When I think of a luxury spa break I rarely imagine I can take the kids with me, but Chewton Glen is truly a family-friendly 5* spa hotel in the UK. On my last visit to Chewton Glen I was just getting ready for dinner when I spotted two kids playing out on the lawns. It was picture perfect, two little girls in pretty dresses playing in the sunset and it got me wondering … is Chewton Glen suitable for children? Could it be a good venue for a family spa break? After some investigations the answer is a resounding yes, there is something for the whole family and I’m adding Chewton Glen to my list of luxury family hotels to visit!
Chewton Glen review
If you’re looking for a luxury family hotel in the UK, Chewton Glen is definitely one of the best child-friendly spa hotels in the UK. Chewton Glen in the New Forest, Hampshire is a top destination for a family spa break.
I stayed at Chewton Glen in May 2021, just as England was coming out of lockdown 3.0 (and before it was featured on Britain’s Most Luxurious Hotels – I like to think I discovered this gem of a hotel first!) It was my second visit to the spa but my first time staying in the hotel. I actually didn’t go with my kids but I took my mum as a special treat for her birthday. It was only after visiting that I saw how family friendly Chewton Glen is, I am really excited to go back with my family.
I had originally booked this stay for November 2020, due to lockdowns it got postponed to January 2021 and then postponed again. The hotel were very accommodating of all the changes and stayed in regular communication regarding my booking. Chewton Glen is a high end hotel, when booking a spa break for two people including meals you are spending a lot of money and I’m pleased to say I feel their excellent customer service through the lockdowns reflected that investment.
Family-friendly accommodation at Chewton Glen
The accommodation at Chewton Glen comprises of the main building which is split over two floors plus 11 Treehouses. The spa area is attached to the main building and includes therapy rooms, gym, a cafe, an indoor pool and hydrotherapy pool. There is an outdoor pool for warmer weather. The site has a tennis centre, golf course, practice range and croquet lawn.
When you drive in the main entrance you pass through the extensive mature gardens before catching your first glimpse of the impressive country house hotel across the lawns. It is absolutely beautiful. You will be greeted as you pull into the car park but unfortunately due to Covid precautions we could not make use of the valet service. This really wasn’t a problem for us, we were only staying for one night and didn’t have much luggage. Had we needed assistance with our luggage (which we might have done had we been traveling as a family of 5!) there was someone nearby to help.
For families staying in the treehouses there is a separate car park nearer the accommodation.
We arrived early so our room wasn’t quite ready. Reception looked after our luggage while we made use of the spa facilities and had lunch in the spa cafe. I was heavily pregnant when I visited so I appreciated the chance to have a little snooze and a swim. When our room was ready Reception called me on my mobile to let me know.
We stayed in an Estate Room. We had a small terrace over looking the gardens. We were welcomed with a platter of dates and homemade biscuits which made pregnant and hungry me very happy! The room was very comfortable for 2 people with twin beds (King size bed also an option) and could very easily accommodate an extra bed if you are traveling with one child. For more space opt for a Junior Suite as this will give you a separate sitting area and space for one extra bed.
Chewton Glen has family rooms to cater for larger families and some of the rooms even have bunk beds (always a hit with my kids!) Hotel Suites are perfect for families of four and offer a private garden, Coach House Suites offer space for families of up to 6 split across two floors. The coach house suites also have direct access from the grounds of the estate so the kids can run straight out into the gardens.
Chewton Glen Treehouses
The Treehouses offer luxury accommodation with incredible forest views and some extra privacy. Each Treehouse comes with a private deck and hot tub over looking the forest. They sleep up to 12 people depending on which Treehouse you go for. Once inside, you wouldn’t know you were in a treehouse. This isn’t a glamping experience. The decor and comfort is just as luxurious (if not more so) than the main building. Breakfast can be delivered to your door each morning and you can even have a private chef cater for you in the treehouse kitchen if you’d like to be looked after in your own space. This would work brilliantly if you wanted to put the kids to bed and eat later without having to worry about childcare.
Surprisingly the treehouses are buggy and wheelchair accessible. They’re cleverly built into a steep hill so that you can walk straight into them via the front door and the back decked areas overlook a 35ft drop.
Do ask for a map of the building when you arrive as the main building can be a bit of a rabbit warren. We might have lost our room for a little while… turns out we are on entirely the wrong corridor!
