The 50 best family-friendly hotels in the UK for 2023

Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire - one of the best family-friendly hotels in the UK - Philip Lee Harvey
Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire - one of the best family-friendly hotels in the UK - Philip Lee Harvey

The quickest way you can re-boot your family is with a British weekend break. After a short drive, you replace the quotidien routine with time outside, perhaps a dip in a heated swimming pool, a spa visit, glorious food and a reminder of what matters most: uninterrupted time together. But what makes a hotel great for families? Child-friendly entertainment (including kids clubs, playgrounds, school holiday activities and more), value, indulgence and location. You just need to set your own priorities. Below you’ll find our pick of the best family-friendly hotels in the UK.

How we review

Every hotel in this curated list has been visited by one of our expert reviewers, who are usually hosted on a complimentary basis. They stay for a minimum of one night, test at least one meal and trial other experiences (in this case, for instance, the family facilities) that the hotel might have to offer. We will earn a commission if you book via the links below, but this never affects our rating.

At a glance: the best family hotels in the UK

The best family-friendly hotels in England

The south of England, including the south-east and south-west

This good-value small chain’s casual and convivial atmosphere belies its well-organised formula: comfort and style rule and, while the food is tasty, you can draw directly on the tables – so it’s a great place for children. The Odiham branch has excellent walking from the back door, and is set in a Grade II-listed 16th-century inn.

• Discover more of the best family-friendly hotels in England

The Grove is just 20 minutes from Euston, and has stunning cycling and walking trails through its 300 acres. Despite the hum of the nearby motorway, this is an excellent place to get outside. If the fresh air grows tiring, there’s also a superb Ofsted registered nursery and a spoiling spa; this is a full-on countryside resort, with the sort of glamour that makes it popular with footballers’ wives.

• The best hotels in Hertfordshire

Lime Wood, set in 145 square miles of ancient heath and woodland where ponies, donkeys, pigs, cattle and deer still freely roam, is a glamorous place: the spa is fantastic, the food top-notch, and attention to detail excellent. Children will enjoy vintage ride-ons, a wooden swing by the lake and croquet in the garden – plus dedicated pool times. Some of the forest lodges have bunk beds for families and extra beds can be put in other rooms. Parents can book a babysitter while they take full advantage of the facilities.

• The best hotels in the New Forest

The first of the group of rural-themed, shabby-chic Pig hotels, centred around an exceptional kitchen garden and sophisticated restaurant, is a treat for foodie families. Now with eight branches (the latest in the South Downs), The Pig brand has made it possible for people to stay in trendy country hotels at affordable prices. Look out for sneaky extras like breakfast, however.

Inside the Pig at Combe

Overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames, Cliveden’s setting couldn’t be more perfect. With special children’s swimming hours and acres of National Trust woodland to explore, plus a fine dining kids menu, this is a real treat.

• The best hotels in Berkshire

On the edge of the New Forest, yet close enough to walk to the beach. Every element of this hotel – rooms, food, spa and grounds – is in harmony. Enjoy indoor and outdoor pools, a tennis centre, nine-hole golf course, archery, buggy riding and even duck herding. For the ultimate jaw drop from the kids, book a (now iconic) treehouse stay.

• The world's best treehouse hotels

At Four Seasons’ only British country hotel, it’s hard to believe that you are only an hour from London. There is a superb kids’ club, two wooden climbing frames, plus children’s meals and family swim times. You can even bring your horse on holiday – or try the hotel’s “own a pony” experience with a resident equine. It's just freshened up its rooms and suites too so it's looking particularly beautiful for 2022.

• The best hotels in London

For a charmingly old-fashioned stay in an Elizabethan house in the heart of the South Downs, Ockenden offers high-calibre food, a beautiful indoor pool (with children’s swimming times), and the wonder of the rambling landscape around you. To use the pretty contemporary spa, parents will need babysitters – or to take turns.

• The best hotels in West Sussex

Opulence from a bygone era oozes from every room in this newly renovated house, but it’s also a haven for children: bicycles, walking maps and iPads with Netflix are available. Britain’s premier children’s entertainers, Sharky & George, run the children's club at weekends and bank holidays.

