Eating out with kids can be a bit of an adventure at the best of times, so a well-priced children’s menu is always a bonus. Here’s a round up of the best places to eat out with children, the best deals – and where kids can eat free in Derby and Derbyshire during the May/June half term holiday in 2022. Click here for other great ideas for entertaining the kids this half term holiday.
The aim of Lovely Local Indie is always to support independent and small businesses so the independents are getting prime billing. However, I’ve been more flexible and have included some chains this time. Times are tough – and eating out with kids can be challenging enough.
However, times are also tough for small businesses – and if you’re looking for a great value day out there are plenty of lovely independents who offer good value eating out (if not the dirt cheap deals that the big chains can afford to do), so do keep reading for those.
Terms and conditions apply to all of these. Please double check before making a special journey.
Lovely, Local, Independents where Kids Eat Free
Kids Eat Free at The Wheatsheaf, Bakewell
Kids eat free all day every day at The Wheatsheaf in Bakewell. It’s an ongoing offer that applies to children under 8 years old. One free child’s main meal with an adult main meal ordered, which start at £15, so it’s not necessarily the cheapest way to eat out – but you’re getting chef prepared fresh food, most of which has been locally sourced in a family friendly, nice pub environment. It’s also dog friendly.
Kids Eat Free at The Robin Hood, Baslow
Owned by the same people who own The Wheatsheaf in Bakewell, it’s a pretty similar deal and ambiance at The Robin Hood in Baslow. Food is freshly prepared by chefs using locally-sourced produce where possible.
The Robin Hood in Baslow is a family-friendly pub. The children’s menu is packed with freshly prepared options. Children under eight years old eat free. One free child’s main course is available per adult main course ordered. Most of the adult main courses are priced at £15.
Kids Eat Free at Café 24, Belper
For the May/June 2022 half term holiday, Café 24 in Belper are offering a free child’s meal for each adult meal purchased, for children under 10. (The similar Easter offer was valid Monday to Friday, 9am to 2.30pm, with the free meal from a special holiday menu).
Kids Eat Free at Chain Restaurants this May/June half term
Kids Eat Free at M&S Café
From now until the 3rd June 2022, you can get a free kids meal consisting of a sandwich, toastie, pizza or pasta, a snack (eg gingerbread or chocolate lolly), a piece of fruit and a kids drink when you spend £5 or more in the M&S café.
Kids Eat Free at Morrisons supermarket café
This is an ongoing offer, applies every day but only after 3pm (until the café closes). Kids meals are free when you buy any one adult meal with a value of £4.50 or over. Kids meal includes piece of fruit and Tropicana Kids Orange or Apple drink or bottle of water. Cannot be used with any other offer except Teatime Meal Deal – but does apply for anyone under the age of 16.
Kids Eat Free at Dobbies
Chesterfield (located between Barlborough and Clowne), Derby, Leicester
Kids eat free at Dobbies when an adult main course is bought. Choose from the kids lunch menu or a pick and mix meal deal. Daily from noon.
Kids Eat Free at OK Diner
OK Diner has an ongoing offer where kids under 10 eat free from the children’s menu when an adult purchases a main course from their a la carte menu. Available all day, everyday at the Derby location on the A38.
Kids Eat for £1 at Bella Italia
Burton upon Trent, Mansfield, Leicester, Sheffield and nationwide
Kids meals for £1 with the purchase of every adult main course. This offer runs from now until 12th June 2022.
Kids Eat for £1 at Sizzling Pubs
Monday to Friday from 3pm to 7pm, get a kids main eat for £1 with the purchase of an adult meal.
If you ever dine at Pizza Express sign up for their loyalty programme. After 11 visits (or you can also collect rewards by scanning their supermarket products) you get free kids meal on every visit Mon-Thurs.
Independents that offer Great Value Family Dining
The Carnavon, Teversal
This is technically in Nottinghamshire but it’s about a twenty minute drive from Chesterfield. A similar menu and offers also runs at The Risley Park in Risley which is not far from Junction 25 of the M1, and The Plough Inn in Normanton on Soar near Loughborough.
It’s not somewhere I would go for a romantic meal or a special occasion – but on those days when you just can’t be bothered cooking it offers great value family dining. There’s a ‘Young Diner’s Menu’ which is predominantly aimed at kids, but also for those with smaller appetites where main courses start at £4.25. My daughter tends to have the pizza twist which is a really quite generous size for a young child, and comes with chips and either peas or beans.
They also run a good value early bird menu for adults which is £9.95 for one course, £13.95 for two or £17.95 for three. This runs from 12 to 5pm every day except Sunday. I think the choices on the starters and desserts are a bit limited but there’s a good range of main courses. I’ve had the Cajun chicken a few times and it’s really lovely. There also very accommodating about swapping things – eg if you fancy chips instead of a jacket potato. (On their website the early bird menu is on the reverse of the main menu.)
It’s also worth noting that on their a la carte menu (the regular menu) all the main courses are served with very generous servings of chips and vegetables. And they’ll ask you if you want complimentary salad and new potatoes too! I think they’ll even refill these if asked. Main courses start at £11.25.
You can also get a free pudding by signing up to their newsletter/email mailing list (see their website).
Other great options for family friendly dining
The next few places don’t offer the dirt cheap deals listed above – but are otherwise great options for dining out with kids.
Café bar at QUAD Derby
Most of the kids meals are priced at £4.95 but it’s a really welcoming, inclusive place – and really easy access with pushchairs etc. The art exhibitions are also free to explore! Read my previous review here. And there are plenty of free things to explore in Derby city centre – read more here.
QUAD also offer places on workshops (including activities and lunch) for people who access free school meals. Get in touch with QUAD for more information.
Dunston Hall Bistro
I can’t find a children’s menu online but Dunston Hall is a good option with kids because the play area is so nice. Read more here.
Teashop at Lea Gardens
Get there early on a sunny day and there is nowhere finer in Derbyshire to eat al fresco. You do need to pay for entry to the gardens but the season tickets are really great value. Read my previous blog post.
Church Farm Anslow
Just into the Staffordshire border, Church Farm is a children’s farm and lovely tearooms. I think it’s a great value day out. Read more here.
Please let me know if you see any other places where kids eat free or other great deals or fabulous independents that are great with kids and I’ll try to keep this post updated.
You might also be interested in this great travel hack to get FREE hotel stays.