run out of womb

... learning how to be a mum from scratch

Monday 8 August 2016

TRAVEL: baby-friendly Fawsley Hall

If you asked tiny man his favourite thing about our weekend at Fawsley Hall, a small luxury hotel near Daventry, I reckon he'd have a lot to say about its stick collection. At 15 months, he loves pottering around gardens and 'drawing' on tree trunks with the carefully-curated vault of sticks that he will rapidly accumulate at any opportunity. 

Luckily for us, then, that Fawsley has beautiful, lush green grounds (and trees) and is in the middle fo 2000 acres of parkland; the relaxing spa garden with outdoor hydro pool was particularly ideally located, giving tiny man space to quietly pad around, and his mama and dada the chance to share pottering with him alongside lying on comfy loungers. We all loved the big indoor pool, and the grown-up outdoor hydro pool too.
Fawsley is a particularly baby-friendly bolthole because there are lots of ways for adults to relax - that spa, and long walks, croquet, gorgeous afternoon teas, stacks of games, and a well-stocked bar.. - and babies and toddlers are very welcome too. 

Home-cooked meals are free for under threes - so we took tiny man for a fish, potatoes and vegetable and berries for dessert dinner at 6pm, before returning for a more leisuringly three-course adult dinner ourselves later.. 

The main Cedar restaurant served food that looked as good as it tasted: we opted for beetroot carpaccio with goats' cheese, guinea fowl, and an amazing tart tatin. Three courses were pretty good value at £39, and there was a more intricate tasting menu for special occasions too. 

Many of Fawsley's staff are big characters: a lovely restaurant manager (with excellent advice on ice cream flavours), the charismatic Mo who enthusiastically describes every element of each bedroom, and Jimmi at afternoon tea, who couldn't have been more excited about our cakes if he was about to eat them himself. 
The grounds were a highlight of our stay: we were too relaxed to consider any proper exercise (though there are hills for hiking a-plenty), so we strolled and tiny man toddled. 

There are lots of maps and suggested walks, and even wellies for wet weather, though luckily we had a warm sunny weekend.

 There was one other baby staying whilst we were there, and a handful of kids (making use of the brilliant board game collection plus free DVDs), but it was mostly spa-ing couples: there's enough space for everyone to have lots of room, though.
Bedrooms are really spacious and designed with an eye to Fawsley's history: it was royalty's resting spot as early as the 7th century, now mostly Georgian with modern additions and owned by the Handpicked hotel group.

Our bedroom  - room three - was up a winding staircase that was difficult to navigate -with the buggy (no lift), but there are accessible options. Ours was decorated in shades of green, with traditional portraits handing on the walls; the big windows and huge bathroom were our favourite features - love a nice bubbly tub!

Just before we headed home, there was one more treat: afternoon tea of cucumber, salmon, ham and egg sandwiches; fruit and plain scones with cream and jam (of course) and macaron, chocolate and lemon cakes. It was served in the grand Great Hall, with Elizabeth I staring down from her huge portrait on the wall, but we liked the little touches best: tiny man being offered warm milk or specially small sandwiches; the waiter noticing my suddenly-sore throat and bringing ginger, lemon and honey tea - and the really tasty scones and macarons.

For families in that phase where you want to relax in a sprawling natural space and don't need oodles of facilities to entertain older children, Fawsley Hall is ideal: you can easily take a weekend out (it was just under a 90-minute drive from north-west London), have a lazy day in the small spa, pool, gym and gardens, do lots of exploring with the tiny one, (there are sheep, ducks, and fish to see all around you - what more could a one-year-old want?!) then take them for a pre-dinner walk to zzzzzzzzzzzzz-ville and enjoy a romantic dinner without needing a babysitter - the staff happily accommodated our softly-snoring buggy right next to our table. And didn't mind when we had to do some speedy laps to get tiny man to sleep again, mid-meal...

It's not all perfect- the breakfast array was fine, but not a highlight, and children are only allowed in the pool for two scheduled slots per day. But it's much more reasonable than many hotels aiming to lure in London parents - starting at just £124 a night - and a lovely place to spend time relaxing in beautiful grounds - and with plenty of sticks...
Hand Picked Hotels (0845 458 0901) is offering a two-night classic break at Fawsley Hall Hotel & Spa from £248 per room, including a three-course dinner for two on the first night, overnight accommodation in a classic double or twin room and a full traditional breakfast on both mornings.  Run Out of Womb was a guest of Fawlsey Hall for this review, but rest assured we're seriously gobby and only rave about what we really love.


1 comment

© run out of womb. All rights reserved.
Blogger Designs by pipdig