Half term is easy to overlook, compared to the major school holidays, but there’s still plenty of time to enjoy a short break at a family-friendly hotel. Here are just a couple of ideas for half term UK breaks that all the family to enjoy.
Zoofari at Marwell Hotel, near Winchester
What child doesn’t love the zoo? Nearby Marwell Zoo is one of the best in the country and features hundreds of animals, including giraffes, penguins, chipmunks and tigers, as well as the opportunity to learn about how to save endangered animals — and, if there’s time for a break from all that, three adventure playgrounds. Zoofari includes a one-night stay for two adults and two children in one of Marwell’s family rooms.
If you prefer to arrange your own programme for your half term UK breaks, Marwell also offers the Family Fun package. The children can enjoy a wide selection of indoor and outdoor activities and a range of local attractions. Besides the zoo, there’s Peppa Pig World, Intech Science Centre and Planetarium, as well as the beautiful New Forest to explore.
Cotswold Wildlife Break at Noel Arms Hotel, Chipping Campden
From a picturesque base in the heart of the stunning Cotswolds, this one-night break includes a day at the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens in Burford, where you’ll see animals ranging from lions to gibbons, crocodiles and meerkats.
You can watch some animals being fed and get close to many others in the children’s farmyard. The zoo also has a narrow-gauge railway and an adventure playground, so there’s loads to do while you’re out, and all the facilities of the Noel Arms to return to in the evening.
Activities at the Lambert Arms, Watlington
Situated at the edge of the Chiltern Hills, near Oxford, the Lambert Arms is surrounded by attractions for the family perfect for half term UK breaks. You can enjoy a trip by steam train on the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway, walk along the Ridgeway and keep an eye open for a rare red kite, or learn more about one of the best-loved children’s authors at the Roald Dahl Museum.
On the other hand, you may have to negotiate with the kids as to whether you visit the famous Bicester Village shopping outlet or have fun swinging around at Go Ape! The Lambert Arms has several family rooms and welcomes pets with responsible owners.
These are just a few of the half term packages available across the UK, so instead of sitting at home why not have a great time as a family and book your half term UK break now?
Easter is a lovely time of the year to get away to one of the UK Bespoke hotels. It’s the first holiday when it really starts to feel like spring, and with any luck the sun will come out, the daffodils will be in full bloom, the days begin to get significantly longer, and the clocks will be changing.
All in all, there’s a positive feeling in the air and long, lazy summer evenings to look forward to. Just because we’re enjoying the same time of year however, it doesn’t necessarily follow that we’re all looking for the same things in our Easter break. So here are five hotels to visit for very different experiences over the bank holiday weekend.
Spring gardens: hopefully the Easter weekend will bring blue skies and warmer weather, and if you’re anything like us then one of the great joys of this time of the year is getting out into the fresh air. After all those winter months of cuddling by log fires (because of course that’s what we spend all our time doing from November to March), now is the time for walking in the garden, smiling at the daffodils, and watching the blossom as it scatters from the trees.
With that in mind, Cotswold House Hotel and Spa in Gloucestershire, with its tranquil gardens that lead to the spa at the end of a cobbled path, is an idyllic place to spend the weekend. It probably goes without saying given that the Cotswolds as a rule are chocolate box perfect, but peace, quiet, tranquility, and exceptional food coupled with gardens that are just manicured enough without being pretentious makes for an escape that encapsulates the best of British.
Sunday roast: food is one of the great priorities at Easter, and whatever you find yourself doing on the Saturday, there can surely be no debate that Sunday is about the perfect roast lunch before tucking into that chocolate egg… With a spectacular view of both Lake Ullswater and the Helvellyn mountain range, the aptly titled Inn on the Lake in Cumbria from Bespoke Hotels has won Cumbria Tourism Awards for Large Hotel of the Year as well as Outstanding Customer Service. It has 15 acres of grounds sweeping to the shores, and five star standards in addition to the awe-inspiring location.
