10 of the Best Family-Friendly Pubs in Cheshire with a playground

The Rope & Anchor at Dunham Massey, Cheshire

The Rope & Anchor at Dunham Massey playground - Credit: The Rope & Anchor

Cheshire Life writer Jenny chooses her own family favourites

With lockdown restrictions easing, our much-loved pubs have reopened their gardens, with full indoor dining planned to return from May 17.

With so much pent-up demand, outdoor bookings are high, with hopes of a long, hot summer ahead to enjoy the many beautiful beer gardens of Cheshire.

Now is the time to start planning your weekends spent exploring our charming county once more and co-ordinating these local adventures with lunch, dinner, and drinks at a favourite Cheshire pub on route.  

Being the mum in a family of four, with two young children, I am always keen to find fantastic family-friendly pubs in Cheshire with a playground that are close to local attractions, serve delicious food and have a safe outdoor space for little ones to play.

The Goshawk, Mouldsworth, near Chester

Playtime at The Goshawk, Mouldsworth, near Chester - Credit: The Goshawk

This can often the basis for our days out and we enjoy nothing more than completing a walk with lunch at a country pub afterwards, where we feel relaxed and welcomed as a family.

I am suitably impressed if there is a healthy and varied children’s menu, an enclosed lawned beer garden and top marks if there is a children’s playground for them to enjoy during our visit.

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From experience, if our daughters are happy and entertained, then the whole family have a much more enjoyable experience overall.  

I have selected 10 of the best family-friendly pubs in Cheshire with a playground that tick all these boxes, offering visitors the chance to enjoy excellent food in child-friendly surroundings.

If possible make your table reservations ahead of visiting and double-check the opening hours of the pub to avoid disappointment. 

The Rope & Anchor 
Paddock Lane, Dunham Massey, Altrincham, WA14 5RP  

This is one of my favourite family-friendly pubs in Cheshire with a playground; the Rope & Anchor is a stylish yet welcoming establishment that benefits from a prime countryside location close to easy walks and popular local attractions.

Nestled in the leafy hamlet of Dunham Massey, a couple of miles from Altrincham, the pub is adjacent to the Trans-Pennine Trail, an accessible walking and cycling route, as well as being a mere five-minute drive from Dunham Massey Hall & Gardens.  

The Rope & Anchor has a lawned beer garden to the rear with seating and a separate wooden playground featuring a treehouse design, swings, and a slide. There is ample outdoor space for families to relax while enjoying the varied menu, daily specials, and J.W. Lees cask ales.

Close by, the Dunham Massey Ice Cream farm is also worth a stop with the Bridgewater Canal and Bollin Valley Way close by for waterside walks. 

The Saracens Head 
Paddock Lane, Warburton, WA13 9TH 

The Saracens Head in Warburton is one of the most well-known family-friendly pubs in Cheshire with a playground, with many visitors travelling a distance to enjoy it. Families benefit from a large, lawned beer garden with an abundance of shaded areas, outside seating and lots of space for youngsters to play.

The double treehouse-style play area features a slide, a climbing wall as well as several spring riders.

The additional bonus of visiting The Saracens Head is the onsite soft play barn, Little Monkeys; subject to an entry fee, children can enjoy the indoor area year-round (check for reopening information).  

The Saracens Head prides itself on its award-winning pies, steak stones, afternoons teas and Sunday roasts alongside an exciting cocktail menu. Be sure to combine your visit to the pub with a stop in Lymm village on route; the pretty canalside centre has an array of independent shops and countless walking trails close by including Lymm Dam.

This easy circular walk is ideal for those with children although not entirely pram-friendly, particularly in wet weather, so be sure to use a baby carrier.  

The Vicarage, Cranage, Cheshire

There's a vintage tractor for young guests at play on at The Vicarage, Cranage - Credit: The Vicarage

The Vicarage, Cranage 
Knutsford Road, Holmes Chapel, CW4 8EF  

Close to the picturesque village of Holmes Chapel, The Vicarage is one of the more sophisticated family-friendly pubs in Cheshire with a playground appealing to all members of the family thanks to its cool relaxed vibe.

