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Family Life Travel

4 UK Getaways with Luxury Family Hotels

Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year. Do you care about this little fact? I don’t care what day it falls on, as like New Years Eve, we usually stay in!  It’s far less cringe having a good bottle of plonk and and a takeaway than sitting in a row of couples facing each other under intense pressure to make it the most romantic dinner EVER…  I would much prefer a little getaway for a couple of days instead (ha – of course I would!) with or without the kids, but seeing as Valentine’s Day falls in half term, it’s with the kids!

Below are 4 hotels that are part of the Luxury Family Hotel group that have wonderful  packages to get away with the kids at half term.

Polurrian Bay Hotel, Cornwall

Polurrian Bay Hotel provides a perfect coastal setting to appeal to all star-crossed parents and their little cherubs.


What’s special about it?

This luxury family hotel is perched on the cliffs of the Lizard Peninsula, one of Cornwall’s most dramatic coastlines. The hotel boasts a boutique seaside style, with sea-view lounges and restaurants, chic rooms and contemporary family rooms. On Valentine’s Day children can enjoy Valentine craft activities in the hotel’s OFSTED registered Den.


The fun continues with PJs on and a special screening of a family movie in the hotel’s cinema room accompanied by lashings of hot chocolate and marshmallows. For the very little ones who will not be taking part in Den activities parents can make use of the hotel’s baby listening service.

As part of the Valentine’s package, parents will be able to tuck into a two-course gourmet dinner served each night during their stay. The highlight will be a special menu prepared by the hotel’s chef for Valentine’s night. And to make the most of the romantic evening, the hotel has organised for its Den team (aka Cupid’s helpers), to provide an early morning pick up service for the children on the Wednesday. The Den Team will serve them breakfast while mum and dad get the chance of a lie in or a leisurely breakfast together the morning after. Bliss!

What’s special about it?

Perched on the cliffs amongst 12 acres of landscaped gardens, with stunning views across Mounts Bay and the Atlantic Ocean on Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula, the Polurrian Bay Hotel is the ultimate family seaside hotel with its own private beach with public access and has scooped numerous awards in the last 12 months.

It also has an indoor pool which is perfect for these cooler months! (Did I mention the outdoor one too?)


The rooms to request:

Whether you choose sea views, a spacious family room, or its two-bedroomed self-catering cottage, the hotel has got the perfect accommodation to suit every family’s needs and even welcomes pet pooches.


With two en-suite bedrooms connected by a private corridor, the family suites are often the first to get snapped up. Guests can choose from a Superior Sea View or Inland Facing suite.

The Package : 

Children up to the age of 16 stay free in their parents’ room and pay for all meals taken and complimentary 1 x two hour childcare per day in the hotel’s OFSTED registered crèche.
Rates from £690 for a three-night break in a family room.

Fowey Hall, Fowey, Cornwall

Everyone falls in love with Fowey. I fell in love with it when I visited when we were first married and would love to take the kids back. It is a pretty sailing town and has become a Cornwall hot spot due to its stunning location, quirky shops and cafes, and its gorgeous scenery.


What’s special about it?

Fowey Hall is a grand Queen Anne mansion thought to be the original inspiration for Toad Hall in The Wind in the Willows. Its welcoming, unpretentious atmosphere makes it feel more like a friend’s country retreat, where kids can roam freely and parents can unwind.

Fowey Hall makes an ideal location for a romantic Valentine’s weekend combined with a fun family break this half term. The hotel’s nannies offer a Mary Poppins breakfast club for little ones on Valentine’s Day morning so parents can enjoy some quality time together, catch up on sleep, and treat themselves to breakfast in bed with the papers.


The room to request:

Family rooms in the main house are often the most popular. Sleeping two adults and two children or infants, these provide a separate room for little ones and are ideal for families who like a bit more privacy while not compromising on luxury and comfort.


Fowey Hall’s spa boasts a fantastic range of relaxing and luxurious treatments designed to pamper and refresh guests from top to toe using Elemis products. Treatments to request include the Visible brilliance facial, the perfect pre-occasion treatment helps smooth, firm, plump and restore radiance (1 hour 15 minutes for Mon-Thurs £60, Fri-Sun £70).

The Package 

Three nights stay including a two-course dinner, bed and breakfast from £900 for a family room.
Children up to the age of 16 stay free in their parents’ room and pay for all meals taken and complimentary 1 x two hour childcare per day in the hotel’s OFSTED registered crèche.

