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CORNWALL VS SCOTLAND FOR THE PERFECT FAMILY HOLIDAY

Dinah Hatch

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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…
The Cornwall Hotel, Spa & Estate

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

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.

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