Fowey hall

There’s something satisfying about sitting in a tractor-drawn tourist train being dragged around the streets of a seaside town and hearing the guide describe the hotel you’re staying in as posh and the guests as lucky.

Especially if you’re about to make your way back there after a spot of lunch at one of the waterside restaurants.

Upmarket and discerning may have been more to the point, but they weren’t wrong. Fowey Hall is just a tad stately; all drawing-room comfy and high-ceilinged splendour, but with a touch of chateau. It’s on the tourist route as the inspiration for Toad Hall. But it was poultry that lingered most in one small memory.

Every morning, just after breakfast, the two ladies who run the creche poured seed into little hands for an early morning feed of the hotel’s chickens all cooped up in a little thicket overlooking one of the most picturesque seaside views on the south coast. Toad lovers needn’t fret though. A few yards away, there’s a trampoline for those in the mood for a hop.

The creche is set just across the way from the main building, closer to the spa and the pool, convenient given why the little ones were deposited there in the first place.

The ladies, with their broad better-bit-a-butter accents run such a popular place, they often arrive to queues in peak season.

As for the hotel, it sits on the top of the hill, proud and confident in its wrap-around grounds. Its thick walls and well-spaced rooms ooze privacy. We had one with a turreted sun trap.

Inside, despite its French period furniture and Oak panelled formality, smart casual was fine for the restaurant and the baby listening meant you could relax properly.

All this is helped by service as warm as the weather you tend to time your trip for. Fowey itself is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but it’s bustling enough, with its winding lanes, tea shops and galleries. The sort of place to which you will return as the kids grow.

Special touch: Views from the terraces (all of them) are worth a king’s ransom.
Valets note: It’s in Cornwall. Rooms cost £150. Info: www.luxuryfamilyhotels.co.uk
Royal rating: Cornwall’s other Duke

Last updated: 1:38pm, August 13 2013