An indulgent spa break may not seem the natural partner of a fun-filled family holiday, but with these child-friendly stays you really can enjoy the best of both worlds. These eleven Away with the Kids-approved hotels are fantastic for families, offering an extensive range of activity options that will keep littles of all ages - plus mums and dads - entertained. However, quality childcare and dedicated kids’ programmes also provide the opportunity for you to sneak off to the spa for some indulgent adult-only time - music to our ears!
If you’re not desperate for a dose of relaxation already, we guarantee you will be after reading about this lovely lot...
Everything about Woolley Grange shouts ‘family friendly!’, from the playful child-designed logo to the fact that ‘Family’ is the first tab on their website. Children are greeted on arrival with biscuits and a drink, are welcome in the spa pool and can enjoy High Tea at 5pm every day. The hotel organises a host of wholesome activities, from early morning trips to the hen house to collect fresh eggs to apple-crushing in Autumn. But Woolley Grange also wants to make sure that grown-ups get the most out of their stay: hence the free listening-in service, two hours of creche childcare per night included in your booking and an 8am children’s breakfast pick-up service on Sundays to facilitate a lie-in. Booking is essential as it’s very popular - we can’t possibly imagine why...
Children are warmly welcomed at The Grove, with special touches including milk and cookies at bedtime and a dedicated children’s pool. Over-8s receive tokens for the fully-equipped games room and there are three relaxed dining venues offering food the littles will love, including a delicious sweet and savoury Afternoon Tea option. The Warner Brothers Studios are nearby for a fun-filled family day out (essential if anyone in your tribe is a hardcore Potterhead) or, if you’d prefer a more serene getaway experience, you can always book the in-house creche and slip off to Sequoia spa. We have it on good authority that their signature Orangery Experience ritual is paradise in a treatment room.
Six miles from Longleat Safari Park, Bishopstrow fully embraces little visitors and those of the four-legged variety. Our Away with the Kids visitors cited the spacious rooms, superb interior decor and attentive staff as reasons they’d return, as well as the excellent food and realistic room rate. It’s well worth keeping an eye out for family specials too, such as the Alice in Wonderland-themed Easter weekend featuring a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and supervised Easter-themed craft activities to allow grownups to escape for a well-deserved break. The spa product range includes Little Butterfly London, which is certified organic and recommended by midwives for sensitive, reactive skin.
Cornwall as a destination is hard to beat, and Bedruthan offers the perfect option for families looking for a relaxing collective getaway. The brightly-coloured interiors are both chic and appealing to littles and the soft play room is enormous - our AwtK visitor declared it “the size of my house!” Outside you’ll discover the natural playground right on Bedruthan’s doorstep: the beach. Rockpooling, kite-flying, surfing, biking and more are guaranteed to tire everyone out, and even more so during school holidays when the hotel goes all-out on its activity programme. Little details - microwaves, free baby food and listening-in service - make all the difference and special Baby and Toddler breaks are available, complete with various treats for exhausted adults including lie-ins, childcare and evening babysitting. The spa takes an all-natural approach with its eucalyptus steam room and lavender caldarium and uses only organic products. In short, heaven.
Another Cornish beauty, the Sands Resort is totally geared towards ensuring families have the perfect break. There are lots of thoughtful extras for tinies, such as free loans of buckets and spades, wetsuits and bodyboards, as well as more practical items like sterilisers, bottle warmers, cot linen and prams. The (very affordable) Kids’ Club extends from 0-4 to 0-12 during school holidays, and the entertainment programme also goes intergalactic with lots of extras like magic shows and circus skills workshops, guaranteeing a rest for frazzled mums and dads. With the kids otherwise engaged, you can head off to the spa - and why not indulge in a luxurious Moroccan-inspired wellness ritual in the new Moorish indoor garden while you’re there? Well, it’d be rude not to.
