Cornwall vs Scotland for the perfect family holiday
by Dinah Hatch (April 2013)
These days every hotelier and his bellboy will tell you their establishment is family-friendly in a bid to fill rooms. But there’s more to making families feel at home than putting chicken nuggets and chips on the menu and sticking an ancient slide in the garden. The smartest establishments realise the value of the parent pound and have gone to great pains to make mums and dads feel their little ones are welcome from the moment they set their tiny scuffed sandals in the door. We know families love Cornwall and Scotland but which will you go for this year? Here’s my pick of four child-friendly places from each…
Showing below are all 4 records in "Cornwall vs Scotland for the perfect family holiday"
Constantine Bay, Padstow
Raining? Play scrabble by the fire munching scones slathered in cream and jam, go diving for spoons in the spa’s indoor swimming pool or chill out in the games room. Sunny? Head off down the sandy little lane five minutes to breathtakingly pretty Constantine Bay near Padstow (you can see it from your room) where tinies spend hours in the sand and older ones try the brilliant surfing. Or simply install yourself in the Treglos’ lovely sunny sunken gardens which include a play area and plenty of comfy outside chairs. After a busy day chasing around with the children, get them fed and upstairs to bed – the hotel has a really good baby listening system with phones that you can keep with you to hear your children at all times. Complete peace of mind while you enjoy the excellent menu at the Quies restaurant, overlooking the gardens and bay beyond.
Pentewan Road, Tregorrick, St Austell
There’s a relaxed approach to children at the Cornwall Hotel Spa and I guess they’ve got room to be – with 43 acres of wooded parkland at their disposal, the shrieks and laughter of children playing with their friends around the estate is a good indicator of family-friendliness. There’s a really lovely trail around the grounds with clues that the kids can do to get acquainted with the estate (and you can watch them from the Parkland Terrace sipping on a coffee and enjoying the Pentewan Valley views). The spa, for all its high-end treatments, is also very welcoming to children thanks to the infinity pool, which looks over a Victorian Walled Garden and beyond across Cornish coastal landscapes. Rooms can easily accommodate two children (a sofabed was made up for my two when I visited) and the large, very modern bathrooms make bathtime stress-free (mine loved the fact you could watch Cbeebies from the bathtub!). Out and about, the hotel will help with suggestions for stuff to do – try kayaking on Porthpean Beach or a touch of rock pooling at Gorran Haven, a stunning protected little bay just a few miles away.
Crieff Hydro has always had a strong following in Scotland and generations of wee things were brought here on holiday to take the air and have fun. They’re still coming back, this time with their own kids, and it’s no surprise. The kids’ facilities are faultless and it’s fair to say the whole place has been designed around making sure little ones have a great time. As part of your package you get two three-hour childcare sessions thrown in, staffed by fully qualified instructors who devise a packed itinerary that changes daily. There are quizzes, ceilidhs, cinema nights, nightly shows for children and 1001 activities around the grounds. There are special children’s high teas in the brasserie from 4.30pm and parents then get to enjoy dinner later while the kids are whisked off to play. Unbeatable.
1 Princes Street, Edinburgh
You know you are in good hands when a hotel has a five-star babies, kids and teens programme. And so you are at The Balmoral, in the beating heart of Edinburgh at 1 Princes Street. Every conceivable baby need is catered for (sterilisers, nappies, baby baths etc), toddlers and upwards get their own little check-in cards, a toy box in the room, a Balmoral teddy to keep, warm milk at bedtime and customised robes and slippers. The Easter Bunny visits at Easter, Santa Claus at Christmas. There’s a special children’s room service menu and, of course, dedicated menus down in Hadrian’s Brasserie supplemented by colouring in and chats with the waiting staff. The hotel even supplies the ducks for bath-time. Teens can swim in the leisure centre, get a girlie manicure in the spa or surf the free wifi.
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