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You may be looking at a different view - hopefully something scenic involving rolling hills or a fabulous cityscape with blue, cloudless skies to boot - but you still have to get your little ones dressed, washed and fed each day.
On top of all that, when you’re planning a family holiday in the UK, it’s important to consider how you’re going to entertain your DC. It’s all well and good staying at lovely places, but if there’s nothing for the kids to do there aside from expensive days out, you’re creating more hassle and expense for yourself.
Thankfully, there are many excellent family activity hotels in the UK, offering a variety of diversions to keep kids busy, from mini discos and craft clubs to swimming pools, soft play centres, dressing up boxes and junior cookery classes. Sounds fun, right?
Get this too: some of the best family friendly UK hotels even offer creche and babysitting services, so you can take a breather and enjoy some child-free time during your holiday… So you can chuck a bottle of gin and your new book in your luggage, just in case!
To help you find the best family hotel with entertainment, we’ve pulled together a list of the hotels Mumsnetters have booked, stayed in - and reported back on with glowing reviews on Mumsnet. With over 10 million users on our forums each month, that’s an awful lot of child-focused travel expertise.
From country retreats to city centre bolt holes, we think there’s a great range of fun family hotels here, including the best budget family hotel with entertainment, the best hotel for kids with swimming pool and the best family hotel with kids cookery lessons.
1. Best overall family hotel with entertainment: Watergate Bay Hotel, Newquay, Cornwall
Watergate Bay Hotel, Newquay, Cornwall | Check availability
“We love the Watergate Bay hotel in Cornwall because it's brilliantly set-up for families, but feels lovely for adults too. Premium, chilled out vibe.” MrsToadflax
This Mumsnet favourite is located right on the beach at beautiful Watergate Bay. Each spacious family suite offers a king-sized adult space and separate bunk room for kids, who are sure to sleep well after a few hours of age appropriate activities at the Kids’ Zone (from 6 months to 12 years).
Junior guests are encouraged to slip on wellies and get ‘amongst the elements’ at the beach ‘classroom’. They can learn traditional skills including shelter building, outdoor cooking and bushcraft. Some sessions require parental supervision. Children are welcome at three of the four restaurants, with a child’s menu to suit tiny tummies including pappardelle pasta and slow cooked ragu. Registered babysitters are available between 6pm and 1am.
All these fab amenities come at a price, of course, and this hotel is far from cheap. Also, depending on where you live, holidaying in Cornwall can entail a looooong journey but it’s guaranteed to be worth it.
- Distance from nearest airport: Cornwall Airport Newquay (1.4 miles)
- Distance from nearest train station: Newquay train station (2.3 miles)
2. Best budget family hotel with entertainment: YHA Boggle Hole, North Yorkshire
YHA Boggle Hole, North Yorkshire | Check availability
“Youth hosteling is not what it used to be! It's now completely and utterly family friendly. We stayed at the YHA Boggle Hole. Children were in their element here. Inside, there are several play areas with dressing-up clothes and old-fashioned toys such as hobby horses (under a “Donkey rides” sign). Outside, there were treasure trails and ball games.” Ricekrispie22
Whatever your preconceptions about youth hostels, forget them all and embrace the new way of travelling with your family on a budget. Youth hostels of 2022 are slick, fashionable operations and YHA Boggle Hole is no exception.
This atmospheric former mill is nestled in an old smuggler’s cove near Whitby and offers its own beach and sea views along with plenty for your kids to enjoy. There’s a garden and woodland, treasure trails, toys, games and a dressing up box. The quirky pirate-themed Quarterdeck café, complete with comfy chairs and wood burning stove, serves breakfast to guests before it opens to the public and stays open for drinks, snacks and meals until 8.30pm. Guests also have access to a self-catering kitchen.
