By Tracey Davies
While I’m a big fan of the great British mini-break, fancy hotels are no fun when you have three kids in tow – more often than not, my husband and I end up in separate rooms, splitting the kids between us. Hardly the stuff of romance… That said, things are getting easier, with Butlins’ larger-than-life Ocean Hotel and a slew of other savvy hotels now catering for families with more than the average 2.4 kids.
Many rooms at this classic country house hotel in gorgeous countryside easily sleep five, and there’s also the Turret suite in the ivy-crested tower, for the full-on Rapunzel experience. Mini-visitors are welcomed with colouring packs, teddies and handmade cookies, while grown-ups get complimentary decanters of gin or whisky and pleasantly generous Jo Malone smellies.
If your little urchins are more of the seaside variety, this sprawling family hotel right on the beach is ideal for an old-fashioned bucket-and-spade break, with two pools, an adventure playground, a crèche and a kids’ club. The ‘communicating’ (interconnecting) rooms are a great option for larger families, easily sleeping five and allowing parents some, ahem, privacy.
For those willing to splurge on a mini-break, this five-star hotel with adjoining apartments has a dedicated kids’ concierge. From hand-delivering milk and cookies at bedtime to sourcing tickets to their favourite show, they’ll spoil your children rotten.
If you have to juggle the whims of toddlers with the fads of teenagers, this is a haven for all ages, with large rooms for five plus family suites that can sleep six very comfortably. There’s table football, air hockey and X-box for older kids, while the crèche keeps younger ones happy.
For a weekend where the wild things are, try, within roaring distance of Longleat Safari Park, this option has large family rooms comfortably sleeping five.
Check out our favourite family short breaks.