• The best hotels in Surrey

This Twenties mock-medieval mansion set in gorgeous parkland is surrounded by cottage annexes, a chapel and barn-style spa. The effect is akin to an ancient Sussex hamlet – and there are special children’s pool times, football, quoits, croquet and giant Jenga. The sea is a 10-minute stroll away, and the hotel will organise picnics for the beach and separate children’s dining times. It's pet-friendly too.

• The best hotels for spa breaks in the UK

This is a modern family hotel suiting babies to teens, with views over Mawgan Porth beach and plenty of adults-only spaces. There are two pools, two bars, and a grown-up restaurant called The Herring dishing up excellent shellfish (the Wild Café is especially for families). Over school holidays there’s a free programme of activities and you can pack light as everything from buggies to bottle warmers are on hand.

• The best hotels in Newquay

Watergate Bay is the pre-eminent Cornish hotel for a contemporary family seaside holiday. It's set on a spectacular surfing beach, and has an easy-going atmosphere, cool, breezy décor and fun places to eat nearby. Plus its very own, very popular, Beach Hut restaurant has just re-opened with a new 50 per cent plant-based menu. Guests can also spoil themselves in the Swim Club spa, while children will be entertained with watersports, organised games and crafts.

Britain's best seaside hotels

Tresanton has many imitators, but no other hotel achieves quite this successful a mix of seaside setting and sophisticated food. On arrival, children are given a fishing net to use on the tidal beach directly below the hotel with great rockpools and a floating swimming platform. The Eden Project and St Ives are easy day trips away.

• The best hotels in Britain with direct access to the beach

Top-notch facilities in this Victorian seaside mansion include 90 minutes per day at the crèche, a lifesaving night-time baby listening service so that parents can dine alone (something that's becoming harder and harder to find), and an indoor pool. There’s plenty for older children, including a zipwire and trampoline as well as watersports and the run of the beautiful grounds.

This gem is essentially a pub-with-rooms, but over the last five years it's grown to be so much more than that. It added its one-bedroom chic beach huts (baby-friendly, not child-friendly) and now keeps adding lovely self-catering options too. It's on an incredibly steep hill (the kind you have to really brace yourself to walk up), but its location is woven into its soul, a pub serving glorious food right on the pebbly beachfront of Babbacombe Bay. Pods of dolphins often come to play, kids will love ringing the dedicated ships bell when they spot them.

• The best family-friendly hotels in Devon

The original Soho House-does-country retreat, with indulgent bedrooms and hearty food. Young members of the pack can be left in the crèche for up to four hours a day; there's a playroom and family films are screened in the cinema on Saturday mornings. But children can only use the swimming pools at certain times, and are not allowed in the library or billiards room at any time.

• The best hotels in Somerset

This stately pile in Dartmoor National Park caters to every whim, from rugged outdoor pursuits to fine dining. But despite its smart décor, Bovey Castle is the least precious luxury hotel imaginable: muddy dogs and children are very welcome. During school holidays, activities including rock climbing, apple pressing, canoeing and golf, and a crèche is available.

• The best hotels in Dartmoor

Lyme Regis’ answer to a boutique coastal break with children is this luxury hotel with lovely views of the bay and the surrounding Jurassic coastline. Opt for a sea view Poulett or Gould room to make the most of it. It's family-run and it really shows; nearly all of the 25 rooms can accommodate children, plus there are two apartments that can host families of four or six.

• The best hotels in Dorset

This charming gastropub set dramatically on a cliff overlooking the Jurassic coast is also a three-bedroom hideaway owned by a family with young children that cocoons guests of all ages amid the sound of rolling waves. Countryside walks from here are fantastic; trek 30-40 minutes up to Golden Cap, the highest point on the south coast.

• The best family-friendly hotels in England

Like its sister members in the Luxury Family Hotels range, Woolley Grange is ideal for young children: 90 minutes at the on-site crèche are included in the price of a room and the clever monitor service means parents can dine while children sleep upstairs. Kids will love the indoor pool – parents perhaps less so – but this is a hotel designed for young children.

