When I told my youngest we were going to stay in a hotel which offers LEGO room service, he didn’t believe me. So as we checked in to Bovey Castle and he was handed their LEGO room service menu, he gave me a huge smile before choosing the Police Station set to play with. The set was delivered to our cosy interconnecting rooms and the kids played with it when we weren’t out taking part in the many activities on offer.
Besides the LEGO, the youngest enjoyed the Bovey Rangers kids session building dens and lighting fires, while the eldest was happy with archery and air rifle shooting. Us adults were intrigued to learn how to make cider and sloe gin (I’m planning to make some raspberry gin at home now I know how to do it), and we all loved the indoor pool. The hotel has a relaxed, homely feel, despite its history and grand surroundings, and children are very welcome. Our children’s bathroom had rubber ducks for the bath and child-sized towelling robes and slippers – although the eldest had to use some of the adult-sized ones. There’s a beautiful wooden rocking horse to play on outside the Edwardian dining room and and stacks of wellies and waterproof jackets in various sizes by the main entrance for guests to borrow.
Besides guests’ dogs, there are various animals around – a vocal grey parrot opposite the log fire in one of the armchair-filled reception rooms, ferrets and chickens in the grounds, and Artemis the eagle and other birds of prey at the daily falconry display. Martin Whitley, a deadpan wit and Bovey’s falconer, told us that Artemis ‘only eats children on Fridays’. It was Friday.
The family travel lowdown: Bovey Castle is a luxury hotel on the edge of Dartmoor’s national park in Devon, south-west England. It was built for the heir to WH Smith in 1907 and sits within a 275-acre country estate. It has a spa, pool, restaurants, golf course and 14 contemporary lodges. We received a family one-night complementary stay last week.