What makes a great family pub? Good food, with a reasonably priced children’s menu and facilities to keep the kids entertained. That is about all really.
We have seen fewer play areas in recent years, and some pubs have stopped allowing children in completely due to escalating insurance costs. But there are still many excellent family pubs in Essex. Here are our favourites. Not all have great gardens for kids, but all are family friendly.
The White Horse in Ramsden Heath
The White Horse is a large pub which serves good food. They have a very well equipped childrens play area in a safe, fully enclosed garden. In the winter they put up an ice rink for kids (not free).
The White Horse has won a host of industry accolades and continues to push boundaries in pursuit of the perfect British pub.
- Bookings: 01268 711884
The Six Bells in Boreham
The Six Bells is a traditional family pub and have a really good children’s outdoor play area with swings, slide, climbing frames and a see-saw.
Receive an award from Chelmsford and Mid-Essex CAMRA for ‘Best Local Family Pub‘ (which means that the beer is good too!). Booking recommended.
- Main Rd Boreham, Essex CM3 3JE
- 01245 467232
The Plough Harvester in Chelmsford
The Harvester was one of the first chains of pubs to cater for families. The Plough Harvester in Chelmsford has loads of healthy food options for children. It also has a large garden with plenty of seating.
- 306 Springfield Road, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 6BA
- Telephone: 01245 353375
The Three Jolly Wheelers in Chigwell
The Three Jolly Wheelers in Chigwell is a country pub & restaurant oozing rural charm and rustic character. It is owned by Vintage Inns. Good childrens menu with 2 courses and a Fruit Shoot for £6.95. Small beer garden area.
- 735 Chigwell Rd Woodford Green IG8 8AS
- 020 8502 9296
The Treacle Mine in Grays
The Treacle Mine attracts diners from South Ockendon, West Thurock and Chafford Hundred as well as Grays. Food covers all the British classics plus a range of sizzling skillets. All kids’ meals are just £2.99. £4.50 gets them a moreish main, tempting pud and thirst-quenching drink, any day, any time. On Wednesdays kids eat for £1! They have plenty of high-chairs and baby changing facilities too.
- Lodge Lane, Grays, Essex, RM17 5PR
- Tel: 01375 382735
The Chafford Hundred in Grays
This is a Brewers Fayre pub with Buffett Palace. Good children’s menu. They have a PlayZone indoor play area, plus also host Parent and Toddler mornings on weekdays between 10am and 11am.
- Fleming Road, Unicorn Estate, Chafford Hundred, Grays RM16 6YJ
- Tel. 01375 481153
The Rose Inn, Great Wakering
Lovely Country Bar & Restaurant on the outskirts of Southend On Sea serving good Real Ales and quality food. Children can stay until 9pm. Play area within the beer garden. Good Sunday roasts – but get there early (they open at 11.30am).
- Wakering Road, SS3 0PY Great Wakering
- 01702 588008
Toby Carvery in Harlow
Toby Carvery’s are similar to Harvester’s. Large family pubs with good value food. Also like having Sunday Roast every day.
- Edinburgh Gate, Harlow, CM20 2LQ
- Tel: 01279 442151
Kings Oak in High Beach, Epping Forest
A very trendy venue that caters for families well. They have a ‘Cheeky Monkey’ menu. The Forest Garden is great for kids, with climbing frames, swings and slides. Bouncy castles in the summer. Not many Essex pubs can boast of such a safe environment for the kids to play in.
- Paul’s Nursery Road, High Beach, Essex IG10 4AE
- 0208 508 5000
The Anchor Riverside Pub and Restaurant in Hullbridge
Great food and a large beer garden overlooking the river. There was a separate children’s garden but this was closed – possibly for the same reasons as others have closed (rising insurance costs). Also has a large family room. In the summer they often have activities for children, such as face painting, bouncy castles and crafts.
- Ferry Road, Hullbridge, Essex, SS5 6ND
- Telephone: 01702 230 777
The Cock Inn, Rochford
The pub was once a farm house and is still surrounded by farmland. It has a massive beer garden that is enclosed, great for kids to run around in. It is a very popular pub with families. Food usually served quickly.
The Cock Inn is a Fayre & Square pub. They often do deals on food (such as 2 for £10) and have a good childrens menu. Children Welcome until 9pm, Dogs Welcome outside on a lead.
- Hall Rd, Rochford, Essex SS4 1PD
- Phone:01702 540429
The Hare at Roxwell
Great food in a traditional pub. Lovely patio garden which spills out onto a lawn and overlooks fields and countryside. A small stream runs along the back of the pub. Some play houses in the garden.
- The Hare, Bishops Stortford Road, Roxwell, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 4LU
- Tel: 01245 248788
Red Lion, Witham
The Red Lion is a 14th Century building. Was known as the Black Boy in the C18th. Children and dogs are welcome. They host barbeques and hog roasts in the summer.
- Newland Street, Witham CM8 2AF
- Tel. 01376 512 199