Auchrannie Resort is extensive, covering all possible eventualities and weather conditions. You can stay in the hotel or go self-catering, eat at three restaurants on site, visit the resort shop, get active at the two leisure clubs (both have pools) or set the kids loose in the enormous three-storey playbarn. The Resort is a great base from which to explore the Isle of Arran’s arts, crafts, nature and history. And outdoorsy-types are extremely well-catered for: you can book activities through Arran Adventure, enjoy a round of golf on one of Arran’s seven courses, go on a power boat trip or do a spot of geocaching. Oh, and there’s a spa, obviously! Go native with a treatment using the Hebridean seaweed-derived product range ISHGA or let the little ones in on the action with one of the fun pampering packages for children aged 5+. It’s no wonder that this island gem has won a plethora of awards for its family-friendly service.
Repeat after me: this is not your standard holiday park! Crieff Hydro boasts over 60 activities and promises “deep, deep sleep” at the end of it all, although whether they mean the children or the adults is unclear - hopefully both! Two sessions of free childcare a day is included, and the little ones will be spoilt for choice. Even if the weather is poor, there’s BIG Country to contend with - 700 square metres of dedicated childcare space with an adventure castle, a slide and ball pools, a trampoline and lots, lots more - plus there’s a creche for under 2s available at an additional supplement. Quad-biking, swimming and zip wires should keep older ones busy and four dining venues will satisfy even the fussiest of eaters. What to do with all of the free time you’ve suddenly gained? Well, that’s easy - indulge in a BABOR facial at the Victorian spa.
Baliffscourt manages that elusive magic: retaining a grown-up sense of grandeur and luxury whilst still welcoming children with open arms. Small touches make a big difference, from two portion sizes on the children’s menu, highchairs and crayons ready and waiting in the restaurant and garden games available for sunny days. Babysitting can be arranged but children are also welcome in the spa pool at certain times so you can plan ahead. Our Away with the Kids reviewer insisted that swimming with her toddler son in the outdoor pool ranked in her top ten parenting moments to date, plus the giant swing was a huge hit. And don’t underestimate simple pleasures - there are 30 acres of safe, private parkland to roam freely around, or you can head down to Climping beach.
Vale Resort is the ideal choice for families looking for an active break: there’s golf, tennis, squash, rugby, football and more. If it’s good enough for Man Utd and Real Madrid, chances are sporty littles will be impressed! The hotel is also home to a well-established Day Nursery which also offers a creche facility where you can book the kids in for up to two hours - plenty of time for some relaxation in the spa or an invigorating treatment (we like the sound of the Champagne and Truffles Deluxe ritual!) The Vale is stylish, contemporary, and set in 650 acres of stunning countryside - however, if you fancy hitting the shops, the cinema or Cardiff’s other attractions, the city centre is a mere 15 minutes’ drive.
This magnificent country house hotel calls itself a ‘luxury playground’ for children and adults alike. Aside from the indoor pool and the outdoor play area, child-centred attraction The Hideaway - a converted cottage within the hotel’s 500 acres of stunning gardens and grounds - contains everything from a baby sensory room to game consoles. The impressive equestrian centre provides pony rides from 3 years old and novices can try a pony care lesson as a gentle introduction to all things horsey. Our Away with the Kids VIP Lottie gave the Cookery School a big thumbs up and interconnecting rooms, bookable nannies and a child-friendly menu all add up to a fabulous family hotel stay. Oh, and the spa is top-notch, with all the standard beauty and body treatments but also some unusual extras - hands up who fancies some Haslauer Reflective Sunlight Therapy?
Infinity pool? Tick. Lakeside views? Oh yes. The perfect balance of activity and indulgence? Full house! Another Place is the North’s version of Cornwall’s Watergate Bay - it was given an epic style overhaul by Watergate’s team in 2017 and the result is a wow-worthy family hotel that simultaneously manages laidback luxe vibes and a warm, totally unpretentious feel. There’s so much to do together, from raft-building to night walks, as well as the option to spend some guilt-free time apart with the Kids’ Zone supervised sessions, babysitting or free listening-in service. The Swim Club spa offers massages, scrubs, wraps, facials and beauty treatments and the quality-focused dining venues cater fantastically for all tastes. All of this without even leaving the hotel - did we mention that Ullswater Lake and all of its attractions are right on your doorstep?