Dogs aren’t permitted at the youth hostel, so leave your furry babies at home. It’s also worth knowing that the property is not particularly accessible for wheelchair users and that the car park is a fair distance away…
- Distance from nearest airport: Teeside International Airport (50.2 miles)
- Distance from nearest train station: Whitby train station (8.2 miles)
3. Best family hotel with outdoor activities: Celtic Manor, Newport
Celtic Manor, Newport | Check availability
“Celtic Manor in Wales is one of my favourites. No disco, but plenty going on during the day.” Ricekrispie22
A sprawling family-friendly resort hotel in south Wales, Celtic Manor offers a host of high-octane entertainment to keep kids busy whatever their age. From treetop high-rope adventures in the Forest Jump course to Laser Combat, archery, mini golf and an outdoor playground, there’s something to please any child.
Smaller kids can have a go at the two Adventure Golf courses along with joining the rest of the family in the indoor swimming pool. If parents need a break, little ones can join the supervised Kids Club.
There’s a fuss-free, child-friendly menu in the hotel’s restaurant to avoid dinner time moaning - or you may prefer to eat in your room after a busy day. Some of the spacious family rooms offer dining areas and all rooms have flat screen TVs.
The negatives? Some independent reviewers criticise the lack of free parking for guests at the hotel so do this into the overall cost when budgeting for your stay.
- Distance from nearest airport: Cardiff Airport (33.2 miles)
- Distance from nearest train station: Newport train station (8.8 miles)
4. Best family hotel with creche: Crieff Hydro, Perthshire
Crieff Hydro, Perthshire | Check availability
“We love Crieff Hydro.” Littlepond
Set in a 900-acre estate, there’s plenty going on at Crieff Hydro to keep your entire family busy. There are over 60 indoor and outdoor activities, including horse riding, quad biking, tennis courts and two swimming pools.
The luxury on-site spa is a child free zone but junior guests can get involved with all sorts of age appropriate activities. Glen’s Adventure Park is a huge wooden structure comprising three slides, a spider’s web, zip lines, swings and loads of hiding places. Indoors, kids can try the arts and crafts table and computer games room complete with an Xbox.
Qualified childcare for kids between 2 and 12 years old is available for up to four hours per day at an additional charge for guests payable to Big Country. Each family room offers satellite TV and plenty of space. There are choices for dining too, with the Italian family restaurant and bar offering a child-friendly menu.
- Distance from nearest airport: Edinburgh Airport (52.4 miles)
- Distance from nearest train station: Gleneagles train station (11.5 miles)
5. Best spa hotel with kids entertainment: Bailiffscourt, Sussex
Bailiffscourt, Sussex | Check availability
“Baliffscourt in Climping, near Arundel is lovely.” overthethamesfromyou
There’s oodles of outdoorsy fun to be had at this historic family-friendly hotel, surrounded by private parkland and a 10 minutes stroll from Climping Beach. Kids of all ages can try their hand at tennis, play croquet on the lawn or take on the 'Bucket of Fun' challenge. Indoors they can try out the board games, crafts and colouring and a library of story books for kids.
The spa is adults only but there are allocated family swim times at both the indoor and outdoor swimming pools.
There’s no such thing as identical hotel rooms at Bailiffscourt. Instead, you can choose to stay in one of the quaint cottages onsite with plenty of space for kids.
Foodwise, you can choose to dine as a family onsite - children are welcome and can choose from a menu designed for them, or you can order room service to your suite. You can even arrange for the hotel to pack you a picnic for the beach, which is less than a 10 minute walk away.
- Distance from nearest airport: London Gatwick (44 miles)
- Distance from nearest train station: Littlehampton train station (1.3 miles)
6. Best family hotel with free childcare: Moonfleet Manor, Weymouth
Moonfleet Manor, Weymouth | Check availability
"Moonfleet Manor is very geared up for children, a really lovely place" TickleMyTitsTilFriday
Did someone say free childcare? Moonfleet Manor on the Jurassic coast is a dream come true for kids and parents alike. The Den in the grounds of this stunning Georgian hotel is an Ofsted-registered crèche for junior guests aged 3 months to 8 years. With 90 minutes free care for each child every day, you could even grab the opportunity for a treatment in the state of the art spa.
The hotel has recently been refurbished to a very high standard. Facilities are top notch too - there’s an inviting swimming pool along with a toddler-depth pool and a fabulous playbarn for the kids on rainy days. You and your family can also join in interesting outdoor classes such as a fossil walk - a dream come true for little dinosaur fans.
