Browns Hotel London living room
The Runnymede-on-Thames pool
bovey castle exterior
The Goring Hotel
The United Kingdom has an awful lot to offer for luxury family holidays with bucket-loads of fabulous family-friendly hotels, restaurants and attractions in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. For those wanting a holiday that keeps them close to home (or don't care about weather), we have picked a few of our favourites that welcome families with open arms, ensure luxurious comfort and offer plenty to keep the little ones happy, no matter how unpredictable the weather may be. Whether you're after a family weekend break away with a fabulous spa for you, an action-packed vacation, or a holiday seeing the sites in the capital, the UK really does have something for all.
The Lanesborough Hotel
The Lanesborough Hotel is as regal and elegant as its Royal surroundings, located in the beating heart of London.
The Lanesborough Hotel is neither brash nor boastful, showy nor glitzy. It is, instead, an effortlessly elegant hotel of unsurpassed standard; its interior decor is breathtaking, its levels of service unrivalled; its location is one-in-a-mlllon. Nestled right on the edge of Knightsbridge and, literally, wedged between...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
New Park Manor
New Park Manor is ideal if you're travelling with babies and young children: there's nothing they haven't thought about and its New Forest location only adds to the endless activities already on offer at the hotel.
New Park Manor is just two hours from London in an unassuming but delightful 17th century manor house surrounded by polo fields and pretty gardens. And if you're there as a family, killing time at New Park Manor won’t be a problem as the options on offer are almost overwhelming. There are just 21 rooms so this...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
Conrad London St. James
The Conrad London St. James is a luxurious, elegant and very comfortable five star hotel in the heart of central London. The staff will, quite literally, bend over backwards to accommodate your family's every need and you'll delight in the stunning surroundings.
Nestled in the heart of London on the edge of Victoria, just a stone's throw from gorgeous Mayfair, resides the stunning Conrad London St. James hotel. On a quiet and peaceful road a moment from Buckingham Palace, it's easy to forget you're in the throbbing heartbeat of central London when you stay here. Yet, the...Baby-friendly / Pre-Teen friendly / Summer Sun / See this Hotel & Book »
The Royal Garden Hotel London
The Royal Garden Hotel London is a stunning, extremely luxurious property located on the fringe of Hyde Park that considers children at every turn.
The Royal Garden Hotel London, which celebrates its 50th birthday any day now, is a London icon. And though you may have driven past it a million times after a day shopping on the familiar favourite that is Kensington High Street, you may not have given it much thought. Wedged between the end of the high street where...Baby-friendly / Pre-Teen friendly / Summer Sun / See this Hotel & Book »
Claridge’s Hotel London
Claridge's London is a Mayfair-must with its exceptional concierge service, stunning luxury accommodation and infamous afternoon teas.
This iconic beauty of a hotel in the heart of London's Mayfair district is about as good as it gets. Jaw-dropping from the second you walk through the front entrance, the level of service at Claridge's Hotel is utterly exceptional, the accommodation spoilingly luxurious and the family-friendly facilities top notch....Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
The Cornwall Hotel Spa and Estate
Treasure trails and tennis, woodland walks and children's cinema are just some of the delights on offer at The Cornwall Hotel Spa and Estate. There's plenty for parents, too.
Not only is The Cornwall Hotel Spa and Estate set on 43 acres of stunning Cornish Victorian parkland, but it is a stone’s throw (or a short car ride, at least) from amazing local attractions such as the Eden Project, and a plethora of beautiful beaches ripe for long, lazy walks. There are beautiful rooms to book in...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
Lime Wood is as unique as it is beautiful. Between the Herb Garden spa and the bike rides, the family cottages and Angela Hartnett heading the kitchen, you'll never want to leave.
