The appeal of theme parks might be lost on grown-ups and swanky hotels rarely get kids excited, but a treehouse unites adventurers of all ages. Hidden in a magical, secret hideaway, adults and kids are on a level playing field – unanimously high on the childlike wonder of life among the branches. Unplug, unwind, leave the daily routine below and escape into leafy luxury. Just get ready for repeated demands to build a smaller version in the back garden when you get home. Take a look at our best family friendly treehouses.
Bundle into the spacious hot tub each night and watch the sunset over the Malvern Hills. Once little fingertips start to get wrinkly, tuck the kids up in their cosy cabin beds and head back outside to stargaze with a more romantic – less splashy – vibe. After so much fresh air and relaxation the junior division will sleep like baby birds in a nest. Orchard Treehouse in Worcestershire is a tranquil paradise in the grounds of a manor house providing the perfect backdrop for unhurried family time – an easy schedule of board games in front of the wood burner and laid back meals on the deck. On the doorstep there’s plenty to keep grown-ups and kids entertained with a babbling stream, fruit trees, walks over Bredon Hill, cycle paths and Aztec adventure park nearby.
Walk up a dramatic spiral staircase, over a rope bridge and onto the deck of a futuristic curved pod, a whopping 30-feet off the ground. The owners have let their imaginations run wild at Living-Room and the design blends so flawlessly with the landscape, it’s like inhabiting the tree canopy itself. The kids will feel like they’ve stepped into a story book, especially as Bryn Meurig Bach is fully off-grid with the only light coming from lanterns and the glowing wood burner at the heart of the space. It might be rustic but all practicalities are catered for with a piping hot spring water shower and a clever Swedish compost loo. In an idyllic spot in the Welsh mountains, you can set out on fantastic hill walks from the front door, splash in streams, explore the woods and arrive at a lovely pub within 20 minutes' walk.
A fairytale turreted treehouse on the edge of the North York moors, Rufus’s Roost is full of surprises. Keep up with the kids as they explore and you’ll soon discover the mezzanine sleep deck in the attic and the secret tunnel that whizzes you down to a reading nook underneath. Such a magical space deserves your most gripping and atmospheric bedtime stories. Once you’ve taken it all in, gravitate to the fairy lit hot tub among the trees surrounded to stargaze and spot birds, badgers and deer. When the gang starts clamouring for food, you’ve got several options for whipping up a delicious family dinner – the outdoor fire pit, wood-fired pizza oven or Rangemaster oven. For extra goodies, head to Malton, a local hub for local artisans and producers.
Inside The Buzzardry, with its modern kitchen and chic bathrooms, you could easily be in the luxury penthouse suite of a hotel. It’s only when you glance out of the huge doors that you remember it’s so much better than that. Standing on the wrap-around deck, beautiful Sussex countryside stretches into the distance, punctuated by bluebell woods, wildflower meadows and a rushing stream. The surroundings are an explorer’s paradise – take picnics to the lakes, visit the friendly miniature donkeys, try your hand at a game of tennis or spend hours getting lost in the vast woodland and gardens. If you want to venture further afield, Bewl Water reservoir is worth a trip for the adventure playgrounds, cycling and watersports. After all that excitement, tuck the kids up under the covers and reward yourself with a bath in the copper tub at the foot of the king size bed.
Like a glamping version of Russian dolls, The Oakey Koakey has a kids’ room that looks like another mini treehouse with a branch ladder for the bunk beds and bird box hangers. The owners know that easy bedtimes make for happy glampers. Dinner will run equally smoothly when you use the BBQ and fire pit to toast marshmallows and cook up campfire favourites. Memories are made in this secluded Sussex meadow with views of gently waving trees from every window and wildlife as far as the eye can see. Bewl Reservoir is next to the Downash Woods site and nearby Bedgebury Pinetum has miles of fantastic bike trails, riding and a Go Ape treetop adventure playground. Big and little kids who love to treasure hunt, will enjoy the arts and crafts shops and cafés of quintessentially English, Ticehurst village.
Go on safari near the Norfolk coast and find lavender fields and rolling parkland instead of wild savannas and big game. If seals count as one of your English ‘Big 5’ you might be able to tick them off the list with a visit to Blakeney Point. Under a Holm oak in a small copse, Bagthorpe Treehouse is blissfully tranquil and luxurious with two single bunk beds for kids who want to join in and disturb the peace. The huge veranda acts like a second living space with sweeping views over the grounds and ample room for hearty breakfasts, delicious dinners and playing in the fresh air. Visit the gardens at Sandringham, watch the fishing boats land at enchanting Wells-Next-The-Sea or head to one of the many fantastic local country pubs for a slap up family meal.