OK, so we don't currently know whether we are going to be subject to an Italy-style lockdown but, hopeful we are able to travel around this brilliant country of ours, there are some truly wonderful hotels waiting to open their doors to you this Easter holidays.
Here is our top 10, all of which members of the a&u team have visited in the last 12 months.
1. All-round spoiling star in Surrey
Winner of our Family Hotel of the Year, Beaverbrook is set in 400 acres of rolling country less than twenty miles from London. We were utterly wowed by this grand former home of press baron Lord Beaverbrook. Choose from rooms in the Main House or opt for the more cottagey feel of the Garden House, half a mile up the drive. The Coach House Spa has indoor and outdoor pools and sublime treatments. Sharky & George kids' club runs weekends and hols in a magical woodland HQ, complete with caravan playhouse, treetop walkway and army tent. Supervised play area in the main hotel too (and film screening room) but kids will want to be outside here. A nature-focussed Wild Woods programme runs for children aged 6–12. Click here for our write up. Family package from £1,000 for a family of four.
2. Watery fun in the Lakes
Set on the shores of Ullswater, from the team behind Watergate Bay, Another Place, The Lake is all about active fun. Take out a kayak or paddle board, yomp around the surrounding hills or splash in the lovely indoor pool. Décor is tongue and groove, bleached wood and cosy sofas. The kids’ club is a safari tent. Breakfasts are awesome. The DIY waffles got our junior reviewer's top marks. Family suite (including a double bunk room for kids) from £365 per night b&b during April.
3. Outdoors in the Cotswolds
We loved our stay at The Fish, on the Farncombe Estate just outside the picture-perfect village of Broadway. We stayed in a lovely suite in the Stables (pictured) but next time have our eye on one of their fabulous treehouses. There is a lake, 400 beautiful acres to get lost in and it’s dog-friendly. It is contemporary and cool but relaxed and easygoing, perfect for urban families wanting a hit of country air. Dinner in the Hook restaurant was delicious. We combined it with a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon. Click here to see what we did. Treehouses start at £370 per night for a family of 4.
4. Newly re-vamped Fowey
Fowey Hall is our fave of the Luxury Family Hotel group. The inspiration for Toad Hall in The Wind in the Willows, it sits above a pretty Cornish seaside town and in our opinion has the ‘family hotel’ vibe just right. From the moment we walk through the door we feel relaxed and at home, yet with none of the stresses of ‘home’!! It re-opened for the Feb half term after a multi-million refit; we cannot wait to go and have a look over the Easter hols. From £179 per night, b&b.
5. For Art Lovers North of the Border
Wow, the Fife Arms! This art-packed gem in Braemar, on the edge of the Cairngorm National Park lives up to every bit of hype and is surprisingly child-friendly. There is a lovely family room with squishy beanbags, old-fashioned toys and table football. Junior guests are given a 'memory jar' to fill up as they explore. Staff are happy to arrange trips and local excursions. We had a fab fishing lesson on the River Dee. Click here for our review. From £576 per night for a family suite (sleeps 4), b&b.
6. Cliff top heaven in Devon
It has had mixed reviews but we had a wonderful weekend at Gara Rock, perched above a kiddy-friendly beach near Salcombe. Delicious food, outdoor pool, lots of fresh air and then popcorn and a movie in the screening room. Click here for our review. 2 bed apartment (sleeps 4) self-catering from £891 during April.
7. Foodie delights in Hampshire
Skye Gyngell is behind the restaurant at Heckfield, a beautifully decorated, calmly grown up country house between the M3 and the M4. Harriet Whiting was surprised how the atmosphere seemed to rub off on her sons who were uncharacteristically beautifully behaved to match. Must be something in the food! Curated programme of events including one off days for children. Click here for Harriet's write up. From £700 per room, per night.
8. Dog-friendly Dorset
The achingly cool and ever-booked up Pig on the Beach is not the most child-friendly of the Pig properties. Instead, for a resolutely trad, old fashioned option, head to Knoll House, just up the road. Playroom full of toys, games room, indoor and outdoor pools, pitch and putt, tennis. Evening babysitting and high tea for under 8s. We loved it! Click here for our Purbeck weekend review. Two night Easter break from £378, dinner, b&b.
9. The original and still among the best
Second entry for the Luxury Family Hotel group, this time for Woolley Grange, their first country house hotel, near Bath. Katja Gaskell visited last month and loved it. Click here for her review. Easter Celebration break from from £324 per room per night, dinner, b&b.
10. The Piggy Litter
We loved our stay at The Pig at Bridge Place but we reckon the Pig at Combe, near Honiton is the best for kids. We cannot WAIT for the Pig at Harlyn Bay near Padstow which opens in April! Family rooms at the Pig at Combe (with separate children's bunk room) from £305 per night.
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