Luxury Family Holidays Handpicked for Parents

Ideas for the family in and around London

Fringing the cobbled road of hip Colville Mews behind Notting Hill’s Westbourne Grove is the latest and greatest opening for West London parents that has been seen in a while. Cloud Twelve is a member’s club with a difference and it’s set to shape childcare in more ways than one.

Cloud 12 children's area

Anyone with kids can tell you the challenge of sorting good childcare, that which keeps kids entertained and doesn’t fling sad chicken nuggets at them as an excuse for lunch. The ground floor of Cloud Twelve offers huge soft play areas, learning and development programmes, art and ballet for children under 7, all overseen by Ofsted-registered crèche assistants and it’s complete with a beautifully-curated vegan menu for them when they are done. It’s a private members’ club for families and children so you can stay and play with them or saunter upstairs for time to yourself, all without the need of a nanny.

Cloud 12 cafe

As a wellness-focused space, Cloud Twelve offers a variety of holistic health services for the entire family so you can reap the benefits of a variety of consultancy sessions for you and your child. And while this may seem like a trendy babysitting spot (it’s worth noting they do also offer babysitting services at home), Cloud Twelve have actually equipped their crèche with a variety of learning resources to enrich children’s development in language, mathematics and the world around them, through botany and zoology games. Children enjoy regular circle group sessions throughout the day whether through drama, singing or stories, all of which is aimed at building social and emotional resilience. The cost of membership is incredibly reasonable and, given what parents can enjoy upstairs, this is set to be rammed in no time.

Cloud 12 spa

The second floor of this beautiful 10,000 square foot space, located in what was the Brand Museum is, today, a seriously sumptuous wellbeing clinic and spa area. Ross Barr and Eve Kalinik have gone in as the lead experts in the clinic, which offers everything from Cryotherapy and rose quartz treatment rooms to IV drips.

Offering a holistic spa, salon and a state-of-the-art alternative medicine clinic, you can finish up in the nutritionally focused plant-based brasserie. No doubt many will leave their children to play downstairs and simply grab a seat and a herbal tea with their laptops, so tranquil a workspace it is. The food shouldn’t be forgotten though, as it’s beautiful and extremely well curated by Stu Henshall of Alternative Kitchen.

Cloud 12 food

And, all the while, your loved ones are having the time of their life. Cloud Twelve meets every need of busy parents and it’s set to be a smash hit. Hurry and get in while you can…..

Cloud Twelve, 2-5 Colville Mews, London, W11 2DA

For more details click here.


Browns’ Hotel in Mayfair was, back in my Conde Nast days, a regular post-work pitstop for a cocktail and catch up with girlfriends after a day at work. On more than one occasion, that one cocktail turned into five (or seven!?) and a bleary cab ride home. So it was odd and delightful, all at once, to be checking in (sober) to that same West London beauty with my husband and two girls in tow last weekend.

Discreet but extremely luxurious, Brown’s Hotel has been a home-from-home for many a big name over the years. Rudyard Kipling wrote The Jungle Book while staying there (my daughter was particularly taken by that fact) while Winston Churchlll, so legend goes, once said: “I don’t stay at hotels. I stay at Brown’s.” Lola wasn’t quite so blown away by that historical reference.

Brown's Hotel exterior

And so it was on a dark and cold London day we arrived at the warmth and cosy elegance of Browns’ for a night. And I really can’t recommend it highly enough, especially if you’re hitting the capital with your kids. At check-in, our handsome and extremely eloquent concierge George greeted all of us, including the kids (something parents know doesn’t happen often). Lola was given her own Brown’s “passport” to document her stay and, upon arriving in our beautiful Dover Suite, cookies adorned with the girls names were ready and waiting, as was a teddy called Albie, story books and DVDs. Lola, particularly, was made to feel very welcome (as were we thanks to our spoiling confines and the lovely bottle of white waiting on ice, which was particularly appreciated after the traffic jam we endured en route through Knightsbridge). The hotel’s new Families R Forte programme aims to make young guests feel just as welcome as their parents, though I’ve always found the family-friendly offerings of this particular hotel to be of the highest standard. We are Londoners ourselves but the hotel offers a fantastic Kids’ City Guide which, were we new to the place, would have proven very useful. Lola received her own check-in card and comments card so felt very much a part of things.

