20 Ways to Enjoy the Great Outdoors this Summer In and Near Luxury Family Hotels
At Luxury Family Hotels we take pains to encourage our junior visitors to spend time outdoors and get up close and personal with nature, in an age when kids generally spend less time in parks, woods and fields than in previous generations. Our focus this and every summer is on encouraging children to ditch their gadgets and enjoy some outdoor fun at our eight properties scattered around England, with both planned and ad hoc activities offering interesting and educational things for our guests to do as a family.
• Be spellbound at Woolley Grange in Wiltshire. Guests can mix their own magic herbal potions with the gardening team in the walled garden and make a spell in the Woolley Witch House in the new witches' herb garden designed by head gardener Eliza Reid.
• Get back to nature at Woolley Grange. Grab a basket and collect fresh eggs from the chicken coop, or search the walled garden for duck eggs. Children can write their names on the eggs and have them for breakfast or take them home in the egg-boxes provided.
• Ewes your eyes and follow the Woolley Sheep Trail. Using a poem that gives clues, count the sheep around the hotel grounds and complete the trail to be rewarded with a bag of sheep droppings (chocolate ones!).
• Get physical at the Polurrian Bay Hotel in Cornwall. The summer the hotel is hosting the Polurrian Olympics in its scenic gardens, with activities including egg-and-spoon and other races for all the family, frisbee, discus and much more.
• Pick up a bucket and spade. Polurrian Bay Hotel has a little path snaking through the gardens down to the pristine sands of Polurrian Cove. Buckets, spades and crab lines are available from the hotel to take down to the beach.
• Play alfresco board games at the Polurrian Bay Hotel – there’s a giant chessboard, snakes and ladders and other outdoor games on one of the hotel’s terraces with its stunning views over the Cornish coastline. There’s also a willow den for kids to play in the garden.
• Release your inner Baywatch with bodyboarding at Polurrian Cove. The Polurrian Bay has plenty of beach gear to borrow for seaside adventures. Nearby Poldhu is also an excellent spot for bodyboarding.
• Grab a picnic and go discover a secluded beach at Fowey Hall, also in Cornwall. Chefs at the hotel use the best local ingredients, from fresh seafood landed by Fowey’s fisherman to sausages from nearby farms and home-grown herbs. After you’ve enjoyed a hearty breakfast, the chef will organise a delicious family picnic.
• Go crabbing near Fowey Hall. The quaint village of Polruan a short ferry ride away is a great place to grab crab nets and dangle bait from the quayside. Fill a bucket with water and take a close look before popping them back in the water. Tip: Use bacon as bait (buy the bacon in Fowey, or just ask the hotel for some).
• Join the world’s largest treasure hunt. Take a walk along the South West Coast Path at the bottom of the garden at Moonfleet Manor in Dorset and see how many of the geocaches (containers) you can find using GPS and a set of coordinates. Some are within a mile or two of the hotel, making easy walking for smaller guests.
• Build dens at New Park Manor in the New Forest. After exploring the grounds to collect sticks, leaves and twigs, make a beeline for the walled garden – the perfect place to build a wild den supervised by staff. Certificates are awarded for the best, with competition very high (Dads in particular can get extremely competitive!).
• Go on a scavenger hunt at New Park Manor. Families will love this new challenge in the hotel grounds. The summer also sees the launch of a Fairy Trail for younger guests.
• Go mountain-biking in the New Forest. New Park Manor has introduced complimentary bike use for active guests, including tag-alongs, bike seats and a trailer.
• Get on your bike at The Ickworth in Suffolk. Take advantage of our complimentary bikes to explore the 1,800 acres of National Trust parkland and gardens in which the hotel resides, where you can find the fairy lake, the river Linnet, St Mary’s Church and much more.
• Have fun in the Fairy Garden’s huge new play area at The Ickworth. And check out the new stick igloos in the Lodge Garden.
• Bring history to life. Find out more about the history of Anglo Saxons at West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village just 15 minutes from the Ickworth Hotel, with living history and event days, workshops, walks and talks.
• Release your inner Andy Murray – enjoy a game of tennis on the outdoor courts at The Ickworth, Polurrian Bay and Moonfleet Manor.
• Toast marshmallows. All ages are welcome to join in at Woolley Grange and Polurrian Bay, where they will be supervised by the friendly Den team. Other activities include pizza- and bonfire-making.
And because all we know that the sun can’t be guaranteed to shine during the British summer, there’s masses to do indoors too. Moonfleet Manor has a new Slack-Line Challenge – a tightrope for adults and kids – in its indoor play barn, plus Floppy, a new 20ft beanbag bunny for younger kids to jump and hop around on. Saturdays at New Park Manor see kids’ pizza-making under the supervision of one of the chefs, served at dinner that night. And all Luxury Family Hotels except Thornbury Castle host daily craft sessions in their OFSTED-registered Dens (crèches). The Den is also open to parents to play with their children outside of the booked session times.
Plus with books, games and toys provided for children of all ages, swimming pools, DVDs to borrow and two hours’ free childcare each day in the crèche, rainy days are still guaranteed to be action-packed.
Read more about children's activities at Luxury Family Hotels.