REVIEW | Rockliffe Hall in Darlington – County Durham
A MischMasch – A Five Star Experience for Kids
I love Rockliffe Hall, it’s one of my favourite hotels in the area. It is proper luxury; they have an amazing restaurant and the spa is on another level. However, my most recent visit was a completely different experience as I had my three toddlers in tow.
Now, normally I would be of the thinking that a five-star hotel and toddlers do not and should not be mixed. But Rockliffe has nailed the family-friendly angle with their addition of MischMasch, a whimsical wonderland, inspired by Lewis Caroll who grew up in nearby Croft.
MischMasch includes several themed curious cabins, an eco-adventure playground and a stunning glass house which can be used for events and weddings. Our visit began with Easter-themed activities in one of the cabins. The boys quickly set to painting eggs and making Easter decorations, there was a substantial selection of glitter, feathers, stickers – all the stuff that strikes fear into your heart if you get it out at our own house. It was a tale of two brothers as one sat meticulously sticking his feathers on and the other had paint dripping off the chairs. Happily, the cabin was well equipped to accommodate messy toddlers.
The boys had a chance to play in the park which was Alice in Wonderland themed and also much to my middle child’s absolute delight, featured a huge water play area with interactive jets. It was quite easy to avoid said squirting water fountains but the middle child still managed to be drenched to his socks and had to go him in his pants.
The curious cabins are bookable if you are a resident or a member at the hotel and each cabin has a different theme. Jabberwocky was the firm favourite with the boys as it is the soft play pod. But there is a cinema and games pod, one with a pool table and various others. A great touch is that you can order food and drinks direct to your pod. Rockliffe also offer childminding so your kids could be entertained while you enjoy the spa (it’s a must).
The children’s afternoon tea was served in the clubhouse, a short walk from MischMasch with a fabulous view over the golf course. It almost feels wrong to be taking small children to such a nice venue but the staff were all helpful and welcoming and made us feel as if we had every right to be there.
The boys were given huge glasses of milk and their afternoon tea was brought out, featuring shaped sandwiches, Easter nest cakes, cheesy fondue which was amazing and I ate most of and half a handmade crème egg which again went down a treat. We had the adults afternoon tea with a complimentary glass of fizz – we enjoyed sandwiches and delicious scones and some of our cakes, although most of them were savaged by the boys…
We visited over Easter and the afternoon tea and activities were Easter themed but Rockliffe runs different events and themes all year round so it is well worth a visit at any time. It makes a refreshing change to take the children somewhere really nice rather than the usual sweaty soft play and it would make a lovely afternoon for a special occasion. Equally, I have no doubt that you could book an overnight stay and the children would be made right at home.
For more information see https://www.rockliffehall.com/families
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I’m a primary school teacher and I’m a mum to a beautiful, bright and bubbly six-year-old. I witness the ups and downs of wellbeing in children every day. Every parent faces the same dilemma – how to ensure the wellbeing of our children – particularly from a mental health perspective in a world that is more pressured than ever in more ways than one.
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