It’s the time of year when many of us look forward to spending relaxing, sunny afternoons with friends in the beer garden. Then just as you start making plans, you remember that you have children and things will be a bit different than back in the day.

Well, fear not, the pub can still be your happy place with children in tow! Here is a list of fantastic, family friendly pub gardens to visit across West Berkshire.

1. The Craven Arms

Enborne, Nr. Newbury

It was a no-brainer to include The Craven Arms on this list. The large pub garden is set up really well for families with plenty of picnic tables and a decent play area. There are two swing sets, a climbing frame and a balance course to keep your little ones entertained while they wait for their food, or for you to finish your drink! Things are nicely spaced throughout the garden and it doesn’t feel cramped, even when it’s busy.

Expect typical pub food done well, such as burgers, roasts and steaks. There is a solid children’s menu too with kid-friendly favourites. As an added bonus, in the peak of summer there is an outside bar and BBQ station on weekends.

Towards the end of 2020 the owners added tipis with tables that can be booked for lunch and dinner. They look great and do the job of keeping out any liquid sunshine, aka rain, to guarantee your pub lunch stays dry!

Children’s Menu: Yes

Play area: Yes

Car park: Yes

Website: https://www.thecravenarmsenborne.com/

2. The Furze Bush

Ball Hill, Nr. Newbury

The Furze Bush has a large, open garden on the front side and another smaller one at the back with a small fenced-in play area. Despite the appeal of the slide for children, it is actually much better to get settled in the front garden where there is more room to spread out. It’s the kind of place where children can sit on the lawn next to your table and play or read happily. Unless your children are runners and then you’ll appreciate the arched walkway for them to explore!

The food is traditional pub fare and they do have a children’s menu. It’s tasty with good sized portions to fill everyone’s tummies!

The pub has local walks galore nearby, including The Chase National Trust woodland area if you fancy exploring and burning off some energy before or afterwards.

Children’s Menu: Yes

Play area: Yes

Car park: Yes

Website: http://furzebushinn.co.uk/

3. Pizza Paloma (next to The Blackbird)

Bagnor, Newbury

Pizza Paloma is not strictly a pub, but it is right next to one and owned by the same folks as The Blackbird. It does have all the pub garden vibes you need to sit back and enjoy time with the family outdoors. The setting is lovely with a stream running by, a small play area and lots of surrounding countryside to explore when you are ready to walk off your meal.

The menu is small but mighty with delicious sourdough pizzas, burgers and desserts that the whole family will enjoy. Pizza Paloma is well worth the trip for easy going and tasty food with a beautiful backdrop.

Children’s Menu: No

Play area: Yes

Car park: Yes

Website: https://www.pizzapaloma.co.uk

4. The Castle

Donnington, Newbury

The pub garden at The Castle is a pretty, walled one and while it isn’t as big as some of the others on the list, it is still worthy of a visit. The food is very good and is a big draw, as is the genuine welcome from the staff. The team loves dogs and yours will probably get lots of attention if you bring them! The location is this pub’s biggest selling point though.

Right across the road (do take care crossing this one, it can be busy) is Donnington Recreation Ground. There’s a good playground and from the far corner of the field you can follow the footpath up to Donnington Castle. It’s a good idea to go for a play and a walk, work up an appetite and then finish up at the pub for lunch or dinner.

The Castle serves typical pub food with especially good Sunday roasts and doesn’t currently have a children’s menu, although they do offer children’s portions so just ask.

Children’s Menu: No.

Play area: No

Car park: Yes

Website: https://www.thecastlenewbury.com

5. The Rowbarge

Woolhampton

This is a firm family favourite for lots of people because of its location and wide open garden. This Rowbarge is right by the canal and you can see the boats pass by from your table. There is a good-sized grassy, open public space to the side of the seating area that is perfect for kicking a ball around or playing tag.

The Rowbarge has a relaxed atmosphere and it’s just as enjoyable to pop in for a drink or stay for something to eat. The food is classic, pub grub and there’s a good children’s menu too.

You can also take everyone for a walk or bike ride along the towpath to start or finish your pub adventure if that’s your cup of tea.

Children’s Menu: Yes

Play area: No

Car park: Yes

Website: https://www.brunningandprice.co.uk/rowbarge/

6. The Cottage Inn

Upper Bucklebury

The Cottage Inn has something for everyone which makes it brilliant for families. There’s food, drink, a lovely village location and stuff for the kids to do. Their tag line is “family pub and restaurant” and they have the credentials to prove it! The pub garden is big with lots of grass, a play area and even some farm animals that children love to look at.

The menu is full of traditional, no-frills pub food. It’s fairly priced and they have a children’s menu with half a dozen options to choose from.

Children’s Menu: Yes

Play area: Yes

Car park: Yes

Website: http://www.thecottageinnupperbucklebury.co.uk

7. The Dundas Arms

Kintbury

This option is a good bet for older children who are happy to sit for a while and watch the boats, people, bikes and sometimes horses pass by along the canal. You can play all kinds of games together as you look out. Try to get a table along the edge of the balcony style garden and enjoy!

The food is excellent. They have a two-course children’s menu with some tasty choices. If you aren’t hungry but still want to enjoy the setting, this pub garden makes a perfect drink stop on a walk or bike ride along the towpath.

Children’s Menu: Yes

Play area: No

Car park: Yes

Website: https://www.dundasarms.co.uk/ 

The Dundas Arms is a West Berkshire Mums Family Card partner! You can enjoy 10% off food and drink (terms apply). Visit our membership page for more details and to sign up for your free Family Card.

This list is not exhaustive and there are certainly other lovely spots to visit in the area. Let us know about any pubs with family friendly gardens that you think should be on this list.

Enjoy your pub garden adventures this summer. Now all we need is some sunshine, fingers crossed!

Note that most pubs require advance bookings at the moment so check their websites for more information before you stop by. Please check and follow the latest government guidelines before planning any family adventures.

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