What is so striking about Lime Wood is the incredible attention to detail that has gone into, literally, everything. The design and aesthetic is faultless. Every cushion is tossed with perfection; every napkin folded, just so. But it isn't in any way formal or intimidating and it is surprisingly family-friendly. The...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
The St Moritz Hotel
With the St. Moritz hotel you can satisfy everyone from spa goddesses to budding surfers, keen fishermen and even tiny babies.
The St Moritz Hotel in Cornwall is a stunning property right on the edge of Greenaway Beach, that pays as much attention to its little guests as it does their parents. There are sweeping penthouses, apartments and villas to choose from (aside from the hotel rooms) that offer self-catering options, ideal if away as a...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
The Pig on the Beach
The Pig on the Beach is a blissful, beautiful and very well curated country house hotel in, arguably, one of England's most beautiful spots.
The Pig on the Beach is by no means the runt of the litter. Securing a reservation (be it room, lunch or dinner) at the newest addition to the phenomenally successful (four-fold) hotel group might require some perseverance, but stick with it. Its creators have adhered to a tried and tested blueprint: rambling...Baby-friendly / Pre-Teen friendly / Summer Sun / See this Hotel & Book »
An iconic Scottish hotel that offers an eye-watering array of activities, Michelin-starred food and, unsurprisingly, world-class golf.
Set across 850 acres of stunning Scottish countryside, Gleneagles offers far more than the world class golf for which it's associated. And with so much space and land comes a wealth of things to do, making this luxury hotel an excellent option for family holidays. There is an on-site equestrian centre, clay shooting...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
The Pig near Bath
Enviable interiors, cosy fireplaces, locally sourced cuisine and friendly staff define the stunning Pig Country House Hotel near Bath and Bristol.
The latest and greatest offering from the clever folk behind The Pig Hotels already open in Brockenhurst and Southampton, this gorgeous country house hotel emerges from amongst a deer park and rolling Somerset hills most memorably. Stunning interiors welcome you with open arms as you walk into the lobby through a...Baby-friendly / Pre-Teen friendly / Summer Sun / See this Hotel & Book »
A 1930's hotel of classic status, The Dorchester Hotel in London is ideally located next to two of the capital's best parks and offers a host of wonderful, not to mention, unique services and events that keep children firmly in mind.
A celebrated London classic, The Dorchester has iconic status as a leading luxury hotel in the capital. Stunningly elegant, defined by service that stands head and shoulders above many, and with an address wedged between both Green Park and Hyde Park, it has been wowing lovers of luxury since 1931. Retaining its...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
With three golf courses, six restaurants, an award-winning spa and endless activities just for children or for the whole family, there'll be plenty to keep you occupied at the Turnberry Resort.
Located on the west coast of Scotland about an hour from Glasgow airport is the recently renovated but long-loved Turnberry Resort. With two open championship golf courses (as well as a nine-hole course,) an award-winning spa and no less than six restaurants on this spectacular site, there is plenty to keep the very...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
Aloft London Excel
A hip and urban hangout in east London with a wonderful Camp Aloft children's program and facilities for dogs should you be travelling with pets, too.
Now, East London might not jump out as the first spot you’d consider when booking a family-friendly hotel with lots of luxury in London, but Aloft London Excel in Royal Victoria Dock is a hip and very exciting option. Very much urban-cool in design, what with its focus on technology and a happening bar on the...Baby-friendly / Pre-Teen friendly / Summer Sun / See this Hotel & Book »
Calcot Manor is a 14th century manor house lovingly restored on 200 acres of Cotswold meadowland. The resulting spa, children's facilities, and deliciously cosy rooms welcome all ages.
Calcot Manor is set in 220 acres of Cotswold meadowland, providing a vast natural playground right outside the arched brick doorways of this beautiful manor house hotel. A 14th century house that has been lovingly renovated into an extremely family-friendly hotel, it is quintessentially cosy with its roaring...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
The Goring Hotel
The Goring Hotel may be relatively small in size (there are only 69 rooms,) but it is infamous for its delicate Edwardian décor, unrivaled service and an exceptional list of fine wines.
