One of my biggest fears when we were going to stay in York was what it would be like to eat out for every meal with the children. We had chosen to stay in the Novotel York Centre rather than an Air BnB like we had originally discussed. Eating out with a toddler and a baby can be a bit daunting, but I needn’t have worried.
York is full of amazing restaurants! There were cafes, pubs and restaurants in York city centre that were all suitable for eating out with kids. We were made to feel welcome wherever we went, and the children had meals that they could enjoy. If you’re planning a trip and you’re looking for things to do in York with kids then you don’t need to worry about where to eat – I’ve got that covered!
Breakfast Or Brunch
We stumbled across Daughter on our first morning in York. We had give the kids a quick breakfast in the hotel and were looking for somewhere for JHogg and I to eat but still be suitable for the children.
Daughter caught my eye as we approached as I could see a box of books and toys through the window. It was clearly going to be a family friendly cafe, and we weren’t disappointed. The venue is a grade 2 listed building, with beautiful high ceilings and large windows keeping it bright and light. Plants and succulents filled the windowsills, and it is not only family friendly but dog friendly too. The whole cafe had a relaxed atmosphere and we felt very comfortable being there with a boisterous Piglet who had energy to burn.
One whole wall was dominated by a floor to ceiling chalkboard that contained the menu. There were lots of vegan options which, although we don’t require them, is always nice to see for inclusivity. Daughter use Yorkshire suppliers for their coffee, artisan bread, eggs, meat and preserves, supporting the local area and providing fresh ingredients for their food. Their cakes and tray-bakes are all made fresh onsite. Take-away was also an option if you wanted breakfast on the go.
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I opted for a simple bagel with cream cheese and bacon. It is a breakfast classic for me, and I found it delicious! Piglet had a glass of milk and a cake, neither of which lasted long on his plate.
As well as delicious food, Daughter are doing their bit for the environment. They are working to reduce unnecessary waste, recycle and use 100% compostable coffee cups for their takeaways. We carry our own stainless steel straws which was perfect for helping Piglet with his drink.
As far as places to eat in York go, Daughter ranks highly on my list and I will definitely be visiting again when we return to the city.
Right in the city centre of York, Bill’s is where we went for our final brunch before leaving. I have been to a Bill’s before, albeit before kids, so I knew roughly what to expect. Of course there are lots of York restaurants that we could have gone to that are not part of a chain, when when you’re eating out with kids sometimes it’s less stressful to go somewhere you know and trust.
Bill’s offered an extensive breakfast menu, but I was there with pancakes on my mind. A 3 stack is HUGE and I am so glad that I didn’t opt for the bigger 5 stack option. JHogg was having a more traditional cooked breakfast and they waitress was extremely helpful when it came to customising his meal to make sure he got the best deal. The kids breakfast menu is quite small, only 4 items, but it covers everything you could need.
Aside from breakfast, Bill’s also offers lunch and dinner which both look delicious, as well as cream tea and a large selection of desserts.
Lunch On The Go
We were so busy exploring that most of the time we had a quick lunch in York without really stopping. There are lots of places to eat that offer a takeaway option. All the usual chain restaurants can be found in the centre of York, as well as a few independent places. One particular place that caught our eye served lunch in a yorkshire pudding as a wrap. Unfortunately we never made it back to get one – but it’s on our list for next time!
If I could only eat one type of meal for the rest of my life I think it would be a roast dinner. And so it was a no brainer to go and find the best restaurant in York for a Sunday lunch. Located right next to York Minster we found Hole In The Wall. We were dram to it partially due to it’s central location, but also due to its atmosphere.
On arrival we found it to be very busy and we took that to be a good sign. We found a quite spot at the back for us to sit and got JJ set up in a highchair. The seating arrangements were a bit bizarre. There was a bench all long the walls but instead of seats there were stools to sit on the other side of the tables. For JHogg, who has an issue with his back, it was difficult to sit on a stool. He and Piglet got comfortable on the bench though and it was fine.
We didn’t really consider the main menu as we knew we were there for a roast dinner, but I did have a quick peek and saw the usual lasagna and pies etc as well as vegetarian and vegan options. Your typical pub menu items. For the Sunday lunch you had a choice of 3 meats, served with roast potatoes, yorkshire pudding, vegetables and gravy, plus a matching condiment.
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We were a little disappointed that there wasn’t a kids roast dinner option. Piglet isn’t a big fan of meat so it wasn’t a big issue, however I know many other children would have enjoyed a smaller portion of the adult roast. That said – the staff were really helpful and I think they may provide one for you if you asked.
Novotel York Centre
We had 2 meals in the Novotel York Centre during our stay there. As much as we wanted to go out and search fo the best places to eat in York with kids, sometimes you’ve got to admit defeat and just eat where it is easy. We were SO surprised to find that some of our best meals we had were in the hotel restaurant.
With views over the River Foss, the Novotel restaurant is bright and airy. We were dining early which meant we had pretty much the whole restaurant to ourselves. There was a choice of tables or booths, and the waiter let us pick which option would work best for us with the children.
The children’s menu was really well priced at just £5 for 3 courses, or they could have a half portion from the main menu if they prefer. Piglet made a request for plain pasta which was not on the main menu during our second visit and waiter asked the chef to make it without a second thought. Little touches like that make eating out with kids that much easier.
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JHogg and I both enjoyed our meals. I have a carbonara one night and a steak wrap a few days later. JJ helped me eat both and happily smacked his lips for more. We also sampled a few local gins and ales from the bar to accompany our meals.
There were a few little touches that made us want to return for dinner a second time. There were a variety of highchairs available, so we were able to select the one that would best suit JJ. In between courses the staff would smile and chat to the children, they asked if we would like the kids meals brought out straight away to stave off any hanger, and they even gave them a small polar bear toy as they partner with a charity for endangered species.
One of the few things we can guarantee Piglet will eat is pizza, so one of the first things we did was look for Italian restaurants in York. We stumbled across Gusto and, although at first glance it seemed a bit too “nice” for eating out with kids, it turned out to be a great find!
The children were greeted with activity packs, chef hats and stickers (very similar to what you get at Pizza Express). Their menu was £6.95 and I loved the option for a create your own pizza. Kids can stay entertained by making their pizza at the table before handing it back to the waiters to have it cooked. We opted not to do this (speed was the name of the game with two exhausted boys after a day of fun) but I can see how it would be such a great idea for others.
JHogg and I ate from the A La Carte menu, but there are also set menu options available. There was a huge selection to choose from with all the Italian classics we know and love. JHogg also tried a cocktail which he thoroughly enjoyed!
The staff were friendly and played with the children happily as they passed. We were having an early dinner (around 5:30pm) and by the time we came to leave the restaurant was really quite busy. There weren’t any other families in the restaurant but we were never once made to feel out of place.
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Have I missed anywhere? If you have any more ideas for places to eat in York with kids I’d love to hear them!
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