The Best Family-Friendly Hotels in the UK

Swinging in the grounds of Fowey Hall
Swinging in the grounds of Fowey Hall | Courtesy of Fowey Hall /
Photo of Callum Davies
15 December 2020

There are many reasons to spend time exploring the UK with family, whether you’re in the market for outdoor exploration, mooching around bustling city centres, zipping around theme parks or having fun on the beach. Finding a family-friendly hotel is often a challenge in itself, and you can end up with something functional, but boring. We’re here to help. Here are our picks for the most interesting and comfortable family-friendly hotels in the UK.

Fowey Hall, Cornwall

Fowey Hall - Cornwall
Courtesy of Fowey Hall /
Fowey is about as idyllic a Cornish village as you’re likely to find, sitting at the mouth of the river that is its namesake, lined with cottages and alive with fishing boats most of the year. Fowey Hall almost seems like the crown jewel, a Victorian manor overlooking all the other houses. A short walk from the hotel takes you to the beach, the ferry to neighbouring Polruan or the Fowey Aquarium. Inside the design is bright and inviting, with several children’s playrooms, a well-stocked library, games room and spa with a pool. Outside there’s a Wind-in-the-Willows-inspired play area (the manor is thought to be the inspiration for Toad Hall) and a zip wire. The rooms are big and airy, with a maritime theme that extends to the colourful kids’ bunk beds, and the restaurant offers a sprawling menu of Cornish classics and child-friendly bites. The hotel offers two hours of free childcare each day and a ‘baby listening’ service in the evenings.
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Moonfleet Manor, Dorset

Hotel, Independent Hotel
4.3/5 (133 Reviews)
Moonfleet Manor
Courtesy of Moonfleet Manor/
Few things in this world are more likely to get kids excited than dinosaurs, which is probably why the Jurassic Coast is such a favoured holiday destination. Moonfleet Manor sounds like the setting of a sci-fi TV series, but in fact it’s a coastal manor-style hotel with a family-first ethos. As well as being a hop, skip and a jump from Gore Cove beach, it houses a crèche, indoor play area, two swimming pools and even a family escape room. Adults aren’t left behind either, with a sauna and Edwardian-style bar. The beach-view restaurant offers continental European and British dishes, plus the obligatory ‘catch of the day’. There are kid-friendly meal times on offer and a nanny-led breakfast club on Sundays. Rooms vary in style between classic and contemporary, with a focus on function over frills.
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Bedruthan Hotel & Spa, Cornwall

Spa Hotel, Hotel, Luxury
Bedruthen hotel
Courtesy of Bedruthan Hotel and Spa /
In the surfer-friendly Cornish town of Newquay, Bedruthan takes a more colourful, modern approach to the coastal holiday. The beach is yards away, and the interior and grounds resemble a kind of post-modern villa complex, with circular outdoor swimming pools and pastel Cubist furniture. There are cosy relaxation lounges, a spectacular hydro-spa and sensory spa garden, and another indoor pool to go with the three outside. There are also two restaurants – the family-oriented Wild Cafe and the more adult Herring. Family rooms can either include bunk beds or separate interconnecting bedrooms, depending on how much privacy you’re after.
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Polurrian on the Lizard, Cornwall

Budget Hotel
4.4/5 (210 Reviews)
Polurrian on the Lizard - Cornwall
Courtesy of Polurrian on the Lizard /
The Lizard is an ideal place to visit if you value seclusion on your family holidays: a bit more of a mission than some other Cornish spots, but worth it for the amount of tourists it filters out this way. The Polurrian sits right on top of the cliffs, gazing down onto the inviting private beachfront beneath. The terrace has a sprawling children’s play area, and there is also a film room and Cornish Piskie Trail. Down on the beach you can borrow buckets, spades and crabbing lines to keep the little ones occupied while you are lounging, or swimming in the sea, before coming back for a spa treatment or a nice meal at the fish restaurant. Rooms have a contemporary vibe that capitalises on the space, to ensure you have a comfortable stay. Baby monitors are available to borrow and you can also organise an in-house babysitter.
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The Slaughters Manor House, Cotswolds

Boutique Hotel, Luxury
The Slaughters Manor House - Cotswolds
Courtesy of The Slaughters Manor House /
The nature of the area means that most of the hotels are quite old-fashioned and austere, but 17th-century Slaughters Manor undercuts all of that, with bright colours, Scandi-style furniture and welcome additions like gardens for the rooms. Food options range from a sophisticated seven-course taster menu to a cost-effective bar menu. There’s a tennis court on the grounds and a billiards table for rainy days.
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New Park Manor, New Forest