All rooms are dog friendly although each dog is charged at £15 a night.
- Distance from nearest airport: Bournemouth (41 miles)
- Distance from nearest train station: Weymouth (7 miles)
7. Best kids hotel in the forest: New Park Manor Hotel, New Forest
New Park Manor Hotel, New Forest | Check availability
“We have been to New Park Manor twice and really enjoyed it.” RandomUserNameHere
Another hotel offering 90 minutes of free childcare, children are cared for at the on-site crèche leaving you free to enjoy a massage at the on-site spa or a dip in the hot tub.
New Park Manor is a former hunting lodge in the middle of the New Forest national park. Recently and very stylishly renovated, there’s plenty of space at this country house hotel for kids to explore and enjoy.
The family dining room, kitchenette and baby changing area lead to a magical child friendly garden, with a sweet teepee play area. For peace of mind during nap times, you’ll be given a baby monitor for your room to use during your stay. There’s no indoor pool but you and your water babies can brave the heated outdoor pool.
There’s a flexible approach to dining with optional early meals and a child-friendly menu. The whole family can indulge in a Matilda themed afternoon tea. The question is; will your child polish off their ‘Bruce Bogtrotter’s chocolate cake’?
- Distance from nearest airport: Bournemouth (16 miles)
- Distance from nearest train station: Brockenhurst (2.1 miles)
8. Best family hotel with live entertainment: Doric Hotel, Blackpool
Doric Hotel, Blackpool | Check availability
"Get a hotel with a pool. I've always stayed at The Doric which has indoor & outdoor pools & has entertainment each night which includes things for children during the earlier evening" Nat6999
If you want lights, buzz and the sort of traditional UK break that only a seaside resort can offer you can’t go far wrong with a trip to Blackpool.
This legendary north west resort may be renowned for boozy hen parties and kiss-me-quick hats but it also offers theme parks, amusement arcades and of course those stunning golden sands for your kids to enjoy. They’ll get plenty of opportunities when staying at The Doric, as it’s situated on Queen’s Promenade, a two minute walk from the beach.
The heated outdoor pool and sunbathing patio are open all summer. There is also an indoor pool area, with a sauna, plunge pool and steam room as well as a games room with pool table and arcade games.
The kids club will keep your kids busy and there are live evening shows seven nights a week, including early child-friendly entertainers, party games and mini discos. You’re unlikely to find peace and quiet in Blackpool, but you’ll certainly find fun.
- Distance from nearest airport: Liverpool (34.3 miles)
- Distance from nearest train station: Blackpool (1.4 miles)
9. Best family hotel for a city break: The Grand Hotel, York
The Grand Hotel, York | Check availability
“The Grand is lovely. Went for a joint birthday celebration with friends and I don’t know whether our rooms were standard or not but they were huge. Spa facilities and a pool too. Oh and the cookery school looks fabulous.” Brogues.
You can’t beat York for an easy city break with kids. It’s compact and buzzing with child-friendly stuff to do, including Jorvik Viking Centre, York Minster and the ever popular (and free to visit) National Railway Museum. Don’t forget to visit the Harry Potter shop in the historic Shambles; said to have inspired JK Rowling when she invented Diagon Alley.
The statuesque hotel in the thick of the action - and a short walk from York train station - is The Grand Hotel; the city’s grade 2 former railway headquarters. Spacious 5 star family suites feature free WiFi, flat-screen TV, Molton Brown toiletries and bathrobes and slippers in adult and child sizes. Kids are more than welcome here - they can enjoy early suppers and child-friendly menus.
For an extra charge, you can book children’s afternoon tea, kids’ spa sessions and parent and child cookery lessons to learn how to make chocolate bars or crispy chicken goujons although, as you’d expect from a 5* hotel, these don’t come particularly cheap.
- Distance from nearest airport: Leeds Bradford (33.9 miles)
- Distance from nearest train station: York (0.3 miles)
10. Best luxury family hotel with entertainment: Another Place, Ullswater
Another Place, Ullswater | Check availability
“You must go to Another Place in Ullswater, it is divine!” ShirleyPhallus
Don’t worry about carting your buggy to this luxury yet unstuffy family-friendly hotel in the Lake District. Another Place in Ullswater offers Micralite FastFold strollers for guests to borrow. Designed to work on challenging terrain, they can help you get out into the great outdoors with your family.
