Why suffer the hassle (and expense) of travelling abroad with small children when there is such a fantastic selection of family-friendly hotels closer to home? The good places in the UK don’t just keep the kids happy with all their activities, soft plays and adventure playgrounds; they also cater for the weary parent, looking for a bit of R and R. We have selected the very best within a few hours’ drive of London; the only thing we can’t guarantee, I’m afraid, is the weather.
New Forest Luxury
Kids under 12 stay for free during the school holidays at this luxury country house hotel, which is perfectly-situated for a family break. If pony treking around the New Forest and picnicking on the beach don’t appeal, Peppa Pig World, Bird World and Marwell Zoo are just a stone’s throw away. The hotel also has a complimentary Children’s Club, available every weekend and throughout the school holidays, offering all kinds of entertainment and activities for your little ones, while grown up facilities include a world-class spa, tennis courts and a nine-hole golf course.
Where: New Milton, Hampshire, BH25 6QS
Family-Friendly Heaven In The Cotswolds
Set in over 200 acres of beautiful Cotswolds meadowland, Calcot Manor has got all bases covered to ensure everyone gets the most out of their break. With the Playzone crèche and the Mez space (for over 8s), not to mention the outdoor pirate ship playground, kids of all age ranges will be in absolute heaven here. If you’re bringing a baby, there’s no need to worry about all the kit they require, as every family room comes with baby boxes containing essentials such as sterilisers, changing mats and bottle brushes.
Where: Calcot, Near Tetbury, Gloucestershire, GL8 8YJ
The Great British Bucket & Spade Break
Set in a grand Georgian manor, Moonfleet Manor is a young family-oriented hotel with sweeping views of Chesil Beach, and is the ideal place to stay for the great British bucket and spade break. You might not even make it to the beach though, because the hotel itself has a wealth of kids’ activities and facilities on offer, including soft plays, trampolines, an indoor football pitch, and three indoor swimming pools, should the weather not play so nice.
Where: Fleet Road, Weymouth, Dorset DT3 4ED
Complimentary Onsite Crèche
From the same stable as Moonfleet Manor, children are very much the main focus at New Park Manor, where the guests of honour will be provided with their own wellies and umbrellas in order to go exploring around the New Forest. Grown ups aren’t forgotten about though, and can make the most of the onsite spa, while the kids enjoy the complimentary crèche.
Where: Lyndhurst Road, New Forest, Hampshire, SO42 7QH
Newly-Refurbished And Unparalleled Luxury
Coming to the end of its multi-million pound refurbishment, the Four Seasons’s Hampshire outpost strikes an excellent balance between luxury grown up escape and child-friendly haven. There’s pony riding, cycling, a highwire and the all-important kid’s club; and although kids are welcome to use the swimming pool outside the designated “adults only” times, a new pool, dedicated entirely to little ones, is currently in the works.
Where: Dogmersfield Park, Chalky Lane, Dogmersfield, Hampshire RG27 8TD