• The best hotels in Bradford-upon-Avon

Set in 100 acres of Oxfordshire countryside, Soho Farmhouse offers a bucolic setting (no troublesome things like mud and farmyard smells here), spacious Nantucket-style accommodation, the facilities of a Center Parcs on steroids, including a great kids’ club, and indulgent food and drink. The result? The ultimate “country-lite” retreat.

• The best hotels in Oxfordshire

Raymond Blanc’s passion for food translates well with children: this is the ultimate place to introduce young people to fine dining. Wander the glorious kitchen gardens to see what’s in season, and pop into the hotel’s busy kitchen after lunch for a bonus ice cream; everything here is precise and proper, but children are very warmly welcomed.

• The best hotels in the Cotswolds

This stunningly set hotel has on-site stables (you can bring your own horse or borrow one), a cookery school, 500 acres to pootle around, and a beautiful spa with a pool that has children’s hours, plus bicycles, board games and a spectacular play cottage filled with toys and activities (though children must be accompanied by an adult). The fine brasserie has a children’s menu, and the Michelin-starred restaurant is a treat and welcomes little ones over the age of five.

• The best hotels in Bath

Calcot is a shining example of how luxury and family-friendliness need not be mutually exclusive. Consisting of a stone manor house and farm buildings, a gorgeous spa, an Ofsted registered crèche, indoor and outdoor play spaces and two restaurants with special children’s menu, you’ll also find a listening service so parents can dine after the children’s bedtime. A whole heap of extras can be provided too from bouncers to bed guards and sturdy child-proof cutlery.

• The best hotels in Gloucestershire

An Italianate country house with contemporary-cool interior styling. Cowley Manor has dreamy and extensive grounds – ideal for family picnics – chic interiors, and a wacky bar where children can eat cheeseburger sliders or pizza (they’re less welcome in the main restaurant). The icing on the cake is the exceptional spa with two swimming pools, one outdoor that's blissfully (and thankfully when it comes to little ones) heated year round.

• The best hotels in Cheltenham

Affordable, cosy-chic and with a host of activities on its doorstep; this ticks lots of boxes for families. Restaurant Hook manages to achieve that difficult balance of being both grown-up and child-friendly. The 'tiddler's menu' isn't just pizza and burgers, the mini sea bream fillet with greens and new potatoes is a great addition. Babysitting can easily be arranged should parents want to eat alone though. Alternatively, stay at higher-end nearby sister hotel, Dormy House, and sample its excellent restaurant.

• The best family-friendly hotels in the Cotswolds

Dormy House is a haven of wellbeing, with stylish décor, impeccable old-school service and terrific food. Its state-of-the-art spa has won armloads of awards. Activities on the Farncombe estate include clay pigeon shooting and quad biking. A child bed can be put up in many rooms, for £40 per night. The four Courtyard suites are best for families and can also accommodate dogs. Look out for their brand new self-catering additions on the estate named the Hillside Hangouts, a brilliant new option to bring the entire pack.

• The best spa hotels in the Cotswolds

The north of England, including the north-east and north-west

A prettily situated, riverside coaching inn turned family-friendly hotel with exuberantly coloured rooms, and a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. A new spa has just launched on the property with outdoor Finnish sauna offering an extra level of luxe for adults. For children, there's an adventure playground and nature trail plus indoor playroom with lilac pool table, games and toys. Packed lunches, secure bike storage and clothes-drying facilities are provided too. Little ones also benefit from welcome toys and books, tailored menus, and night-time milk and cookies.

This stylishly informal country house hotel is the sort of place where children are celebrated, not merely tolerated. Staff are fantastic with them and make them feel included at every turn. There's also helpful little details like milk warming stations dotted about. It's got a great position on Ullswater with watersports on tap, so great for keeping older children entertained and grown-ups can be as active or as chilled as they choose.

• The best Lake District hotels for walkers

Rockcliffe Hall is a five-star golf and spa resort that also welcomes children. There are generous dedicated times at the swimming pool for young people, plus cycling and falconry. Look out for the Alice in Wonderland-themed play cabins, adventure playground and seasonal nature trail.

