British hotels are delightful year-round, and due to the temperamental UK weather, they are designed to ensure that you never want to leave their cosy environs come rain or shine. We’ve investigated what’s new and improved at some of our favourite family hotels in the UK, as well as some we want to dream in during 2015.
Delightful UK Winter Getaways with Children
Chewton Glen, Hampshire
We didn’t think there was room for improvement at Chewton Glen, in Hampshire; it has everything you could possibly need for a wonderful family holiday. It’s situated within walking distance of a beautiful beach and on the edge of the New Forest. The food is fab, the gardens gorgeous, the bedrooms stunning, the public areas beautiful. Between the spa, the playroom, tennis, croquet, clay pigeon shooting, falconry, duck herding … I could go on … there is always something to do.
Chewton Glen just added Treehouse Loft Suites. Isn’t sleeping the night in a treehouse every child’s dream? And you have to admit, it appeals to the child in all of us grown-ups too! Each treehouse has a secret bunk room upstairs, which sleeps up to four children. Check out our full family-friendly hotel review of Chewton Glen for more insight and information.
The Four Seasons Hotel, Hampshire
The Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire has certainly reached new heights since our last visit — literally. They’ve just opened their Highwire Adventure, featuring a series of exhilarating high and low rope challenges for adults and children. Scale the treetops up to 12 meters above ground, take the 235-meter zip wire down again, and try out the Power Fan parachute simulator.
There is also a brand-new Equestrian Centre, where 7- to 16-year-olds can now experience “owning a pony.” As well as riding, they can take part in grooming and stable management. The Teen Centre has had a makeover too, and offers air hockey, a pool table and a Wii. The accommodations, public areas, spa and restaurants remain as inviting as ever.
Time to get out those diaries to find that free weekend. Read more about visiting the Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire with children.
The Ickworth, Suffolk
The Luxury Family Hotels group more than justify their title. Their eight hotels in the UK all manage to offer a sumptuous but child-friendly setting and a great mix of activities for the whole family, as well as excellent childcare so that parents can enjoy some “me” time too.
The year 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, and the Ickworth Hotel in Suffolk is close to one of the historic driving trails created to bring to life this momentous episode in British history. Schedule in a couple of full days to explore the hotel too.
There’s a pool to splash around in, bikes to borrow, acres of parkland to explore, farm animals to visit and geocaching to tax you. Two hours of free childcare are offered per day so that parents can enjoy the spa, and there’s Club Blu for older children, where they’ll find a Wii, Playstation and table footie, amongst other things.
The Elms, Worcestershire
Another one of the Luxury Family Hotels that we’re keen to visit in 2015, and also on the Magna Carta trail, is The Elms in Worcestershire. This Queen Anne-style manor house has all the ingredients for what should be a magical family trip.
The wooded Fairy Trail sounds fun. Then there’s the adventure playground, tennis, croquet, football, rounders, trampolining and a cinema. There’s a range of accommodation options, from large family rooms to interconnecting configurations and suites. The restaurant is an adult-only zone after 7p, so you can enjoy a holiday date night! Read our full family-friendly hotel review of The Elms in the CB! Hotel Collection.
Bovey Castle, Devon
Soon to be an addition to the CB! Hotel Collection, Bovey Castle, specialises in making guests feel special at any life stage. Children are welcomed with mini-slippers and a Lego room service menu, and then they can be entertained from dawn till dusk in the staffed playroom, or by joining the Bovey Rangers on, perhaps, an Owl encounter.
For the grown-ups there is the fantastic spa, grounds to explore and a whole host of activities, from horse-riding to hot-air ballooning, golf to gliding. No need to leave your four-legged friend behind either, as your mutt can share your room with you and is even greeted with a bed, bowl and ball.
Bailiffscourt Hotel and Spa, Sussex
Another new entry to the CB! Hotel Collection portfolio, Bailiffscourt Hotel and Spa, is a faux medieval masterpiece that has to be seen to be believed. A warren of narrow passageways connects a series of little rooms warmed by open fires and dressed with vast tapestries in the main manor house. Through its mullioned windows you can spot peacocks wandering in the courtyard, or be enticed out by the giant tree swing, to kick a ball at the goal or enjoy a game of croquet.
This is a hotel designed for g00d old-fashioned family time, or board games, strolls on the rugged shingle beach and swimming fun in the spa. Continue reading about Bailiffscourt Hotel and Spa in the CB! Hotel Collection.
The Grove, Hertfordshire
We can’t wait to get the chance to go back and sample the children’s afternoon tea at one of our favourite London outposts, The Grove. Just half an hour from central London and close to Heathrow Airport, this hotel is the ideal choice for those who want to explore both the English countryside and the UK’s capital city — though you might choose not to leave the grounds of the resort at all.
There is the afternoon tea, for starters, and whilst you are sampling the grown-up version, the kids can tuck into ice cream lollipops and marshmallows. Sunday lunch here is quite special too; be sure to book in advance. There is also adult and kids’ bike hire, a five-a-side football pitch, junior golf, indoor and outdoor pools and an urban beach, plus a fantastic kids club. Discover more about The Grove in our CB! Hotel Collection family-friendly review.
Gleneagles, Perthshire, Scotland
Anyone visiting Scotland with children must put the world-renowned, five-star Gleneagles, within an hour’s drive of both Glasgow and Edinburgh, on their to-do list.
On the menu are mini versions of nearly every activity available to the grown-ups: golf, horse riding, pony trekking, swimming, cycling, falconry, shooting, archery, fishing, even working with gun dogs! There is also a supervised playroom, the Zone for older kids and organised activities for babies through to teens. Many of the accommodations are designed with families in mind and the restaurants cater for kids too.
Celtic Manor, Newport, Wales
The well-established Celtic Manor, just two hours from London, has earned itself an enviable reputation. We’re keen to check it out personally in 2015, as past guests rave about this modern resort and its facilities for kids of all ages.
It offers adventure golf, tennis, a fab-looking indoor pool, an adventure playground, a Forest Jump treetop adventure, Laser Combat, archery, crossbow, mountain biking and fishing. Room options include hotel and self-catering accommodations, plus a variety of dining choices. To enjoy all the resort has to offer and take in some of Wales too, a few days here is required.
The Ritz, London
If you thought The Ritz was the place to head on that dream romantic movie-style get away, but not a place to take your real-life family, think again. This iconic London hotel is pulling out all the stops for its younger guests.
The [email protected] programme provides little ones with a special welcome gift, in-room game consoles, a selection of age-appropriate children’s books and DVDs, special treats at evening turndown and complimentary ice cream in the Palm Court or The Ritz Restaurant. Even your kids will recognise that they are stepping into a fairy tale when they cross The Ritz threshold!
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Editor’s Note: All photos were supplied by participating properties.