Hotel, Independent Hotel
4.2/5 (143 Reviews)
New Park Manor - New Forest
Courtesy of New Park Manor /
For anyone going on holiday via London, the New Forest is a great escape from the city, less than 2 hours by car or train. Peppa Pig World, various cycling and hiking trails, a railway museum and a glut of country parks are all within easy reach, and New Park Manor is nestled right in the middle of it all. The hotel’s claim to fame is that it was King Charles II’s favourite hunting lodge in a previous life, and much of the 17th-century appeal has been retained, but with the addition of a cinema room, pool, badminton courts and croquet lawn. The rooms, named for various former residents, are artfully decorated and agreeably spacious, and many are outfitted with terraces and free-standing baths. Bicycles can be rented for exploring the surrounding area.
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Augill Castle, Cumbria

Independent Hotel, Hotel
4.5/5 (14 Reviews)
Augill Castle - Cumbria
Courtesy of Augill Castle /
Want an easy way to tempt your kids into embarking on a British holiday? Simple, tell them they can stay in a real castle! Unlike other hotels that adopt the title, Augill Castle is every bit the medieval monument you’d hope for, with turrets, battlements and a big portcullis-style entryway. Sitting right between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, the hotel goes well out of its way to cater to families, with a playroom, cinema room, honesty bar and 20 acres of grounds with roe deer and hens wandering around freely. Rooms have a classical Edwardian vibe, with the odd upcycled light fixture or old typewriter, and some of the larger ones feel like houses unto themselves. Food offerings range from full three-course meals to more esoteric pub-style grub.
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  • South Lodge Hotel, West Sussex

    Spa Hotel, Hotel, Luxury
    4.7/5 (190 Reviews)
    South Lodge Hotel - West Sussex
    Courtesy of South Lodge Hotel /
    With 93 acres of surrounding forest and gardens, South Lodge really is a self-contained experience, and just a 20-minute drive from Gatwick Airport or just over an hour from London. This 19th-century manor house is a marvel to behold both inside and out, but don’t worry about the kids getting bored while you gawp at the architecture and soak in the incredible spa. As well as secret woodland to explore, there is croquet on the lawn, bikes to borrow for free, dedicated children’s ‘splash times’ (in the indoor pool and wild swimming pond), a well-stocked toy trunk and welcome packs for under-12s. There are two child-friendly restaurants: award-winning Camellia, which serves seasonal local ingredients and a special kids’ menu, and Mediterranean-inspired spa restaurant Botanica, where robes can be worn until 6pm.
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    Gliffaes Country House, Brecon Beacons

    Independent Hotel, Hotel
    Map View
    Gliffaes Country House - Brecon Beacons
    Courtesy of Gliffaes Country House /
    The Brecon Beacons offers one of the most Tolkien-esque vistas in all of the UK, just crying out to be explored and enjoyed. Finding somewhere to stay that embodies that adventurous spirit is important, and Gliffaes certainly achieves that. Wedged between the Black Mountains and the River Usk, the 19th-century Italianate mansion and surrounding grounds have a romantic vibe to them, up to and including croquet on the lawn, a tandem bicycle to use for free, and bespoke picnic bags for hiking and fly-fishing courses. Insider tips on the best walks in the area are provided at the front desk, and you can go on a ‘tree walk’ around the hotel arboretum without ever leaving the grounds. Rooms carry on the vintage feel, but you’ll likely be distracted by the astonishing views. The restaurant offers a versatile selection of locally-sourced dishes with lots of options for vegans and vegetarians.

    Hotel Tresanton, Cornwall

    Map View
    Hotel Tresanton - Cornwall
    Courtesy of Hotel Tresanton /
    St Mawes sits on the edge of the Roseland Peninsula, an area that really exemplifies the sub-tropical appeal of Cornwall. The hotel itself is actually a cluster of cottages, making up 30 different rooms, all of which come with astounding views and plenty of space for children to mill around. There’s a kids’ art club and organised games on the beach in the summer holidays, and even a private yacht that can be booked out for trips during high season. The seafood-heavy restaurant menu favours Mediterranean-style dishes with local ingredients and meals can be enjoyed in the rooms (or on the terrace gardens that many of them come with). There are four dog-friendly rooms.

    Bel & the Dragon, Hampshire

    Chain Hotel, Hotel
    Map View
    Bel & the Dragon - Odiham
    Courtesy of Bel and the Dragon /
    With a name sounding like a storybook, it’s hardly surprising that this Hampshire gem is well suited to visiting families. Just 40 minutes from London, it’s an ideal country spot to migrate to after a spell in the big city. The hotel is essentially an outsize pub, with hard-wearing wood panelling, heavy furniture and big fireplaces. Rooms are cleverly designed to tuck children away in a little nook so the parents can enjoy a private-ish experience at a more reasonable price than usual. There’s a hearty menu at the restaurant, with a kids’ list that’s almost as big as the adult one, and the bar has an extensive wine list for pre-/post-dinner drinks.
    These recommendations were updated on December 15, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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