Woolley Grange, Bradford on Avon

Woolley Grange is an elegant Jacobean Manor House hotel, built from soft Bath stone and set in 14 acres of beautiful gardens.


What’s special about it?

The interior of the hotel has been designed by Carole Taylor and is a great combination of classic style with more contemporary pieces. Elegant chaise longue and chairs sit alongside deep, comfortable leather sofas, and traditional artwork alongside the specially commissioned, contemporary prints by Judy Willoughby.

Feeling more like a house than a hotel, there are plenty of areas in which families can relax, from sofas in front of the roaring log fire in the winter, to the library-come-cinema room.


The room to request:

The fabulous Hayloft Suite has spacious rooms and triple aspect views over the courtyard.

The Package: 

Bed and Breakfast rates are from £250 per night for a family room (based on two adults and one child sharing).
Children up to the age of 16 stay free in their parents’ room and pay for all meals taken and complimentary 1 x two hour childcare per day in the hotel’s OFSTED registered crèche.


Thornbury Castle, Cotswolds

This is a chance for you and your family to step back in time and stay in this extraordinary Tudor Castle.  It will be a massive education for the kids! (This one is suitable for children 9 and over!) The hotel is utter luxury combining 500-year-old architecture with sumptuous facilities and a romantic backdrop that will melt any frost bitten fingers.


What’s special about it?

This is a hotel steeped in history, surrounded by unspoiled grounds and abutting the lovely landscape of the Cotswolds. Add to that a restaurant that developed a Michelin-starred reputation in the 1970s, drawing stars from all over the world to dine there, and now where couples can dine in peace and privacy (there is a sitters service if you want to be alone) next to a roaring fire.

The rooms to request:

The Tower Suite! This suite is at the top of the tower in the South Wing and is reached via a spiral staircase of 77 circular stone steps (the hotel staff will carry your luggage!). The huge four- poster bed, sumptuous Tudor furnishings and stunning views across Gloucestershire make this, quite literally, the top suite in the castle. Another of the hotel’s most popular rooms is The Dukes Bedchamber. This is the actual room slept in by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn during their honeymoon in 1535 and overlooks the oldest Tudor gardens in England. The room boasts an open fireplace, four poster bed and an en-suite bathroom.


The Package: 
Three-course a la Carte dinner on your first evening
Five-course special Valentine’s dinner with classic guitar entertainment on Saturday evening
Two glasses of champagne on arrival
A box of hand-made truffles
Rates from £650 for a two-night break.

How to book these fab family friendly hotels…

More information and booking is available at or telephone the Central Reservations team on 0844 482 2152

Let me know if you go – I won’t be (too) jealous!

Days Out Family Life Food

My Thyme Away With Nestle Breakfast Cereals

Sitting at my computer with the rain pummeling down, it feels like a distant memory that I was actually away for 3 days only a week ago. And what a 3 days it was. Firstly, it was lovely to go away independently of family (!) and secondly to a beautiful place (the spelling of Thyme in the title is not a typo).  I was accompanied by fantastic group of other bloggers from around the world to learn about Nutrition, Food Styling & Photography with Nestle Breakfast Cereals.



Our time started with a talk on Nutrition by Constanza on the importance of breakfast – especially for growing children.


It was a wonderful insight to things I didn’t know and facts that I had ‘forgotten’.

  • Nutrients missed at breakfast, such as calcium, fibre and certain vitamins and minerals, cannot be made up later in the day.


  • A balanced breakfast should represent around 20%-25% of total daily calorie intake (although can vary with different National dietary requirements)

A well balanced breakfast should consist of –

  1. Some dairy
  2. A piece of fruit
  3. A glass of water for hydration (tea or coffee is ok!)
  4. A wholegrain based food
  5. An source of protein (or if that is too much at breakfast, a bit of protein mid morning)


What does 1 serving of wholegrain look like?

  • a 30g bowl of wholegrain breakfast cereal
  • 1 medium slice of wholemeal bread
  • 2 whole wheat crackers
  • 2-3 cups of plain pop corn


We each had to describe our breakfast routine – let me tell you, mine was the least glamorous!


The other perception that I had of breakfast cereal was that it is full of sugar. Not so! There is no more than 9 grams od sugar per serving which is a lot less than I thought there was.

The other great thing to note is that there is more wholegrain than any other ingredient in their cereals (you know the boxes with the green banner across the to?)




Next up, we cloaked ourselves in an apron and set to work making a breakfast recipe with the same ingredients that make up Nestle Breakfast Cereals.

