The best buggy-friendly cafes in Sussex
Getting out of the house in the hazy early days of parenting is such a win, but knowing where to go can feel daunting. Especially when you’re taking your brand new tiny human and their wheels for a spin. That’s why I’ve collaborated with the Haywards Heath mums behind the The Parent Hood to bring you this buggy-friendly cafes guide. So whether you’ve got a baby or a toddler, a posse of little ones, a battalion of buggies, a gaggle of grown-ups and kids, a collection of newly found friends with tinies, or you’re looking for a caffeine fix on the go, you can be confident that you’ve got all the best places in Sussex to meet up for coffee, at your finger tips, right here.
The Parent Hood are a trio of mums from Haywards Heath who organise events for parents, carers, and children in their charge. Lotte, Pie & Jess run these events for absolutely everyone. You can turn up on your own with your baby or pre-schooler to find a warm welcome, open arms and new friends. Or arrange to meet up with your own group of mates and babes to hang out in a handpicked better-than-average baby group venue with decent coffee, food, or play equipment. I did all the rounds of the various groups and activities in the area when I was a stay-at-home-mum; The Parenthood meet-ups are a much needed refreshing change from musty halls and impenetrable parenting cliques.
Parenting with friends is always better
It’s been a total pleasure to collaborate and get to know the ladies behind the scene too. I’m hugely grateful to have had their input with this guide. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of over 45 buggy-friendly cafes around Sussex. Every venue has the TPH stamp of approval on it, so you can be confident to meet up or hang out in any of the cafes recommended in this guide.
To keep up-to-date on The Parent Hood’s latest events, make sure you follow their account over on Instagram.
Have buggy, will travel
When we moved to Hurst, there were two cute shabby chic cafes which were nice enough but impossible to get a buggy into. I wasn’t able to use a sling for 6 months and The Husband needed our car for work. For several weeks I felt lonely, stranded in the village with no friends and no place to go. Getting out beyond the park and Coop involved using the unreliable once-an-hour bus service or walking 2.5 miles to the train station or Costa in Hassocks. I clocked up a lot of steps as a new mum and was grateful for my sturdy buggy.
Our new life in the village was very different to living in the North Laine, where you could fall out of our flat and into a decent coffee shop. The first few months in Hurst were filled with baby love but also boredom, loneliness and a deep craving for adult connection. After about 4 months, I made a group of new mum friends through the health visitor’s new parenting classes and we started hanging out at each other’s houses, going to the park, and heading out to baby groups together. I found out about the tea room at Washbrooks, where I could easily get to with the pram and have a cuppa. I learned about Nottcutts garden centre in Ditchling and nearby National Trust places. Village life became the norm: slower, fewer flat whites, more community events, and baby playdates with cups of tea and biscuits.
Double buggy trouble
By 2015, we had 2 under 2. New challenges were afoot and I had to learn to juggle two tiny girls, their huge chariot-like pram, and vastly different needs. I remember this stage very well. Some days were utter hell; others were astonishingly wonderful. The biggest difference was having a car and the confidence to drive with babies in the back. On the tricky days, I’d sling all of our stuff into the boot, strap in the babies, escape the village, and head off to the sanctuary of a decent coffee shop that I could wheel the huge double buggy into. A place that would tolerate us, bring a tray of hot coffee, babycinos and snacks. Finding places to get into with the double pram was surprisingly tricky (despite having the same footprint as a wheelchair, which really makes you think). And finding double buggy-friendly cafes with decent coffee was doubly-hard.
If you’ve had a baby during Covid times, you may not have had the luxury of making new parent friends, hanging out during maternity or paternity leave, or going to baby groups. As life gets increasingly back to normal you may want to see old and new friends and start exploring with your little person. Maybe like us, you’re starting this new phase of life in a new area. Or maybe you’re looking for some new places to try out. Whatever you’re looking for in a coffee shop, we’ve got your buggy-friendly match ready!
