Travel

Winter At Woolley

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I’m a big fan of family weekends away.

For me, they’re the only way to ensure I actually slow down.  At home, there’s always so much to do and not enough time to do it.  Away – I RELAX.  We all do. And I love that!

Akira’s birthday is at the beginning of December and I’m always mindful that I want to keep it very separate from Christmas so he doesn’t feel short changed. So when Luxury Family Hotels asked if we fancied a weekend away, it seemed like the perfect way to celebrate my baby turning 5. *sobs

I stumbled upon their website one day whilst faffing around on the internet working hard on my computer and LOVED what they were trying to do.  I’ve always lived by the mantra that having kids doesn’t change things and you can still enjoy the little luxuries in life.  Of course, it’s not always the case and I laughed a little too hard watching Paddington over Christmas when the stars rocked up to a maternity unit on a motorbike – 9 months pregnant, not a care in the world – then left with their Maxi Cosi in a beige Volvo!  Mmm. Sounds familiar!  But Woolley Grange serves as a wonderful reminder that you can still enjoy all those little luxuries in life when you become parents. woolleySituated in 14 acres of stunning countryside, on the edge of the Cotswolds just outside Bath, it’s the kind of place you’d usually feel like you constantly had to shush your kids. But no – it’s totally luxurious yet fully welcoming of kids and pets. What’s not to love?!

And by “welcoming of kids” we’re not just talking highchairs and bibs my friend – although of course, they’re there!  But Woolley puts kids at the centre and it shows, with everything you need for kids of all ages including a bottle cleaning service (I know!) cots, bedguards – you name it, it’s there.  And you can even tell them everything you need in advance.

kidsThere’s even a Sunday morning nanny service to take care of your children while you have a lie-in… I’ll let those words sink in…. a LIE-IN!  Plus there’s just about every kind of magical outdoor fun you can imagine including a Good Life Garden complete with Bug Hotel, maze, playhouses, tractors, chickens, ducks, Simon the rabbit and Lillibert the hamster!  Yeah. Had you at Hello didn’t I!  Even the reading table in reception has every kind of magazine a parents heart could desire, alongside tons of books for kids.

AND (just incase you haven’t started checking your diary already) included in your stay are 2 hours of free childcare a day so you can sign your children into the Bears Den for a few hours of fun, while you get some R & R.  You can also use the facilities as a family at various times and we had a brilliant time in the Hen House, playing and chilling.

henhouse We stayed in Balcony Hall which worked brilliantly as it’s in a separate building to the main house and has two bedrooms – so you don’t have to go to bed when the kids do. Not that you have to anyway at Woolley as there’s a Movie Club so the kids can be entertained while you have dinner a deux. I always think the sign of a good weekend away is a ruffled duvet on a Sunday morning (say no more!) covered in magazines and papers!  Bliss.

roomWe loved being outdoors and fully embraced the elements!  We have swing ball at home which we generally play in the summer and wouldn’t dream of busting out on a frosty morning.  But “Extreme Swingball” (as it became known) was a big hit and we all got mildly hysterical as we played, fingers and toes numb from the cold, loving every minute!

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The outdoor pool was, understandably, shut for winter but looked pretty amazing!  The indoor pool and spa area are cunningly next to each other so, whilst one of you enjoys a massage (me) the other (Trey – with his short straw – see what I did there?!) can keep the kids entertained in the lovely pool.  When else can you swim whilst looking out at a vegetable patch with ducks and chickens?  There are even play puzzles on the wall next to the lockers and a playpen in the pool area incase you have a baby (or rather, have a baby with you!  Not randomly “have a baby” whilst swimming – that would just be awkward!)

spaThe staff were on hand to help with everything and boy was I grateful they were.

Akira is fairly shy so I didn’t bring a cake to have in the restaurant on his big day, as I didn’t think he’d like the attention.  Big mistake.  HUGE!  Imagine my horror when the staff came marching in with a cake singing “Happy Birthday” and Akira’s face lit up… …then fell as he watched them march past to a woman on the next table, also with a birthday!  Yeah. Mummy Error!

I rushed out and explained what a terrible parent I was (!) and the staff quickly rocked up with a Happy Birthday Banana Split and delivered it in full voice!  Akira was thrilled, and I inched one step closer to the Mummy of the Year Award! (I didn’t. Obvs!)

BIRTHDAYWoolley Grange is close to lots of towns and villages to explore but we were there for some quality family time so pottering around, going on walks, reading magazines and generally enjoying each others company was just what was needed.  I strongly recommend leaving your wheels in the car park for the duration of your visit.

And when you do get back in your car to leave, the memory of your trip can live on in the shape of some produce from the Honesty Shop at the Potting Shed selling vegetables and herbs grown in the Walled Garden and eggs, courtesy of the resident chickens.

pottingThanks to all at Woolley Grange for a wonderful break for the whole family.  We all enjoyed it as much as each other and we’ll be back.  There’s a massage table in the spa with my name on it!

K x

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30 Comments

  • Reply Polurrian Bay Hotel - Katy Hills BlogKaty Hills Blog May 3, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    […] is one of 8 gorgeous hotels around the UK run by Luxury Family Hotels. In the winter we stayed at Woolley Grange near Bath and we seem to be slowly working our way around them […]

  • Reply Sharon Gardner January 7, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    Woolley Grange is a very special place. We had our wedding reception there back in 1992 and returned in 2002 to celebrate our anniversary. Pity we left it so long for a return visit … Our teenagers would have loved it!