Kid-Friendly Eating at Chewton Glen
Breakfast is provided in The Dining Room and is absolutely delicious. There is a good selection of hot and cold breakfast options with locally sourced meat and veg where possible. The Chewton Glen Kitchen garden is stunning and open to walk around if you’d like to see where your food is being grown.
If you’re staying in a Treehouse you can have breakfast delivered to your door. This might work better for your family than having to get everyone dressed and presentable before you’ve eaten in the morning.
Evening meals can be eaten either in The Dining Room or The Kitchen. The Dining Room is more of a fine dining experience whereas the Kitchen is much more laid back and has a great children’s menu. I would definitely choose The Kitchen for dinner with kids at Chewton Glen. It’s so family friendly that even families who were not staying at the hotel were visiting on the night we ate there. I highly recommend the lobster and chips! My mum had fresh, locally caught fish and loved it too.
The Kitchen usually offers a cookery school as well, but sadly that wasn’t in operation due to Covid restrictions when we visited.
Activities for kids at Chewton Glen
Chewton Glen Kids Club
Beyond the gardens and forest to explore and the outdoor pool to play in, there is plenty for little ones to do. From age 5 children can access The Beehive; the kids club at Chewton Glen. This frees you up to go for your massage and enjoy the spa, safe in the knowledge the kids are safe and having fun. They’ll do a range of activities from crafts, to treasure hunts, sports and games in the 130 acres of grounds. I had no idea there was a kids club at Chewton Glen! It was a revelation when the staff pointed it out.
You can borrow mountain bikes from Chewton Glen to explore the local area. They can also provide children’s bikes and baby pull-along bikes.
Junior ball and mallet sets are available for the kids and if you’ve never played croquet before reception can give you instructions.
Bookable Family Activities at Chewton Glen
- Clay pigeon shooting
- Laser Clays
- Apache Buggy Racing (not suitable for under 12’s)
- Duck Herding (yes! I can’t believe that’s actually a ting!)
- Fly Fishing
- Family Treasure Hunt
The Spa at Chewton Glen
The hydrotherapy pools, sauna, steam room and hot tub are not suitable for children. Under 14’s can use the indoor heated pool at certain times of the day. Check with reception at check in to find out current times. Kids can use the outdoor pool any time.
For adults the spa treatments at Chewton Glen are excellent! I highly recommend booking 2 treatments. I always find by the second treatment I’m far more relaxed and enjoy it so much more!
Around Chewton Glen
Chewton Glen is very near the coast and it’s possible to walk to the beach from the hotel. A 20 minute woodland walk will bring you to the beach between Highcliffe and Barton on Sea. From there, there are beach footpaths to Highcliffe Castle, a woodland nature reserve and more beaches. Highcliffe Castle was home to the Selfridge family from 1916 – 1922. If you continue for another 10 minutes or so you’ll reach Mudeford Quay, overlooking Christchurch Bay. Here you’ll see plenty of sailing boats and local fisherman. Ask at reception for a map with directions for your walk. Some of the cliffs can be dangerous so take care and don’t climb them.
Family Days out near Chewton Glen
As much as it would be wonderful to spend your entire family holiday relaxing in the spa while your kids enjoy being entertained in the kids club there is plenty to do nearby Chewton Glen as well.
Paulton’s Park is a family theme park just 40 minutes from Chewton Glen. It’s spread over 140 acres, with a good mix of thrilling rides and more family friendly rides, animals and birds and lovely gardens to explore. Paulton’s Park is also the home of Peppa Pig World which is incredible for younger kids. Your little ones will be able to enjoy every Peppa Pig themed ride and meet their favourite characters.
Marwell Zoo is just under an hours drive from Chewton Glen. Marwell Zoo is another 140 acre park with 5 adventure playgrounds and hundreds of animals to see. The zoo recommends allowing at least 4 hours for your visit.
Beaulieu is just 30 minutes from Chewton Glen and brilliant for any car enthusiasts in your family. Beaulieu is home to the National Motor Museum, World of Top Gear and an exhibition of film and TV’s favourite cars. You’ll also find plenty of outdoor space to roam, an adventure playground and a palace and abbey to explore!
Long Down Farm is a short 30 minute drive form Chewton Glen and brilliant for your little animal lovers. There are lots of lovely animals to meet along with some farm fun activities like tractor rides, Go-Karts, trampolines and the aptly named Pitchfork and Putt mini golf. There’s an outdoor play area and an indoor Infant’s Playroom just for pre-schoolers.
Will you make Chewton Glen the destination for your next luxury family holiday?