Have A Football-Mad Child? This Could Be The Greatest Holiday On Earth.
There are certain holidays that kids will always enjoy. Villa breaks with a private pool (who doesn’t?). A visit to Disneyland (not as sure to please parents). Anywhere with an arcade (why do kids love those claw machines so much?). But if your kids love football, nothing will ever hit the mark quite like a Football Escapes getaway. The Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire played host to their summer 2022 staycation.
Football Escapes At The Grove: Review
Set across 300 acres of Hertforshire countryside and just a hop, skip and a short drive outside of London, The Grove Hotel is one of the buzziest luxury hotels outside the capital. Following an extensive refurb by Martin Hulbert Design it is now as chic as it is grand, with spacious family rooms perfect for short or long stays. Rooms are not only spacious but plentiful, it’s hard to imagine a hotel of this size ever being fully-booked, and there’s always a quiet corner to escape the crowds, even during a busy school holidays August week where the carpark appears intimidatingly packed. On site there are stunning grounds to appreciate, formal gardens to stroll through, woodland walks to explore, a championship golf-course to take to, tennis courts to rally on, outdoor heated pool to splash in, man-made beach to lounge on and (*sharp intake of breath to break up this incredibly long list*) seasonal pop-ups like the Everyman Outdoor Cinema to enjoy.
Busy kids make for happy parents. And on a Football Escapes getaway your kids will never be bored. The three-day break has a daily 1.5-hour football session with the professional coaches and ambassadors, although arriving early and finishing late seems to be the run of things for this football-mad crowd. The coaches hail from top clubs across the country while the ambassadors are ex-footballers that mums and dads will recognise. Ex-West Ham player Marlon Harewood was the main ambassador for our trip and was an enormous hit with the kids, full of energy and encouragement and obviously still as passionate about the game as ever. Bobby Zamora and Anton Ferdinand also took to the pitches with the kids, with a few other famous faces including Ledley King making surprise cameos. The players might have hung up their boots professionally, but the love of the beautiful game remains strong, as does the hunger for a win, as we found out in the parents’ match, where the mums and dads took to the pitch to play against the pros while the kids took to the side-lines for a change (or completely ignored the adults and started their own mini tournaments).
As a football-mad mum I relished the chance to take to the pitch, but any football-phobic parents will enjoy the Escape just as much: you can drop the kids and dash knowing they’ll be in safe hands. The excellent Sequoia Spa is the perfect place for child-free relaxation, or the hotel bar serves an exquisite Chapel Down rosé that you can enjoy in peace on your own private terrace while the little ones burn off their energy with the pros. There’s even a FIFA video game tournament evening so you can squeeze in a child-free meal if your heart so desires it.
Speaking of meals, there are few things in life that kids love more than a hotel buffet. The Glasshouse Restaurant offers buffet breakfast and dinner, with enough fresh and exciting dining options to keep all the family happy. With many hotels having ditched the buffet during Covid and never turned back, an all-you-can-eat luxury grazing option feels like a real indulgence. Just make sure you supervise the kids (or any big kids) at the dessert station; both my child and mother took the pick-and-mix pudding challenge too far. A la Carte dining is available at The Stables restaurant, and post-football casual lunches can be enjoyed at The Grove’s pool-side BBQ bar, so more or less formal dining options can be found should you seek them.
THE FINAL WORD
Like Disneyland for football addicts but rather than an overheated employee in a stuffed Mickey head, they can meet their heroes (and you yours) in the form of real-life premier league footballers. One warning: Football Escapes at The Grove sets the staycation bar unmatchably high for mini travellers. Better start saving for next year…
Nightly rates at The Grove start from £370 for a Classic Room, on a room-only basis. For more information or to book please visit thegrove.co.uk or call 01923 296010 | There are currently two Football Escapes breaks planned at The Grove for 2023, rates start from £1,585 for a two night stay for two adults and one child. For more information or to book visit footballescapes.com or call 0203 907 6855 to enquire.
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