Children at Brown's Hotel

The Dover suite (which we stayed in) is just one such room that offers huge space for the entire family but also has the option of interconnecting with a neighbouring room if you want even more. Though we were sitting in the midst of Mayfair I was particularly taken by the immense sense of calm and quiet that resulted, I assume, thanks to some seriously good double glazing. Despite being a few floors above Dover Street we could have been in the middle of nowhere. It was that quiet and, given that we had a four month old with us, it was one of the first things I noticed.

Brown's Dover Suite

The suite itself was divine. The attention to detail given to families was unrivalled. Firstly, we were met in the bathroom by a baby bath for Maya and a bevy of Child’s Farm and Burts Bee’s goodies for the girls. The hotel had gone as far as to source the right size of nappy for a baby of Maya’s age and, at the end of our bed, was a beautifully-made (all pink) cot for her to rest in; adjacent to that was a floor mat with toys perfect for her age. Lola had a fabulous bed of her own made up in our ridiculously large and very luxurious living room (complete with personalised television, sweeping writing desk and sofas more comfortable than those I enjoy in my own home). She had her own robe and slippers; Maya had her own hooded towelling poncho. Had we stayed for longer and required babysitting services that would have been no problem and, should you request one, the hotels provides a Kids In-Room Bar complete with healthy snacks and drinks.

Brown's Hotel Dover Suite bedroom

Hix Restaurant downstairs was our dining spot for the night and, as a big fan of Mark Hix, I was particularly excited about our reservation. Being a Saturday night I was well aware, even though we ate early, that we were surrounded by couples on dates. Maya slept the entire way through dinner and Lola was immaculately behaved but I could sense the presence of a buggy raised eyebrows as we walked in. The staff, however, were so welcoming. Lola got a children’s menu that was lengthier and offered up healthier offerings than many I’ve encountered for children. She dined on mini Mark Hix steak burgers, while we shared a Porterhouse steak and a beautiful bottle of Chablis.

And the trip couldn’t have ended on a higher note because Lola spent Sunday morning in the stunning Brown’s hotel spa. In the basement of the building, it is an inner sanctum of calm and tranquility. Again, peaceful and beautifully designed, one feels more zen for just for stepping out of the spa lift and it’s as lovely for children as it is their parents. Lola lay on a warmed treatment bed while the lovely Pru gave her a mini “twinkle toes” pedicure over milk and cookies. (Manicures, facials and massages are also available for children and, though I didn’t hit the spa myself, I’ll definitely be back).

Teenagers are no less loved and, if you’re staying with children aged 13-16, they can enjoy everything from cocktail-making courses to their own specially designed spa treatments (and, yes, there are games consoles for the bedrooms, too). The concierge will also design itineraries across the city should you need them.

Brown's Hotel spa

Lola floated back up to our suite, her sparkling purple toe nails out for all to see, and we had a fabulous breakfast in our room before (very reluctantly) checking out. What makes Brown’s such a fantastic choice for families is how easy they make everything. Lola was considered every single step of the way, as was her baby sister. I needed her nightdress thrown in a dryer at one point – that wasn’t a problem at all. Warm milk was brought to our room before she went to sleep and our car was taken by the valet on arrival so all we had to do was grab our bags and head inside. Because they provide so much for the children, we could pack light and, had I needed bottle warmers or sterilisers, they would have provided those, too. Discreet as Brown’s is, the levels of luxury, thought and service really are second to none. It’s long been a favourite of mine in London and, while that was once thanks to my love of the Donovan Bar, it’s now the experience I’ve had there as a parent.

With Families R Forte, children are divided into age groups. ‘RBabies’ is designed for children from newborn to three-years old, ‘RKids’ is designed for children aged four to 12 and ‘RTeens’ for teenagers aged 13 to 16, with entertainment and gifts throughout their stay. For more information click here.


The Lanesborough tea

Like many of you, my television is awash today with images of Her Majesty the Queen, adorned as she so often is in peony pinks and sensational, headline-grabbing hats. But, while you may be neither willing or able to hop flights quite as often as she has done in her decades on her throne, the new Pink Princess Tea at the Lanesborough Hotel will delight princesses and queens of any age.