    • Reply Katy January 9, 2015 at 1:46 am

      Ah – that must have been pretty special x

  • Reply Sarah Ebner January 7, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    This sounds absolutely brilliant, especially for when the kids are little. Love the birthday rescue too!

    • Reply Katy January 9, 2015 at 1:45 am

      I loved it more! 😉 x

  • Reply Ross Atkinson January 7, 2015 at 11:34 am

    Kate, I just love how you and your children had such a wonderful time at Woolley. This house was my 2nd great grandparents home and apparently, according to a letter from their neice, it was a warm loving family home. I’m so pleased that you had a good time. i will get there one day. Regards, Ross

    • Reply Katy January 9, 2015 at 1:45 am

      Wow Ross! You SO have to go! What a great story. Can’t believe you haven’t been already! xx

      • Reply Ross Atkinson January 9, 2015 at 7:16 am

        Kate, I do so much want to visit Woolley Grange. However, the tyranny of distance is an issue. I live in Australia, so I cannot just pop over. I am planning a visit for 2017. It’ll be my “Magical Ancestry Tour”. Thanks again for your review. Regards Ross

  • Reply Aly January 5, 2015 at 8:34 am

    I sooooo need a break away.this looks like a gorgeous and perfect place to stay Katy.

    • Reply Katy January 6, 2015 at 10:39 am

      You DO! And it IS! 😉 x

  • Reply Mammasaurus January 4, 2015 at 9:55 am

    This looks like my idea of actual heaven! And a Sunday morning nanny service- good morning genius! Belated birthday wishes to Akira x

    • Reply Katy January 4, 2015 at 11:44 am

      Ah thanks! He loved it! And his special, well-planned out banana split obvs! x

  • Reply Emma January 4, 2015 at 8:44 am

    Ooooh, I keep looking at these hotels and almost booking as a treat. A friend of mine really recommends Moonfleet Manor.

    I’m like you and need to be away from home, work, cooking and cleaning to relax so Family Friendly Hotels look like the perfect break. I LOVE the idea of an honesty shop too.

    I might have to see if they have any special offers for the New Year.

    • Reply Katy January 4, 2015 at 11:43 am

      Do it! I’ve never thought of going in winter before, but it was really cool x

  • Reply Becky January 4, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Oh what a fabulous place! I could do with some of that!

    • Reply Katy January 4, 2015 at 11:43 am

      It was pretty fab! x

  • Reply Richmond Mummy January 3, 2015 at 1:05 am

    Sounds bloody incredible, am going to share with my other half and several friends right now!

    • Reply Katy January 4, 2015 at 11:43 am

      You’re right! Going with mates with kids would be THE BEST! x

  • Reply Anonymous January 2, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    Family is SO important to me and I love to hear of places that make sure the kid are really included. That was so nice what they did with the banana split. Hope he had a great 5th birthday.

    • Reply Katy January 2, 2015 at 9:00 pm

      Thanks so much! It was fab xx

  • Reply Polka Dot Family January 2, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    Oh WOW! What an amazing place to stay, it looks like they have really given some thought into how make it a great stay for all the family. Catering for babies through to kids clubs as well as special treats for the parents.

    • Reply Katy January 2, 2015 at 9:00 pm

      It was LOTS of fun! x

  • Reply Mum of One January 2, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    This sounds AMAZING and I really think they are onto something. There are really not enough places like this offering high quality stays for families with young children and there are a lot of us with, between us all, a lot of money to spend. I will certainly investigate as not too far from Devon either.

    • Reply Katy January 2, 2015 at 8:59 pm

      Ooh – you’d love it! Also check out Luxury Family Hotels. They have 2 in Cornwall and 1 in Dorset that would be even closer for you! xx

  • Reply Penny Carr January 2, 2015 at 11:17 am

    Wow! I mean just WOW!!! Since having kids I have to admit that the idea of being able to have a relaxing time anywhere with them has pretty much evaporated, but this post makes me realise that it just may be possible in the future. I’m guessing I need to start saving big time though…

    • Reply Katy January 2, 2015 at 5:16 pm

      Ah – you MUST do it at some point! I think you just get used to thinking you can’t – and you still can xx

  • Reply Clare Goldsack January 2, 2015 at 9:49 am

    I’m on the email mailing list for Luxury Family Hotels and their properties look gorgeous. Thanks for your review. A weekend away is just what we need to look forward to now the festivities have passed. Hope you all had a lovely Christmas and wishing you a Happy New Year full of fun family times xx

    • Reply Katy January 2, 2015 at 10:38 am

      You’re SO right! I always love having a weekend away in my future diary. Gives me something to look forward to! x

  • Reply Alison Perry January 2, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Ahh so pleased you had a great time – isn’t it such a fab place? Your photos have made me want to go back. They create such a special balance between relaxation and family fun, don’t they? You should check out Polurrian Bay in Cornwall too – we headed there after Woolley. Stunning place!

    • Reply Katy January 2, 2015 at 10:37 am

      Ooh – I know. Very tempted to check out all the others now! Such a great idea and SO needed! x

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