Well-loved by those in the know for over a century, The Goring Hotel hit international headlines when it was selected as the hotel where The Duchess of Cambridge spent the night before her nuptials to Prince William in 2011. One night here and you’ll see why it was more than fit for future Royalty. Beautifully...Baby-friendly / Pre-Teen friendly / Summer Sun / See this Hotel & Book »
One Aldwych is a stunning contemporary hotel in the exciting Covent Garden area of London, making it a perfect point from which to explore the capital.
Considering how centrally located One Aldwych is, there is nothing you’ll be left wanting. The slick rooms are family-friendly in size (lots of room for cots and additional beds), there is an enormous 150 square meter state-of-the-art fitness centre with personal trainers, should you so desire one, the swimming pool...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
Bovey Castle is a magnificent estate in Devon that offers superb service and unrivaled luxury, while remaining resolutely family-friendly and welcoming.
The rooms and suites of the main house at Bovey Castle are sure to thrill. Sumptuous, luxurious and extremely comfortable, they’ll suit you down to the ground. If you’re travelling with a large family, however, there is also the option of the three en-suite bedroom country lodges on the 4000-acre grounds of the...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
Particularly good if you’re travelling with a young baby, Thurlestone is a stunning luxury hotel near Salcombe.
Family-owned since 1896, Thurlestone Hotel in South Devon is great if you’re travelling with tiny children - high chairs, a baby-listening service, pre-booked babysitting, kid’s menus and daily complimentary high tea for children are just for starters. Perching proudly on the sea in South Devon, Thurlestone offers...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
The Runnymede-on-Thames is perfect for busy families wanting family-friendly fun in the tranquility of Windsor.
Located on the idyllic River Thames on the outskirts of delightful Windsor, small children are welcomed with rucksacks filled with activities, and milk and cookies at The Runnymede-on-Thames. Throughout the hotel there are hordes of games, books and toys to borrow; outside the hotel are the joys of Windsor Castle and...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
Browns Hotel London
Brown’s Hotel, London showcases luxury, pristine service and spoiling facilities for parents and children alike in the heart of Mayfair.
Located in the very gorgeous Mayfair area of London (a stone’s throw from London’s bountiful parks, the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and so on), Browns Hotel London is a hotbed of luxurious accommodation, dizzying gastronomic heights (a Mark Hix restaurant forms part of the foundations) and extremely...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
66-70 Brewer Street, London, W1F 9UP
There aren’t many restaurants that can boast of a menu that changes weekly, but Hix Soho does just that. The Brewer Street location of this achingly cool Soho restaurant may not smack as kiddie-friendly, but it’s great with children. The cosy leather seating, relaxed ambience and edgy interior is very inviting and the children’s menu offers up delights for young diners that include buttermilk fried chicken, Atlantic prawn cocktail, hake fillet and rib steak burger (all polished off with a Peruvian Gold chocolate mousse if they still have room!?) The artwork on display includes that of Damian Hirst, Shezad Dawood and Harland Miler, amongst others, so little ones will be mesmerised from the moment you walk in the door. There are great set menu options, an extensive vegetarian menu and a fabulous wine list to keep parents happy, too.
Hix Soho interior
10 Berners Street, London, W1T 3NP
What do you get if you mix a centre-of-town London location, inviting interiors and a restaurant headed by the sensational Jason Atherton? The London Edition hotel and it’s gorgeous restaurant, Berners Tavern, of course. The seasonal, British menu is ideal for families. There is the classic Sunday roast made with the finest Devonshire Ruby Red beef, and best of all, it’s extremely well designed for those with little children. Whether intentional or not, the front of the restaurant has a very informal Cafe air to it, thanks to the tub chairs that fringe each table, while the main dining area is defined by banquette seats which, as every parent of a toddler knows, makes ideal seating for those with tots.
