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Family time at Foxhills

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What is it? The Adventure Playground was a big hit with all three children, aged two to six. Clementine, the youngest, took full advantage of the baby swings and the big slide, while Tilly, four and Josie, six, loved the rides for older children and the grown-up swings. The indoor swimming pool was clean and quiet, with a ledge at one end enabling Clementine to find her footing. And all three loved strolling through the grounds.

Where? We had a nice meal in the hotel’s child-friendly restaurant, the Summerhouse, and the kids loved the buckets of crayons and dinosaurs that magically appeared on the table. The Manor Restaurant in the main building was gorgeous but didn’t appear appropriate for children in the evening – unless they were very well-behaved (obviously, not ours). We did have a delicious breakfast there, and the amiable Portugese waiter (cute, too!) even found some soya milk for Clementine.

Description: We wanted a relaxing place to take our three daughters over half-term, somewhere with comfortable accommodation and enough activities to keep them easily entertained for a few days. Finding somewhere relatively close to London that didn’t require a long drive (or a big vomit, or three little ones) was also a plus for us.

Clementine spent a happy morning in the creche next to the health club, which takes children up to age five (Tilly was also booked in but she said it appeared too young for her and didn’t want to stay). Baby-sitting in evenings is provided on request for about L10 an hour.

If you’re looking for a manicure, pedicure, facial or haircut, this is the place. The health club, Foxglove, offers anything from reiki massage to Bowen Therapy to body exfoliation packages. Tilly and Clementine both came away with new barnets for a reasonable L7.50 each, and Renata and I enjoyed the fully equipped gym, where personal trainers are on hand to give advice. There is also a steam room and sauna adjacent to the pool.

Foxhills is close to London, so if you want to take advantage of more than the resort has to offer, you’re in the right place. The resort would be a good place to use as a nesting point from which to explore the capital – if you can afford it!

That the main building – including the gorgeous Manor restaurant – has a dress policy, which during the evenings means no jeans and men in jackets. Good thing we hadn’t booked dinner in the Manor as we wouldn’t have been allowed in!

Take your towels with you to the poolside. I didn’t, and after getting out soaking wet noticed a large sign advising us to dry off thoroughly before going back to the changing room. Needless to say, we left a suspiciously wet trail all the way from the pool to our lockers. Sorry!

Local activities: ‘Can we stay here 100 years?’ asked Josie, six. ‘My head is full of Foxhills although my body is back in London. I just can’t stop thinking about it,’ said wise old Tilly, four, upon our return home.

Wish we had known: Foxhills is located about 20 miles from Heathrow in Ottershaw, Surrey. A two-bedroom family suite is about L300 per night, although special offers apply. Look on the web for more details at www.foxhills.co.uk or phone 01932 872050.

Our top tip: ‘I don’t understand. It’s not hilly and I can’t see any foxes,’ remarked Tilly, four, as we drove alongside the golf course towards the resort. ‘Why don’t they call it Grasstrees?’ Grasstrees indeed. Foxhills Club and Resort is a 400-acre private estate, with a state-of-the-art business centre and rooms fitted with wi-fi and high-definition TVs, overlooking several carefully maincured golf courses. What better place to take three loud, mischevious little girls with no appreciation of the finer things in life – and no table manners.[PART_OF_THE_GROUNDS.JPG] My fears appeared to be confirmed when we emerged from the car and entered the main reception area in the Manor House. Evidently a conference had been taking place, for a large table was set for tea and coffee – with very breakable china – and several smaller ones groaned with plates of pretty pastries. Of course, Tilly, her older sister Josie, six, and two-year-old Clementine immediately set upon the pastries, stuffing their little mouths with expensive jam fillings while I tried to check ourselves in. They were just about to help themselves to seconds when a loud voice intruded. ‘These pastries are NOT for you,’ a woman from the business centre told Renata, our au pair. ‘They are NOT yours. Please leave them alone!’ Suitably disciplined, Renata found me and we all made a quick run for our room. But all was forgotten when we saw our two-storey, two-bedroom, two-bathroom suite, complete with kitchen and living area. ‘I love the beds!’ Josie squealed. ‘I love my cot!’ said Clementine. ‘Where have all the foxes gone?’ Tilly wailed yet again. The next two days were spent in total harmony. We ate, drank, swam, strolled, took pictures and romped happily through the grounds (beware of uncovered swimming pools seemingly appearing out of nowhere, especially with littler ones). Our evening meal was pleasant and breakfast the following morning was delicious, and several staff members offered the children sweets and to show us around. [TILLY_CLEMENTINE_AND_JOSIE.JPG] Even Clementine was enchanted by some of the odd-shaped chairs in the lobby, and the older kids appreciated the large wall paintings (budding art critics, no doubt). Although we opted not to participate in a round of golf, the Pastry Incident was soon forgotten. ‘I had a fun time because you could jump into the swimming pool, I liked the restaurant and the playgound was really fun,’ said Tilly. Enough said. (Wendy Sloane is the Travel Editor of entertainthekids.com, has three children and lives in London with her husband, Duncan)

 

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