As staycations look set to stay for the foreseeable, a UK break presents an opportunity to reacquaint with some of the country’s delights. From the stunning coasts to iconic cities and then there’s everything in between.
London, the beating heart of the UK, is a great city to explore as a family and now more than ever there is a fantastic opportunity to support hotels, restaurants and attractions as they prepare to reopen and welcome visitors back to the city.
We recently visited St. Ermin’s Hotel, a beautiful 4 star property handily located adjacent to St. James’ Park, that is steeped in London history and makes a fab base for a family city break.
The white washed lobby with high rococo-plasterwork, spiral staircases and glistening chandeliers is a beautiful grand surprise. The eclectic styling is very theatrical and majestic, not necessarily what you expect from the exterior but perhaps more what you would anticipate from theatre set designer, JP Briggs, that was commissioned to renovate the hotel ten years ago.
Family Rooms sleep up to five comfortably
The 331 rooms are one of the standout features for a family break. Several Deluxe Guest Rooms feature two double beds, a daybed and handily two separate bathrooms making it ideal to comfortably host families of up to five, a London rarity. These super-sized rooms provide a fantastic space for families with younger children without the price tag of a suite.
Décor is light and bright with windows looking out to the courtyard below for some fun people watching on the porch and spotting all the comings and goings!
Each room is kitted out with all the latest technology – two huge TVs, fridge and coffee machine; while the marble bathrooms feature a shower or tub and are stocked with The White Company toiletries for a little bit of luxury.
The redbrick building is steeped in captivating London history that is fascinating for young and old. The hotel has links with espionage and MI6, while James Bond author, Ian Fleming, regularly frequented the hotel’s bar. The book, House of Spies by Peter Matthews, sheds some light on the infamous characters that wandered the hotel’s corridors.
Upon check-in all children are presented with a special Spy Kids activity pack filled with games and activities to not just entertain but cleverly educate them as they seek out the clues with the help of the hotel staff from across the resort, a great initiative that the kids enjoyed!
Food & Drink
For a large hotel, it’s easy to think the catering is all on a large scale with quick turnovers etc, but that’s really not the case. The Caxton Bar & Restaurant consists of a beautifully crafted bar that holds all the secrets of yesteryear. Sip on a delectable cocktail list while cosying up to the open fire before heading through to the Caxton Grill to experience a menu of British classics utilising local, seasonal ingredients including herbs from its rooftop kitchen garden.
You can also pick up a fantastic continental and cooked breakfast providing the very best start to a day of exploration.
If you’re after a take on Afternoon Tea, head to the library on the mezzanine for alfresco dining, or during winter months a heated covered terrace for courtyard views. A delicious array of mouth-watering miniature delights await, with a flair on the more traditional. A special Mini Gardeners afternoon tea menu is also available for youngsters, which includes a tasty, happy-faced shortbread guaranteed to literally pop a smile on any face!
Bees have been hot topic for some time; in a bid to support the urban bees in the London St Ermin’s have created a ‘Bee Hotel’ on their roof garden. Contrary to popular belief, London has a higher density of bees than anywhere else in the country however they can sometimes struggle to forage for food due to the level of construction in these special areas. To support with this issue, on the third floor you will find a carefully crafted home to an amazing colony of 350,000 bees as they come and go between the hotel and London’s local parks.
Children can take it all in safely through the floor to ceiling windows admiring the colour and design of the bee hotel that is filled with nesting areas and themed spaces to accommodate different industrious insects.
For a more hands on experience with the bees, resident beekeeper, Paul Youthed, provides a range of special workshops available through the summer months.
It’s hard to find a ‘bad’ location in central London as so many fantastic attractions are dotted across the city, however in saying that we are partial to location of St Ermin’s Hotel. Tucked away in a stunning tree-lined courtyard located in Westminster, all the parliamentary sights are less than ten minutes walk away and perhaps the epitome of children’s delights – Buckingham Palace is a mere ten minute walk in the opposite direction making you and Liz practically next door neighbours!
Meanwhile it’s proximity to St. James’ Park tube station, a two-minute walk round the back of the hotel, connects the rest of the city with this iconic location.
The St. Ermin’s Hotel is scheduled to reopen on 1stMarch. Family rooms start from £279 per night including breakfast. For more information and to book, visit https://www.sterminshotel.co.uk/offers/family-escape/