I recently posted in the Warwickshire Kids community to ask what people would like to see more of.
One member said that her husband has quite strict dietary requirements for medical reasons. She explained that finding family fun where they can all eat can therefore be tricky.
It got me thinking.
Whether it’s wedding, kids parties or play groups, we are asked to declare any any allergies, intolerances or other special dietary requirements.
My answer, luckily, is always ‘no’.
For me, it’s an easy tick box exercise, and I can move on.
For parents of kids, or themselves who do have allergies or intolerances though, it must be a nightmare.
Food options at kids play centres
Most places to take the kids offer food. That food however, is usual quick and easy options like sandwiches, chocolate bars, chips, burgers, jacket potatoes, pizza or cake.
What happens then, if you have a hangry toddler (or parent) who can’t eat dairy, wheat, nuts or follows another specific diet?
It seems that they will always have to plan ahead and bring their own, or go without.
Doesn’t seem fair does it?
Family-friendly fun with dietary requirements
I thought I’d do some research. The following suggestions are places that are fun for the kids, but also suitable when you have special dietary requirements.
I’ve tried to keep this list as close to Warwickshire as possible, but some may involve traveling a little further.
Rugrats and Halfpints, Banbury
A little way to go for a soft play, but I have it on very good authority that it serves really tasty, homemade food. I’ve also been told that they are really on top of their allergy game.
Salcey Forest, Northampton
Perfect for a day out with trails, play areas, picnic spots and more. It is currently running the Shaun the Sheep trail (autumn 2019). I have been told that they have lots of different options if you are following a GF/DF diet.
Draycote Water Riverside Restaurant, Kites Harwick
This place has a great menu, and portion sizes are really generous. They serve afternoon teas and other special events too, so may be able to accommodate more specific requests with notice.
Play Village, Warwick
They seem to have reduced the menu slightly since opening, but still has a good selection of the usual favourites. The same kind of meals are just way better than the usual foods you find in a kids play area. The menu also has a big list of allergens, with the corresponding key listed alongside each item.
The Lounges, various locations
This is a chain of restaurants and bars across this country that has a great menu and is super kid-friendly. As well as good kids options, it has games and colouring for the little ones, but more importantly, a vegan and GF menu.
Farm shops and cafes
You’ll need to check all of these recommendations before you go because they will vary, but farm shops with cafes tend to serve freshly-cooked menus using home-grown and organic ingredients.
Places like this are also usually happy to substitute options if something doesn’t suit, and will often already cater for gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and veggie options as well as more specific requirements if asked.
Where would you recommend for families who need to avoid certain ingredients?