The pub’s contemporary feel is mirrored inside and out, with a recently completed raised terrace featuring ample seating and festoon lighting. Adjacent to the pub’s rear outdoor seating area is a wonderful orange vintage tractor for children to sit on and a wooden playhouse, climbing frame, a slide, and swings to keep them entertained.  

Along with sister pub, The Bridge in Prestbury, The Vicarage is serving daily from 7am (8am on weekends), breakfast through to dinner. Their popular bottomless lunch menu is back every Saturday 11-4pm along with their live lounge sessions every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

While visiting The Vicarage, guests can enjoy a variety of easy local walks including Shakerley Mere and Brereton Heath Nature Reserve with Jodrell Bank only a few miles away.  

Pirate ship play area at White Horse at Chester Racecourse

The White Horse at Chester Racecourse and its pirate ship - Credit: White Horse

The White Horse, Chester 
The Racecourse, Chester, CH1 2LY 

One of the more unusual family-friendly pubs in Cheshire with a playground, The White Horse stands proudly on Chester Racecourse providing guests the opportunity to drink, dine and play in a prominent spot within the historic city of Chester.  

This well-loved family gastro pub benefits from a large enclosed alfresco seating area with both covered booths and dining tables alongside a huge nautical-themed play area, suitable for both younger and older children.  

The White Horse caters to all tastes with impressive Sunday roasts, stone-baked pizzas and seasonal dishes using fresh, local ingredients.

Children are also well looked after with a wonderful children’s menu and the chance to create their own pizzas.

Before or after dining at The White Horse take advantage of the pub’s prime location and walk the five minutes into Chester city centre where you can take in the Roman walls, walk along the River Dee, or enjoy some shopping on the high street. 

Tipi at The Ring O Bells, Christleton, Cheshire

The Ring O Bells at Christleton has a good choice of food and fun for children - Credit: The Ring O Bells

Ring O Bells, Christleton 
Village Road, Christleton, Chester, CH3 7AS  

Situated in the delightful village of Christleton, a short drive from Chester, The Ring O Bells is a traditional country pub offering a warm welcome to its customers.

Those visiting with families can enjoy a varied children’s menu and an enclosed outdoor seating area with tipi, adjacent to a wooden climbing frame and roped obstacle course. The outdoor area is a bit hit with visitors and locals alike serving homecooked fayre including Sunday roasts, pizzas, and burgers.  

Just around the corner from the pub, little ones can feed the ducks at the village pond and for the slightly more adventurous, the waterside walk along the Shropshire Union Canal into the centre of Chester takes approximately 50 minutes in each direction.

Close by, the Crocky Trail is a great way for older children to burn off some energy on the mile-long adventure trail guaranteed to be very wet, muddy and a lot of fun. 

Gorillas in play area at Fox & Hounds, Sproston, Cheshire

The Fox & Hounds at Sproston and two of its family-friendly guests - Credit: Fox & Hounds

The Fox and Hounds, Sproston  
Holmes Chapel Road, Sproston, CW4 7LW  

Conveniently located just off the M6 between Middlewich and Holmes Chapel, The Fox and Hounds at Sproston definitely deserves to be on the list of the best family-friendly pubs in Cheshire with a playground.

Proud to be independently owned, the team at the Fox and Hounds serves fresh food sourced from local suppliers taking full advantage of its rural position right in the heart of the Cheshire countryside. As well as good food, guests can enjoy beers brewed locally at Merlin’s microbrewery just outside Sandbach.  

The terrace and large enclosed lawned garden are popular with visitors taking advantage of the comfortable seating and vast space for little ones to play safely. Included in the beer garden is a superb playground featuring a wooden treehouse structure, slide, and spider’s web swing.

Thanks to its central location within the county, it is easy to team a visit to The Fox and Hounds with any number of Cheshire day trips including the delightful Lakemore Farm Park and accessible walks at Astbury Mere Country Park.  

Play area at The Airport Pub, Moss Nook

The Airport Pub, Moss Nook is a great place for children - Credit: The Airport Pub

The Airport Pub, Manchester Airport 
Ringway Road, Moss Nook, Manchester M22 5W

Not technically in Cheshire, but too good not to mention, The Airport Pub sits a stone’s throw from Manchester Airport’s two runways and gives visitors a unique opportunity to watch the airport activity up close.

