1. Longstaff Café, Wandsworth Museum
Located inside the newly reopenedWandsworthMuseum, this café has a lovely Victorian interior, complete with Victorian Chemist’s shop, so there is plenty to look at. The main draw for parents though is the small soft play area which is great for keeping babies and toddlers entertained while you grab coffee, cake or a light meal. Usually not too busy, either.
2. The Bee’s Knees, Battersea Arts Centre
Designed especially for families with under 5s, this café has an indoor garden theme with artificial grass, deckchairs, and a fake hill with slide. There’s a good range of toys and books to keep the children busy as well. Sit and relax with tea and cake or enjoy a light lunch while your children explore and discover. There’s also a children’s menu and good sized buggy park. One thing to bear in mind though – the café was originally only intended to be temporary. Its life has been extended because its been such a hit but it still hasn’t got permanent funding so make the most of it while you can!
3. Bertie and Boo Café, Balham
Run by children’s party entertainers – the Bertie and Boo from the café’s name – this independent local café has bags of character. From school desks and ‘textbook’ menus to the large giraffe and vintage toy car outside for toddlers to sit in, there’s plenty to appeal to little ones. But this café isn’t about looks alone. With delicious coffee, fresh fruit smoothies, milkshakes and homemade cakes, biscuits and sandwiches, it scores high on the taste bud front too.
4. Chandlers, Tooting
This friendly neighbourhood café may be slightly off the beaten track in the area of Tooting known as Furzedown, but locals say it can’t be beaten for family friendliness. The staff are great with children and there’s a smallselection of toys and books to entertain them, but the big plus is the enclosed garden where you can leave the kids to play during the warmer weather. There’s a good selection of lovely cakes, pastries and snacks at reasonable prices too.
5. Common Ground, Wandsworth Common
If you’ve got children and live in Wandsworth, you’ll probably already know this café. The main attraction is the location, slap bang in the middle of Wandsworth Common and right next to the playground! There’s a busy programme of children’s music classes, dance classes and story times on weekdays as well as a small area with toys and books. Plenty of highchairs and buggy space as well as a good range of food and drink for little ones (albeit a little on the pricey side). It’s licensed too with a good range of lunch dishes so you can also enjoy a slightly more grown up lunch if you choose.
6. Maloca, Putney
Primarily a studio offering dance and martial arts classes, Maloca also has a very family-friendly café. Let your little ones play with the toys and books in the children’s corner while you enjoy coffee, cake or something more healthy like one of their super berry potions with Acai! Then join in one of the many mum and baby or toddler classes together. The timetable includes everything from music and story time to Mum & Baby Zumba to Toddler Capoeira.
7. Mood Food Café, Earlsfield
With a great range of freshly prepared dishes, from sandwiches to pasta, risotto and soups, and some lovely cakes this café is very popular with local parents. There’s a small children’s play area in the back and the owner, Lucy, does her best to try and accommodate toddler tastes, no matter how fussy.
More details about Mood Food
8. Tartine, Tooting
Tartine is a Parisian-style café near Tooting Broadway, an area previously well known as a bit of a black spot when it came to places to grab a coffee with your little ones in tow. With good coffee and pastries, delicious home baked bread, children’s menu and a warm and cosy décor, Tartine has changed that. There’s also a good baby changing area, plenty of high chairs and an area with toys and sofas at the back.
9. Sally@ St Mary’s, Putney
In a pretty court by the river at Putney, Sally’s has a wide range of homemade food, scrummy pastries and cakes and good coffee. It’s been well planned for families with toys to keep little ones busy, baby food preparation facilities, good children’s menu and plenty of buggy parking and high chairs.
10. Crumpet, Northcote Road
Crumpet is a bit of an institution amongst local parents of under 5s. One of the first cafés specifically aimed at families to open in the area, it has a small play area with toys and books and a good range of children’s food and drinks. The décor is starting to show signs of strain from the number of babies, toddlers and preschoolers passing through each day but its location is so convenient for a break mid-shopping trip that it’s easy to overlook that.