Best family-friendly hotels in the UK: City, coastal and country escapes for the whole family

Rachel Erdos
4 Nov 2019

On the hunt for a UK hotel to suit the whole family? We've rounded up the best of the bunch right here

Booking a hotel to suit your needs largely comes down to location, price and style – but when you're travelling with tots in tow, there’s a whole host of additional considerations to take into account. Cots, kid-friendly menus, babysitting services and lift access suddenly become important elements when searching for a hotel for your brood, pushing fun pre-kid features like snazzy spas, fancy furnishings and cocktail bars much further down the list.

Luckily, there are a bunch of hotels in the UK that provide all the essential family-friendly amenities without compromising on the kind of comfort and style you'd expect from a relaxing escape. From seaside getaways to country retreats, we've tracked down the best family-friendly hotels throughout the UK that cater for kids and adults. Pack your bags (and your pram, a pile of nappies, spare clothes, snacks, toys, books and tablets) and head off to spend some quality time with the family in a first-rate hotel.

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Our pick of the best family-friendly hotels in the UK

1. Sands Resort Hotel & Spa, near Newquay: Best family-friendly hotel in Cornwall

The Sands Resort has thought of pretty much everything that you might want or need on a family escape. Free buggy, bottle warmer and steriliser hire help lighten the load before you arrive and the restaurant can puree any dish on the menu for toothless tots. The six-acre grounds are full of fun stuff for active kids of all ages including tennis and basketball courts, a crazy golf course, heated indoor and outdoor pools, a bouncy castle and a surf shack offering free wetsuit and bodyboard hire. Fancy a night off? The hotel offers Ofsted-rated babysitters as well as a baby listening service. And there's a kids club if you want to nip off to the spa for a relaxing afternoon massage.

Book your stay at the Sands Resort Hotel & Spa

2. Park Plaza Westminster Bridge: Best family-friendly hotel in London

With its crowd-packed streets, expensive restaurants and hectic pace, London might not seem like an obvious choice for a family escape, but the capital has plenty to keep kids of all ages entertained. Free museums! Huge parks! Cultural events! The world's largest Lego store! And many of the city's finest hotels are just as welcoming to children as they are to the parents paying the bill. Park Plaza Westminster Bridge offers a stellar location on the South Bank close to major sights and kid-friendly attractions like the Sea Life Aquarium. Rooms can be set up with pull-out beds and/or cots, and family packages include free breakfast for children aged 12 and under, fun gift bags, in-room Sky Movies and free meals from the restaurant's kids menu when adults dine at the same time.

Book your stay at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge

3. Augill Castle, Kirkby Stephen: Best family-friendly hotel in the Lake District

Is there a fancier family retreat than a Victorian castle set in 20 acres? Augill Castle sits between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales and welcomes families with open arms, despite its imposing exterior complete with towers and turrets. The playroom is stocked with toys and games and there are plenty of bedtime stories to choose from in the library. Sociable dinners are dished up in the restaurant, which offers an early 6pm supper sitting and a weekly informal pizza night every Sunday. After roaming the extensive grounds, kids will love nabbing a seat in the Art Deco-style cinema room for a family movie.

Book your stay at Augill Castle

4. Four Seasons Hampshire: Best luxury family-friendly hotel

Set on a 500-acre estate 90 minutes’ drive from London, this Georgian manor house is a posh country pad without any of the stuffiness you'd expect from a stately retreat. The interiors may be decked out with oil paintings, bronze accessories and tassels, but kids are most definitely welcome here. Complimentary nappies, wipes, bathtubs, thermometers, high chairs and prams are available, as well as cute kid-size bathrobes for luxurious lounging. The hotel even whips out a child-size staircase on arrival so kids can step up to the reception desk at check in. On-site activities include horse riding, cycling, tennis and fishing, and the kids club (weekends and school holidays) runs craft sessions and treasure hunts.

Book your stay at Four Seasons Hampshire

5. Gleneagles: Best family-friendly hotel in Scotland

One of Scotland's grandest dames and most prestigious golf resorts is surprisingly child-friendly. It may have hosted the Ryder Cup and the G8 summit but it also throws open its doors to families with plenty of dedicated amenities to keep kids entertained. Children aged five and under stay free of charge with complimentary cots or beds provided, and kids aged six to 14 are charged an extra £50, including breakfast. There are loads of country pursuits on offer like pony trekking, falconry and ferret racing, and there are mini Land Rovers to drive around an off-road course. Toddlers will love Little Glen, a stylish soft play creche with an indoor treehouse and slide and a child-sized Gleneagles steam train complete with a climbable railway bridge.

Book your stay at The Gleneagles Hotel

6. Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve: Best quirky family-friendly hotel

Treat the family to an exotic safari escape in... Kent. Port Lympne is a 600-acre reserve between Folkestone and Ashford, which is home to over 700 rare and endangered animals and a range of family-friendly accommodation options from simple camping pods and shepherds huts to luxury treehouses. It may be pricey but south Kent is certainly cheaper than shipping the whole crew out to South Africa and all profits are ploughed back into the reserve's animal conservation charity. Wake up to views across the bear enclosure, sleep opposite the lions or feed the giraffes at breakfast time depending on which kind of lodge you plump for. All overnight stays include access to the park.

Book your stay at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve

7. Butlins Wave Hotel, Bognor Regis: Best budget family-friendly hotel

The Wave Hotel offers a stylish alternative to the caravans and chalets that typically dot Butlins holiday resorts, and this Bognor Regis bolthole combines spacious accommodation and a vast array of family-friendly activities and entertainment from less than £100 per night for a family of four. The epic pool features a helter skelter water slide, rapids and a wave pool, and the spa welcomes teens from 13. In the grounds, you'll find a traditional fairground, a crazy golf course and a soft play area and all of the live shows and daytime activities are included in the price.

Book your stay at the Butlins Wave Hotel

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