On the hottest day of the year we decided to pop on down to the Holly Tree pub in Forest Gate. This place is located opposite Wanstead Park so you can take a nice leisurely walk through the park before sitting down for a meal.
Opposite the pub there is a pretty basic but fun gated playground and there is a large pond where you can feed the ducks (they made a beeline for us but unfortunately we didn’t have any food!)
The main attraction for us at the Holly Tree Pub was indeed the miniature railway that is located within the recently refurbished tropical gardens. As soon as we arrived the toddlers were excited and wanting to ride it. Each ride costs £1 and it does get costly (we spent around £15) if you want to spend the whole afternoon in the pub (and your kid is a miniature railway enthusiast…which all of ours were). The miniature railway is open most days between 2 and 4 (although it stayed open a lot later on our visit, probably because the kids were so keen on riding it the whole time).
On our visit we had the battered haddock fillet with fries (the kids prefer them over the chunky chips) which was really tasty with fresh batter and mushy peas. Yum. They do serve a variety of options including traditional pub classics and Sunday roasts on a weekend. They also have a variety of vegetarian plates (the aubergine sounds pretty delicious and is what I am going to have on my next visit).
In terms of Covid-19 measures, the outside space is large enough to ensure social distancing is easy to maintain. They have a number of tables that you can book in advance but also leave a good number of walk-ins. There are hand sanitising stations throughout the pub and you do have to leave your details for track and trace..but otherwise it very much feels like a little taste of heaven.
The kid enjoyed himself and we got to eat a meal in peace and glug down a few cocktails so this place has five stars from us for location, food and entertainment. For more info and booking check their website here.