10 best family-friendly hotels in the UK for style, location and value for money

 (Chewton Glen)
(Chewton Glen)

With more and more of us discovering the joys of holidays in the UK, there is intense demand for family-friendly hotels where children are VIPs, not a hassle, meaning parents can properly relax. Here are the best all over the country.

These are the best family hotels in the UK:

The Swim Club pool at Another Place (©Anna Blackwell)
The Swim Club pool at Another Place (©Anna Blackwell)

Best for lakeside living: Another Place, Cumbria

The sight of Ullswater’s dramatic lakescape through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the swimming pool here got everyone’s attention when Another Place – a contemporary country hotel – opened in 2017. Joyously, it’s not just spa bunnies who will enjoy this shoreside retreat. The hotel piles on fun for families and its relaxed, non-chintzy atmosphere makes it a firm favourite for modern-day Swallows and Amazons. Days can be spent wild swimming, paddleboarding or kayaking on Ullswater. The Ofsted-registered Kids Zone offers free childcare each day and there’s babysitting available too. Even the tiny but gorgeous shepherd huts, out in the grounds, have bunks for younger children.

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 (Fowey Hall)
(Fowey Hall)

Best seaside spa: Fowey Hall, Cornwall

Situated above Fowey estuary, the lawn of this Victorian hotel looks across rooftops that spill down to the harbour. Fowey Hall is nearing completion of a multi-million pound expansion and refurbishment which will see new spa suites and an outdoor pool opening in April, providing panoramic views of the ocean. Children are allowed in the spa, which has an indoor pool too and offers health treatments. Discover idyllic coves nearby – such as one that’s only eight minutes away – and take a picnic. While parents read or sip cocktails on the terrace, kids can burn off energy in the Wind in the Willows-themed play area. The Four Bears Den is a kids’ club for under eights with up to 90 minutes of free childcare provided daily. Most of the spacious bedrooms take extra beds for children.

Best boutique: Victoria Inn, Norfolk

The Victoria Inn, Norfolk (Niobe Shaw)
The Victoria Inn, Norfolk (Niobe Shaw)

Set between glorious parkland where kids can run freely and the undulating dunes of Holkham’s beach, “The Vic” has an appealing setting for families. The two period buildings housing its 20 bedrooms are attractive too, with creeper-clad brickwork and the air of a welcoming inn. The rooms are simply dressed, with some featuring wooden beams, and include large family suites. The fabulous restaurant is a boon, serving seasonal food made from quality produce, such as local seafood and vegetables from the Holkham Estate’s walled garden. Children can expect a dedicated menu for both lunch and dinner.

Bunk Beds at The Resident Kensington (Resident Hotels)
Bunk Beds at The Resident Kensington (Resident Hotels)

Best in the capital: The Resident, Kensington

If what you want from a London hotel is good looks, a convenient location, a kitchenette – should you need one – and super value, The Resident in Kensington ticks all those boxes. Taking over a white Edwardian townhouse on a leafy mews just four minutes walk from Earls Court tube, the handsome rooms are design-conscious, with Paul Smith Anglepoise lamps and furniture made locally in West London. In-room amenities include coffee machines and best of all are the smart bunk rooms that suit children and have their own bathrooms. It is just a 15-minute walk to the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and the V&A.

The Cary Arms rents a series of classic seaview cottages (The Cary Arms)
The Cary Arms rents a series of classic seaview cottages (The Cary Arms)

Best for rockpooling: The Cary Arms, Devon

This traditional seaside hotel caters for families in the old-fashioned way, by providing ample buckets, spades and fishing nets for guests to borrow, followed by dinner (with a kids’ menu) in a stone-walled inn afterwards. Over the years, The Cary Arms has renovated a range of family-friendly accommodation beside its original hotel, which has a small spa. Alongside the two-bedroom suites in the main property are seven seaside cottages of various sizes, with their own working fires, gardens, dining terraces and barbecues. Families can walk the South West Coast Path together or ride the clifftop railway. Kids will lose track of time pottering between rocks in Babbacombe’s bays.

