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Cafes with play areas or activities in Southend


We are so lucky in Southend, particularly in Leigh, to have an abundance of independent coffee shops, cafes and restaurants. For some, it may be the coffee that will entice you or perhaps the quirky, instagrammable interior. For me though, and most parents I know, it will be how you can keep the kids entertained - To drink said cup of coffee without having to keep a toddler entertained or hearing 'I'm bored' five times in a row before you eventually ditch said cup of coffee. (I always say yes to the takeaway cup) So yes, a play area is always a win!  
We’ve done the hard of work of visiting all the below places and can absolutely recommend them all. I am not a coffee drinker however I can confirm they all sell delicious hot chocolate :) 
The first on my list is The Essex Soft play – This is aimed at the younger ones - With a soft play area, ball pit, toys and a playhouse, it’s the perfect little place to enjoy a coffee or meet with mum or dad friends. You can order food and drinks from The Eggbros downstairs and I can tell you that the food is delicious!! You will however need to leave your pushchair downstairs although toilets and a lovely baby changing area are located upstairs


Daley's coffee house is a lovely café with a small children’s play area, featuring a play kitchen, cars and small world toys. They have a children's menu, space for buggies and plenty of highchairs. The menu is really well priced and they also have lovely homemade cakes too! They are in the perfect location to pop in after a play at Chalkwell Park.     


Indie Rock

Aside from having a climbing wall and soft play area that can be booked in advance (and is great fun!!) Indie Rock also have a coffee shop, situated just inside the entrance. The coffee shop sells drinks, light bites and have a children's menu and highchairs. It isn't just for climbers, so anybody can pop in eat/drink. There is a play area in the corner with toys and a play kitchen as well as colouring sheets and pencils provided. The staff are so friendly too and it's a lovely chilled environment.

You can read our full tried and tested review here



Utopia Coffee Lounge

Located in The Royals in Southend High Street, Utopia is another great child-friendly coffee shop in Southend. With a children's menu and snacks available and a play area upstairs, a visit to Utopia is a must if you need a stop off and want to keep the children entertained. The staff are really friendly and helpful and it's a really cosy vibe. They also have plenty of board games upstairs too if you have older children. Note that the play area is located upstairs so pushchairs will need to be left downstairs


The Ironworks  

Based on Southend High Street, The Ironworks is a community space for Live Music, Theatre, Comedy, Spoken Word, Exhibition Space, Murals, Workshops, Pop up markets from local traders and makers. Inside, the community cafe is a huge area, with lots of room for pushchairs and meeting other parents without worrying about space! They serve drinks and hot food including sandwiches and toasties as well as treats from local bakers. Most importantly, they are very much child-friendly and have a children's play area with toys and a play kitchen!


The Bean Machine

A real hidden gem in Eastwood! The Bean Machine not only sells amazing drinks and snacks, it boasts a quirky little outdoor area with seating as well as seating on the bus itself which is obviously a hit for my four year old, car mad son! With cosy dome seating areas and picnic benches, as well as a swing and a bouncy castle, The Bean Machine is perfect for a coffee in the sun whilst the kids let off some energy. There are toilets available however no nappy changing facilities due to the location.



Ye Olde Chippy 
As well as being a delicious fish and chip shop, located on the seafront, they also have a small soft play area at the back of the restaurant . The soft play is new and very clean and has the usual climbing frames and a slide. They have a children’s menu, plenty of space for buggies, a couple of highchairs and nappy changing facilities


Beaches bar and bistro 
Located directly on the seafront, it has direct access to the beach and children’s play area. Boasting a panoramic view of the seafront, an outside decking area and alcohol on the menu, it’s a perfect little spot for a summer’s day. Offering a children’s menu and dog friendly! 

Temple Café 
Temple Café doesn't have a play area, however they do have a shelf with a few toys and books and are super child friendly. Again, facing Chalkwell park, they are in a great location and offers a children’s menu, plenty of highchairs and really good cake! 

Lemon Witch, located on Leigh Broadway run biscuit decorating events throughout the year, meaning the kids are entertained so you can enjoy your coffee. They also do yummy crepes and children's afternoon tea! They are a little tight on space however they are really accommodating and will help you find space to squeeze in a pushchair and have highchairs available



I couldn't make this list without including the amazing Sarahs Creative Chocolate Kitchen. Sarah offers chocolate making workshops and holds events throughout the year - However if you fancy just popping into the eatery for a drink or a bite to eat, they have a great menu, highchairs, baby changing facilities as well as colouring trays with sheets and pencils for the children. 


Is there any on the list that you didn't know about and is there anywhere I am missing? Let me know and I would love to be tagged in your visits!

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