so the lovely lady made some especially for them. She even cut the crusts off!

Everything was homemade and great portion sizes; we will definitely be back to try out the breakfast. 

Opening times:

Monday, Tuesday CLOSED

Wednesday – Sunday: 9 – 3pm 


Right off the A1 at Causey Park, use postcode NE61 3EN


Do you feel inspired to try out some new places now with the kids in tow? I hope this list helps in your quest to find those best child friendly cafes, either local or further afield to you. 

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