Have pubs been ruined by too many children? / Rex

The annual edition of the Good Pub Guide found unruly toddlers and babies were customers' number one complaint

Badly behaved children, screaming toddlers and crying babies are ruining the great British pub, according to landlords and customers.

The latest survey from The Good Pub Guide reveals the number one complaint in the past year was unruly youngsters running riot in drinking establishments.

It noted how some pubs had dealt with the problem by introducing child-friendly areas, often with a well-equipped play area, while others tended to group all its punters together.

"Now that almost all pubs warmly welcome children at all times, the few problem families, whose children run riot, stick out like the proverbial sore thumb," the guide’s editor Fiona Stapley told The Daily Telegraph.

A ban on children under 14 in pubs was removed in 1995 in a successful attempt to boost struggling establishments’ earnings with increased food revenue. But the measure has had unintended consequences, as a few participants in the survey noted.

“My peaceful lunch by the fire with a pint was totally ruined by a child running around whooping and tripping up staff – and when asked to quieten down by the landlord, the poor man faced abuse from over-protective parents,” one customer told the study.

The Good Pub Guide was first published in 1982. The website, launched in 2009, contains reviews of over 55,000 pubs across the UK.