Food is every inch as important as all the other details at this hotel, and as such the Lake View Restaurant has two AA Rosettes and emphasises local produce. Of particular note on this occasion, you guessed it, is their Sunday lunch, which features a traditional roast with a luxurious touch complete with all the expected trimmings for a perfect Easter weekend.
Romantic mini-break: as it is a school holiday it’s always a little bit of a juggling act between finding hotels that are suitable for families and those who want to get away for a long romantic weekend together, but few things spell romance quite like a castle befitting a role in the best loved fairytales. Tulloch Castle in Scotland fits just that bill. Dating back to the 12th century it has a lively history of changing fortunes and scandalous intrigue.
These days it’s all a little calmer without the Chief of the Clan ruling the roost, but with painstakingly restored original features, a 250-year old paneled great hall and 20 well-appointed bedrooms filled with character and charm, not to mention fantastic food, it’s an escape to the country that’s ideal for couples who want some peace and quiet over the weekend.
Spa break: despite the abundance of chocolate eggs at this time of year, spring is a brilliant time to clear away any remaining cobwebs from the winter months and make yourself feel fresh as a daisy for all those summer holidays that you’re doubtless looking forward to. For that reason, a spa break over the Easter weekend can prove the perfect way to simply start feeling better, especially with a few more days to play with than your average weekend allows.
The Lifehouse Spa and Hotel in Essex is surrounded by 12 acres of English Heritage gardens, and combines a historic background (including visits from the likes of JM Barrie and Winston Churchill), with a contemporary glass building. It’s light, airy and the spa itself is overseen by naturopath Sue Davis who curates spa breaks with her expert eye to make sure you achieve what you want to, whether that’s simple time out and feel good factor, a full-on detox, or tackling a particular health concern. The knowledge on hand is extensive without being domineering, making it ideal for everyone from seasoned spa goers to those who are quite literally dipping their toe in the water.
Family friendly: of course, nothing beats happy smiling faces on Easter morning, and with school holidays in full swing it’s about quality time for families where everyone can relax and unwind – not always an easy thing to achieve, but let’s give it a go. Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire combines a fantastic location on the edge of Sherwood Forest with contemporary design and a welcoming atmosphere, family friendly restaurant, and their New Leaf Spa as well.
Crucially there are plenty of activities available on site for guests of all ages, as well as others nearby such as pony trekking, cycling, walking, and the Clumber Jungle, which offers everything from archery to laser tag and Segway trails. Suffice to say, there really is something to make sure everyone has a happy Easter!
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The Isle of Skye is an area of spectacular beauty and incredible wildlife. For those looking for a rugged paradise, it’s pretty hard to beat the mystical island off the West coast of Scotland that’s connected to the mainland by a spectacular bridge.
No surprise then that in the summer, when the wildlife is at its most abundant (think whales, porpoises, dolphins and basking sharks), this quiet bolt-hole is a most popular destination for tourists, drawn by its historic reputation and starring role in Hollywood movies like Stardust, Flash Gordon, and of course the 1948 film of Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Undoubtedly the summer is a very special time of the year. However, the quieter months of March and April have their own particular brand of magic as well, without feeling as though you’re too hot on the well-beaten tourist trail. All of this makes it an ideal last minute getaway before it becomes impossible to find anywhere to book in peak season.
It is in these spring months when the days are getting longer and attractions start to open again in the tiny villages and historic keeps that the year’s first wild flowers emerge, with violets and primroses peaking above the ground. It’s also one of the best months to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, second to October.
In April the birdlife becomes more abundant again, with gannets, black guillemots and other seabirds returning to the cliffs, while lambing season also begins on the Isle’s numerous farms.
Everywhere you stay on Skye has its own story to tell and enhances the experience in its own unique way. The Dunollie Hotel is set by the water at Broadford Bay at the foot of the mountains that lead to the famous Cuillin Hills. As such it is peaceful and quiet, and always has a welcome Drambuie available after a day of exploration.