London Edition Hotel Milk tray
The Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AP
Verdi is located in The Royal Albert Hall, one of London’s show-stopping, no-holds-barred beauties. This gorgeous eatery offers up fantastic family-style lunches on Saturdays all accompanied by live blues and jazz performances. There is a wonderful Sunday Brunch series on selected weekends, seeing beautiful family-friendly food accompanied by live jazz music. Little ones will adore the stone-baked pizzas, all of which are made from fine Italian Caputo flour. Perfect pasta is served too – we’re talking cannelloni al cinghiale, which is filled with wild boar meat or tagliatelle all salsicci, which uses Napoli sausages for its meatballs.
Verdi Restaurant mozzarella bar
Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall
On the Beach, Watergate Bay, Cornwall, TR8 4AA
Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall is worth checking out, if only for its seriously sensational location. The vibe is laid back, the staff are smiling and friendly, the west facing views across Watergate Bay beach are unrivalled. The children’s menu isn’t vast, but it is very well thought out, and offers welcome healthy options, too. Fill up on some of the Italian delights and then walk the calories off on the sweeping beach below the restaurant’s steps, dotted with dog walkers, surfers and rock pools for fishing as a family.
Fifteen Cornwall kitchen wall
Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant
Riverside, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8BY
There are several Stein enterprises in Padstow, a picture-postcard perfect fishing village on the north coast of Cornwall. Whether you opt for his tasty fish and chips to take away and eat along the harbour front, delicious delights from his deli, or seafood specials from his fish & chip restaurant, you can’t go wrong. Though the smarter, more formal version of all the above, Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant, comes recommended without reservations. Laden with flowing white tablecloths and inhabited by seriously professional wait staff it may be, but children aged 3 and over couldn’t be made to feel more welcome. The Mini Stein’s menu is an array of favourites such as fish and chips, as well as healthier options of steak and grilled fish with vegetables. And, if they’re lucky, they may get invited in to meet the kitchen chefs and receive a sweet treat to take home with them.
Rick Stein's Seafood restaurant children's menu
Chiswick House Cafe
Chiswick House Gardens, London, W4 2QN
More than a just a place to eat, Chiswick House is a stunning 18th century, neo-Palladian villa set in 65 acres of beautiful historic gardens in west London. Chiswick House Gardens is a free public park open daily from 7am – dusk all year round, though the house is only open at weekends. And set within the gardens themselves is this glorious cafe, ideal for a bite with children and then plenty of space to run around. Designed by award-winning architects Caruso St John, the café has become a favourite for locals and visitors. Aside from the cafe, there is a fantastic area for children’s play and picnic spots, as well as a theatre. The Children’s theatre is located in the historic, walled gardens, with an adult theatre – outdoor cinema on the Western Lawn with a wonderful backdrop of Chiswick House itself.
Chiswick House exterior
146 Marchmont Road, Edinburgh
Lines often wind round the block from Toast, an Edinburgh hotspot that is extremely family-friendly both in terms of its menu and ambience. And at weekends it is renound for its brunch. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it is licensed (nice for mum and dad) but serves “nibbles” throughout the day if you actually want to pop in for a refuel at tea time rather than a hefty meal. French toast with goat’s cheese and honey-baked tomatoes stand out, while the lunch and dinner menus offer healthy hearty fare that will please both adults and little ones, such as ham and cheese rarebit and roast beef.
See website for locations
So, while most parents are on a quest to get healthy, nutritious food into their children, burgers are always a hit and when you’re on holiday, most rules go out the window. So for a burger treat in London we recommend Honest Burgers. While most joints are now serving American-sized patties with enormous buns too big for most adults, let alone children, Honest Burgers serves children’s size burgers and even gluten-free options for those who need them. The menu offers the usual favourites such as beef and chicken burgers but has some fun extras such as cauliflower, shallot and sweetcorn fritters. All menu items are made using the best of local British produce and the Soho joint is a fantastic option if you’re out and about exploring the West End together.
