Holidays have come a long way since we were children, haven’t they? We’ve been browsing our favourite travel sites, looking for inspiration for some new year trips, and just look what we’ve found! Some incredibly cool places to stay for a weekend or a whole holiday, that will enchant your family and provide fabulous memories.
Cool Places to Stay with Kids
Sleep at the Zoo
Helen and her family slept at the zoo at Whipsnade, in Dunstable, right opposite the rhino enclosure. But don’t imagine it was all I’m a Celebrity roughing it. In fact, guests can partake of nightcaps on deck around a communal camp, before falling asleep in wooden pods with proper beds, electric heaters, and a kettle for a decent cuppa in the morning. Talking of which, you get access to the zoo before it opens, with a guided tour to feed the animals some breakfast, before spending the day there at leisure.
A Prison Bolthole
How would you like to stay in a prison? The House of Correction is an erstwhile jail in Folkingham, Lincolnshire, that has been preserved by the Landmark Trust as a small guest house perfect for a family. Whilst still boasting handcuffs and leg irons, the property has been converted for a family to get away from it all – and come back with a story to tell!
Sleep in a pineapple
The Pineapple, at Dunmore in Scotland, is an 18th century summer house with a private walled garden that was built purely for fun. Its quirky layout makes this an unusual place to stay, and with a double and twin bedrooms next to each other, it’s perfect for a small family.
Ultra cool east London
If you’re attracted by east London’s cool bars, street food, and street art, Qbic is the hotel for you. We love the Fun Room; the king size bed can be supplemented with extra beds for the kids, and who wouldn’t want to sleep with this dude as a backdrop? With a sofa, a rain shower, and a safe that fits your laptop, we think this is the chicest place to stay to discover the hipper side of the UK capital with your kids.
Magical treehouses in Norfolk
Think camping, but with every luxury, and a large pinch of magic. West Lexham treehouses in Norfolk are stunning, multi-roomed cabins built high up in the trees, with wood-burning stoves, proper beds and fairy light charm. Clustered around a select bell tent campsite you share a large outdoor kitchen and hot outdoor power showers, with underfloor heating. Possibly the coolest glamping ever. Read our full review here.
Eco Cool in Devon
With award-winning eco features, Loveland Farm Domes have incredible views of the night sky from transparent panels installed in the luxurious pods. Built high on stilts to maximise the wonderful views, the pods have quirky fittings to make falling asleep under the stars an exciting experience for any family. Two of the pods are dog friendly, and the location on the rolling Devon hills is perfect for a family who loves the outdoors.
Forget Hotels – Stay in a Boatel
Fancy a city break with a bit less of the bright lights? Sheffield may not spring to mind as a family destination with a difference, but stay at the Gainsborough Wharf Boatel, in Sheffield’s Victoria Quays, and you’ll feel a million miles from busy streets, right on the city’s doorstep. It’s exciting to cosy up at night all bundled in together, but a family of five won’t feel cramped, with a double bed, a comfy sofa, and the dining table which converts to another bed at night.
All Aboard the Bus
Remember the old-fashioned double-decker bus? Well now you can sleep in one with the whole family. In the heart of the Sussex countryside is a converted bus complete with kitchen, living room with log burner, and three bedrooms. Outside there’s a hot tub and a fire pit for keeping warm in the dark, as well as a toilet and wet room. Close to Lewes and 40 minutes from Brighton, there’s a lot going for the location, but we’re betting that once you’ve checked in, you’ll want to stay closer to home. Visit The Big Green Bus for more information.
The Railway Carriage, Bicknoller, Somerset
If a bus isn’t for you, how about a train? (Don’t say we haven’t covered all the transport options on Space In Your Case)! This vintage railway carriage is located just beside the West Somerset Steam Railway, the perfect spot for train spotters of the steam variety. Inside there’s a modern kitchen and two bedrooms, whilst the veranda is the spot for gazing out from the hot tub.
Layers of Rooms in a Tower
For something completely different, you can stay with your family in a six-storey water tower, with a single room on each floor. Overlooking the River Orwell, Freston Tower was built in 1578, and has 26 windows around its circumference. No one knows why it was built, but we’re glad it was! Climb up through the levels, passing kitchen and bathrooms on the way to the two bedrooms, one on top of the other, and a living room right at the top.
A Gypsy Caravan
Describing itself as “entirely off grid: a great location for a digital detox” Kingfisher camp, in Hay on Wye, is the ultimate in camping romance. With an award-winning local shop and pub just a short walk away, there’s no reason why you’d want to explore further than camp; the cosy double bed and pullout for 2 children is in the caravan, and the adjacent fishing hut is furnished with a living and kitchen area for easy camping. How gorgeous does this look?
Glamping with a Mediaeval Twist
Warwick Castle launched their bell tent glamping a few years ago so that visitors to the historic attraction could stay overnight and experience the castle and its grounds at more leisure. Recently they also opened Knight’s Village, a development of lodges for those less inclined to camp, and more in need of a solid roof – and facilities! Check out what Cathy, from Mummy Travels thought of her stay at Knight’s Village, and the family’s time at the castle.
Party in a Windmill
For a large family, or a group wanting somewhere special for a weekend away, we’re loving Llancayo Windmill, in the Brecon Beacons. With space for 12 to sit and eat together, six bedrooms, and modern facilities for self-catering, there could be no more quirky venue for a cool getaway.
A star-shaped castle
The Star Castle on St. Mary’s is a family-run, gourmet hotel with history. It was built in 1593 in the form of an eight-pointed star on Garrison Hill, and commands breathtaking views. The four-star hotel, in four acres of secluded sub-tropical gardens, boasts 38 bedrooms, two award-winning restaurants, an indoor heated swimming pool and complimentary tennis and golf.
In 2015, hotel owner Robert Francis produced the first fine wines from the vineyard that he planted in 2009. The vineyard itself is fast becoming one of the must-see locations on St. Mary’s.
Have you stayed anywhere really unusual that your kids have loved? Tell us in the comments.