Most of us fantasise about shaking free the shackles of the school run and other routines that dominate our lives as parents, if only for a day or two. And there is certainly no end of places to which we can retreat, whether we have a specific goal – fitness, a cultural interlude or the acquiring of a new skill – or just sleeping and otherwise relaxing in mind. For our top suggestions, see Mums’ Breaks Without Kids.
But it’s not always possible – or we don’t always want to – leave the kids behind, especially when they are tiny and routines are the backbone of their existence. Perhaps you’re not emotionally ready to leave them either, even for just one night, or perhaps you’re still breast-feeding. Luckily, these days it’s easy to find great places that allow Mum and Dad time for pampering or other pursuits while also offering some great family amenities, including crèches, kids’ clubs, and activities for all ages. We’ve short-listed our favourites; do also check out our partners Mr & Mrs Smith for a cherry-picked selection of boutique hotels and stylish self-catering properties that welcome kids.
The following recommendations are generally great for Mother's Day breaks, the best of which combine time off/pampering for Mum with the chance to spend quality time together as a family. Some of the below offer special Mother's Day packages.
This small group of family-friendly country-house hotels, a TaketheFamily favourite, is an obvious choice for a mum's break with kids, with almost all of its plush properties offering OFSTED-registered crèche facilities and a spa, plus adults-only dinners facilitated by babylistening. Look out for Mother's Day lunch and spa offers at the various properties.
One of the UK's most family-friendly hotels, the Bedruthan has a range of enticing breaks, many of which will appeal to mums – they include crafts, cookery and cycling. But even if you simply come to stay here, you can take advantage of the excellent childcare and children's facilities in order to grab some me time in the indoor or outdoor pools and the spa.
These luxurious lodges and cottages set around a traditional village complex in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park have something to suit every member of the family, from toddlers to adrenaline junkies via those looking to chill in the lovely spa, where the offerings include pre- and post-natal treatments. For those looking to get fit, there are dedicated breaks, while kids of all ages are keep well occupied with everything from 'beast hunts' to coracle racing.
The ever-popular forest-based holiday villages are a great place to take Mum for a break, giving her the option to be as active or as relaxed as she likes while still enjoying some quality family time. Make sure to book a slot at the on-site Aqua Sana spa with its globally inspired spa experiences, and maybe a treatment too. See also our feature on getting some me time at Center Parcs Whinfell Forest.
This unique chocolate-themed hotel in Bournemouth offers rooms sleeping up to 4 (on a double and a sofabed), in-room holistic massages and chocolate-themed events and workshops, the latter suitable for those aged 10+. Look out for Mother’s Day offers.
This extensive range of hand-picked self-catering properties across the country, including cottages, townhouses and apartments, features properties in or near some of Britain’s loveliest spa towns, making it child’s-play to combine a family break with some spa activity for Mum. They include Harrogate in Yorkshire with its famous Turkish baths (the Old Reading Room at Thimbleby, sleeping 5–7), Bath in Somerset with its natural thermal waters prized by the Celts and Romans and new Thermae Bath Spa (Rose Cottage at Rode, sleeping 4), Buxton in Derbyshire with its Devonshire Spa (Dewsnaps Spring in Chinley, sleeping 2–3), and Leamington Spa in Warwickshire, with its Spa Leamington (Rosemary in Kenilworth, sleeping 4).
Sister to London’s Dorchester, this restored Georgian manor within its own parkland has a crèche and indoor and outdoor activities for all age groups, from mini-Olympics to duck-feeding, and a child-friendly restaurant, The Barn, where under-4s dine for free. Opened in 2010, Coworth is an excellent place to come as a family if you’ve having or have just had number 2 (or 3, or 4…), since its ground-breaking eco-spa (partially submerged in the landscape, with a living roof with a garden of fragrant herbs cultivated for the natural treatments) offers several during and after pregnancy treatments, including a nourishing New Mother Envelopment using damask rose gel, oil and cream.
This famous Scottish resort is another place to come if you want a family break that includes the opportunity for some serious pampering, with its wonderful spa and ESPA Life programs (everything from fertility and conception to sleep problems). Facilities, clubs and indoor and outdoor activities for all age ranges, including an under-3s playroom, a falconry school and riding stables, mean there's no chance the kids will get bored. Family rooms and luxury lodges are available.
This mid-range family-run hotel near Oban on the west coast of Argyll is a great place to come for a real escape with kids. It welcomes the latter with family-friendly sea-view rooms equipped with toys, books and games, baby-listening, an under-12s menu in the bistro (beside which there’s a playground), and the opportunity to feed the Highland cattle and the ducks on the bond. There are also whale-watching trips in the vicinity, and you might spot otters, stoats, red squirrels, seals, porpoises, eagles and even wild goats in the surrounds. The hotel’s therapy room offers holistic treatments. Look out for Mother's Day deals.
This luxurious St Andrews hotel runs a Kohler Kidz Program including a toy box and kids’ books, a treasure hunt, Playstation and free movies for older kids, family tickets to the local Deer Centre or the Aquarium, and Splash Time in the Kohler Waters Spa. If you book a babysitter, you can make full use of this spa with its rooftop hot tub, thermal suite, hydrotherapy pool, Japanese steam room, and pool with waterfall. Treatments include the RiverBath, involving immersion in an oversized, overflowing bath of warm, mineral-rich sea-water, followed by a hydro-massage. Keep an eye out for Mother’s Day packages.