191 Portobello Rd, London W11 2ED
The newly-reonnovated Electric Diner might have retained its status as an achingly cool Notting Hill hotspot, but don’t overlook it as a family-friendly eatery if you’re on Portobello Road, especially at lunch time. The new diner banquet seats are extremely comfortable and offer lots of room for little ones to sit and play comfortably at the table, though high chairs are available for babies, too. The children’s menu offers great healthy options such as salmon with broccoli and the staff will happily cater to family requests. The newly designed layout offers a decent space at the back of the restaurant for buggies so there is no need to worry about jamming up the walkway between tables. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations so busy weekends may not be the best time, unless you’re happy popping your name down and waiting in the surrounding hub and buzz of Portobello market.
See website for locations.
So Wagamama might be a chain, but it’s a fabulous choice if you’re eating out as a family. With locations all across the country, these slick Japanese hotspots, all decked out with simple but cosy wooden tables, serve delicious, healthy options for parents and kids alike. Friendly staff provide crayons and colouring books (aptly called the noodle doodle) when you walk in, so children are instantly occupied (a bonus with toddlers, of course) and there are a plethora of high chairs. The children’s menu includes generous portions of grilled dory with noodles and amai sauce, a mini yasai ramen (noodles in vegetable soup with fried tofu) and mini cha han (stir fried white rice with either chicken or tofu and vegetables). All juices are freshly squeezed on the spot and the vanilla pod ice cream for dessert comes with a choice of fresh passion fruit or strawberry sauce on top.
Windsor and the home counties
Mercedes Benz World
Mercedes Benz World is a three-floor interactive museum where small children (aged 2 – 6 years) will love Little Learners which lets them drive a miniature electric Mercedes Benz around an indoor track. Those over 11 years of age who are at least 1.5m tall can enjoy an introductory driving lesson while parents test their road skills on the outdoor track, skid-pans and off-road terrain.
With what must be millions of pieces of Lego put together like works of art, outdoor and indoor rides, play areas and endless places to eat (and shop), Legoland will delight children of all ages. From Lego safari animals to Star Wars characters, underwater rides to Lego pirate shores, you’ll easily lose a day in this fabulous resort that has a hotel on site should you wish to stay and make a proper visit of it.
The maze is a highlight for children at this stunning, sweeping country house; it exquisitely pruned and one of the best examples of a maze. The gardens are breathtaking as they change with the seasons and provide a fabulous backdrop for hide ‘n’ seek. The National Trust have a wealth of family events lined up throughout the year, including outdoor theatre in the summer and Christmas decoration-making in the winter. And, if this all gets too exhausting, head to the house for a sumptuous high tea by the enormous fireplace.
Toad, Ratty and Mole enthusiasts, (and anyone with an interest in The Thames), will adore this spacious and very family-friendly museum with it’s light and airy cafe. It provides the perfect introduction into Wind in the Willows for children who will love any of the various themed events and workshops that are regularly held during the year. From crafts to animation, there is something for all age groups and the finale of the year for children up to age 11 has to be Toad’s Christmas party.
This is where Roald Dahl lived and wrote for 36 years, and it’s true to say the magic of his imagination is well and truly alive. Children who are familiar with such classics as The Twits, James and the Giant Peach, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will marvel in delight as they recognise props and paraphernalia from the stories. Daily events are catered for children aged 6 to 12 years of age and include crafts and other activities based on the books: how can they not be enticed by Witchy Wonka biscuit bars and Bogswiffling cloth bags? The village itself is charming and provides the perfect backdrop for a weekend walk with kiddies in tow.
Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park is a sub tropical paradise in the heart of Devon where children can pet animals, enjoy sea lion shows, and marvel at exotic birds, lions and some fairly realistic dinosaurs.
Woodlands’ Leisure Park in Dartmouth is great no matter what the weather: 90 acres of play areas, both indoor and out, offer soft play for tiny ones and even “Master Blaster” arenas for active older children.