Action Glen adventure park at Crieff Hydro (Julie Howden)
Action Glen adventure park at Crieff Hydro (Julie Howden)

Best for active thrills: Crieff Hydro Hotel, Scotland

Wrapped in the Perthshire countryside, this grand Victorian hotel is perfect for adventurous families who want to let off steam. With onsite activities including alpaca trekking, archery tag, treetop ziplines, an adventure park, swimming pool, a three-storey soft play and a den of retro games, children won’t have time to be bored. You can even take them off-site to paddleboard on nearby Loch Earn. Stay either in the main house or in self-catering lodges amid trees in the grounds. Grown-ups can escape to the adults-only Victorian baths and spa.

Watergate Bay, in front of its namesake hotel (Holly Donnelly)
Watergate Bay, in front of its namesake hotel (Holly Donnelly)

Best for water sports: Watergate Bay Hotel, Cornwall

While parents watch waves crash over Watergate Bay’s two-mile beach from a hot tub, older children can sample a range of watersports at the hotel’s popular surf school. Surfing lessons are offered from beginner level or kids can try paddleboarding too. Expansive sea views and brightly stylish furniture combine to make the hotel’s luxurious Loft Suites particularly tempting for families. The Family Suites are more traditional, coming with a bunk room. A supervised games room and play space takes care of bad weather days, plus there are four restaurants to choose from, satisfying even the pickiest of eaters (parents included).

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Bovey Castle, Devon (Bovey Castle)
Bovey Castle, Devon (Bovey Castle)

Best for wildlife: Bovey Castle, Dartmoor

Set within 275 acres of countryside in the Dartmoor National Park, Bovey is an imposing house with plenty for active families to get stuck into. Children will love exploring nature trails through ancient woodland, spotting deer in the grounds and the many organised activities, such as archery, bushcraft, falconry and meeting ferrets. For adults, there is the Elan Spa to retreat to, with an art deco pool that has views across the hills. Alternatively, enjoy an afternoon tea or just the sound of silence when wild swimming in the lake. Family rooms are available or, for more space, luxurious granite lodges have kitchens and are a short walk away. Hot meals can be delivered if you want a night off cooking.

Woolley Grange is within day-trip distance of Bath (Woolley Grange)
Woolley Grange is within day-trip distance of Bath (Woolley Grange)

Best country house: Woolley Grange, Wiltshire

Part of the Luxury Family Hotels group, as is Fowey Hall, Woolley Grange is a shabby-chic manor house that’s a 10-minute train ride from Bath and half-an-hour’s drive from Longleat Safari Park. Sat above the charming wool town of Bradford-on-Avon, the hotel has a creche with free childcare and a children’s den, plus gardens filled with games, a fairy garden and a heated outdoor pool. A luxurious tented camp is set up for glampers in the summer, when staff lay on all manner of activities – from football championships to scavenger hunts. Children eat early so adults can enjoy their (slightly pricey) dinner alone, thanks to a sleep-monitoring service. The spa even offers mini-me treatments alongside those for parents.

The Beehive kids’ club at Chewton Glen (Chewton Glen)
The Beehive kids’ club at Chewton Glen (Chewton Glen)

Best for luxury treehouses: Chewton Glen, Hampshire

For five-star family fun, Chewton Glen in the New Forest is hard to beat. Children stay for free during the school holidays and budding chefs, aged eight and above, will rave about the hotel’s state-of-the-art cookery school. The children’s club is supervised, while outdoor activities include tennis, mountain biking, falconry, duck herding and wild swimming. For larger family groups – or for those wanting to seriously splash out – the treehouse suites sleep up to 14 people and have beautiful features, such as wraparound wooden balconies between the branches and special hatches for food hampers to be delivered.

Read more of our hotel reviews in the UK: