A frequently asked question, especially by visitors from abroad, is, “Is there a difference between a pub and an inn?”
Pubs (public houses) are licensed to operate between 11 am and 11 pm (10.30 pm on Sundays). They serve alcoholic drinks, but also non-alcoholic soft drinks and juices, and a small range of crisps and peanuts or salty snacks. Many pubs expand on this basic service by offering a menu of hot food or bar snacks for part of the day. This is ‘pub grub’, usually reasonably priced with favourites such as pies, fish and chips, or Chilli con carne. You may also come across a gastro-pub, where experienced chefs have taken over the kitchen, and you can find menus to rival restaurants.
An inn is simply a pub which also offers accommodation. This can range from a few basic rooms above the bar to more boutique accommodation.
Inn accommodation is booked online in advance, which will give you the opportunity to do some research and see if children are welcomed. Pubs, however, aren’t booked in advance, and you just ‘pop in’ when you need a drink or meal. If you’re with children, look for a pub serving food, as they will have tables and quieter family-friendly areas rather than rowdy bars. A pub garden is also a sign that a pub is likely to be child friendly.
Most pubs don’t offer a lot to children, other than perhaps a garden playground area. But this is beginning to change, and we now have some wonderful examples of family-friendly pubs and inns here in Cornwall for you to try.
The Games Room, 12 Market Street, Falmouth
The Games Room is still a pub. You’ll find a bar with all the usual beers, ciders, spirits, cocktails, and even a decent cup of coffee. But it’s also home to two snooker tables, nine pool tables, a table tennis table, darts board, and even a traditional shuffleboard. So many things to do (and well priced drinks) have made it a popular stop-off for adults and students to hang out. But it also goes the extra mile to welcome families and children, and you’ll find a vast range of board games on offer, too, including giant Jenga, Connect Four and Twister. If rain ruins your holiday plans, we can’t think of a better option to save the moment.
Victoria Inn, Perranuthnoe, Penzance
This gastro-pub not far from St Michael’s Mount and the South West Coastal Path serves award-winning local and seasonal food, real ales and Cornish ciders from one of the oldest inns in Cornwall. It gets a mention here as their children’s menu is healthy. A godsend if you feel like your young ones have had way too many holiday treats. The whole family is welcome, and you’ll even find a dog biscuit on offer if you’re travelling with the family hound.
Whitehouse Inn – Penhallow, Truro
Suppose your kids are younger and need to burn off some energy, head for the Whitehouse Inn. It has 12 rental rooms, a bar, an inside soft play area, and outside you’ll find a crazy golf course, a go-cart track, and a sand-pit complete with its play digger.