Whether you’re looking to recharge your batteries between Christmas and New Year or fancy sending Santa on a detour this Christmas Eve, we’ve got five festive staycation suggestions that are not only fabulously child-friendly but are just the ticket if you’re looking for a little grown up pampering this December…
Escape to a forest hideaway this winter – just a short 1.5 hours from central London, Lime Wood is set in the heart of the New Forest, Hampshire. Whilst exuding style and charm…oh and a cracker of a spa, Lime Wood caters for families with spacious forest cabins and cottages which can be decked out with cots, extra beds and be sure to loan bikes and scooters. There’s even a babysitting service with trusted local nannies for an evening or parental peace. Chefs Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder do the cooking, pulling together both of their much admired signature styles, to create Hartnett Holder & Co – serving small plates of pasta which mini munchers will adore. If you’re looking to polish up on your cooking skills ahead of Christmas Day, why not combine a staycation alongside one of Hartnett Holder & Co Cookery School classes. From turkey and the trimmings to wondrous wellingtons, you could even be wowing your brood by perfecting your festive puds and whipping up your very own Clementine Trifle and Figgy Pudding Tart – delicious!
Lime Wood, Beaulieu Rd, Lyndhurst, Hampshire SO43 7FZ
Totter down from your treehouse at Chewton Glen this Christmas and you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to festivities for the family. Their seasonal afternoon tea is tier after tier of sugar and spice and all things nice – from turkey, cranberry and chestnut stuffing finger sandwiches, cinnamon scones laden with West Country clotted cream and sweet treats include Bitter orange & cranberry cupcakes, mince pies, hazelnut and praline macarons, Chocolate & chestnut bouche noelle, Salted caramel and…if you can fit anything else in, a bramley apple tart! The brand new Beehive Children’s Club is a fantasy-like den opening out onto the grounds of the palatial hotel grounds – this winter little ones can get crafty making nature crowns, embark on a scavenger hunt all whilst you sip a mulled wine and head to the spa. Each evening between 5.30 and 7.30pm kids can tuck into tea and settle down with a story before heading back to the treehouse. For family dinners, visit The Kitchen by James Martin. With an impressive kids menu, think buttermilk halloumi burgers on brioche buns with rustic chips,bitesized gnocchetti and luscious Laverstoke Park ice creams for dessert.
Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa, New Forest, Hampshire, England, UK BH25 6QS
Putting family life at the core of a luxury holiday, Woolley Grange is a gem of a family-friendly hotel. Whether it’s two hours at the on-site creche which is included in the price of the room or their natty monitor services which allow for the odd date night dinner, make baby feeding fuss-free with fresh morning and evening milk brought to your room, free of charge! Think lazy Sunday lie-ins are a thing of the past? Not at Woolley Grange, the Children’s Breakfast Club allows yours little ones to be picked up from your room at 8am, leaving you to indulge in that much needed quiet breakfast a deux or a relaxing spa treatment. Why not recharge your batteries between Christmas and New Year with Wooley Grange’s three-night Recharger break? You can enjoy the hotel in all its Christmas finery and take some well-earned time out while the children have fun in the Den.
Wooley Grange, Woolley Green, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, BA15 1TX
Recommended by the lovely Gemma at This Is Mothership, the Gleneagles hotel in Scotland is the ‘daddy’ of family-friendly hotels. Set it a lush 850 acres of beautiful countryside, Gleneagles motto of “Whatever an adult can do, a child can do too”, ensures young ones can get involved with the full range of leisure activities at Gleneagles in the same way that adults can. Toddlers have the incredible Little Glen – a magical land, full of toys, games, costumes and castles, where younger children will enjoy hours of fun. Under the supervision of trained staff, tots can hand and foot print painting session, get creative with Heuristic toys. The Birnam Brasseire boasts a generous children’s menu and keeps kids healthy with dishes including Gardner’s Pot with carrots, cucumber and hummus, a hearty grilled chicken, mash and broccoli and for pud – banana and toffee cheesecake pots.
The Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland, PH3 1NF
With 110 acres of picturesque gardens, palatial Italiante architecture and steeped in history, if you’re looking to escape the buzz of town this summer, Down Hall is awaiting your arrival. At less than an hours drive from central London, this Hertfordshire based country house hotel has everything covered for the perfect Winter escape, complete with immaculate rooms and suites, indulgent dining, late night dancing and festive fun for all the family. On Sunday 8th December, grab your brood and meet Santa and his elves and even some real-life Reindeer at Down Hall first Winter Wonderland. Little ones will have the chance to visit Santa’s grotto to drop off their Christmas lists and receive an early present from Santa. From presents to pies, top off your visit by feasting on a fabulous festive afternoon tea. From crisp woodland walks to a giant playground fit for adventurous tots, there’s plenty to keep mini ones amused whilst staying at Down Hall.
Down Hall Hotel & Spa, Matching Road, Hatfield Heath, Essex, CM22 7AS