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A holiday isn’t a holiday if only certain members of the family get to relax, and if you’re the sort of person that believes a proper break involves fluffy white dressing gowns and a massage, a spa hotel is the only way to go. This gets all the more difficult when kids are involved. Many spa hotels maintain their luxurious atmosphere by excluding children altogether, so a place to stay that combines luxury for the grown-ups with comfort and fun for the kids is worth its weight in gold.
Luckily, Mumsnetters are experts at striking the balance between putting their feet up and making sure the kids are well entertained. We’ve rounded up the spa hotels they’ve visited with children and found to be relaxing and worth recommending. Here the best spa hotels for families.
What are the best family-friendly spa hotels in the UK?
Best for kids' clubs: Crieff Hydro, Perthshire
Best rooftop spa: Rudding Park, Harrogate
Best for luxury: The Grove, Hertfordshire
Best for on-site childcare: Ickworth Hotel, Suffolk
Best for views: Slieve Donard, County Down
1. Sands Resort, Newquay
One of Cornwall's best family-friendly hotels | Check availability
"Sands Resort in Newquay was FAB when we went a couple of years ago - baby listening, evening babysitting service, free crèche sessions each day, plus loads of parks etc on site (daughter was too young at the time so I don’t remember what these were like). There was also a spa on site, plus two pools" - recommended by Mumsnet user, modgepodge
While the hotel has scaled back its childcare since Covid, Sands Resort still offers a great experience for families looking for a bit of luxury in Cornwall. There’s a free listening service, baby equipment available on request, family-friendly meal times and soft play to keep little ones happy. Book some me time at the Ocean Breeze spa, which is considered one of Cornwall’s best spas. You can book a nanny or babysitter through the hotel, although they do come with a hefty admin fee. Family rooms are generously sized, with two-room suites available.
Nearest train station: Newquay (2 miles)
2. The Ickworth, Suffolk
Luxurious pampering for parents | Check availability
"I bloody loved Ickworth when DS was small. I remember him waking at some ungodly hour, 4.30 or so, and they let us into the crèche. He played happily for a couple of hours, I dozed on beanbags, and the porter brought me toast and tea!" - recommended by Mumsnet user, PenguindreamsofDraco
Part of the Luxury Family Hotels chain, the Ickworth Hotel in Suffolk is set in 1,800 acres of National Trust parkland. While the kids are well looked after in the creche - there’s 90 minutes of free childcare included with every night of your stay - you can enjoy a treatment in the spa, explore the gardens or dine in the adults-only Fredericks restaurant. There’s plenty to do as a family too, with a more relaxed restaurant and a family pool, as well as all-terrain pushchairs available to hire.
Nearest train station: Bury St Edmunds (4 miles)
3. The Swan Hotel, Lake District
Wind down near Windermere | Check availability
"We enjoyed the Swan Hotel in Newby Bridge. Child friendly (library of kids books, board games, milk and cookies brought to your room every night if you want it, playground, interconnecting rooms) but would have happily stayed there if no kids" - recommended by Mumsnet user, AliMonkey
On the banks of the river Levern, just south of Lake Windermere in the Lake District, The Swan strikes just the right balance between luxury and child-friendliness with its two-bedroom family suites and myriad small touches that make all the difference. Book a family room in the main hotel or go for one of the cosy cottages. The hotel’s spa is adults-only, which makes it all the more luxurious but does mean you’ll need to arrange for your children to be taken care of while you indulge in a thermal treatment or massage.
Nearest train station: Kendal (16.5 miles)
4. Crieff Hydro, Perthshire, Scotland
Brilliant childcare on tap | Check availability
"The childcare was brilliant. It has a big castle inside and they also take them outside for play too. We booked the childcare sessions when we got there and sometimes on the day. Pool has separate kids' area and lots of outdoor activities. Overall this is defo the best hotel we've stayed at and is very kids focused" - recommended by Mumsnet user, KissMyFatArse
The Crieff Hydro in Perthshire offers excellent, family-oriented accommodation in a stunning rural setting. The Big Country childcare is free to guests with bookings of two nights or more and kids aged 2-12 - extra sessions can be booked at £15 for two hours. It’s best to book in advance, and the same goes for other activities as reviewers say these book up fast. The spa features original Victorian baths, a huge range of treatments and a hair salon.
Nearest train station: Stirling (22 miles)
5. Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest
Home to the UK's first treetop sauna | Check availability
"The spa at Sherwood is amazing and lots of activities for kids" - recommended by Mumsnet user, AlbusPercival
Featuring the UK’s first treetop sauna, Sherwood Forest has the best spa of all the UK Center Parcs, according to Mumsnetters. There’s over 400 acres of forest, water parks and tons of activities for all ages and interests. With such a wealth of wholesome family adventures, be sure to make time to visit the Aqua Sana spa in the centre of the forest. Treatments can be booked up to 12 weeks in advance, and there’s a creche and kids’ club so you can enjoy peace of mind while you’re pampered.
