Eating out in Dorset

Ok, so the days of casually dining out on a whim in a serene setting may be on pause temporarily. Taking cherished yet unpredictable children to any eating establishment can be an unnerving thought and puts many people off - but it doesn’t need to be.

Just remember to be prepared for the unexpected…

Look for family friendly dining establishments

It will help to find out in advance how a restaurant is likely to cater for your family’s needs. It’s not always practical to jump from one restaurant to the next in search of a venue that openly welcomes youngsters. 

To save time, you may fancy heading for a renowned family-welcoming restaurant or one that serves a buffet allowing wider choice and reduced waiting times. Check if there is a children’s menu and if possible, make a booking in advance for when the restaurant is likely to be quieter.

Expend energy before dinner

Some young children are particularly restless and it can be difficult to get them to sit still, so give them the chance to burn off some of that liveliness in a park or playground beforehand. Alternatively, opt for a restaurant that has an indoor play area such as a small climbing frame or pool ball. These are mini-havens for children and offer a perfect distraction before the food arrives at the table.


Look for special events and offers

On occasional days, many restaurants offer children’s entertainment such as face painting and balloon modelling to distract restless children. Other appealing teasers include special offers in the shape of ‘children eat free with each full paying adult’ and half portion sizes of food from the main menu, giving children the chance to sample grown-up food. Some inventive and eager chefs also offer children’s cookery sessions to help educate youngsters who are hungry to learn more about preparing and eating good food.


At the restaurant 
When you arrive at the restaurant, you may wish to choose a table in the corner or in a booth. That way, if your children become restless, they are less likely to become centre of attention. Also, aim to be among the first to arrive for dinner to benefit from the unrivalled service. For toddlers, use the highchairs provided, but if your little one blatantly refuses to sit in one, you may wish to have a car seat or buggy handy to settle him or her down.


Accommodating for the needs of the under 5’s

If you have children under 5, seek out restaurants with adequate baby changing facilities and ample room to park buggies next to the tables.


Whilst you wait for your food...
If you don’t want to be faced with a child that lies or stands or hangs upside down on the seats, positive distraction is on the menu!

Some good dining establishments supply engaging children’s activity packs, but it’s always best to take your own in case they have run out.

Activity books full of simple puzzles, pictures to colour in, and spot the difference, should provide enough of a diversion and are easy to carry.

Pack a small bag of healthy snacks that won’t spoil an appetite, such as carrot or cucumber sticks, in case the meal is delayed.




Paprika: the home of authentic Hungarian and European food

Paprika is a family friendly Hungarian and European restaurant/cafe serving modern and authentic homemade food in Bournemouth.

Visitors to this Holdenhurst Road located restaurant are instantly welcomed into a homely and cosy environment where tempting food such as homemade goulash, heart-warming soups and tasty stews are served.

With a string of excellent reviews on Trip Advisor from previous happy customers, this is one restaurant that is truly worth a visit. For details call 01202 801862 or visit




Visit the welcoming, award-winning Little Pickle Deli Café this spring

Situated between Boscombe and Pokesdown, and close to the beach, The Little Pickle Deli Café is an ideal place to consume some delicious locally sourced produce and homemade treats.

Start your day with a Dorset breakfast or order a picnic to take with you as you go exploring the surrounding countryside. With a shabby chic theme and inspired by a love of all things vintage, its coastal vibe is very welcoming.

The Little Pickle Deli Café is open from 8am until 5pm from Monday to Saturday. The Little Pickle Deli Café, won the Family Friendly Café of the Year category in the Primary Times Reader Star Awards 2016. For up to date information about forthcoming Easter craft activities visit




Delicious delights at Dorchester’s Creams Cafe

Delight your child’s taste buds with a visit to Creams dessert parlour in Dorchester’s Brewery Square this spring, where an array of delicious puddings awaits all youngsters with a sweet tooth. 

This Italian/American ice-cream parlour serves up over 39 different types of ice-cream, and the freshly-made waffles, crepes and American cookie dough are sure to keep families staying around the venue that little bit longer.

Being surrounded by such tasty delicacies it goes without saying that Creams is a truly wonderful spot for a birthday party.   Get a taste of what’s in store by visiting




Tasty food in an Olde Worlde setting

Drusilla’s Inn is set in the rolling Dorset countryside, with uninterrupted views of the historic Horton Folly Tower. Wobbly walls, low ceilings, real fires and exposed beams all add to Drusilla’s Olde Worlde charm, and the range of delicious homecooked food accommodates for all appetites.

Drusilla’s offers a range of menus, from bar snacks to an a la carte selection featuring free range, hand reared local produce. This is complimented by a range of local ales and ciders and international wine.

The Inn was awarded with the Cask Marque in August 2016. Families choosing to stay at Drusilla’s, can stay in one of the quirky luxury shepherd’s huts – this is real B & B accommodation with a difference! For more information visit or call 01258 840297.





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