• The best hotels in County Durham

A wonderful folly castle, grand and romantic on the outside, informal and fun with a capital F on the inside, and welcoming to all, with great emphasis on keeping children amused. Within striking distance of the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, there's 20 acres of grounds, a relaxed atmosphere, eclectic bedrooms and a treehouse.

•  The best hotels in Cumbria

The manorial Swinton Park, in Masham, stands in 200 acres of lake-filled grounds, offering cosy rooms, superb cooking, a lovely spa and a nine-hole golf course. Come here for the charming service – not mod-cons – and be sure to check out the trail and quiz through the grounds for children, the games room and birds of prey centre.

• The best hotels in North Yorkshire

Gilpin Hotel is a stylish gateway to the Lakes with a well-deserved reputation for being beautifully run. This is true relaxation, albeit in a convivial atmosphere. There's an excellent choice of rooms, ranging from garden suites to those with their own mini spa. Dining at the hotel is also a delight. Children aged seven and older are welcomed and the Beatrix Potter trail nearby is a winner (it's a good five hour trek though so maybe plot a smaller route with kids in tow).

• The best hotels in the Lake District

This luxurious waterside retreat – with views to Bassenthwaite Lake, Skiddaw and the Lakeland fells – offers an award-winning spa, gym, luxurious pool and fine dining, all in the setting of a historic country house. Family rooms with bunkbeds are available, as is babysitting.

• The best spa hotels in the Lake District

Originally converted from what had been a blacksmith’s shop, village shop and barn, The Pheasant now makes a spacious, countrified and stylish hotel, its 16 rooms set around a courtyard of fruit trees (there's two dog-friendly cottages included ideal for a family). There's a small but very welcome heated indoor swimming pool, superb restaurant, four-poster beds and a lovely village location on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.

• The best spa hotels in the north of England

Milsoms Hotel is a relaxed and informal place to stay and eat in the heart of Constable Country. A cool vibe and excellent service ensure this contemporary country house hotel really stands out. A bed can be added to larger rooms if families need, and a well thought-out kids’ menu is offered in the restaurant.

Britain's cosiest hotels for a winter retreat

Our favourite of the Luxury Family Hotels collection. This property set in a wing of a National Trust property caters well to under-10s. Like all members of the group, 90 minutes of crèche care are included for every night of your stay (allowing you to wander the grounds or book into the dinky spa), and the listening service means adults can dine solo while children snooze upstairs.

• The best hotels in Bury St Edmonds

A brick and clapboard mill house dating from 1775. This peaceful spot was recently sold to new owners mid-pandemic and is a good base for exploring Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket, Ely and Cambridge. There are no particular child-focused activities, though cots and highchairs are provided, but this small inn still deserves mention for families because of its good on-site restaurant and friendly atmosphere.

• The best hotels in Suffolk

For a complete change of pace, stay in this 19th-century windmill turned cosy guesthouse, with superb views over the reed beds and saltmarshes towards Blakeney Harbour. Barley Bin and Long House are large enough for extra beds, and the restaurant serves a no-choice, three-course menu that changes daily.

• The best hotels in Norfolk

This 19th-century inn lies equidistant between North Norfolk’s most beautiful vast sandy beach and the parkland surrounding Holkham Hall, where you’ll find a vast adventure playground to delight, and acres of land to cycle round.

• The best hotels in North Norfolk

This late Victorian house overlooks Rutland Water, one of the Midlands’ most beautiful and evocative landscapes, and a centre for sporting activities from sailing to cycling. The pool will delight children, and the on-site Michelin-starred restaurant offers the whole family a treat after a day outdoors.

• The best hotels in England

The best family-friendly hotels in Scotland

An icon updated in a deft recreation of jazz-age glamour, with an added measure of fun for parents and children. With quietly classy bedrooms, masses of country pursuits, plus Scotland’s best spa and two Michelin-starred food, there’s a little bit of (expensive) heaven for everyone. Special menus and baby-sitting are available. The recently launched Gleneagles Townhouse in Edinburgh is a brilliant add-on to a country trip, too.