The Kings Arms Hotel meanwhile in the pretty village of Kyleakin dates back to the 1600s and is one of the oldest hotels on the island. It’s all about open fires and panoramic views across the Kyle of Lochalsh to mainland Scotland when you stay here, and it’s also known for traditional cuisine from fresh, local ingredients, characterized by seafood and game.
With an altogether different vibe however, is The Kyle Hotel on the other side of the Kyle of Lochalsh. Perfect as a base for exploring the mountains, enjoying the local wildlife and visiting the nearby Talisker Distillery nearby, it is more contemporary than its counterparts and is just a 10-minute walk from the town’s railway station and Skye Bridge, as well as being just short distance from the shores of Loch Alsh.
The overarching beauty of the Isle of Skye is that it really embodies everything you need for the ultimate escape – spectacular beauty in its most natural form, history, culture, as well as peace and quiet. The best part is that you don’t have to wait until the summer to enjoy it; the time is now! But don’t tell everyone, let’s keep it our little secret.
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Once you’ve fallen in love with the UK coastline it’s nigh on impossible to resist the draw of salt in the air, sand between your toes and the occasional spot of sunshine as well. Long walks along the cliff tops, hearty meals with dramatic views, and a sense of adventure are staples of a British seaside break, as long as you know which coastal hotels to visit. So here’s what we suggest…
The Lugger Hotel, Cornwall
In the little village of Portloe, known for its unrivalled, timeless beauty, The Lugger Hotel is the proud recipient of numerous accolades relating to its high standards of service and style. Right on the water’s edge, coastal hotels are ideally located for pottering around by the sea, but the Lugger is also within easy reach of attractions like the Eden Project and the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Details including carefully attended fine linens and deluxe showers , while completing the experience is the restaurant, which proudly sports two AA Rosettes and serves locally-sourced food, and truly a joy to luxuriate over.
My Hotel Brighton, Brighton
A luxury hotel that looks more like the apartment you wish you had, My Hotel Brighton is a four star destination that hinges on sexy design and the spirituality of Feng Shui. Yes, this is how to do Brighton if you’re not a student – ultra cool, super stylish, but with plenty of soul. Local artisans have created opulent studios, and artwork is peppered throughout the hotel. They also know how to stop you from feeling like just another face in the crowd, storing your personal preferences on record so that when you go back (and you will want to go back), your room will be ready and waiting just the way you like it!
The Dunollie Hotel, Isle of Skye
In a serene waterside location on Broadford Bay, The Dunollie Hotel is all about escaping to homely comforts (and hopefully a lack of mobile phone signal as well). At the foot of the mountains leading to the famed Cuillin Hills, the area is filled with history, not least the legend that Bonnie Prince Charlie gave the recipe for Drambuie to Clan MacKinnon at this very spot, to thank them for helping him to escape from France. So why not drink a toast in the restaurant in the evening? It would be rude not to!
In a word, BridgeHouse in Dorset is simply magical. With 700 years of history, it is quite literally a house on a bridge that once upon a time housed a dozen priests. Today, everything from the walled garden to The Beaminster Brasserie is brimming with charm. Food, including freshly caught fish is local and organic, and the whole atmosphere is one of unpretentious relaxation. As good fortune would have it is also close to the Jurassic Coast, which, if you haven’t been, is a real treat for the senses and perfect for anyone who wants to get outside for a bracing spring walk.
Carnoustie Golf Hotel, Scotland
It’s up to you which view you prefer at the Carnoustie Hotel, from the local town to the golf course and the windswept, it’s all spectacular. The golf course has hosted some of history’s greatest players in its time, and while the hotel has a wealth of health and spa facilities which really ought to be enjoyed while you’re here, we are partial to a stroll down to the water’s edge where the Angus coastline boasts some of the most magical beaches in Scotland. If you fancy a day out, a trip to the late Queen Mum’s imposing childhood home Glamis Castle is a must, and we suggest you finish the day with Scottish fare in the hotel’s award-winning Dalhousie Restaurant.
Whichever one of the coastal hotels you choose ensure your booking dates are available at the best rates by clicking here >>>