I've mentioned Barton Marina before - it's a good place for a family walk around the lakes or to spot the canal barges moored in the marina. Until now I was a big fan of the Apple Tree Café, but now it has some serious competition.
Newly opened, the Red Carpet Cinema combines an independent two screen cinema with a café bar. The cinema programme includes children's films shown at after school time, as well as more grown up offerings. If your little one is under 12 months, you can take advantage of Baby Wednesdays, a film at 10.30am for you to bring your baby, where the film will be "on the gentler end of the spectrum" with the sound turned down. You can pick up little buckets of sweets or posh popcorn.
Even if you aren't going to the cinema, the café bar is a great food destination. The coffee is seriously good and there is a great range of cake and a brunch menu. My son is keen on the chocolate milk. We haven't had lunch there yet, but the menu promises pizza, sandwiches, jackets and salads. It's also licensed. Children can have half portions of selected items on the menu for half the adult price.
This is a civilised destination, great for food or cinema or both. Bring your kids for film or food after they've tired themselves out round the lakes. Better still, get a babysitter and book yourself a night out.
Café Latte price: £2.25
Favourite cake: We've tucked into jammy toast (£1.50), and also chocolate brownie (£1.50)
Child friendly highlights: Child friendly films and Baby Wednesdays. Half portions of adults food items. Disabled toilet has changing facilities plus potties.
Buggy friendly: Yes
Car parking: Free at the Marina
This is a great new venture, with all the details thought of. I can't decide if I'd rather bring my son for a film, my husband for a night out or just come on my own to enjoy the coffee and cake while reading a glossy magazine. Whatever, I'll be back!