• With Kids in the Westcountry

Black Hall Lodges: Family-friendly lodge holiday with hot tub and pool in Wales/Shropshire

#childfriendlyholiday #lodgeholiday #hottubholiday #Wales #Shropshire #UKbreak #familyfriendly #holiday #staycation #swimming #playgrounds #gamesroom #dogfriendly #walking #cycling #greatoutdoors

I can’t really take the credit for finding this particular gem of a family-friendly UK break, but I’m pleased to be sharing it with you as it’s one of those places you might only discover via word-of-mouth recommendation. I have the power of mums on Facebook to thank for pointing me in the right direction – after a 10-minute consultation on a Facebook mum-group, we had our winning destination in sight: Black Hall Lodges on the border between Shropshire and Wales.

We’d been searching for a child-friendly holiday in Wales, and I’d wanted to recreate my own childhood memory of a stay in a Scandinavian-style log cabin lodge (but without the Lapland price tag) – so that was our brief.

To say this place is an incredible find is an understatement. The lodges are 5* beautiful. In a way, I wasn’t expecting quite such luxury at a family-friendly resort, but thankfully the lodges are designed in such a way that they’re beautiful without all the glass vases and breakables. Black Hall Lodges is a site suitable for couples, friends, and families with babies, toddlers and children of all ages. You can even bring the dog!*

*(Some of the lodges are pet-friendly.)

With lodges sleeping up to 6 plus an infant in a cot, there’s plenty of choices of layout, and all the family essentials such as cots, highchairs, stairgates and fireguards are available to hire on site, free of charge.

Each lodge has its own hot tub, and some even have their own in-built sauna in the bathroom. We chose the ‘Inari’ Finnish-style lodge which sleeps four- the kids were in their own room downstairs while we were upstairs in a room with an incredible view. Most lodges have an immaculately-kept little garden or a deck, fully fenced in- always a bonus.

The site is set in the spectacular surroundings of its own valley, with a stream running through the fields – it’s very peaceful and quiet and away from it all. There’s no on-site entertainment or club, so if you like a holiday with plenty going on then this one might not be your cup of tea – but if you’re looking for a family getaway with lots of swimming, games, country air and nights in with a film, then you’re on to a winner.

In the place of an on-site club, there’s a leisure centre built in to a stunning Canadian lodge with one of the most beautiful indoor pools I’ve ever seen – free to use for guests, and children are welcome at all times.

Family changing rooms make it easy, and during our stay in March we almost had free-run of the pool with only a couple of other families coming in and out. The pool is level at just over a metre in depth - our 6 year old could just about touch the bottom with no floats on, for reference.

Next door to the pool is a family games room, complete with small soft play area for babies and toddlers (ball pool, soft shapes, that sort of thing); pool table (mercifully FREE to use, none of this 50p a go malarkey!); dart board, table football, and ping pong. I have to say that our experience of games rooms before Black Hall Lodges was mostly a bit grim – they’ve been dirty and freezing cold – but not here. The games room was spotless, warm, and a genuinely nice place to hang out for adults as well as children.

There’s a huge library of DVDs that you can take back to watch at your lodge (lots of kids and family films as well as stuff for adults), board games, and books for all ages.

As well as the indoor provisions, there’s also a small well-kept outdoor playground, and an undercover play barn with ride-on tractors and bikes to keep smaller kids occupied on a rainy day.

Or you could just sit in the hot tub in the driving rain and gale force wind, like we did – got to make the most of such facilities even if we did have rather Welsh weather!

Price-wise, it varies on time of year. We managed to book in for four nights in March for an absolute steal – I almost don't want to admit it but we paid less than £400 which is unheard of for such a 5* site (it’s won the Hoseasons Diamond park award nearly every year since it opened) – but when we’ve looked to rebook for future dates the prices are much more akin to what we’d expect for a park this nice, around the £700 mark, and more than that in the middle of the summer hols. I don't know why it was so inexpensive when we made our booking - it was just after Christmas so might be worth having a look then.

If you’re hunting for a bargain getaway, keep your eyes on the Black Hall Lodges Facebook page, as I’ve seen quite a few special offers and cancellation weekends popping up at much reduced rates.

A little about the surrounding area. For lovers of the countryside and a quiet life, there’s some spectacular scenery, and nice riverside walks (and a good kids’ playground) starting from the Offa’s Dyke Visitor Centre in the neighbouring village of Knighton.

Further afield there’s the historic town of Ludlow with its castle and medieval streets, shops and pubs; the towns of Welshpool and Shrewsbury are within easy reach; and an hour or so away there’s Ironbridge and surrounding areas which are home to lots of family-friendly attractions, bars, cafes and restaurants.

But be warned, everything is a decent drive away – this is rural Wales/Shropshire. Lucky for me (and my husband), I love driving so I was more than happy to be chauffeur. We were given tickets by a family friend to Blists Hill Victorian Town museum at Ironbridge, which made for a good day out – probably best suited to children aged 7+.

If you’re into biking then this is excellent terrain, with lots of mountain bike routes in the near vicinity.

But for us, this holiday was mostly about enjoying a lazy pace of life. Hot tub, eating, BBQ in the front garden, and mucking about in the swimming pool (mostly because the girls tactically made our lives hell until we gave up trying to do anything remotely cultural and gave in to their demands to go swimming again.)

Because of this, we were too tired to get scrubbed up and drive out in the evenings to find a pub dinner, but we did arrange for Tesco to deliver a load of pizzas and supplies on our arrival (something I’d highly recommend doing) and we bought a meat pack from the site’s small farm shop so we were well equipped for eating in in front of the cosy woodburner.

The information pack in the lodge did recommend a number of local pubs and a couple of takeaways though, so there’s plenty of places to be discovered.

Definitely somewhere I’d recommend for a tranquil rural getaway, where all you can hear is the neighbouring farm and the lambs jumping around in the fields (when the kids are quiet on their iPads.)