It’s a scenario familiar to many parents: the family stops for lunch on a day out, and the food available is full of sugar, devoid of vegetables, and unsustainably sourced.
Luckily, the Soil Association has ranked the nation’s top family attractions according to the healthy eating value of the meals available.
For the annual survey, secret diners visited the country’s 22 top attractions, and gave them scores according to whether they provided a healthy choice for kids, fresh food that was ethically sourced, and a family friendly experience.
The final score is out of 160 for each.
Some attractions did better than others – here’s the final ranking from best to worst.
Best of the bunch
1. Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh
The top-rated attraction earned 105 points and 3.5 stars, with vegetables grown on site and children able to learn about where lunch comes from before they tuck in.
2. Eden Project
The biodome got 100 points and 3.5 stars, with special recommendation for freshly made pizzas.
3. Chester Zoo
Free-range eggs, RSPCA pork, sustainable fish and organic yoghurt earned this zoo 99 points and 3.5 stars.
4. ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
Another high-ranking animal attraction, with 98 points and 3 stars.
5. Science Museum
Freshly cooked food earned the museum 94 points and 3 stars, though it wasn’t clear if the food was chemical free.
Not too bad
6. Wales Millennium Centre
An abundance of Welsh products and six seasonal menus in the year racked up 90 points and 3 stars.
7. Durham Cathedral
The North East’s most popular attraction earned 87 points and 3 stars.
8. British Museum
At the heart of central London and the average middle of this list, the British Museum got 86 points and 3 stars.
9. Titanic Belfast
Most meals at the Titanic are cooked on site, and the ill-fated ship gets 85 points and 3 stars for kids’ food.
10. Stirling Castle
The Scottish attraction scored 79 points and 2.5 stars.
11. National History Museum
Parents complained that kids left the museum on a sugar high, and gave the museum 78 points and 2.5 stars.
12. Kew Gardens
Mixed reviews at Kew, where there were too many sweets and not enough locally sourced ingredients – 78 points and 2.5 stars.
13. National Museum Wales, Cardiff
The National Museum gets 77 and 2.5 stars, with parents requesting more vegetables with meals for children.
14. Brighton Pier
A score of 76 and 2.5 stars, but possibly healthier than fish and chips.
15. ZSL London Zoo
The animal attraction gets 69 points and a score of 2.5.
16. Millennium Gallery Sheffield
The gallery got 68 points and 2 stars, although parents recommended sausage rolls.
17. Alton Towers
Not quite a rollercoaster, with 65 points and 2 stars prompted by an excess of fizzy drinks and sweets.
18. MAC Birmingham
Meals here scored 63 points earning 2 stars.
19. The National Gallery
Children’s options at the National Gallery were lacking in fruit and vegetables, earning the cafe 63 points and 2 stars.
Prehistoric nutrition values were reported here, with a score of 61 and 2 stars.
The food here won’t necessarily build healthy kids, with a score of 45 and 1.5 stars awarded for an abundance of unhealthy snacks.
22. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Bottom of the pile with just 45 stars and 1.5 points, Kelvingrove was reported to have a “boring” menu lacking in vegetables.