Monday, May 19, 2014

Wallett's Court in Dover: Family-Friendly English Accommodation

I write a lot about the many benefits and wonderful aspects of traveling Europe with young kids. But there are limitations and sacrifices, to be sure. Especially when it comes to accommodation. The continent (and England in particular, it seems) is chock full of charming bed and breakfasts, lodges, manor houses, castles and so much more, all offering up a special, quiet night away. At various price ranges, too, which is fantastic.

But that's just it: a QUIET night. Meaning the 2-year-old who might throw a few fits in the process of settling into sleep in a strange place probably isn't welcome. Not to mention the fact that at most of these historic properties, it's just not possible to cram beds for four people into a tiny room. Things Americans, with our spacious hotels that can accommodate four or more without batting an eye, just don't often think about (or at least, I didn't).

Let me be clear: you CAN find places to stay as a family in Europe. Surely if you've spent any time reading about our travels over the last year, you know that's true. But you may have to give up the historic charm. Or the tucked away location. Or the hotel amenities.

Happy to say there are exceptions to every rule, though, and Wallett's Court in Dover, England is just that. A quintessential English country hotel and bed and breakfast, but with the ability (and flexibility... and willingness...) to host a family of four with ease.

My favorite part of our stay was the sliding glass door out to a beautiful green field. This meant that while the boys napped in the afternoon after a full day of play at Dover Castle, my husband and I enjoyed a couple of cocktails on the outside patio, still within easy earshot of our sleeping kids. Family travel relaxation at its best.

And when the boys woke up and discovered the spacious grounds for themselves? They were in heaven.

And my second favorite memory was our delicious breakfast the next morning. So often, my family starts its day (both at home and while traveling) slurping up bowls of cold cereal and fighting over who gets the last of the apple juice. To be served a hot, fresh and tasty gourmet breakfast, in a beautiful conservatory that overlooks the gardens at Wallett's Court, was such an amazing way to begin our last day of the trip. (Plus, this breakfast was so filling it not only powered us through an hour of hiking at the White Cliffs, but carried us through all the way through our 3-hour drive home.)

Our family room was perfectly adequate for four people, even spacious enough for the boys to wrestle a bit in the evening as we watched a movie. For the more adventurous, Wallett's Court offers some really fun choices, like glamping in a teepee!

To top it off, it is situated only a few minutes drive from both Dover Castle and the White Cliffs of Dover. I wrote about all the fun my family had in Dover here and wrote a post about Dover for Anglotopia here.

Disclosure: Thanks to Visit Kent and Wallett's Court, who arranged our stay and hosted my family for a night. All opinions are my own.

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