Escape the City this Summer: 3 Family-Friendly Rural Retreats

Planning to escape the city this summer? A great British retreat in the country could be just the thing for you – even if you are travelling with the kids. Contrary to popular belief, Britain’s stately homes are surprisingly well-equipped when it comes to catering for the little ones. According to Matt Lindley of HotelClub UK, ‘Many rural hotels offer facilities such as crèches, organised outdoor activities and baby listening services, meaning that parents can enjoy some time to themselves as well.’

If a rural break sounds up your street this summer, here are three kid-friendly hotels that combine the best of the British countryside with some thoughtful, family-oriented touches.

Calcot Manor – The Cotswolds

The Costwolds

This 14th century old English farmhouse is great for kids of all ages with its specially-designed family rooms and plenty of activities to keep them busy. For little ones, there’s a registered crèche which is packed with toys and staffed by qualified nannies. While older children will enjoy chilling on the mezzanine level with its cinema and games consoles. There are also two swimming pools – one outdoors and one indoors with a dedicated toddler pool.

If you’re travelling with baby, you’ll be pleased to know that each family room is equipped with a Baby Box containing changing mats, bottle warmers, sterilisers and nappy bags. Everything you need for a family getaway, basically.

Nearby attractions: Berkeley Castle, Slimbridge Wild Fowl & Wetlands Centre and Longleat Safari Park are all within easy reach.

Fowey Hall – Cornwall


Did you know that Fowey Hall was the inspiration behind Toad Hall in Wind in the Willows? Besides its literary credentials, this country house has some great facilities for kids. Four Bears Den provides activities for 1 to 8-year-olds including face painting, flowerpot painting and story time. There’s also a giant trampoline and outdoor play park for sunny days.

But best of all is Fowey Hall’s close proximity to Polkerris Beach, where the whole family can try their hand at windsurfing, sailing or kayaking and really make the most of the great British summer time.

Nearby attractions: Make sure you visit the Eden Project, The Lost Gardens of Heligan or Blue Reef Aquarium.

Bovey Castle – Dartmoor


If you’re Devon-bound, Bovey Castle in the Dartmoor National Park is probably your best bet, with miles of unspoiled countryside at your fingertips. Little children (aged 3 to 6) will enjoy the Playroom crèche, which offers painting, badge-making, marble runs and more. While their older siblings (aged 7 to 14) can experience the art of survival at Bovey Rangers Club, learning how to build rafts, make campfires and do archery. A real taste of the outdoors!

A neat little twist is Bovey’s LEGO room service. Children can choose from a range of Duplo and Lego sets and have them delivered straight to their door by the porter – just like their parents!

Nearby attractions: The Miniature Pony Centre in Moretonhampstead and fossil hunting on the Jurassic Coast.

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