Q. Laurie H. and family from Houston, TX want tips on seeing Harry Potter sights and staying in the top castle hotels during a 16-day trip to England with their daughters.
A. England is a great destination and traveling with 7 and 10-year-olds, especially Harry Potter fans, will be great fun. Since you have 16 days to travel, your family can combine sightseeing in London with plenty of time in the countryside.
The British Tourist Office has published a lot of material about the filming locations used in “Harry Potter” and many families have enjoyed this Harry Potter Across England road trip itinerary. As long as your family is comfortable with left-hand driving, it’s a better way to get around and gives you more flexibility than taking the train.
You mentioned being interested in a countryside / castle style resort, and there’s probably none better (and more centrally located) than The Grove. It’s a fully planned resort more than a castle, and although it won our Top 10 award a few years ago, it’s said to be better than ever.
You should also look at this fun roundup of the UK’s “Upper Class” Family Hotels, those private manors, castles, estates that welcome guests to help offset their maintenance costs. There are some beautiful choices with an authentic personality, but they may have fewer guest services than the other classic resorts you say your family has enjoyed, such as The Cloisters and The Breakers.
We like Bishopstrow House because it’s in Dorset, and that’s a great base on the central south coast from which to tour Oxford (pictured above) and other nearby “Harry Potter” sights.
If you don’t mind switching hotels every few nights, another resource is the Luxury Family Hotels Group of the UK, which we have reviewed.
As you will see, once you get into this level of lodging, there are many properties with full suites or multi-bedroom apartments. They are distinguished by their location and the types of outdoor activities on the grounds (might be fishing and boating, or horseback riding, hunting, golf, etc.). Browsing through some of the recommended ones — especially with your daughters — should help you choose the right one for your family.
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