Christmas Four Ways – in a Castle, Stately Home or Royal Hunting Lodge, or by the Sea
After the dizzying whirl of December – with parents struggling to fit in everything from gift shopping to school plays and concerts – taking a Christmas family break can be a way of ensuring that everyone slows down and enjoys quality time together while someone else does all the hard work for you…
Whether you choose a Tudor castle, a magnificent stately home, a historic royal hunting lodge or a quintessential seaside hotel, Luxury Family Hotels’ tailor-made packages will make all guests feel like royalty.
Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn stayed at Thornbury Castle in Gloucestershire as part of their honeymoon tour – and the festive season there will include a cream tea on arrival on Christmas Eve followed by a suitably regal black-tie champagne reception, plus entertainment by local carol singers and a five-course gourmet dinner.
Christmas Day will start in a blissfully laid-back manner, with a leisurely breakfast in your bedchamber. Then, after a seasonal gift and a glass of sherry – compliments of the hotel – the Christmas feast will begin. The perfect end to the perfect Christmas Day will be an evening of port tasting and cocktail drinking, while Boxing Day will continue the fun with a falconry display.
A former hunting lodge and residence of Charles II’s mistress Nell Gwynn, New Park Manor’s original features combined with modern comforts make it a cosy Christmas option. A three-night package with dinner, bed and breakfast offers guests all they need for a fun-filled Christmas without any of the chores. On Christmas Eve, last-minute gift-wrapping can be done away from the prying eyes of children, who will be busy making traditional treats to leave out for Santa in the Ofsted-registered Den. Meanwhile, grown-ups can start to unwind with a treatment in the spa or a glass of mulled wine and mince pies around the log fire. Kids will love the special themed activities lined up, along with the chance to watch a festive film in the cinema room, accompanied by popcorn and hot chocolate with sprinkles.
Christmas Day starts with a hearty breakfast and Bucks Fizz, and dedicated rooms are available for families to open their presents together. Father Christmas will make an appearance in his New Park Grotto at 9.30am and all kids will be invited to collect their personalised gift from him. Meanwhile, the chef will be cooking up a traditional Christmas lunch with all the trimmings. The Queen’s Speech will be shown in the cinema room at 3pm, followed by a Christmas family film. The day is rounded off by an evening family buffet.
A family treasure hunt kicks off Boxing Day – there’s one you can do on foot, or a more adventurous version by car, culminating at nearby Beaulieu, where guests will be given tickets to enjoy the attraction (home to the National Motor Museum) before heading back for children’s high tea and pre-dinner drinks and dinner.
A magnificent stately home hotel in more than 1,800 acres of National Trust parkland, The Ickworth is a stunning setting for a seasonal break, with twinkling Christmas tree lights and flickering open fires. Guests can enjoy the facilities as soon as they arrive on Christmas Eve, including the indoor pool, treatment rooms and extensive grounds to explore. For those who prefer to put up their feet and relax, The Ickworth’s famous traditional afternoon tea will be served from 3pm in its lounges. Guests will be able to catch up on family and friends’ news and finish any last-minute wrapping ahead of dinner.
High tea is served every day except Christmas Day, from 5 to 6pm, and while pre-dinner drinks are served in the lounge from 6pm, followed by dinner, children can take a front-row seat in The Old Kitchen Cinema for a festive film. Just ahead of bedtime, little guests will scatter food for Rudolph and the other reindeers’ arrival.
On Christmas Day, a hearty breakfast will be served ahead of Santa’s arrival to drop off more presents. Pre-lunch drinks will be served before a three-course Christmas lunch, followed by the Queen’s speech then a family film in the cinema room. If kids just want to play, the crèche will be open for little ones and an accompanying grown-up to use through the day. Indulgences will continue with a tea and family buffet dinner.
For energetic grown-ups and children, Boxing Day offers a family treasure hunt from 10.30am, as well as a Christmas party for younger ones in the cinema room and full afternoon tea from 3pm in the lounges. Pre-dinner drinks and a festive dinner will be available for grown-ups to finish off Boxing Day in style.
For more information on any of our festive packages, please call our Reservations team on 0844 482 2152.
See also our tips on taking the kids away for Christmas.
Thornbury snowflake image: © www.photographybystefanie.co.uk