Does A Family-Friendly Luxury Hotel Exist?
Located near Bath, Lawyer Monthly went to find out how family-friendly Lucknam Park was; with three kids in tow, including a teething baby, could Lucknam Park find a way to allow parents to truly really relax?
With the property dating back to before 1066, Lucknam Park became one of the UK’s top country house hotels in 1987 after it was restored of its elegance and style of the past era. Located just six miles from the main city of Bath and within easy reach of popular family destinations such as Longleat, Bowood House, Cotswolds Water Park and Bristol Zoo, Lucknam Park is now ideally situated just off the M4 and a great base if you want to explore the West Country with the family. Small lanes twist and turn as you drive towards the heart of the sophisticated property – where upon arrival, a majestic gate obligingly opens to take you down the breathtaking tree-lined driveway – a wonderful welcome after a few hours drive from London, with restless kids all ready to be set free!
And free they can be…for the country house hosts a spectacular 500 acres of impressive gardens and unspoilt parkland – an elegant “playground” for families.
WHAT CAN KIDS DO?
Lucknam Park genuinely enjoy having children around and they aren’t shy with letting you know; with an array of things on offer for your young ones, there is little time for them to get bored! There are an excellent variety of activities and treats which make brilliant use of the grounds, keeping families and the little ones exercised, energised and entertained.
With 35 horses of all sizes and capabilities, the Equestrian Centre is a must-see and a ‘riding session’ creates an idyllic country memory whereby children could take a gentle trot around the local woodlands guided by a member of the centre. Horse riding lessons are also popular, as well as longer rides available through the Cotswolds countryside for more experienced riders.
We also found the converted cottage known as the Hideaway filled with toys and activities where you can spend indoors time with babies and toddlers. Moreover, with a cookery school on site, little chefs can stick on an apron and learn how to make some scrumptious, yummy treats!
With a selection of bicycles on the estate for old and young to use at their leisure, the vast grounds can be happily explored and no one is worried about ‘walking on the grass’…in fact it is encouraged; you can let the afternoon pass by relaxing on the grass, having a picnic enjoying the snacks you previously made, with your children running in the open green space, and most importantly, in a clear eyeshot!
If you want the little ones to feel more spoilt, a chef will happily offer a tailored picnic meal, including a bespoke menu with mini sandwiches and little desserts; it was certainly one of the best picnics we have ever had! With wellies available for long walks and an outdoor play area designed to keep kids busy – Lucknam Park is a welcome gift for parents with active, never tiring children.
And as all parents know, mealtime can be taxing! However, Lucknam make it as easy as possible- the restaurant welcomes kids over the age of five years and has a reduced menu for young diners with dishes that won’t disappoint.
The sumptuous Grand Suite where we stayed overlooked the front of the Park with its sweeping views boasting stunning decor. The family room was incredibly spacious especially with the living room doubling up as a second bedroom. High ceilings, four poster beds and a fully kitted out luxury bathroom with a free-standing bath and sweetly scented ESPA toiletries automatically relax you. A nice blend of traditional country house with all the mod cons. Our room was even ‘keeping it cool’ with a Dyson fan in the room… well if it’s good enough for Buckingham Palace(!)
Although 42 bedrooms are available to be booked, cottages are becoming increasingly popular for larger groups and from September the hotel is introducing the brand-new Squire’s Cottage which has all the advantages of sleeping up to eight people with its own modern open plan kitchen, living and dining room, enclosed garden and terrace. Guests can self-cater or enjoy all the 5-star hotel trimmings. This follows the opening of Keeper’s Cottage, which launched in 2018 with the hotel introducing a further two cottages by the end of the year.
Children were also welcome for an ample amount in the Spa. In most hotels little ones are only given a ‘block few hours’ so as not to ‘upset’ members or guests – however, an 11 am-3 pm slot means you have plenty of time to enjoy a swim in the 20 metre pool with the entire family, either before lunch or straight after. The pool sits along a set of hydrotherapy pools, as well as a number of thermal cabins which include Japanese salt, aromatic steam, an Amethyst room and sauna.
Don’t want the kids to tag along? Can’t say we blame you. Fortunately, you can book the trusted Hotel Nanny, so you can enjoy some much-needed mindlessness and self-care by yourself at the Spa. The ESPA inner calm massage using aromatherapy oils helps release tension in the back, arms and head, enabling you to simply ‘quieten the mind!’; when followed by a quick dip in the outdoor salt water plunge pool you leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Lucknam Park gets a big thumbs up as a family-friendly property with country walks, delicious meals in The Brasserie, riding, cooking and the luxurious ESPA spa. Suffice to say, the kids are well and truly rested by the time you have to load up the car and leave!
Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Wiltshire (01225 742 777, www.lucknampark.co.uk) offers Classic rooms from £295 per night based on two people sharing on a room only basis including use of the spa facilities & VAT. Horse riding lessons & hacks available from £120 per hour per person.
BOOK THE HOTEL NANNY!
Music to every parent’s ears is The Hotel Nanny – a Mary Poppins experience allowing you to enjoy some downtime at Lucknam Park. Working with a range of hotels across the UK including Lucknam Park, The Hotel Nanny service was created by a high-flying busy parent for other like-minded parents. We were given a photo and background to the nanny arriving for the night as well as being able to give a briefing in advance so the nanny could prepare any toys, activities and routines in advance. The nanny came in and confidently took care of the kids, whilst a massage and dinner could be enjoyed in peace-buying this ‘time’ is a treat you need to give yourselves! https://thehotelnanny.co.uk/ 0330 355 4560
WE THE CURIOUS, BRISTOL
If you have time for a day out, highly recommended is this state-of-the-art visitor attraction about 40 minutes away in Bristol. The venue offers an amazing world of hands-on discovery for families and kids can enjoy asking questions, getting creative and testing things out. Indeed, the UK’s first 3D Planetarium can be found here where you can book for 2D and 3D shows with the Live Science Team presenting stunning immersive experiences from around the universe!
Located in the heart of Bristol’s historic Harbourside area, next door is the Bristol Aquarium, a short walk away is the Brunel’s SS Great Britain and a host of cafés, bars and restaurants alongside Bristol’s historic Harbourside area with College Green and Park Street minutes away. Pop on the Ferris Wheel in the courtyard mini-fairground and you can even catch breathtaking views of Bristol with Cabot Tower and Bristol University in clear sight! For more information about We The Curious, visit www.wethecurious.org
Thinking of a Christmas Break?
Check out Lucknam’s Christmas package this year which sees Father Christmas himself arriving by Victorian horse drawn carriage to deliver festive gifts with the carriage available for rides around the estate.