Imagine a hotel where you could stay with kids, especially young kids (babies, even!), and come away actually feeling refreshed. If this type of kid friendly hotel sounds like the stuff of fairytales then you haven’t heard of Woolley Grange Hotel.
There are a lot of hotels out there now claiming to be family-friendly; family bedrooms, milk and cookies at bedtime and sometimes even a kids’ concierge. The Woolley Grange Hotel goes ten steps further, however, offering everything you need for a family weekend away where everyone’s needs are catered for. Woolley Grange Hotel is located in Bradford on Avon, 20 minutes from the lovely city of Bath and just two-hours from London.
Disclosure: We were hosted for one night at Woolley Grange Hotel for the purpose of this review. All opinions are, as always, entirely my own.
Woolley Grange Hotel
You’ll find this hotel of family travel dreams located in Bradford on Avon, just twenty minutes outside of Bath. Housed within a grand Jacobean manor dating back to 1665, the decor at Woolley Grange is very much Country Life Magazine; deep leather, well-loved sofas, roaring fires, wooden beamed ceilings and cosy tartan blankets. Wellies and Barbour jackets are not mandatory, but they might as well be. After all, how else can you justify tucking into a large slice of homemade cake in front of the fire if you haven’t been on a country walk?
This really is a fun hotel for kids and everything at Woolley Grange has been designed with families in mind. There’s a cosy living room with a corner piled high with toys and a more formal(ish) living room for adults; there’s The Orangery where kids’ supper is served and the candlelit dining room for parents; there’s a trampoline, a giant outdoor Connect Four set, a swing, a croquet set and – the real clincher – both an indoor and outdoor pool. There’s also the Woolley Grange Spa if parents really want to treat themselves.
No sooner had we arrived at Woolley Grange then my three kids were off, taking a tour around the property armed with their Woolley Sheep trail to follow. As they went in search of the eight sheep – designed in varying shapes, sizes and materials – scattered around the property – we visited the Walled Garden, looked for fairies in the Fairy Garden and then came across the Woolley Bear’s Den.
This Ofsted rated play room is what really makes this an excellent kid-friendly hotel. Packed full of toys, games and dressing up clothes, the Den is run by lovely staff who will look after your babies from 12-weeks up to children aged eight-years-old. Guests can pre-book a complimentary two-hour supervised session for each day of their stay. It’s open from 7.30am-6pm and, outside the two supervised sessions, is open to hotel guests.
Having roamed the grounds and found the indoor swimming pool, the three kids headed to The Orangery for an early supper and we joined them for a cocktail. Afterwards, they retreated to our family room to watch TV. If they had wanted, they could have joined in the supervised Saturday Movie Night with a screening at 6pm and 8pm. Instead, ours chose to head back to our two-bedroom Family Suite.
That’s the other thing about Woolley Grange, they have a range of hotel rooms to suit families of all sizes. As a family of five, we often choose rental accommodation over a hotel as we rarely find hotels with rooms to fit all of us. At Woolley Grange, however, we stayed in a Large Family Suite and enjoyed two-bedrooms, with the kids all piled into one. For even larger families, there’s the Hayloft, a two-bedroom suite that can sleep up to seven people. Woolley Grange also offer a Breakfast Club that sees staff collect your offspring at 8am on a weekend morning for breakfast, while you enjoy a lie-in.
Kids in bed, we headed to dinner just the two of us and discovered that every other couple had the same idea. Woolley Grange offer a baby listening service as well as actual real-life babysitters, meaning that parents really do get some time off. If it’s been months since you last had a conversation with your other half without a baby crying or a toddler interrupting, then dinner together is a real treat. Dinner was excellent with a tasty seasonal menu using herbs, fruit and vegetables grown in the hotel’s own kitchen garden. Other ingredients are locally sourced. Well fed, we enjoyed a nightcap in front of the fire and then it was time to call it a night.
Dark mornings and thick curtains meant that the three kids all slept well and as a result, so did we! Breakfast was back in the main dining room and after delicious poached eggs all round, we squeezed in a quick swim in the indoor pool. What we thought was a clever idea, seemed to be a popular one and the pool was packed. Still, as anyone who travels with kids knows, a swimming pool is always a winner, even if you do have to share. I look forward to visiting again between May and September when the heated outdoor pool is open.
And then, all too soon, it was time to check out. We waved goodbye to Woolley Grange and headed towards Bath for a bit of sightseeing. Overall, we really enjoyed our time at the hotel. If I’m being entirely honest, it’s best suited for families with younger kids; Sam was the perfect age while Tess and Alfie, at 10- and 12-years-old, were definitely the oldest children there. Nevertheless, they loved their country break, as did we.
For more information on Woolley Grange Hotel, including rates, take a look at their website. Woolley Grange is part of the Luxury Family Hotels chain, take a look at their website for more family-friendly break ideas.