The Common-Sense Shortlist
Before we get into the really good places, let me lend you an experienced helping hand and suggest some top easy places to hang out.
The common sense places aren’t glitzy or glamorous but they have ample spaces in their cafes for groups of parents and babies, massive car parks, and space to park buggies too.
And here they are:
- National Trust Properties – Nymans, Sheffield Park & Standen House
- Borde Hill Gardens, Haywards Heath
- Wakehurst, Ardingly
- The Barn Coffee Shop, South Downs Nurseries, Hassocks
- Notcutts Garden Pride, Ditchling
- Rushfields Garden Centre Cafe & Farm Shop, Poynings
- UpCountry Bake House Kitchen, Scaynes Hill
Pub Gardens in Mid Sussex
Pub gardens are ideal places for parents with buggies, babies and children to hang out and meet up in too. This didn’t cross my mind for a long time. Check out the Sussex Born & Fed Guide to Epic Pub Gardens with Play Areas for all the best options in Mid Sussex.
A slice of normality – buggy-friendly cafes in Sussex
The common sense list is great. But I’ll be honest, I didn’t hang out in garden centres or National Trust places before children and while they were nice to visit with new friends or family, I desperately wanted a glimmer of normality; a little slice of something that I enjoyed. The buggy-friendly cafes list below is the one that I would’ve wanted all for myself back when the girls were tiny. Enjoy!
Sitting outside – with or without a posse
- Tory’s Cafe in the Park, Haywards Heath
- Wildflour Cafe, Saddlescombe
- Post House Cafe, Henfield
- Esquires, Horsham
- Pavilion Gardens Tea Room, Brighton
Going solo, or meeting a friend with just the one pram?
- Lindfield Coffeeworks, Linfield
- Hart Country Stores, Haywards Heath
- Wolfox, Haywards Heath
- Flinders, Haywards Heath
- Silvas Cafe, Burgess Hill – small, so not one for lots of buggies, but absolutely lovely.
- Sussex Produce Company, Steyning
- Truffles Cafe, Henfield – there’s a “secret” garden with a climbing frame.
- Relish, Henfield
- Proper, Hassocks
- Fuel, Hurstpierpoint
- The Nutmeg Tree, Ditchling
- The Green Welly, Ditchling
- Flour Pot, Brighton Seafront, Portland Road, First Avenue, Hove
- Marmalade, Kemp Town
- Wickle, Lewes – teeny tiny with valet
Going with a tribe of buggies?
- Gails bakery, Brighton
- SIX, Brighton
- The Barn Coffee Shop at South Downs Garden Centre, Hassocks
- Small Batch, Seven Dials
- Latchett’s Creamery, Uckfield
- The Perch, Lancing
- HOME coffee shop, Burgess Hill
- Waitrose Cafe in Burgess Hill or Haywards Heath
- Waitrose Wine Bar in Haywards Heath
- Harris & Hoole, Burgess Hill Tescos
- Washbrooks Tea Room, Hurstpierpoint
- Morley’s, Hurstpierpoint – the garden is very buggy-friendly, especially if the side gate is open.
Grab a take out and take it to the very nearby park
- Fuel + South Avenue Rec, Hurstpierpoint
- The Perch Kiosk + Beach Green, Lancing
- Slake + Linfield Playground, Linfield
- Bella’s Pantry + Beechurst Gardens, Haywards Heath
- Cafe On The Park + St John’s Park, Burgess Hill
- Field and Forest + Lindfield Rec
- Bake Out + Adastra Park, Hassocks
- Tory’s + Victoria Park, Haywards Heath
- Kaya In the Park + Horsham Park
- Pelicano + The Level, Brighton
- Starfish & Coffee + Queens Park, Brighton
And there you have it. Your definitive guide to all of the best buggy-friendly cafes in Mid Sussex and Brighton. Why not come over and say hi on Instagram where you’ll find all the latest Sussex Born & Fed and The Parent Hood news, reviews, meet-up details and more.