Dorset has an impressive dining scene. As a county famous for its seafood, in particular crab, visitors can expect to find celebrated fish restaurants lining the seashore. But also gastropubs-a-plenty and farm fresh local produce served in quaint traditional cafes. Whether you want chips on the beach, Michelin starred dining with impressive sea views or a glass of locally produced wine in a cosy pub, you’re sure to find it in this beautiful county.
BabyBreaks has researched the best family friendly restaurants in Dorset so you can plan your mealtimes with ease.
1. Crab House Cafe, Wyke Regis
Overlooking one of Dorset’s most famous beaches, Chesil Beach, this acclaimed restaurant is a ‘must visit’ for seafood-lovers. The menu changes twice daily, featuring the freshest fish sourced from the surrounding 40 mile radius. Apart from their famously succulent Dorset crab, diners can feast on Lemon Sole, Turbot and Hake. The Crab House also has its own Portland Oyster beds just moments away from your table. So they really are the freshest you can get.
Although the food is top quality, the atmosphere is relaxed and children are well looked after. They can even go and see the live crustaceans in the “wet room”. They will love getting to grips with the crab hammer. Messy, yes, but nothing a dip in the sea can’t wash off!
Don’t just take our word for it, read the rave reviews from The Guardian, The Independent, the Telegraph, Trip Advisor and more…
01305 235 593View in Google Maps
2. Soulshine Cafe, Bridport
First, an eclectic coffee shop, juice bar, music venue and social hub in the popular seaside town of Bridport. Soulshine Cafe is the ideal pitstop for a family in search of relaxed refreshments. Priding themselves on their artisan coffee, the owners took inspiration from their travels all around the world. Hence why they created Soulshine Cafe’s unique, welcoming atmosphere and eco-conscious menu.
Secondly, aside from the excellent coffee, there are superfood smoothies (which come in kids sizes too), and other soft drinks. And let’s not forget a good selection of beers, ciders and wines. The food is equally as delicious – choose from freshly made sourdough sandwiches, salad and more.
There is a play area full of toys and books which they can bring back to their table. Takeaway boxes are also available, so you can enjoy your lunch on the iconic West Bay beach if you wish. A true favourite among best family friendly restaurants in Dorset.
76 South St,
01308 422821View in Google Maps
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3. Key West Bar & Grill, Bournemouth
The kids will love the novelty of eating in this pier-end restaurant where you can tuck into classic British dishes with panoramic views of the coast. However, we recommend you go for breakfast as it does get busy later in the day. And there’s a young-party atmosphere after sunset.
Key West also offers a mini Full English for small appetites, or they can choose simple scrambled eggs smoked salmon. Adults can feast on more sophisticated dishes like Eggs Benedict. A lovely spot to soak up the sea air after your morning walk on the beach. A great venue among our recommended family friendly restaurants in Dorset.
Please note: there is a pier toll in operation from April to October. For more information click here.
01202 237 902View in Google Maps
4. Bankes Arms, Studland
First of all, this charming country pub by the sea offers one of the best beer gardens in Dorset, as well as fantastic, locally sourced food and drink.
The expansive beer garden overlooks the sea, so the kids can burn off some energy whilst you recoup some, drinking in the view… and the locally brewed beer! Ideal for walkers, the pub is nicely situated just a short stroll from the beach and the South West Coastal Path along the stunning Jurassic Coast. The pub is also dog friendly, as are most of the surrounding beaches.
Manor Road, Studland, Dorset. BH19 3AU
01929 450 225View in Google Maps
5. The Station Kitchen, Bridport
Finally, a great choice for older kids, dinner at The Station kitchen is sure to impress the whole family. The restaurant is indeed in a beautifully restored train carriage, parked at the disused West Bay Train Station. Harking back to a golden age of train travel, the vintage style interiors are just as impressive as the food.
Moreover, the weekly changing menu is a celebration of Dorset on a plate. Lyme Bay Scallops, Wild Mushroom Arancini and Rump of Dorset Lamb are just a few of our current favourites. The interiors are small, though and there is no children’s menu. So we suggest you go for lunch if you have restless children who need to stretch their legs!
Open from Wednesday to Saturdays for Dinner, and Saturdays for Lunch too. Open on Sundays for special occasions such as Mother’s Day.
Old West Bay Railway Station,
01308 422845View in Google Maps
6. The Anchor Inn, Seatown
This award winning pub wowed us with its stunning beachfront location, where the South West Coast Path is the only thing separating you and the sand. Tuck into tasty dishes like fish pie, basil gnocchi or slow roasted pork belly, as you watch the waves roll in.
Address: Seatown, Bridport DT6 6JU
Phone: 01297 489215
7. Black Dog Tearoom, Lyme Regis
This hidden gem is a favourite with dog walkers, who like to stop by for a cream tea on their way to exploring the beautiful rolling hills of Dorset. Less than a mile walk from Lyme Regis Bay, this is a great place to escape the crowds of the seafront. It has a pretty enclosed garden where the kids can play, and serves simple, home cooked food including great cakes!
Address: Lyme Road, Uplyme, Lyme Regis DT7 3TJ
Phone: 01297 444063
8. The Smugglers Inn, Osmington Mills
Situated on the cliff top near Weymouth just outside the village of Osmington, the Smugglers Inn is a traditional English pub with stunning views overlooking the Isle of Portland. Once home to the leader of the most notorious gang of smugglers, there has been a pub at this site since the 1300’s – it’s full of historic charm. The kids will love to hear the stories surrounding the pub, as well as playing in the large sunny garden, looking out to sea. It’s even beautiful in Winter, when the waves are crashing beneath and you’re curled up by the open fire…
9. Hive Beach Cafe, Burton Bradstock
Focusing on fish and seafood, this award winning cafe overlooking the iconic Lyme Bay is a breath of fresh air. You’d be forgiven for thinking this was “just another beach shack” when first seeing its unassuming decor, but the food begs to differ. The menu, deli counter and shop showcases the very best produce from the surrounding land and sea, with sustainability always at the forefront. It’s open all year round too, so you can cosy up here with a cream tea, after a bracing winter walk on the beach.
10. The Canford
A newly refurbished hotel and restaurant a short walk from Poole’s beauty spot, Canford Cliffs. This one is sure to become of your favourite Family Friendly Restaurants Dorset. The pub has a lovely large garden for little ones to run around and a dedicated kids menu. In the summer they serve delicious BBQ’s and wood-fired pizzas outside. And the best bit for kids? It’s right opposite Treasure Island – a pirate themed play area that local families love.
In conclusion, visiting Dorset with the kids is a great opportunity for a Seaside Family Break. The county features family friendly restaurants, exciting outdoor activities and last but not least a great selection of accommodation.
So if you are looking to be inspired to visit Dorset for your next family weekend, just visit our different Dorset pages to find what this destination has to offer.
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