The Lanesborough Hotel

The Lanesborough Hotel, if you aren’t familiar with it, sits adjacent to Number 1 London on the edge of Hyde Park and punctuates the area surrounding Buckingham Palace itself. A stunning, seriously luxurious property that we highly recommend for stays in London, it’s also a gorgeous and often lesser thought of afternoon option in the capital. And now, to celebrate Princess Charlotte of Cambridge’s first birthday in May and Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday, The Lanesborough is launching a Pink Princess Afternoon Tea. The hotel’s award-winning Head Pastry Chef Nicolas Rouzaud has personally created the tea to include entirely pink patisseries that are offset by glimmers of gold, white and silver decorations, all topped with delicately iced butterflies, flowers and petals. Served in the hotel’s Regency period dining room,  Céleste, (May 1st to June 12th 2016), this is a gorgeous way to make memories with your own little lady (the mass of pink will no doubt delight) and celebrate the Queen’s next decade.

The Lanesborough drawing room

The Lanesborough exterior

And aside from the pink aesthetic, there is plenty to please adults, too. Traditional fresh baked scones with jam and clotted Devonshire cream will be served alongside finger sandwiches and a choice of 38 teas (that include Rose of the Orient, White Rose and White Peony infusions presented by The Lanesborough’s in-house tea sommelier). This is the quintessential Englishe tea served in the most beautiful of surroundings, all to be finished off with either the ‘Flower Dome’ rhubarb cheesecake, strawberry mousse ‘Rocher’ or cherry cream éclair and raspberry sablé biscuit. We could finish up with puns about this being fit for a Queen, but would rather not. We just recommend you get booked and check it out for yourselves. If you’ve never had the joy of experiencing the Lanesborough Hotel, this is the perfect excuse. And, if you have, you’ll know why we are such big fans.

Available May 1st to June 12th 2016 The Lanesborough’s Pink Princess Afternoon Tea will cost from £48 per person or £62 per person with a glass of Champagne Taittinger.

It’s that time of year, when all wishes must be granted. Which is why when Cass Farrar, my BFF travel consultant from asked me to put together a list of cool family fun, I knew I had to do my duty and grant my Cinderella her special wish.

I always giggle to myself at how understanding kids are when parents try and explain all the weird and wonderful things they come across in everyday life. And this Christmas season, we should all let it go and find something a little bit different to do to amuse ourselves. It beats making chutney, though I do love a spicy plum one with my cold meats…


BUMP ROLLER DISCO (Ages 5+) : Until 17th Jan, 2016

Get down with the kids under Hungerford Bridge, just by the Southbank Centre, and book your session at the BUMP Rollerdisco. If you’re anything like me, roller discos were a huge part of your teenage years, so you’ll have had plenty of practice.

Information : It opens on Friday 20 November 2015 until Sunday 17 January 2016. 11am – 11pm daily. Roller skates are available in a range of styles to fit feet from a child’s size 9 to an adult’s size 14. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult, although if they can skate well on their own you can sit back and enjoy watching them.

Prices: Adult £10 & Child £7.50 (concessions available for off-peak times) : Friday & Saturday club nights £12 – £16. Please note, the rollerdisco closes at 6pm on Thursday 24 December and all day on Friday 25 December and Thursday 31 December.

London Gay Men's chorus Christmas

LONDON GAY MEN’S CHORUS, ROUNDHOUSE (Ages 5+) : 11th and 12th December, 2015

The London Gay Men’s Chorus returns to the Roundhouse in collaboration with the London Gay Big Band for The Big Gay Swing! A festive night of song, swing, brass and dance. This has to be the perfect way to get your Christmas season started and children will love it, too.

The London Gay Men’s Chorus is Europe’s largest gay, all male choir and is celebrating its Silver Jubilee in 2016. It has performed around the world and to sell out London audiences in the Palladium, Cadogan Hall, Barbican, and the Queen Elizabeth and Royal Festival Halls.

Information: Friday 11 – Saturday 12 December, Performances 15:00, 19:30. Tickets online via the link above.


Here’s a hot ticket for you: a concert at the famous Cadogan Hall in Chelsea, all about Paddington Bear, with some Revolting Rhymes thrown in, and narration from the talented Simon Callow and Richard E Grant.

The charming score of Paddington Bear’s First Concert takes us on a journey with Paddington himself, from his first meeting with the Brown Family right up to his debut as a conductor at the Royal Albert Hall.

