I’ve lived in Brighton for almost two years now and I definitely feel as though I have a routine, a little community and a sense of where to go for what. In fact, I’d say I’m basically the perfect tour guide; if what you want a tour of is places with great coffee, space for a buggy and activities to stop your toddler losing their shit.
Niche, I know.
But I’ve learned the hard way, drinking crap coffee, eating rubbish food and being told off by staff unkeen for my beautiful bull in their china shop, so to speak. And now I’m ready to pass on my baby-friendly secrets to you, dear friend.
Go forth and enjoy a brew and AT LEAST three minutes peace in one of my favourite baby-friendly cafes in Brighton & Hove.
This is a Brighton chain of restaurants and one I’ve come to rely on. Expect all-day brunches, burgers and a simple kiddy menu too. The coffee is crap, tbh, but I tend to come here for early dinner or a weekend lunch with the whole family so I almost always have wine anyway.
The best spot in Modelo is the big sofas in the window where my toddler loves to get the games boxes out or do some colouring. It has lots of space for your buggy and assorted kiddy ‘stuff’ there too.
Okay so this actually doesn’t tick ANY of the boxes for ‘kid-friendly’ in that it’s teeny, no room for a buggy and there’s no baby-change facilities.
But hear me out! The vegan donuts are to die for, as is the coffee and there’s a cute AF dog to snuggle. So I tend to grab takeaway and take it to the Level; a park/playground/skate park opposite.
If you’ve been around Brighton long enough you’ll hear about The Villas. And I’ll be honest and tell you I absolutely hate it BUT it’s a life saver on rainy days and I’m the only person in the world who seems to dislike it, so that’s why it’s on the list.
The Villas is a cafe inside the Emmanuel church so, for obvious reasons, it’s only open during the week and if there’s a funeral it might randomly be closed too.
Rather than a church hall stay and play it’s a pretty upmarket soft play style venue with a small cafe serving juice, coffee, snacks etc. I recommend going first thing OR over nap time when it’s a little quieter.
Down by Hove Lagoons, Fatboy Slim’s Beach Beach Cafe is great in the summer. There’s a playground right next door, and the lagoon for watersports (as well as a baby lido too)
I don’t tend to come here too often over winter but it’s great for both food and coffee and there’s even a tiny reading nook/play area if you want to stay inside and have a pre-crawler.
My friend Rida told me about this place which is a TOTAL hidden gem on George Street in Hove. It’s a really lovely (if a little gritty) Italian cafe serving delicious breakfast and lunch food as well as EXCELLENT coffee but the real treat is an upstairs soft play!
The reason I love it is because more often than not, I’m the only one there. The toilets are upstairs and there’s only a few seats so even if it’s packed there are still only a handful of people.
Anais loves the array of toys (kitchen, workbench as well as doll’s/cars) and the mini soft play area is amazing for burning some energy off.
This London chain might be a strange recommendation but Gail’s is one of my fave cafes because the staff are so incredibly lovely and accommodating.
Upstairs is best as there’s colouring books and a bit more space, although a pain if you can’t fold your buggy up.
If I could only go to one cafe for the rest of my life it would be here, and there are actually too many reasons why so I’ll just pick the highlights.
Attached to cute AF Stoneham Park The Snug serves amazing, great value food (seriously, there’s no half-arsed, bland kiddy food here), excellent coffee and there’s a great kiddy play area inside too.
There’s lots of classes throughout the week upstairs (we go to Music Mike on Wednesday afternoons and Physiotone Postnatal Pilates on Thursday mornings) so around those times it can get busy BUT it’s never very stressful and I’ve always managed to get a seat.
Being inside a park, there’s a safe space to leave your buggy outside and they have a little trike for kids to borrow as well.
A stone’s throw from the Snug I’d say this is a cafe suited for pre crawlers. I do bring both kids occasionally but I wouldn’t meet friends here as there’s very little space and, realistically, you can’t bring a buggy you can’t fold down.
The reason it’s on the list is because the coffee is great (the pastries aren’t so good) and the staff are lovely. It’s a real haven, and would be the perfect place to bring your newborn for some peace and quiet.
The Hove Library is another regular hang-out for the three of us and at least once a month we sneak into the training cafe for coffee and cake. The staff are lovely and if you go at a quieter time it’s perfect for kids.
The only downside (which isn’t really a downside at all!) is that it’s set up for older people
Carluccio’s/Pizza Express/Wagamama/Pret â Manger
This is a bonus listing as, honestly, most of you probably know this already but I think it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling you need to try one of the jazzier places in Brighton. One of the cool places, or more obviously baby-friendly.
But I’ve always found these chains to be particularly baby-friendly, nay child-of-any-ages friendly. All bar Pret offer high chairs, colouring and special menus as standard, and the reason I’ve added Pret is because my kid LOVES the free babyccino (also…yes please free babyccino) and the simple sandwiches and treats.
And, if you follow me on Instagram you’ll know I j’adore Pret so 🤷🏻♀️
Let me know if you try any of the baby-friendly places I’ve recommended and comment if I’ve missed anything out!
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