The i-escape blog / Nadine Mellor

By Nadine Mellor, Kids Collection Editor

We’re delighted that, despite everything, we found some really top-notch stylish family hideaways to join our Kids Collection in 2021.

So here’s a shout out to some of our favourites: places which made us feel merry and bright this year.

1. Three Mile Beach, Cornwall, UK

Three Mile Beach, Cornwall, UK

Yes, Cornwall is hardly a hidden gem these days, but we absolutely loved staying at brand new and innovative Three Mile Beach. This collection of Bondi-chic beach houses is set on an endless stretch of wide, west-facing, sandy beach. Gwithian is a watersports mecca, whether of the kite- or wind- or just plain surfing variety, and boat trips, SUP, coasteering, beach volleyball – you name it – can be arranged. All the airy and spacious houses come with open-plan living spaces and splashes of colour, a sail-shaded deck with hammocks, a private hot tub and a sauna in a barrel. Perfect!


2. Borgo Castello Panicaglia, Umbria, Italy

Borgo Castello Panicaglia, Umbria, Italy

One of those just-right retreats which appeals to all-ages, Borgo Castello Panicaglia is a centuries-old castle turned affordable family haven. Sweeping views soar over rugged green hills, olive groves and forests. Interiors have a bold rustic-luxe design, there are bikes to borrow and beautifully presented home-cooked food. For kids there’s a fenced pool and playground, games room and pizza making. In the summer holidays complimentary extras include an outdoor cinema, treasure hunts and arts and crafts. An absolute gem for families.


3. Temple Guiting, Cotswolds, UK

Temple Guiting Manor, Cotswolds, UK

For sheer individuality, look no further than Temple Guiting Manor.  This winning combination of Jacobean Manor House plus converted Barn and Granary sits in acres of gorgeous gardens in an enchanted valley. Eclectic interiors have everything from medieval suits of armour to futuristic light installations, collected by the art aficionado owner. Check out the secret home cinema with X Box, the hot tub in a dovecote, the 1950s jukebox, heated pool, all-weather tennis court and the games room. If you can bear to leave this Arcadia (there’s even a cafe just down the road if you don’t feel like cooking), you’re just 15 minutes from gems such as Stow-on-the-Wold and Winchcombe Castle.


4. The Rou Estate, Corfu, Greece

The Rou Estate, Corfu, Greece

Greece, with its stunning islands and its warm welcome to visitors of all ages, is increasingly popular with our family guests  year on year. Corfu is no exception. On its east coast is The Rou Estate, a fabulous village-style retreat of 14 luxurious villas (sleeping 2-10 depending one size), all with private pools, large living spaces and sweeping sea views. There’s a large shared pool plus spa and restaurant so you get the perks of a hotel plus the independence of self-catering. A winning formula.


5. Dell of Abernethy, Nethy Bridge, Scotland

Dell of Abernethy, Nethy Bridge, Scotland

A hit with outdoorsy families from the get-go, The Dell of Abernethy – a vintage-chic lodge and four cottages – has a wonderful wild woodland setting. It’s located close to the magnificent Cairngorms for endless escapades and lake swimming – such as nearby Loch Garten (pictured). There’s a giant woodland tipi for gathering together, with a fire pit beside for toasting marshmallows, artisan hampers and DIY meal kids to order, hammocks, zip-line and a Faery Wood to discover. Best of all is the back-to-nature club where the kids can build dens, make mud pizzas, carve arrows and roam free. It’s pet-friendly too.


6. Villa Moncitta, Istria, Croatia

Villa Moncitta, Istria, Croatia

Under-the-radar Istria, near the Italian border, is known for its food-rich, rolling lush interior, with pastel-hued resort towns strung along its coastline. Base yourselves at great value Villa Moncitta, a converted 7-bedroom farmhouse set among woodland and olive groves, with a heated pool, long rural views, a big country kitchen and gorgeous gardens brimming with fruit trees, herbs and scented flowers. You also get free bicycles, table tennis and an annexe with private gym and yoga studio.


7. Chateau Capitoul, Languedoc, France

Chateau Capitoul, Languedoc, France

A brand new chateau retreat with an array of elegant self-catering villas (sleeping 4-10) set on a languorous wine estate, Chateau Capitoul comes with long views and sunset-facing terraces. Among other attributes: a huge sparkling infinity pool, fabulous food in both the fine dining and bistro restaurants, a Cinq Mondes spa, and bikes to borrow. For families, most of the villas have private plunge pools, the beach is just five minutes away, and there’s a summer camp during the holidays.


8. The Shipton Hideaways, Cotswolds, UK

The Shipton Hideaways, Cotswolds, UK

This pair of lovingly restored brand new cottages in a picturesque Cotswold village has already become a firm favourite with our guests. One has three bedrooms, the other four, so each is great for a (large) family. Or take both together and bring your friends. The stunning kitchens are first-rate, the interiors are exquisite, both cottages have gardens and a twin room for kids. And you’re no more than half-an-hour from the best sights of the region.


9. Teesdale House, Co. Durham, UK

Teesdale House, Co. Durham, UK

This isn’t a well-known part of England at all, and therein lies its charm. There are handsome towns and castles to discover, plus lovely rolling countryside or the more challenging North Pennines for walks. This large Victorian farmhouse has been beautifully restored by a renowned interior designer with an eye for colour, retro and artful touches. And yet it’s eminently liveable and comfortable, perfect for families with a pool table, table tennis, croquet and a playroom with TV and games galore.


10. Unawatuna Beach Villa, nr Galle, Sri Lanka

Unawatuna Beach Villa, nr Galle, Sri Lanka

We reckon Sri Lanka is a super destination for families. It’s small enough to travel to 2-3 regions for culture and contrasts, including staying by the sea. Spacious, with an open-plan layout and cool beach hut styling, Unwatatuna Beach Villa is ideal to include in the itinerary. It has direct beach access, a big lap pool set in good-sized tropical gardens and is just down the road from Galle. The main house has three bedrooms, and there’s a second house with a further four bedrooms. So it also works for extended family gatherings. Do try the watersports just along the beach.

Do you know an even better family escape? Tell us about it! We’re always happy to hear from you.