Autumn is a wonderful time of year to explore the UK and, from the Cotswolds to Cornwall, these are seven of the UK’s best family escapes this season.
There’s nothing quite like cosying in with a roaring fire after days spent kicking autumn leaves in rural spots, exploring windswept beaches or sightseeing historic cities. These hotels and self-catering properties offer all this and more, alongside fantastic kids’ clubs for rainy days.
The Bell At Chalbury, Cotswolds
One of the most highly anticipated openings for autumn 2023, The Bell at Charlbury is now available to book – and it also welcomes children. The newest member of the Daylesford Stays family has opened up inside a beautifully restored 17th century pub and is ideal for a cosy weekend away. Enter to a roaring fireplace before retreating up to one of the 12 gorgeous bedrooms – the family suite is ideal, it comes with a king-sized bed and a connecting bedroom for children. Cots can also be provided. Dogs are welcome too, and the restaurant is both child and pooch friendly. Located in the idyllic village of Charlbury in the heart of the Cotswolds, you’ll find numerous country walks and bike riding trails on your doorstep. This October they’ve partnered with TARKA, a children’s exercise class company, to offer two hours a day of expertly-designed classes, packed full of exciting games, team building and problem solving based on a variety of themes, including Animal Farm Yard, The Garden of Eden and Superhero Nutrition Day. Ideal for when parents want to unwind in the Bamford Wellness Spa or try delicious dishes made from locally-sourced organic produce in the hotel’s pub.
Atlanta Trevone, Cornwall
If stylish interiors are as high on your check list as family-friendly facilities are, then head for Cornwall’s Atlanta Trevone, where the two are exquisitely combined in a cluster of stunning self-catering properties. Steps away from one of Cornwall’s most idyllic beaches, Trevone Bay, this selection of chic, design-led homes opened in 2022 and each have open plan Neptune kitchens with Lacanche cookers (expect to find freshly-baked bread left for you on arrival), Drummonds bathrooms featuring roll top baths overlooking the ocean, and open fireplaces to snuggle up next to. The latest cottage, The Net Loft, sleeps four (plus a toddler) and its designers, HÁM Interiors, have given it a stylish nod to its history as a former fisherman’s house storing crabbing and lobster pots. There’s also a property manager on call to help with queries or to help you plan your stay. As well as enjoying the beautiful countryside and coast, families can take a painting class with a local artist, enjoy a photoshoot on the beach or get together for a privately-catered picnic. Surfing and tennis lessons can be arranged, and there’s also babysitting available should you want to explore nearby Padstow by night, sans enfants.
Woolley Grange, Wiltshire
There are hotels that welcome children and then there are hotels that are entirely designed around the needs of younger guests and their parents: Woolley Grange falls into the latter. Part of the Luxury Family Hotels group, this beautiful Jacobean manor close to Bath is set in acres of rolling Wiltshire countryside and is the ideal place for a break with little ones; the ethos is all about kids having fun and parents relaxing. There are family suites and interconnecting rooms, plus a large swimming pool and spa – but it’s the little touches that make a big difference: think Yoto audio players in the bedrooms and Bugaboo pushchairs, travel cots and highchairs on site to use. The childcare is excellent too; a free 90-minute session in their Ofsted-registered kids’ club is included for every night you stay, plus there’s a den – complete with pool table – for older kids, and a family cinema. Head outside to find a super play area, woodland garden and family scavenger hunt before enjoying supper with your children, or opting for the baby-listening or babysitting services while you enjoy date night in the adult-only Dining Room.
Autumn is one of the best times to explore London as cooler days and fewer tourists make it easier to take in all the city has to offer. For a fantastic stay in a central location book into Rosewood London. This sophisticated, family-friendly hotel is walking distance to Covent Garden, and will always ensure that your children are as well catered for as you. A dedicated concierge is on hand to create a bespoke programme for kids which can include sightseeing, shows and museums, movie nights, board games and relaxed in-room dining after a busy day discovering the city. Family suites, an extensive kid’s menu and babysitting services are also available. Be sure to try the Family Art Afternoon Tea inspired by David Hockney, and little ones will love the thrill of the Children’s Treasure Hunt as they are driven around the capital by the hotel’s chauffeur to unearth clues leading to the Crown Jewels.
The Lakes By Yoo, Cotswolds
This 850-acre estate in the Cotswolds offers a dream family holiday, one with a whole host of action-packed fun without leaving the grounds. An award-winning Cotswolds lifestyle retreat, The Lakes by Yoo has a seemingly endless list of activities to keep children entertained such as the kids’ club, tennis lessons and zip wiring. During October half term they have a superb programme of activities and events for youngsters including arts and crafts, treasure hunts and a bush craft explorers club making the most of the surrounding woodland. Centred around the stunning lake, the resort is made up of self-catering accommodation – from one bedroom cabins to enormous lodges that sleep 12 – each dotted around the estate and connected by trails. Dogs are welcome too. Parents will love fishing on the lake, listening to live music and dining at supper clubs at The Lakes Bar and Kitchen, and taking some downtime at the newly-opened spa which has partnered with Kate Moss’ wellness brand, COSMOSS.
Glenapp Castle, Scotland
Head north, to Glenapp Castle in Scotland, for an outdoor escape in rural Ayrshire. This majestic Relais & Châteaux property is set in a stunning scenic location, just a short drive from Edinburgh airport. Perfect for those who want to spend more time outdoors, young guests can truly immerse themselves in their surroundings by becoming a ‘Glenapp Ranger’, learning all about nature through playing and storytelling in the hotel’s woodland area. Join the resident beekeeper as he collects honey from the hives, try your hand at falconry or meet some highland cattle on the fun farmer-led ‘Coos and Ewes’ tour. Families can play tennis and croquet together, have a group cooking lesson or book a round of golf. Spacious suites, interconnecting rooms and a family-friendly, award-winning restaurant make this hotel a great option for those looking to take a break from their busy schedule and escape to the peace and quiet of this five-star Scottish estate.
The Grand York, North Yorkshire
Just a few hours by train from London, York is a fascinating city packed with things for kids and adults to explore – from the winding cobbled streets around the Minster to the city’s history at the York Dungeon and the JORVIK Viking Centre. The Grand York is ideally located within walking distance of the historic centre, and, coupled with its family-friendly ethos, this five-star property makes a great base for sightseeing. Younger guests will love the goody bags handed to them on arrival, each packed with information about the city, children’s currency to spend within the hotel, plus mini bathrobes and slippers that can be used in the children’s area of the spa. There are huge family rooms that interconnect, a kid’s menu, children’s afternoon tea and even a mocktail making kit for teens to mix up some drinks. Families can bond over private cooking lessons at the hotel’s state-of-the-art cookery school, and concierge will rustle up an exciting itinerary for your stay helping you fit in all the best activities and outings York has to offer.
Lead image: The Rosewood / James Bedford
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