Serving a varied menu with plenty of choice for little ones, this Robinsons pub has a fine selection of food and drink to suit all tastes. The pièce de resistance of The Airport Pub, and the reason for its inclusion in this round-up of the best family-friendly pubs in Cheshire with a playground, is its huge aviation-inspired play area which will keep children of all ages entertained for hours. 

You cannot pre-book a table at the pub due to its limited onsite parking, so it is advised that you arrive early on busy days to avoid disappointment.

Within a five-minute drive of The Airport Pub, visitors can enjoy a multitude of walking trails in Styal Woods, along the River Bollin and to Quarry Bank Mill. Manchester city centre, Old Trafford and Salford Quays are a mere 20-minute drive away, making it the ideal stop while exploring the Greater Manchester region.  

The Golden Pheasant, Plumley, near Knutsford

Plenty of space to play at The Golden Pheasant, Plumley, near Knutsford - Credit: The Golden Pheasant

The Golden Pheasant, Plumley 
Plumley Moor Road, Plumley, Knutsford, WA16 9RX 

The Golden Pheasant situated in the charming village of Plumley, a couple of miles from the market town of Knutsford, really is one of the finest family-friendly pubs in Cheshire with a playground.

Its landscaped beer garden offers guests a covered terrace area, ample picnic benches and a vast lawn ideal for children to play, all while taking advantage of the stunning countryside views. The pub’s garden is also home to a wooden play area complete with two swing sets for both younger and older children, a slide, and wooden climbing frame. 

This popular J.W. Lees pub prides itself on serving hearty dishes created using fresh, local ingredients alongside a full cask bar serving Manchester craft lagers, gins, and spirits.

On a visit to the Golden Pheasant, visitors can combine their lunch or dinner with any number of wonderful local walks including a circular route from the village of Plumley itself as well as the vast estate of Tatton Park, a 10-minute drive away.  

The Goshawk Pub, Mouldsworth 
Station Road, Chester, CH3 8AJ 

This 19th-century former coaching inn just two miles from the magnificent Delamere Forest is the ideal base in which to explore the area with children in tow. With an abundance of woodland walking, cycling and orienteering trails along with Go Ape close by, The Goshawk is a brilliant family-friend pub to enjoy while visiting the major tourist sites of the area.

Visitors can take advantage of a large, lawned beer garden with raised terrace seating and ample space for children to play safely. There is also a wooden obstacle course within the garden for little ones to test their balance and concentration skills. 

The Goshawk is initially open Thursday to Sunday, including Bank Holiday Monday (May 3) with normal service resuming when they reopen fully on May 21. This J.W. Lees pub serves a varied menu to cater for all tastes from Sunday roasts to light lunches alongside the full family of JW Lees beers and seasonal cask ales.

The pub is located just over the road from Mouldsworth train station with trains arriving from Chester and Manchester Piccadilly, making it fully accessible if using public transport.  

The playground at the Railway Inn, Mobberley

The playground at the Railway Inn, Mobberley - Credit: Railway Inn

The Railway Inn, Mobberley 
Station Road, Mobberley, WA16 6LA  

The Railway Inn in the quintessential Cheshire village of Mobberley is one of the most traditional family-friendly pubs in Cheshire with a playground, independently run by Tony and Lynda for over 25 years.

The family team at the Railway Inn is passionate about serving homecooked food in friendly and welcoming surroundings. The pub has a large beer garden with ample seating, a vast lawn for children to roam and a wooden playground featuring two slides, a swing, climbing frame and obstacle course.

Located next to Mobberley train station, visitors can arrive by public transport to enjoy the pub and countless walking trails that surround it. 

The Railway Inn offers an extensive menu and daily specials during lunch and dinner service through the week and all day at the weekends. The pub is close to the market town of Knutsford, Tatton Park and Manchester Airport’s second runway, making it the perfect spot for aviation enthusiasts.  

About the writer 

Jenny Schippers is a travel writer and blogger providing ideas for days out, places to eat and where to stay in her home county of Cheshire. She writes regularly for Cheshire Life. Follow her on Instagram at Girl About Cheshire for a daily dose of inspiration. 

READ MORE: 19 great places to eat outdoors in Cheshire after lockdown

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