It’s no secret that I love a good cafe. Whenever I travel I’m always looking for interesting or quirky places to have a coffee. Or a cake, or brunch, or lunch, or afternoon tea… anything really! I’ve always had my favourites in Edinburgh, but having a baby has definitely changed things.
Finding baby-friendly cafes or places to eat is actually harder than I thought! I usually always take Baby B out in his pram rather than a carrier, purely because then he will actually sleep (hopefully) if he needs a nap, but in a carrier, he’s far too busy looking at things. Plus then I can throw everything we need underneath and I don’t have to carry it!
But having a pram can mean a lot of cafes are now out of bounds for us, including some of my favourites. As a new Mum, I was often nervous enough heading out, especially on my own, and feeling like a problem or inconvenience could really throw my confidence. I tried looking up baby-friendly places to visit but many of the lists included ones I definitely wouldn’t feel confident walking into knowing there would be space for us.
What makes a restaurant or cafe baby-friendly?
Even at 8 months old Baby B still isn’t keen on being in a high chair for long periods of time, especially not some of the ones that are better for bigger children, so our ideal place would allow the pram to be close to the table but room for a highchair if we needed one. Some cafes tend to cram in a lot of tables close together, which can be great aesthetically but when you have a pram it, unfortunately, doesn’t work. So that’s for when Baby B is older!
Baby Changing Facilities
This is a big one for me, especially if I’m venturing out by myself with the baby. Good clean changing facilities are a must, and ideally in an area where I can also leave Baby B strapped to the table and use the bathroom myself! Little extras like spare wipes are lovely but not essential obviously.
Although baby might not be eating just yet, it’s good to have lots of options for us when we go! Whether it’s because we need to be able to eat one-handed or want to be able to choose something delicious for a meal since someone else is cooking! And when baby is old enough for food it’s great to have options that can be ordered if you’re doing baby-led weaning or to be able to take your own food without being frowned upon.
Babies make noise, it’s just a fact. So taking a baby to a place where people are reading the newspaper and quietly enjoying their Sunday brunch may not be most ideal. A cafe that has a bit of background noise definitely helps!
Friendly and understanding staff really make a restaurant or cafe experience with a baby. They don’t have to be in love with babies but a little attention or at least acknowledgment goes a long way. This also extends to understanding if the caregivers are taking a little longer to order or eat because of the baby, or if they need to step out for a minute.
5 Baby-Friendly Cafes in Edinburgh
Loudons, New Waverley
I loved visiting the Loudons in Fountainbridge when I lived on that side of town, so when they invited me to try their new cafe in New Waverley, just off the Royal Mile and near the train station, I knew I had to go! There are so many reasons why this cafe is one of my favourites to visit with a baby. It’s now my go-to cafe when people ask where we should meet in town!
The space is large so there’s plenty of room inside, and also tables available outside when the weather’s good. The highchairs are the best I’ve ever seen at a cafe. They don’t take up a lot of room and allow the baby to sit right up at the table, plus they’re comfy for smaller babies too. There is a children’s menu but with some options that would suit smaller babies too. And the changing facilities are seriously top-notch!
But what about the grown-ups? Loudons has a really extensive menu with all-day breakfast and lunch, a cabinet of cakes, plus lots of drinks, including cocktails! I love that they have multiple Eggs Benedict options and lots of vegetarian and vegan choices too.
They don’t take bookings but I haven’t struggled to get a table, and if you did have to wait they have plenty of tables so turnover is fast.
Mimi’s Bakehouse, The Shore
Living not far from here while Baby B is young has been amazing. I was always a fan of Mimi’s but I love it even more now! Although they are often busy I’ve always managed to get a table when walking-in during the week, but I would probably book for the weekend at busy times.
They, of course, have an amazing array of cakes, cupcakes, cheesecakes, and traybakes, which you can order alone or have as part of an Afternoon Tea. The menu itself offers delicious options too with soup, sandwiches, brunch and lunch dishes. I love the Bean Chilli and the Halloumi & Avocado Toast.
I know I’ll always have good food and coffee (essential) at Mimi’s, and the staff are so friendly too!
Hemma is actually a cafe and bar located near Holyrood Palace, Holyrood Park, Parliament, and Dynamic Earth. It’s actually a Swedish cafe/bar and they’re family-friendly during the day but turn into a bar at night. There’s plenty of space downstairs and even a little play area for kids! The menu is extensive with lots of brunch options and plenty for lunch as well.
This one’s a little different as it’s not actually a cafe, but a street food market. It’s located in Leith and is basically an open outdoor space with food trucks and stalls, and an indoor space for some of the time too. Entry is £1 but they also have live music! On a fine day, it can get busy but because there’s a lot of space you know you’ll be able to find a spot for a pram and hold it while one of you heads off to grab the food and drink.
The Pitt is open on the weekends (check their Facebook Page) and they have changing facilities in the inside bathrooms.
I’m a sucker for street food so The Pitt is such a cool thing to have in Edinburgh! Highly recommend the Buffalo Truck if it’s there that weekend!
Leaf & Bean, Morningside
I lived in Morningside when I first moved to Edinburgh and loved visiting the Leaf & Bean for their delicious cakes and coffee. They also have epic pancake stacks and sandwiches made with bread from their local bakery. And I’m still happy to visit now with a baby! They pride themselves on being family-friendly so have plenty of buggy space and even a kids corner for playing too.
This is just the beginning of my baby-friendly cafes in Edinburgh list! As I discover more places I’ll add them so that hopefully I can help out others when they’re searching for places to go like I always am!