Best Family-Focused Spa Escapes In Britain

With excellent spas and children’s activities galore, these country weekend getaways are an ideal get-away for the whole family.

Some of the best hotels in the UK successfully combine family fun and accommodation with a programme of holistic therapies. Here are a handful of hotels brilliantly set up for all ages.

Children Playing At Elcot Park


Just 40-minutes on the train from London Paddington to nearby Kintbury, this is a gorgeous weekend rural escape. Opened in 2022 as part of the Signet Collection, which also owns The Mitre in Hampton Court, the reimagined 18th-century redbrick country house sits in magnificent grounds surrounded by rolling West Berkshire countryside. Borrow wellies from the boot room for early morning strolls before the grown-ups take it in turns to watch tiny tots in the walled garden play area and splashing about in the heated outdoor pool (don’t miss ‘inflatables hour’ every afternoon); once child-free, make a beeline for the Signet Spa which has a hydrotherapy pool, Himalayan salt and aroma steam room, and treatments such as a rejuvenating Gaia jade facial and de-stress body ritual on the menu. Family rooms come with bunkbeds and you’ll find popcorn and cookies in the honesty bars on the landing. The Atlas Room is the place for rainy day board games and the Cubs menu in the 1772 restaurant is full of favourites for the fussiest of eaters: sausage and mash, margarita pizza, fish fingers and fries.


The Newt Farmyard With Pool


Far more than a hotel, this is a bells and whistles country estate. With ancient woodland, apple orchards and all kinds of child-friendly experiences including a bee safari (witness an interactive hive), and the chance to visit to a recreated roman villa. Stay in the stylish self-catering Gate Lodge or one of the family rooms in the Farmyard, a former dairy farm which has its own pool (and no family swim time restrictions), bar, snug and all-day kitchen. Hop on the bikes or buggies, ideal for pootling over to the gardens and spa at Hadspen House where you’ll find a yoga studio, indoor-outdoor pool, medieval herb garden, steam and sauna, and hammam. Perhaps the best thing to do en masse though, is to burn off energy exploring the grounds; all eyes peeled for roaming chickens and deer. Restaurants have children’s menus and everything from cots to highchairs are available on request.


Wood Panelled Drawing Room At Cowley Manor


According to local history, Lewis Carroll wrote Alice in Wonderland while staying in Cowley village, drawing his inspiration from Cowley Manor’s 55-acre of grounds. And it’s easy to see why. There is something magical about the place that appeals to all ages, from the swans that glide across the lakes to the stone lion statues and llamas grazing in the surrounding fields. The hotel has recently been taken over and revamped by the hip French-owned Experimental Group, who have injected a sense of cool into this much-loved Cotswolds classic. For families, there are the Alpaca’s rooms in the old stables, each of which comes with a four-poster bed and, in the lounge, a sofa that opens out into a bunk bed; for even more space, plump for a Family Tree room, set across three levels. Chef Jackson Boxer is a master in the kitchen, whipping up grilled chicken and tomato and mozzarella flatbreads for younger guests who dine in the unstuffy wood-panelled drawing room, furnished with funky checkerboard banquettes and glossy, burnt orange tables. The C-Side Spa has a pair of pools, and holistic therapies such as a lime and walnut body wrap or a restorative mindful massage. Bliss.


Outdoor Plunge Pool At The Lime Wood


From the New Forest’s famous free-roaming ponies to the friendly doormen who greet guests on arrival, the excitement of a stay at this stately pile begins even before check-in. The two-bedroom Forest Cottages and Forest Cabin are a little more rustic than the main house (stripped oak floors, log fires) and tucked away among the trees – meaning there’s no need to worry about over-tired tantrums disturbing the neighbours. Grab a pair of Hunter wellies or bicycles to explore the paths that weave across the grounds or go further afield for kayaking on the Beaulieu River, crabbing at Mudeford Quay and seaside days at Lymington. The Herb House Spa has bookable swim times for families in the lap pool (as well as Bamford and Voya treatments, a mud house and steaming outdoor pool). A Little Lime Wood menu for under 12s at the Italian-influenced Hartnett Holder & Co restaurant features spaghetti bolognese and a banana split.


The Grand Facade Of Lucknam Park


Pony riding, duck herding, falconry, junior tennis coaching… this country house hotel set in a restored Palladian mansion and 500-acres of glorious parkland has masses of activities to keep all ages entertained. There are also bicycles and trailers so little ones can ride on the back as you explore the grounds, a football pitch and an outdoor adventure play area. Best of all though is The Hideaway, where families can spend time together - whether in the arts and crafts playroom, the baby room (kitted out with sensory light tubes and a tactile nature wall), or in the role play room complete with dressing up costumes. Over fives can play at being grown-up with dinner at Michelin-starred Restaurant Hywel Jones, or for something far more casual, plump for the Brasserie instead. Stay in interconnecting rooms in the main house (pre-book an extra-bed or cot) or a self-catering stone cottage with its own kitchen, living and dining room. Once children are napping, ask the hotel to arrange a babysitter and head for the spa. Sign up for yoga and pilates classes, take a rejuvenating dip in the indoor-outdoor hydrotherapy pool which looks out onto the arboretum or relax in one of the thermal cabins, drifting between the steam and sauna and Japanese Salt room.

Ponies At Lucknam Park