Planning a family getaway in the South West this summer and want to find restaurants both adults and kids will love? Consider these five family-friendly dining spots …
The Longstore, Charlestown, Cornwall
Each summer, gorgeous Charlestown finds itself abuzz with visitors who, having seen it featured in the hit TV series Poldark, want to experience the historic harbour and its grand tall ships for themselves. Happily, when they’re ready to swap 18th century romance for 21st-century dining hearty hospitality awaits at The Longstore.
Diners get to feast in a spacious open-plan dining room which has been crafted by a team of local tradespeople and artists who’ve mixed up rustic with industrial, and old with new. The artistic flair is just as prevalent in the kitchen where executive chefs William Spurgeon and Matthew Liddicoat craft a crowd-pleasing menu to delight even the fussiest of eaters.
The menu features uber casual dishes such as cheeseburgers and barbecued ribs alongside beautifully cooked steaks and seafood. There’s also a children’s menu for little ones.
The Wychwood Inn, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire
The Cotswolds is the home of the cosy dining pub, and The Wychwood Inn is a fine example.
Head chef Joe McCarthay honours the Shipton-under-Wychwood inn’s heritage with a menu of quality modern British dishes, and adds his own contemporary touches via precise plating and creative interventions. Both adults and youngsters will appreciate tried-and-tested classics such as chicken kiev made with garlic and parsley cultured-butter accompanied by watercress and warm potato salad, or The Wychwood burger with coleslaw and skin-on fries.
In summer, a spacious courtyard offers alfresco drinking and dining for all – including well-behaved dogs – so this is a great spot for a post-walk lunch of beer-battered fish and chips with peas and tartar sauce.
Saunton Sands Hotel, north Devon
It’s easy to understand why families in search of open space and family-friendly dining flock to Saunton Sands Hotel; there can’t be many hotels where you can dine with such spectacular views. The two-AA rosette holder is in the middle of the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and dinner at The Dining Room at Saunton Sands Hotel comes with a side order of the awe-inspiring scene of Braunton Burrows and glittering ocean.
Head chef Mathias Oberg’s cooking style is on point but never stuffy; the accomplished chef places emphasis on sourcing the bounty of local produce from the surrounding countryside and coastal waters and turns it into smart-casual modern British classics. The vibe is relaxed and stylish with friendly service and a children’s menu that offers plenty of choices.
Hooked Restaurant & Bar, Truro
This laid-back Truro spot is a brilliant place to take teenagers. Not only will they appreciate the stylish industrial surrounds, it’s also a great place to get them hooked (sorry) on beautifully cooked top-quality seafood, without the pomp that sometimes accompanies high-end restaurant experiences. Younger kids are covered too, care of the winning children’s menu.
Adults will value the sustainability focus, as the chefs work with gloriously fresh catches plucked from the surrounding Cornish waters. Local shellfish such as St Austell Bay mussells, Falmouth Bay scallops and Rock oysters are not to be missed and make a winning way to kick off dinner. To finish, homemade chocolate brownie and own-made ice creams and sorbets battle it out with the Cornish cheeseboard. Speciality coffee roasted by Olfactory in nearby Penryn has no contenders.
The Fontmell, Shaftesbury, Dorset
Any chef worth their salt pours energy into sourcing fantastic produce, yet the team at The Fontmell in Shaftesbury take this commitment one step further by rearing their own rare-breed Berkshire Gloucestershire Old Spot cross pigs just two miles from the pub.
Head chef Armando Fernandes ensures the whole animal is put to delicious use in pub classics which the whole family will enjoy, such as roast pork on Sundays (where it’s served with all the incredible trimmings), rustic homemade sausage rolls at the bar, and thick-cut bacon and own-recipe sausages which take the starring role in the inn’s generous full English breakfast.
The charming village inn is naturally split into two dining areas by a babbling brook which flows between the cosy bar and smarter restaurant, and both sides offer attractive settings for great modern British cooking. If the weather’s good, there’s also alfresco dining area in the garden where the team turn out crispy artisan pizzas from the wood-fired oven.
Whether you’re indulging in three courses from the fine dining menu (which also offers delicious dinners for mini diners), tucking in to rustic fish and chips by the fire or sharing a family-style supper outside, the vibe is relaxed and friendly.