This country-house hotel handy for the North York Moors, Durham, Newcastle and Northumberland is perhaps best for those with older kids, with swanky bedrooms but also one- and two-bedroom apartments in the grounds. It’s a good spot for mum-and-teen spa treatments or breaks, especially around Mother’s Day, and there are wellness breaks including yoga.
This award-winning seaside hotel with its glorious views offers 2-bedroom apartments well-suited to families plus a marine spa offering pregnancy treatments, seaweed hot-stone massages and much more besides, and featuring a thermal suite and infinity hydro pool. For healthy family outings, the hotel is located right on the Pembrokeshire coastal path taking you past limestone cliffs, red sandstone bays, volcanic headlands and flooded glacial valleys, or staff can offer a secure area to keep your bikes if you want to take advantage of the wonderful local routes, including the Celtic Trail. Look out too for Mother’s Day offers.
A country-house hotel par excellence, Stapleford Park near Melton Mowbray has an OFSTED-registered nursery so Mum (and perhaps Dad too) can take advantage of the spa, swimming pool and steam room. Or else Dad can take the kids to play in the games room or grounds, which have giant chess and other games, bikes to borrow, falconry, and lots more to keep the rest of the family out of mischief. Look out for Kids Stay Free offers in some school holidays.
This elegant, family-run country home in the depths of the Dales has a play- and games room, vast grounds (with bikes and scooters at hand), a birds-of-prey centre and a cookery school where the kids can learn to make nutrioutis goodies while you slope off to the spa or for a private yoga class. Wellness and fitness days are also available.
While your kids are enjoying themselves in the intimate new kids’ club at this small self-catering complex in an off-the-beaten track part of southern France, mums (and dads) can enjoy a pilates or other fitness class, swim in the heated saltwater pool or just kick back and enjoy the view of flamingoes from the terrace while taking advantage of the all-day free coffee. Two nights’ babysitting is also included in the price, as are two days of off-site activities, making for a perfectly balanced family break.
These uber-friendly luxury sister hotels are an outstanding choice for parents who want to combine a family holiday with some serious pampering, both with state-of-the art holistic spas, a crèche and kids’ clubs. There are also personal yoga and fitness sessions. At the Anassa, the emphasis is on marine-based thalassotherapy.
This ‘luxury spa and cultural hideaway’ in the Alps 100km south of Munichis quite unique, boasting two concert halls hosting classical music, jazz and literary events, two libraries, an adults-only spa and hammam, a family spa and a nature spa hosting ‘edutainment’ (the likes of arts workshops and chess academies) and sports programs, an six restaurants. Many of the rooms are kitted out for families, with sofa-beds, kitchenettes and two bathrooms; some have mountain views. There are both winter and summer sports galore, swimming lessons, teen sports weeks, and a kids’ club. Teens’ treatments in the spa include anti-acne and Happy Back, ‘for backs strained by carrying school bags and bending over school desks’…
Fitness and weight-losss holidays, spa and 'Bella Mamma' breaks, and cooking and yoga breaks are offered at this lovingly restored villa in Tuscany; children come along and take part in organised activities while you’re busy (the property has a fenced-off pool and there’s play equipment in the garden). The fitness holidays are quite hard-core, with a low GI diet and no coffee or alcohol, but weight loss is guaranteed. Despite the name, dads - or grandparents or friends!- are welcome too. Some courses take babies and toddlers for free, others kids up to 10. There are also olive-picking weekends for all the family and weekend cooking breaks, plus family fitness holidays in the UK, Sardinia and Morocco.
This gorgeously located hotel with its own private beach at Taormina is child-friendly down to its Wellness Centre, where parents and kids can enjoy a relaxing lavender and camomile aromatherapy massage together, or kids can get a honey and ginger manicure or an orange and sugar pedicure. Accommodation includes interconnecting rooms for families.
These courses in transformational breathing may not sound like the best basis for a family break, but those coming to the family-friendly island of Lanzarote with kids can stay in bungalows on pristine Famara beach a 5-minute drive away. While one parent learns to breathe properly in a one-on-one session, kids can use the on-site pool or hang out at the beach with the other. Led by ‘breath guru’ Alan Dolan, who believes that most of us use just a quarter of our respiratory system, the sessions – one each day for a minimum of three days – are designed to benefit your immune system, aid relaxation, help cure sleep disorders and improve emotional wellbeing. Add-on activities include yoga, personal training, cycling, nature walks and… volcano-climbing!
This luxurious resort in Los Cabos welcomes families with its complimentary daily KidsOnly Club for ages 4–11 (under-4s can participate with a parent or guardian, or there are babysitting and nanny services), where activities include yoga classes, beach volleyball, tug-of-war, and football matches, Spanish lessons, piñata-making classes, and cookery. Meanwhile, the awesome spa includes a Family Sanctuary offering side-by-side treatments for parents and kids aged 8 and up and even kids’ wellness activities to teach younger guests the importance of taking care of their health. Other unique offerings include the family and couple's yoga and scary-sounding Polar Body Age Evaluation, which assesses your real ‘body age’ (you may be 40, but are you physiologically 50? – and do you really want to know?!).
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