The second half of the concert features Roald Dahl’s take on the classic Jack and the Beanstalk tale, using Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes as the narration.

Information: Dates Sunday 20 December 2015, 2.30pm and 5.30pm. Tickets prices from £30, £27, £25. Book online on the link above.

Father Christmas at Fortnum & Mason


A Very Special Person will read a Christmas story in the beautiful Fifth Floor Boardroom of Fortnum & Mason this December to all good boys and girls aged three to 11. There are plenty of opportunities to join in, and a jolly goody bag to take away to share with friends. It is the perfect way for children to get in the mood for Christmas.

Information: There are sessions at 12.30pm, 2pm and 3.30pm;  Tickets are priced at £20 per child. Places are limited, so early booking is recommended to avoid disappointment. Please click here to reserve your place. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times; there is a limit of 2 per booking.

The Royal Academy Christmas

ROYAL ACADEMY. FESTIVE DROP IN WORKSHOP  (All Ages); Sunday 6 December 2015

Get ready for some fancy festivities in this family workshop. These Royal Academy workshops are in my Top 5 (shushhhh…) as they are some of the best in town.  They have the widest range of materials, knowledgable and sweet staff and the RA choose to work with a variety of different artists from all disciplines, which brings something exciting to each session.

At their last family session of 2015, everyone will be able to create their own textile designs, and experiment with beautiful and exotic fabrics. Kids are encouraged to create festive fancy dress and parade their latest designs throughout the RA. It goes without saying that if you haven’t seen the Ai Weiwei exhibition, it’s a must. I’ll say it again: grab a ticket now as it closes on 13th December 2015.

Information: Workshop Times : 11am — 3pm. Go to the John Madejski Fine Rooms, Burlington House, Royal Academy of Arts.  These drop-in workshops are suitable for all ages.


It’s here. It launched yesterday. And, honestly, you must check it out with your children if they are aged 7 or over. Yep, we’re talking the Kidzania launch at London’s Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush. Ok, so there will inevitably be many, many excited and hyperactive children on-site, but it’s educational, great fun for them and, if the going gets tough, you can drink champagne while they’re at it.

Kidzania firefighters

The West London shopping Mecca that is Westfield will be home to this highly-anticipated, educational entertainment experience, which has already proven to be a hugh hit in Dubai, amongst others (this is the 19th international opening of its kind). Set within a 75,000 square foot, child-sized city, KidZania London aims to be a real-life introduction to the world of work, representing experiential learning at its very best. It may sound terribly grown up, but the idea behind all this is that children can begin to understand and learn all about the nature of work for themselves, the diversity and function of businesses, and its overall contribution to our world today. The size of Leicester Square, with a a ceiling height that rivals Heathrow’s Terminal 5, this facility can welcome up to 1,700 guests at any one time. Remember, there is champagne: more on that below.

Kidzania City

On entering their “city”, kids will find the streets lined with over 60 real-world establishments, including a Hospital, Police Station, Fire Station, Airline, and Theatre, each offering real-life role play adventures in a fun and safe environment. They can learn about a vast variety of unique professions from the moment they enter the British Airways branded airport terminal. As they progress through boarding, all will be met with the body of a real A319 aircraft in which the Aviation Academy and Cabin Crew Training School are housed. From there they can study fashion in the H&M sponsored design studio, make their own juices at the Innocent smoothie factory, learn to change tires in the pit lane sponsored by Renault and even learn about housekeeping skills and front of house management, thanks to the partnership between Kidzania and Dorsett Hotels. The Dorsett Hotel Shepherd’s Bush is a great hotel option nearby if you aren’t London-based. It’s family-friendly and a stone’s throw from Westfield. Kidzania all about learning while playing, and it promises to be a huge hit.

Kidzania Japan

Now, there are several packages available, but the one love the idea of is the Kidzania Child Ticket with Personal Shopping Experience and VIP shopping pass for £135. While your little one hits Kidzania, you can kick back with a flute of bubbly whilst a professional stylist from ITV’s popular Style Doctors provides a style and colour consultation.  You can bring a friend with you if you choose to and, once the consultation is over, you can shop the day away, safe in the knowledge that your child is fully-supervised and also learning something, too. That’s a day out for you both sorted then.

Kidzania champagne package

To buy tickets or for further information please visit Buyagift here.