Picnics, tennis courts and croquet lawns, plus cribs, cots and crèches, conspire to create restful family stays in these Cotswolds hotels.
Treat the whole clan to a Cotswolds adventure at these fabulously family-friendly escapes. The Cotswolds, and its oh-so-cosy country hideaways, charm travellers of all ages – plus pets can often tag along, too. The whole region – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty since 1966 – is a soul-stirringly beautiful wonderland of golden-stone villages, ancient churches, thatched cottages and bucolic walking, cycling and horse-riding paths galore. Kids’ clubs, family rooms, children’s menus and other touches ensure you can kick back in style.
Hidden in green-clad hills between Cheltenham and Cirencester, the elegant 19th-century Cowley Manor – modelled on Rome’s Villa Borghese – enamours guests regardless of age. Some cosy-chic rooms interconnect or have extra beds (and even welcome dogs), Hunter wellies are available for mud-mad exploration and summer activities unravel the manor’s many mysteries. The luxe, award-winning spa has dedicated kids’ hours for splashing about its two heated pools (parents won’t be able to resist a Cotswolds-herb-infused massage). The season-driven cooking includes kids’ menus, starring garden-fresh ingredients.
Farmhouse-chic Calcot might host one of the Cotswolds’ most lusted-after spas, but it’s also wonderfully family friendly (a hard act to pull off), with Westonbirt Arboretum, Highgrove House and buzzy Tetbury on the doorstep. The 220-acre (80ha) grounds and centuries-old farmhouse kick off the adventure. Families can relax in luxuriously spacious multi-room pads (cots or kids’ beds provided), some flaunting private gardens. The Playbarn crèche keeps little ones busy, the Mez games area includes a mini-cinema and there are fun-filled activities during school holidays (arts-and-crafts sessions, treasure hunts and more), plus dedicated kids’ menus.
This splendid 17th-century manor sits among landscaped gardens and redwood trees in the tranquil, medieval-era village of Lower Slaughter. Kids will love scampering around the grounds, while handy kit includes baby monitors and picnic hampers. The family-friendly Garden Suites have private outdoor space and there are interconnecting rooms to choose from, too. Luxury touches like L’Occitane toiletries, a swish bar and the prize-winning, Cotswolds-championing restaurant (with kids’ menus available) cater to grown-up sensibilities. Terrific walks, Stow-on-the-Wold and the Cotswolds Wildlife Park are nearby.
Kids will have a magical, mysterious manor to roam around at this beam-filled 15th-century beauty beside Cheltenham Racecourse. Interconnecting rooms, extra beds and cots, and split-level spaces with lounges ensure the whole family relaxes, with carriers and babysitting easily arranged. There are treasure hunts, garden swings, colouring sets, a heated outdoor pool and more to entertain younger guests, and the stylish Elemis spa offers specialised pregnancy treatments if your family is not quite complete yet. While you enjoy season-inspired gastropub meals at the cosy Horse Box, kids can muse over their own menus.
A mile-long driveway leads to the magnificent Lucknam Park hotel near Bath, ramping up the excitement with every perfectly placed beech tree you pass. Horse rides, garden picnics, cycling expeditions and the cheery Hideaway play area, with arts and crafts and a sensory space, are just some of the family-focused treats laid on here. Rooms include interconnecting pads in the 18th-century mansion and three country-chic, stone-built self-catering cottages. There are also kids’ menus – plus elegant modern British dining and a superb spa for adults. It’s dog-friendly, too.
Historical charm is laid on thick at 13th-century Buckland Manor, lost among 10 acres (4ha) of peaceful rose-filled gardens and whispering woodlands, between the gleaming-gold villages of Broadway, Stanton and Snowshill. Antiques and rich fabrics fill the 15 rooms; several accommodate an extra bed, but two-room, view-laden Fountain room is the family pick of choice. Travel cots, baby monitors and highchairs converge to keep stays restful. Outdoors, there are custom-made picnics, tennis courts and croquet lawns. The outstanding restaurant showcases local produce, with kids’ menus offered until the early evening.
Just outside pretty Minchinhampton, the Ragged Cot makes a great choice if you’re holidaying with older kids and teenagers in need of a little independence. If you do have younger ones, they can tuck into fish and chips from the kids’ menu, while grown-ups feast on oven-roasted salmon or harissa-baked cauliflower. Lavender bushes fill the garden and terrace. Indoors, it’s all about roaring fires and soothing-toned, contemporary design rooms – which families can book next to each other. You’re a quick drive from Cirencester with its Roman riches, royal Highgrove House and the 200-year-old Westonbirt Arboretum, too.
Surrounded by the 152 glittering lakes of the Cotswold Water Park reserve, outside Cirencester, smartly contemporary De Vere enjoys the perfect waterside setting for an activity-packed family break. You can go kayaking, climbing, boating, paintballing, hiking and more, while the Corinium Museum, Cotswold Wildlife Park and Painswick Rococo Garden are just a taster of sights younger travellers will love. The sleekly contemporary self-catering apartments (some dog friendly) sleep four. There’s also a champagne bar and peaceful spa for parents, and all-day dining options to delight visitors of all ages.