Is England Child Friendly?

I had to write about this topic because it often comes up in the forums that I am in with other Americans.

It really frustrates me because England is child friendly, but there are still certain expectations that the English  have. I guess one way to explain it is that there are certain unwritten rules that the English follow when conducting themselves in public, (and many Americans have the same expectations regarding children). Not everyone follows them, but the majority do, and it allows things to tick along nicely.  For example, standing quietly in queues no matter how long it is.

The unwritten rule is that children are generally welcome but they are expected to be well behaved. It also depends on where you go. If you go to a two Michelin star restaurant such as Midsommer House in Cambridge, you should not bring your children.

If you go to a place like Prezzo, you can bring your children but it’s expected that they sit at the table with you and that you will not allow them to be overly loud and run around the place. Apart from the danger of them colliding with a food server, it is discourteous to the other diners.  Remember eating out in England is much more expensive than in America, so for many people going to a restaurant is a treat, and often for a special occasion. Also most people who bring their children for dinner eat before 7 pm.

If you take your children to a pub with a beer garden, that's fine to let them loose out there while you sit back and enjoy your pint. You can apply this guidance to anything, but first of all you must be honest with yourself about what kind of situations your child can handle themselves and behave because if they can’t behave it will be stressful for you and the people around you. If you are honest with yourself and curtail where you go to suit your children, you shouldn’t run into any problems.

Before picking a place to eat with children, do a little research as to what type of place it is, what their opening hours are, and how child friendly it is.  That way you can be more confident with your choice of restaurant and so avoid a stressful situation.

All the Best!

American to Britain