I chose Smiley Oat Cookies which are the basis for Cheerios.


Straight from the oven.


I even took them home and they got the massive thumbs up!  Next we learnt how to style them for a photo for a recipe book for example.


I didn’t really have a clue and the first thing I did was pack it all onto a tray with a few raspberries and it looked like I was whacking it down for kids tea.


So under the careful guidance of Lou I was given a few tips. This goes for products & flat lays as well.

  • Natural light. Move your product into the light.
  • If there are shadows, bounce them off with a piece of silver card.
  • Reflect the recipe with the accessories. (I.e there no raspberries and blueberries in the Oat Biscuit recipe so why include them in the photo!)
  • Brush oil on the biscuits to make them shine.
  • You don’t have to include everything in the photo. You can zoom in.


Lou & the photographer Ellis at work.


After a bit of tinkering,  this is what we came up with – my first ever food photo!




On the last day, we had to make a Nestle Cereal. From scratch. Ouch. It was between these three.


Then the winner would be picked from who took the best photo.

Guess which one I chose – Cheerios!  (I was told it was the simplest to make but it wasn’t easy – the piping was a killer).


Once the Cheerios had been double baked with a coating of honey glaze, I left them to cool and got started on sourcing the props I wanted.

Here is a little video of me in action. [embedyt][/embedyt]

There is no way to share this without sounding boastful, but for purposes of recounting my story it would be weird not to tell you – I actually won!

Collecting my prize – a Polaroid camera.  (Can you see my genuine look of delight – I haven’t one anything for years!)


Here was my shot. I am sure it was the lime matching the Nestle logo…


Here are some of the other photos.  Hearts from bananas – cute!


The lovely team. From Mexico, Poland, Romania, Indonesia and the UK!


Relaying my few days to the cameras.  Need to turn the enthusiasm…


All these wonderful events and classes were interlaced with delicious meals cooked on site at Thyme.


I whole heartedly recommend it away for a weekend away. They also host a cooking school and cookery lessons!


Follow Nestle Breakfast Cereals on Instagram!


Family Friendly Holidays : Winter Sun

I doubt you are dreaming about winter sun this week (being hot and only September) but there are a few amonsgt us who know they have to book now to get the best deals at the most desirable locations in peak times, such as October half term and the Christmas holidays…

The lovely Amy at 360 Private Travel has put together 7 ‘winter sun’ holiday ideas for you and I. All you have to do is take your pick and give her a call (or the other way round),  she is happy to answer any query!



– Luxury resort on Antigua’s south coast, set on a stunning white sand beach overlooking turquoise waters, surrounded by emerald green hills

– Very secluded and private, the perfect place to relax and unwind

– Excellent children’s club for kids aged 2 upwards

– Huge array of land and water based activities

– Spa

– 4 restaurants offering a variety of delicious dining options

– 8hr direct flight from UK

From £9400 for 2 adults and 2 children. 7 nights in December in a Balcony Suite, including flights and private transfers

Carlisle Bay Antigua


– 5* Resort in a quiet and secluded part of Tenerife

– Huge beach and stunning island scenery

– Excellent children’s club for kids aged 4 upwards

– Plenty of activities for all ages, with interactive learning for children based on Land, Water, Culture and Environment

– Spa and excellent golf course

– Michelin Star dining

– 4hr direct flight from UK


Ritz Carlton Abama, Tenerife

From £7100 for 2 adults and 2 children. 7 nights October half term in 2 connecting Deluxe Rooms, including flights and private transfers



– Large secluded luxury resort set in a beautiful bay combining ocean and mountain views, but only a short drive from Muscat

– Large beach and pool complex

– Excellent children’s club for kids aged 4 upwards

– Plenty of outdoor and cultural activities for all ages, including exploring the souks and the desert landscapes

– Indulgent spa and dining to suit all tastes

– 7hr direct flight from UK

Shangri-La Al Waha, Oman

From £7175 for 2 adults and 2 children. 7 nights in October half term in a Family Room, including flights and private transfers

From £6175 for 2 adults and 2 children. 7 nights in December in a Family Room, including flights and private transfers



– Stunning private island resort set on a coral reef surrounded by crystal clear turquoise water

– Chilled out tropical island luxury

– Explorers Kids Club from 12 months upwards

– Lots of water based activities including sailing, scuba diving and snorkelling

– Top class dining and beach bars plus a waterside spa

– 13hr flight from UK, connecting in Dubai or Abu Dhabi

Niyama Maldives

From £13,900 for 2 adults and 2 children. 7 nights in December in a Beach Suite with Pool, including flights and private transfers