Nearest train station: Mansfield (9 miles)
6. Celtic Manor, Newport, Wales
Great for active families | Check availability
"Celtic Manor just outside of Newport in Wales is also quite easy to get to as the train goes direct from London. Definitely have a look if your children like doing organised activities" - recommended by Mumsnet user, Fivemoreminutes1
With its award-winning spa and 2,000 acres of beautiful parkland, Celtic Manor in south-east Wales is a perfect getaway for all the family. Adventurous kids will love the treetop course, and there are five restaurants to choose from. They no longer have a creche or kids’ club unfortunately, but if you can make it to the Forum spa, there’s a beauty bar, afternoon tea, massages and facial treatments to indulge in.
Nearest train station: Newport (5 miles)
7. Rudding Park, Harrogate
A rooftop spa in the heart of Yorkshire | Check availability
"If you really want to spoil yourselves and experience an absolutely amazing spa, then consider Rudding Hall, just three miles from Harrogate station" - recommended by Mumsnet user, Ricekrispie22
Set in gorgeous 19th-century parkland, Rudding Park has indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a juniper log sauna, plus thermotherapy and hydrotherapy treatments at its rooftop spa. Families can choose from a bunk room or interconnecting rooms, depending on what works best for you and your kids. There are also cottages and lodges available if you’re looking for a self-catering option. Located just outside the famous spa town of Harrogate, it’s a lovely setting for a relaxing UK getaway.
Nearest train station: Harrogate (4 miles)
8. Slieve Donard, County Down, Northern Ireland
Stunning sea and mountain views from the spa | Check availability
"Slieve Donard in Newcastle, Co. Down is fantastic! Brilliant spa, right on the beach, golf, good local town to browse shops and cafes" - recommended by Mumsnet user, 3nationsfamily
Near Newcastle in Northern Ireland, Slieve Donard is a luxurious hotel for all the family. Kids will love the pool and nearby beach, and family rooms are available. The spa offers amazing views of the mountains of Mourne, and there are plenty of treatments to choose from, including hot stone massage, maternity treatments and a Himalayan pink salt bath.
Nearest train station: Newry (22 miles)
9. The Landmark Hotel, London
Luxurious London pampering | Check availability
"The Landmark - good if you’re coming into Marylebone and they are brilliant with children, cookies and milk etc" - recommended by Mumsnet user, AgnesNaismith
With its impressive lobby and spacious family rooms, the Landmark is a rather special place to bring the family. Book one of the hotel’s family packages and your kids will be greeted with cookies, tents, teddies and headlamps for an indoor camp out in your room. The hotel is well-placed for visiting central London, with London Zoo and Regent’s Park just down the road. Escape to the spa for a dip in the pool, or book a massage in one of the treatment rooms.
Nearest train station: Marylebone (100 metres)
10. The Grove, Hertfordshire
Onsite Ofsted-rated childcare | Check availability
"It has been YEARS since I went (bagged a freebie due to DHs job) but from what I remember it was amazing for small children. Fully stocked changing areas, nappies, toiletries so I was never caught short. Baby friendly pool, in house baby sitters...dd even had room service baby food!! It's pricey but worth it for something extra special" - recommended by Mumsnet user, wiccamum
"I second The Grove! Absolutely gorgeous hotel, right off the motorway too so easy to get to if you're driving" - rated by Mumsnet user, Lifeaback
For a luxurious break an easy drive from London, The Grove is heaven-sent. There’s a forest school and nature trails for older kids, a kids’ club and babysitting for the littlest ones. The hotel is just five minutes' from Harry Potter Studios, and 10 minutes from Watford Football stadium. Family rooms come with adjoining rooms, extra beds and cots on request, and there are family staycation packages offering savings. While the children are at the Ofsted-registered kids’ club, you’re free to enjoy the delights of the Sequoia spa, with its black mosaic pool, range of treatments and fitness suite.
Nearest train station: Watford Junction (2 miles)
Can kids go to spa hotels?
Some spa hotels don’t allow kids, so it’s always advisable to check ahead if there’s any doubt. The hotels on our list have been specially selected for their family-friendliness, although many of the in-hotel spas are kept for adults only.
What age do you need to be to have a treatment at a spa?
Some hotels offer specialist treatments for teens, but most have an over-18s policy for treatments such as massages and facials.
What’s the best family-friendly hotel with a spa in the UK?
The Grove, Hertfordshire is the best family-friendly spa hotel in the UK. With a kids’ club, babysitting service and to-die-for spa, Mumsnetters give it a big thumbs up.
How we chose our recommendations
Because we know that there's nothing like a real recommendation, we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out what spa hotels in the UK were being recommended for families.
We then did some research across the wider web, looking at what UK family spa hotels had won accolades or been featured in 'best choice' lists across websites, and what customer reviews said about them. Having collated all that information, we then narrowed our list down to the best family-friendly spa hotels in the UK.
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