• The best hotels in Perthshire

A fine example of 19th-century Scottish Baronial grandeur, set in extensive gardens and woodlands. It's more of a country house than a fortress, and offers fine dining and sporting pursuits. A new favourite is the Hebridean sea safari, an up-close tour of the island with luxury glamping experience included. There are connecting rooms for families, plus a babysitting service. Early evening dinners are available for under-fives.

• The best castle hotels in Scotland

Lying at the foot of Ben Nevis, girdled by a ring of highland peaks (particularly lovely when coiffed with snow), this is a place of quiet beauty, with no indication that the bustling tourist town of Fort William is only a mile or two up the road. Everything is possible, with activities including skiing, boating on the loch, off-road driving, stalking and fishing.

• The best hotels in the Highlands

This is where James Bond would stay in Scotland: a 19th-century mansion in Scottish baronial style on a private island accessible by a bridge, set amid glorious West Highland scenery. It's got an award-winning spa and myriad activities spread across 350 acres of grounds. Children are welcome in all rooms except spa suites and hilltop reserves. The main restaurant, now excitingly headed up by Michel Roux Jnr, is happy to accept children who are comfortable in a formal setting (if not, they can provide sitting for £30 an hour).

• The best spa hotels in Scotland

The best family-friendly hotels in Wales

This Italianate Victorian manor invites lazy days spent playing croquet in 33-acre grounds, taking afternoon tea on the terrace and fishing in the River Usk in the shadow of the Black Mountains. There’s high tea between 3:30pm and 5:30pm; perfect for an early kids dinner so that parents can eat later in peace with a baby listening system.

• The best hotels in the Brecon Beacons

Spread across 650 acres of castle grounds on the fringes of Cardiff, the Vale is a terrific getaway, with one of Wales’ top-ranking spas, two championship golf courses and country walks. The resort's health club has a crèche for children aged three months to five years, and the kids' club offers activities to entertain older children.

• The best castle hotels in Wales

A Georgian manor on the shores of an estuary. Slebech Park is an enticing hideaway with beguiling views, stylishly understated rooms (that have just had a refresh for 2022) and a brilliant breakfast offering some home-grown produce. It’s a unique retreat with woodland walks and a millennia of history to explore. Book early to get one of the two connecting family rooms.

• The best hotels in Pembrokeshire

The best family-friendly hotels in Northern Ireland

Old-world heritage meets new-world luxury, with a children’s playroom thrown in. The thickest of carpets, Regency-inspired fabrics, and mahogany furniture give contemporary country house pedigree with five-star punch. Enjoy a dram from the exclusive collection of 101 Irish whiskies at the Blaney Bar, or indulge in afternoon tea in the Garden Hall.

• The best hotels in Fermanagh

This hotel has an idyllic rural setting only seven miles from Belfast city centre, striking design, a spa, great food and a bouncy castle. For children, there are very popular afternoon teas Monday to Saturday and a Sunday club with visits by local hero Ken the Owl Man and animals from the nearby Streamvale Open Farm.

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Frequently asked questions

What makes a hotel 'family-friendly'?

Hotels that actively welcome and accommodate families and cater to children of all ages would be considered 'family-friendly'. They usually have facilities that are geared towards entertaining young families, for example: an on-site crèche or a kids' club, child-friendly swimming pools (or 'family' swim times). Many have outdoor playgrounds or games and activities put on during school holidays, and they often have kids' menus in restaurants and offer babysitting services. All should provide you with a travel cot (nearly always complimentary) for very young babies.

What are family rooms in hotels?

A room advertised as a 'family room' usually means a double/queen/king-sized bed for two adults with space to fit two children's beds (normally bunk beds, camp beds or a sofa bed to share). It can, however, sometimes mean that it has two proper double beds in the room to travel as a group of four. You can also request interconnecting rooms as lots of hotels offer this, meaning that you can put the children to bed in a separate space, with the safety of knowing you are right next to them – through an internal door linking the two rooms.