Babbacombe Model Village in Torquay boasts an incredible number of animated models, all set within four acres of beautiful gardens.
The Eden Project makes for a magical day out. What are essentially artificial biodomes in the heart of Cornwall, the Eden Project houses the world’s largest greenhouse and activities that kids adore, such as den building and the fantastic, newly opened Rainforest Aerial walkway. An educational tour that explains to little ones why rainforests are so important, it also lets them walk above the treetops with incredible views of the Biome.
The London Eye is fabulous, whether you’re a resident of the city and used to its seductive skyline or not. Museums that shouldn’t be missed with little ones include The Science Museum, The Natural History Museum and The Imperial War Museum.
Kew Gardens has a wonderful array of activities for the whole family, from boating to tea parties in the rose garden, and water lovers will thoroughly enjoy seeing London from The Duck. One minute you’re on a duck-shaped bus, the next you’re floating down the Thames River. Those keen on a theme-based day should try either the pirate adventure duck tour or the James Bond duck adventure.
Baby Spa is located in Kensington and it’s a heavenly treat for both you and your tiny baby. After an introduction to the spa room and some play time, your baby is gently lowered into a neonatal pod (think of a big kitchen sink) or a larger pool, depending on their age. An around-the-neck floatation device allows, probably for the first and only time, your baby to be completely independent without being able to swim. For the next 10 to 30 minutes (that’s up to you) you can enjoy watching your baby bobbing around in warm water. He or she is lifted then out, wrapped in fluffy towels and given a massage. Once your baby is dressed and smelling delicious you can take them to the chill out room for a feed or a lounge around in the ‘cot-pods’.
The Horniman Museum and Gardens in London’s Forest Hill area is a fabulous way to play a day away. An immense amount of thought has been put into little guests, the aquarium is a big hit and there is a natural history section full of every species imaginable. The music room has interactive sections, the outside gardens boast a musical playground and parents will be blown away by the views across London from the museum’s delightful gallery.
Pop Bakery is a fabulous way to wile away a windy, wet afternoon. Cakes on a stick can be painted with edible materials, decorated and enjoyed all on the premises of this west london cafe / bakery / eatery. A fun and vibrant environment that kids will adore, the cakes are delicious and can be adorned in every shape from russian dolls to pencils.
The Cotswold River Cruise is delightful if you’re lucky with the weather, and Kenilworth Castle offers some fantastic family programs during the holidays with princess and knight themes, amongst others.
Cattle Country Adventure Park has a splash pool, play barns, assault courses and, of course, lots of animal encounters.
As if appearing from nowhere in the countryside surrounding the gorgeous little town of Bruton resides the latest gallery opening from Hauser & Wirth. Only it’s more than that. There is the gallery space – which is charming – but there is also a farm shop and a fabulous restaurant that serves local delights made with organic produce and a certain slick, city flair. Drop by any time for a play in the gardens and a delicious meal in a most family-friendly environment, but if you’re about on the first Saturday of any given month, drop in between 10am and noon. “Family Saturdays” as they are called are aimed at those between 6 and 14 years of age, and include interactive tours of the exhibitions, sketching activities, creative time in the Implement Shed (aka the learning room) and story-telling, puppet-making and miniature gardening. This is a taste of New York is rural Somerset and it’s fabulous.
Dial 999 in an emergency. Bring adequate travel insurance if you travel to the UK from outside the European Union to ensure you have the best coverage possible. Hospitals vary from city to city but all have excellent paediatric care in larger medical institutions and multi-lingual staff.
When to go
Let’s face it – you can’t plan a trip to the UK around the weather. The spring can be balmy and gloriously sunny, followed by a wintry and wet “summer” in July and August. So if you’re up for a visit, simply pack a range of gear (not ideal with little ones but that’s reality) and throw yourself in head first, planning day trips and activities according to the rain and the shine.