London: Feeding and Food

Some restaurants don't like kids. Peek inside; if you see families, or if they have a kids' menu, you are golden. If turned away (as in “Sorry, all our tables are already reserved” even though it is only 3pm), smile and move on. They didn't get your money and you aren't going to let someone wipe out your vacation that easy.

Most pubs serve food. Pubs are everywhere. It is usually pretty basic (lasagna for some reason is popular), pretty cheap and the atmosphere is casual. Lunch at a pub is a definitely good idea. We found the dinner-time crowd more interested in drinking and generally ate elsewhere in the evenings. I've heard that for those who enjoy it, they make pretty good beer in the UK as well…

Most high street pubs, or those in busy areas, are quite family friendly, not at all the image of bars in the U.S. Some places do ask pre-teen kind of kids to not enter. We never had trouble with our elementary age and younger kids being asked to not enter a pub, though you must keep them away from the bar. About the only drawback is that many pubs tend to be smoky. In warmer months, many places have an outdoor patio area, which gets around the smoke problem and is usually much more family-friendly. You can order non-alcoholic beverages easily. Some very good news is that more pubs are now no-smoking.

While talking about weather in London, let's just say it can stink. Not always of course, but we always brought along a sweater, and an umbrella, and a plastic hood-cover thing for the stroller no matter what the weather looked like when we started out.

For a change, and/or for unadventurous eaters, fast food places are everywhere in London. Same for fish ‘n chip places. The fish is generally white fish in a thick batter, and the french fries are indeed french fries, thicker than what you'd expect from McDonalds. Even when our kids were not enthusiastic seafood eaters, fish ‘n chips went down easily.

Many people in the UK like to put vinegar on their chips; in some places it can be hard to find catsup readily available for the chips, so snatch an extra packet when using the restroom at Burger King (fast food places have reasonably clean and very available toilets).

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