I LOVE eating out during the day… Breakfast, lunch, morning and afternoon tea. Born from travel, this love affair began in beer gardens, progressed to restaurants and cafes and has most recently progressed to ‘cafes with high chairs!’ It was never solely about the best food and wine, but more about the occasion, sharing with family and friends. If the company is right…. and the children are happy, I’ll happily pass up oysters and champaign (well maybe not every time!) to share fish and chips on the beach. Plastic high chairs at the ready, kids menus and crayons, these six Edinburgh Cafe’s will give friendly service rather than silver, serve baked beans instead of (or as well as) fresh salmon, and will leave money over for ice cream and hot chocolates later!!
The Scottish Storytelling Centre
A personal favourite. A retreat in the centre of Edinburgh. If you’re in a sudden down pour, having a ‘bathroom emergency’, need to regroup your herd (and your own sanity), or for no reason at all, the cafe in the Scottish Storytelling Centre is the place.
Enter through the ancient and rather dark John Knox House, the reception to the storytelling centre, go straight ahead and emerge in a light, airy, quite spectacular space. Let the kids escape into it, and they’ll find a wall of little doors revealing all kinds of treasures, a basket of dressups, and maybe even a story being told. Make yourself comfortable on the carved wooden chairs, feast your eyes on the array of home made cakes and try to decide which one to order with your beautifully prepared coffee. Enjoy the table service, which for a flustered parent, without any grown up help, is more a necessity than a luxury, and have a personal moment while the children explore. The food is fresh and home made.
So where do I find it?
Scottish Storytelling Centre
43-45 High Street
High chairs, Baby change, big open indoor space to play.
For more information visit their website
On the top floor of the Debenhams Princess Street department store, this place is worth a visit, just for the view. On a snowy, rainy, windy day, enjoying a bowl of hot soup, with Edinburgh Castle filling the entire top floor window, there cannot be any forgetting where you are. It is a typical push your tray along, pick up your tab at the end type eatery, which can be a challenge with children and buggy’s in tow. However the staff are friendly and will help you to your table if needed. If the weather is really bad, It’s also a great opportunity for a little shopping after lunch 😉
Where do I go?
109 Princess Street, Edinburgh
Bathrooms, Baby change. High chiars, Lift.
As it is a national department store the Debenhams website doesn’t have any specific info on this particular restaurant.
The Gyle Centre Food Hall
Not strictly speaking a cafe or restaurant, this place is still worth a mention. Tucked away at one end of the food hall is the ‘family area’. Don’t be put off by the connotation, as families can sit anywhere, however the beauty of this is the large, fairly well enclosed space. There is only one, relatively small exit into the main area, instead of 2 escalators, a stair case and a lift to avoid. There are fairy tale murals on the walls and right in the middle of the room are play tables surrounded with new friends to play with. You may find yourself (as we did) sitting, relaxing over a coffee and having a proper conversation.
Where is it?
Gyle Shopping Centre
Gyle Avenue, South Gyle, Edinburgh, EH12 9JY
Toilets big enough for buggies, a dedicated changing room, high chairs
This is my most regular ‘haunt’ as it is attached to my local supermarket.
A cafe attached to a supermarket…. really?
In Australia this brings up images of pre cut sandwhiches sitting in glass cabinets and chocolate mousse in plastic wine glasses with not so fresh cream on top.
Sainsbury’s cafes are nothing like this 😉
Another ‘push your tray along’ type, this one does have a selection of sandwhiches/paninis (for toasting and serving with chips), as well as fresh baking, cool drinks, and great healthy lunch bags for the kids (fantastic when they need to eat immediately). Freshly brewed tea or coffee, and any hot meals are ordered at the end of the line…… The hot meals are large and excellent value for money. The only thing delivered to the table is the hot food, so with kids and buggies in tow, it can take 2 trips. We tend to go at the beginning, before the shopping as I find the resulting full tummies can reduce the amount of nagging…. a little. On the other hand if you save it for after, it can be a great bribe 😉
How do I get there?
Edinburgh, EH11 2LA
0131 337 4202