You can also borrow a tablet baby monitor for use within the hotel. Ensure you call ahead to book both your stroller and baby monitor.
The hotel’s two restaurants offer fresh dishes which can be tweaked to suit little tummies. For preparing baby food and milk, there are pantries with a microwave, fridge and washing up facilities.
During the day, little ones can enjoy some time at the OFSTED registered Kids’ Zone. Activities include orienteering and bushcraft along with crafts, traditional wooden toys, books and computer games. If you want to join in the fun you and your family can enjoy the indoor swimming pool or get outside and take part in archery, kayaking, paddleboarding and wild swimming from the shores of stunning Ullswater. The hotel also offers evening babysitting.
- Distance from nearest airport: Carlisle Airport (36.4 miles)
- Distance from nearest train station: Penrith train station (8.8 miles)
11. Best family hotels near a castle: Slaley Hall, Northumberland
Slaley Hall, Northumberland | Check availability
“Slaley Hall was very nice and we stayed in a feature room.” AliceRR
Northumberland is one of Mumsnet’s favourite UK holiday destinations, beloved by familles for its spacious beaches and impressive castles to explore.
High-end Slaley Hall makes an ideal base as it’s within easy reach of over 10 castles, including historic Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens. The hotel genuinely welcomes families and children. The hotel offers child friendly on-site activities including kids’ quad biking, golf classes, archery, segway sessions and themed adventure trails. However, as sessions are run by an outside company, you should book before you arrive. There’s a playground and games room and the indoor pool has dedicated family splash times. You can even order a family picnic hamper to enjoy on days out.
When dining on-site, there’s a children’s menu to suit the fussiest of tastes. Superior rooms in the new wing offer rain showers and upgraded toiletries and furnishings. Some rooms are dog-friendly although four-legged guests are only permitted in the bar area, not the restaurant.
- Distance from nearest airport: Newcastle Airport (28 miles)
- Distance from nearest train station: Hexham Station (7 miles)
Do UK hotels provide entertainment?
Many hotels in the UK provide entertainment, depending on what you’re looking for. If you fancy getting out and into nature with your kids, Another Place in the Lake District offers activities including archery, kayaking, paddleboarding and wild swimming from its own private jetty on the shores of stunning Ullswater. If you prefer to be entertained with live shows during your UK break, Blackpool’s Doric Hotel boasts nightly entertainers including magicians, singers and comedians along with party games and mini discos for the kids.
Which hotels with entertainment in the UK are good for families?
For a budget seaside hotel, where your children can play with dressing up boxes and games as well as going on treasure trails and building sandcastles on a beautiful beach, you can’t beat the YHA Boggle Hole in North Yorkshire. On the other end of the scale, The Grand Hotel in York is the ideal location for a luxury family city break. The hotel offer mini bathrobes and slippers to all junior guests and also runs chic parent and child cookery classes.
What is the best holiday destination for families in the UK?
The best overall family hotel with entertainment is Watergate Bay Hotel on the beach in Newquay, where kids can get out and learn traditional bush craft skills in stunning surroundings.
How we chose our recommendations
All the recommendations for family hotels with entertainment in the UK came from Mumsnetters. We reckon that when you’re looking to book a hotel for you and your kids, it’s invaluable to get pointers from other parents who’ve already stayed there. That’s where the Mumsnetters on our talk boards come in. We’re pretty sure that, between them, they’ve booked, tested and reported back on most family hotels in the UK.
To compile our list of family hotels with activities for kids, we studied reviews of UK hotels on the Mumsnet forums to find out which hotels for families with toddlers and babies parents had tested and rated, as well as hotels for families with older kids and teenagers. We cross checked these recommendations with consumer sites to see which UK hotels for families with entertainment were mentioned.
Finally, we collated all that information and compared them to other online reviews to see which were the top choices and which received positive recommendations. We then cross-referenced our findings to select the hotels for parents and kids that had won the most praise and recommendations across the board, to bring you a selection of the best at various prices.
Why you should trust us
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