10 Family-Friendly Hotels In The UK
BEST FOR AFFORDABLE LUXURY:
The Retreat at Elcot Park, Berkshire
The Retreat at Elcot Park in west Berkshire opened last year and it’s already established itself as a popular spot. Housed in a Grade II-listed 18th-century building (once home to Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley), the hotel has 55 individually designed bedrooms, including family rooms which sleep up to four. The hotel’s all-day brasserie has a separate kids’ menu, and little ones can spend time in the outdoor infinity pool, on the tennis court or at the children’s play area. There's also a TV room with lots of board games, and regular children's events. Meanwhile, adults can relax at the Whispering Angel bar or book spa treatments.
Rooms from £185 per night.
BEST FOR BIG FAMILIES:
Fowey Hall, Cornwall
Fowey Hall is set beside the scenic Fowey estuary along the Cornish coastline. With regular activities and programmes during school holidays, this hotel is ideal for large families with small children and teens thanks to its excellent facilities. The hotel offers 90s minutes off free childcare per day in its Ofsted-registered Four Bears' Den, while older kids can relax in the pool, library or games room with its cinema seating and video games. There’s also a Wind in the Willows-inspired outdoor play area (a nod to Kenneth Grahame who used to stay at the property), and a zip line. Kids can borrow wellies, fishing nets, and buckets and spades to explore the surrounding beaches.
Rooms from £125 per night.
BEST FOR LITTLE KIDS:
The Ickworth, Suffolk
Set on 1,800 acres of National Trust parkland, The Ickworth was made for family breaks. Located in the historic town of Bury St Edmunds, children can roam freely within the grounds and make the most of the play areas, tennis courts and heated outdoor pool, equipped with floats, armbands, and noodles. Parents can hire special iCandy pushchairs to tackle the different types of terrain on the estate, while little ones will enjoy spotting deer and exploring the woodland trails. There’s also a babysitting service and on-site créche which offers an impressive selection of activities and a children’s breakfast club. Hotel staff can even heat bottles and bring fresh morning and evening milk to your room, free of charge, and you can ask for puréed food for babies from the chef. If that wasn’t enough, kids can also enjoy a specially catered high tea in the afternoon, choosing from mocktails, sandwiches, mini meatballs, pizza, and ice-cream from the children’s menu at the restaurant.
Rooms from £140 per night.
BEST FOR TEENS:
Mollie’s Motel, Various Locations
For something a bit more relaxed, Mollie’s has two locations: Buckland in Oxfordshire and Bristol. The group is also set to open a third site in Manchester at the end of the year. One of the most affordable options on this list, the motels have been designed by the same team behind Soho House, with simple yet chic interiors and a child-friendly design. Families can spread out in double and single rooms with bunk beds or connecting rooms with two bathrooms and two super king-size beds. Rooms are air-conditioned with Egyptian cotton sheets, rainfall showers and Cowshed products in the bathrooms. Teens will love the 1950s-style American diners at each motel, which serves cheeseburgers, chicken bites, mac and cheese, and ice-cream sundaes.
Rooms from £55 per night.
BEST FOR FOODIES:
The Fish, Cotswolds
For a high-end experience, it doesn’t get much better than the three treehouses at the Farncombe Estate’s Fish Hotel. Sleeping up to two adults and two children, each treehouse has two bathtubs on an outdoor deck, underfloor heating, Nespresso machines and a well-stocked mini bar. One of the treehouses is also dog friendly, while all come with views of the surrounding woodland. Guests are welcome to indulge in any of The Fish’s on-site dining options, including Hook, a seafood-inspired restaurant helmed by Farncombe’s culinary director, Martin Burge, and the outdoor Feasting on the Deck.
From £370 per night.
BEST FOR FAMILY ROOMS:
Calcot Manor Hotel & Spa, Cotswolds
If you’re visiting the Cotswolds, stay at the beautiful Calcot Manor. Easily reached from London via 90-minute drive, the hotel sits on 220 acres of grounds, just four miles from Tetbury. The property oozes country charm, with dreamy furnishings and original property features like exposed brick walls and oak beams. The hotel recently opened four new family suites which feel like self-contained cottages with two bedrooms (one with twin beds), spacious living areas (stocked with family essentials) and courtyard gardens. The Slimbridge Suite is perfect for families with little ones, thanks to its own pantry complete with a copper sink, and Smeg toaster and kettle. Calcot also has a babysitting service, a child-friendly spa and swimming pool, and a separate ‘Playbarn’ with a crèche, arts and crafts station, video games, and a 12-seater cinema. Kids will also love the children’s menu at the on-site pub The Gumstool Inn, which serves small bites, healthy meals and mini puddings.
Rooms from £365 per night.
BEST FOR LAKESIDE VIEWS:
Another Place, Lake District
This Georgian hotel is a great choice if you’re planning a trip to the Lake District. There are three types of room to choose from, as well as suites and on-site cottages, all of which are warm and inviting. The hotel offers a range of activities for kids of all ages – including kayaking, paddle boarding, archery, stargazing, sailing and pony trekking – and has a designated, supervised kid’s club. When it comes to downtime, guests can chill out in the Living Space, and relax in the informal restaurant and terrace. The hotel also has an indoor pool with lakeside views, plus an outdoor hot tub.
Rooms from £260 per night.
BEST FOR OUTDOORSY HOLIDAYS:
Harbour Beach Club Hotel & Spa
Salcombe Harbour Hotel & Spa expanded its collection earlier last year with a new beach club and hotel. Bringing the resort experience to the south coast, Harbour Beach Club & Hotel is a family-friendly option just a few miles from town. Right on the waterfront, it’s in an unbeatable location for exploring the local area, whether you’re into surfing or just want a walk along the beach. There’s also a large spa with an indoor pool, plus a gym and spa offering excellent massages. A reasonably priced option, it’s best described as cosy and unpretentious.
From £150 per night.
BEST BESIDE THE SEA:
Watergate Bay, Cornwall
With views stretching across a beautiful Cornwall beach and luxe, New England-style interiors, Watergate Bay has something to keep everyone occupied. Ideal for outdoorsy families, guests can embrace the two-mile stretch of sand by learning to surf, kitesurf and even wave ski at the hotel’s Extreme Academy. There’s also a Kids' Zone which is open all day, with dedicated crèche hours for child-free time, as well as organised games, crafts and activities, and evening entertainment for slightly older children. The best bit? The baby monitoring service – a secure iPad-like device with a specific Ethernet cable, which allows you to watch and hear your little ones after they’ve gone to bed, so you can enjoy your evening.
Rooms from £185 per night.
BEST FOR A LUXURY STAYCATION:
Four Seasons Hampshire
This ultra-luxury hotel recently underwent an extensive renovation. Located in the quaint Hampshire village of Hook, it’s surrounded by 500 acres of parkland on Dogmersfield Estate. Rooms range from spacious doubles to luxury suites, including the Speciality Suites which have separate living areas for families to relax in. Later this year, kids will be able to be dropped off at the kids’ club to enjoy arts, crafts and games, while adults relax at the on-site spa or enjoy a romantic meal at the Wild Carrot restaurant or drinks at the cocktail bar. Children will even be given their own bathrobes and ‘passport’ to document their visit.
Rooms from £555 per night.
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