By Rhonda Carrier
Everyone loves a break from routine and chores, 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. 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. Alternatively, see our hand-picked suggestions for Mums’ Breaks Without Kids!
SOUTHERN & CENTRAL ENGLAND
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, plus a child-friendly restaurant, The Barn. It's 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 fragrant herbs cultivated for the natural treatments) offers during and after pregnancy treatments, including the nourishing Nurturing Envelopment.
One of the UK's most family-friendly hotels, Sands offers excellent children's activities and facilities for those who wish to grab some me time in the indoor or outdoor pools and the spa.
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 and even Sunday lie-ins whereby staff collect your kids from your room for breakfast!
Center Parcs, Wiltshire, Bedfordshire, East Midlands, Suffolk and Cumbria
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 A Family Break at Center Parcs Whinfell Forest, including a spa session.
A country-house hotel par excellence, Stapleford Park near Melton Mowbray has an OFSTED-registered nursery so Mum can take advantage of the spa, swimming pool and steam room, although there's also plenty of family fun to be had in the games room and the grounds, which have giant chess and other games, bikes to borrow, falconry, and plenty more besides. The estate cottages are great for longer stays.
These luxurious lodges and cottages 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. Kids of all ages are keep well occupied with everything from high ropes to bug hunts.
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, and featuring a thermal suite and infinity hydro pool. For healthy family outings, the hotel is 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 spa stay/day package, lunches and afternoon teas.
This elegant, family-run country home in the depths of the Dales has a playroom/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 nutritious goodies while you slope off to the spa. If you're more of a glamper, try the Bivouac on the same estate.
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. Mums and older teens (ages 16 and plus, with exceptions sometimes made for younger children) might enjoy a Shared Indulgence package.
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 welcomes kids with family-friendly sea-view rooms 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 pond. 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. Look out for Mother's Day deals.
This luxurious hotel runs a Luxury Kids Programme that varies by season but may include in-room doughnuts and toy box, a treasure hunt, kites for the beach and a pro golf lesson. 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.
See also our hand-picked recommendations for UK luxury family holidays.