– Perfect tropical hideaway set in breath-taking surroundings

– Excellent for nature lovers as surrounded by unique wildlife in the national parks both on land and under the sea

– Young Explorers Kids Club from 4yrs upwards

– Hilltop spa and nearby 18 hole golf club

– Delicious Asian and western dining options

– 14hr flight from UK, connecting in Kuala Lumpur

The Andaman, Langkawi, Malaysia

From £4500 for 2 adults and 2 children. 7 nights in December in 2 connecting Deluxe Rooms, including flights and private transfers



– Luxurious family friendly beach resort

– Incredible setting on a white sand beach and soaring limestone cliffs

– Immaculate villas with plenty of space for all the family

– ‘Kids for All Seasons’ from 4yrs upwards

– Explore the nearby Geo Park by boat, spotting monkeys, birds and marine life

– Award winning spa and restaurants with excellent service throughout

– 14hr flight from UK, connecting in Kuala Lumpur

Four Seasons Langkawi, Malaysia

From £10,500 for 2 adults and 2 children. 7 nights in December in a Family Beach Villa, including flights and private transfers



– Sri Lanka is a wonderful family friendly destination – easy to travel around with welcoming locals, excellent hotels and a huge range of exciting adventures and experiences

Sri Lanka monks

– On arrival, spend your first night at The Wallawwa, just 15 minutes from the airport – tranquil oasis in a historical country house turned boutique hotel with friendly staff and delicious food

Sri Lanka spices

– Your private car and guide will drive you to the Cultural Triangle to stay at Ulagalla, one of the country’s most luxurious properties set in stunning countryside.. perfect for wildlife spotting and visiting the nearby cultural highlights such as Sigiriya and Anuradhapura

– Next stop is Taylors Hill in the tea hills near Kandy – simply stunning scenery and an opportunity to learn about the tea process as well as explore on foot or bike amongst the local villages and into the former royal city of Kandy

Sri Lanka tea hills

– Down to Yala, one of Sri Lanka’s national parks for a unique safari experience in this structured camp – spacious family tents and kids activities to help them learn about the natural environment. Plenty of opportunity for game drives to spot elephants, monkeys, crocodiles and the elusive leopards!

Sri Lanka elephant

Sri Lanka leopard

– Finish on the chilled out south coast at one of the most family friendly hotels, Why House – more like a private home with only a handful of rooms surrounding a huge pool set amongst the palm trees. Just a short stroll to one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka for a dip in the Indian Ocean.

Sri Lanka beach

– 10hr direct flight from the UK

From £11900 for 2 adults and 2 children. 14 nights in March or April, including flights and a private car and private guide.

Right, which one do you fancy? My pick is Sri Lanka, or perhaps The Maldives, but Antigua looks nice….

Amy 360 Travel

07703 784 468




Days Out Travel

Child-Friendly Hotels Within 2 Hours of London

This selection was compiled by Britain’s Finest – a useful website with plenty of special offers, to help you track down the finest places to stay, dine and unwind.  There is also an excellent search facility with over 400 ‘Child Friendly & Family Hotels.’  Here are 5 of the best within 2 hours of London..

Brooklands Hotel, Surrey

Children under 12 years stay for half price, under 3’s goes free. They have serval family packages available, from a Spa day for mum and daughter to family driving experience with Mercedes-Benz.


Tylney Hall Hotel, Hampshire

Children under 2 go free, treasure hunts for 3- 9’s with the use of an outdoor & indoor pool. You can even feed the residence of ducks in the beautiful grounds of this grade two list hotel.


Maison Talbooth Hotel, Essex

Offers canoeing on the river Stour, cycling (with a variety of bikes to suit all ages and stages), tickets to Colchester Zoo, tennis lessons on the hotel’s court and access to outdoor swimming pool.


Rubens at the Palace Hotel, London

Perhaps you would prefer a hotel in London? The Rubens is rolling out the red-carpet for families! Children of all ages are well catered for with a host of family friendly features with your very own director of fun and concierge team. Children under 12 years old stay free when sharing a room with parents.


Old Swan & Minister Mill, Oxfordshire

Children are made to feel welcome as soon as they arrive with bath ducks, teddy bears & treats. Plenty of activities for the children from cycling to fishing. A family holiday package is also available for 2 adults & 2 children under the age of 18 years.


Britains Finest


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