If you’re a new mum (or dad), whether they’re your first, second, third… I get how lonely this space is when you just want a slice of normal and a cup of something hot (and maybe even a smile and a hello from a fellow grown-up). So this guide is for you.
All of these cafes are ultra baby and toddler friendly. You can get your massive buggy through the front door. And most days, park easily outside too. They all have baby changing facilities, helpful staff and most importantly cake and coffee.
The number one buggy-friendly place to meet up with friends or to go to as a family if you have little ones. The cafe’s set in a trendy polytunnel next to Garden Sage. It’s split into two rooms: a play area with tables and chairs and main café. They sell handmade gifts, upcycled furniture, house plants and preloved clothes. The millennial parents’ dream.
The food is delicious. I’ve been working my way through the lunch menu; I haven’t had a bad one yet. And the coffee? They use Lindfield Coffee Works locally roasted single origin beans. Needless to say, it’s excellent.
There’s a great play area for under 5s with lots of books to look at, piles of high chairs and a great kids menu. Plus they opened up a garden area for sunnier days, which is cute as pie.
They’re a victim of their own success and it can be hard to park now. But it’s worth hanging about as you can usually get a space pretty quickly and it’s free.
Once I discovered Happyscamps it became my regular Friday afternoon spot during the double pre-school years.
Happyscamps is in Swan Walk, a shopping mall, so there’s lots of parent and child parking and lifts. It’s all very accessible even with a big buggy. If you need to grab some shopping, it’s really handy as all the main high street shops (including M&S for groceries and Boots for nappies) are a stone’s throw from the soft play room.
Happy Scamps, is a sweet soft play with a nice baby area and loads of space for buggies. You have to pay to go in but it’s free for babies and no more than £4 for bigger ones.
The soft play frame is single storey, which is excellent if you have a small toddler who likes adventuring. There’s a role play area, toys, books, a section to drive around in cosy coupes and wooden wall puzzles. Even young toddlers can be left to play happily and safely if you need to feed your baby or have a sit down and a coffee.
The cafe’s pretty average if I’m honest, but not bad for soft play and very reasonably priced.
Mabel’s Emporium is a quirky department store of local micro-businesses selling upcycled furniture, clothes, homemade crafts, second hand toys and novelty homewares.
It’s a great spot to go to with babies. There’s a dedicated buggy area, toys, cake, coffee and a selection of children’s lunches. Lots of ingredients are locally sourced and all of the food is homemade; they have gluten-free and vegan options too.
Parking can be a little tight if the car park’s busy but if there’s space it’s super easy and it’s free. I reckon you could probably get a double buggy through the doors but you might need some help; a single or pram wouldn’t be an issue.
I was tipped off about this lovely coffee shop in the park by lots of lovely followers on Facebook.
If it’s a sunny day, I reckon you could fit all the buggies in Sussex out on the terrace (that’s a lie, but you get the idea). There are lots of tables to sit at outside, with lovely views over the park.
Inside, the coffee shop is a cute vintage tearoom. If your babe’s in arms at the moment this is the perfect place to meet-ups with, for example, your NCT or new parenting group.
Tory’s boasts a great range of delicious homemade lunches, one of the best cafe kids menus I’ve seen, yummy homemade cakes, and all of the drink options you’d expect from a coffee shop.
Tory’s is in the middle of Victoria Park, which is surrounded by streets that have on street parking and there are several council car parks in the area.
The cafe’s next door to the playground if you’ve got little ones to entertain or if it’s just you and your baby, there are pram friendly paths for a stroll.
Washbrooks tearoom is excellent for parent’s with babies and young children. They’ve got everything you could need: plenty of children’s food options, lots of high chairs, children’s cutlery, water, colouring pencils, colouring in sheets and a TV showing tractor films.
You don’t have to go into the farm to use the tearoom shop when it’s quieter.
There’s stacks of free parking at Washbrooks. It’s really easy to get to and you can just about squeeze a double buggy through the tearoom door.
This is a fab place to meet up with babies in the early days. It’s big, there’s loads of space to sit and a cosy fire in winter.
The girls still love to go to the farm, there’s a fab selection of play equipment, animals to look at, bikes to ride on, soft play and a tractor ride. It’s a great day out for young families.
Wickle is small but ideal for parents and children. They offer a pram valet service. Prams are locked up with bike chains to the front of the store. Genius!
I love the choice of food in here, lots of healthy wraps, overnight oats, biscuits, cakes and great choices for children whether it’s a lolly or a selection of lunch treats. The coffee is organic and hits the spot perfectly.
There’s a table in the middle for children to play at and a well stocked toy kitchen too. You can pick up a pot of pencils and paper for them to do some freestyle drawing while you zone out or chat to a friend.
The shop is full of gorgeous things to browse or buy.
If you’re coming into Lewes from out of town, there are several car parks near Wickle. I use the one on East Street, but there’s also the NCP near Waitrose.
This was another regular when my 2 were little. There’s a little climbing frame outside with space to run around and some fun activities in the corner of the cafe.
It’s big and perfect for wheeling a buggy around. The staff are usually willing to carry trays – you just have to ask. They also have free wifi. Not that I’m suggesting you’d like that to scroll through Instagram. At all. Not one bit.
There’s a huge selection of food and drink. It’s all ok. Standard cafe fare.
The car park’s huge so it’s easy to get to when you’ve got more than one little one, everything inside is doable with even the biggest double buggy and there’s the fab Heritage Centre, which sells loads of lovely local produce.
Some of my fondest memories as a new mum of two are of mooching around this garden centre.
If you have a friend with a new baby in Sussex, pass this on. If you enjoy reading my blog, make sure you follow for all the latest guides, reviews and news on where to go with your bambinos.