The Good Family Hotel Guide: The Old Bell Hotel, Malmesbury, Wilts
Saturday 23 October 1999
A Grade I-listed building, in the centre of a classic Cotswolds town, it claims to be England's oldest inn. The Old Bell actively woos families, so children are warmly welcomed. However, the facilities provided are mostly for very young children; those over about eight will find that there is less to entertain them. Accommodation
Of the 31 rooms, a few in the main building are in period style. All the family rooms and suites are in the converted coach house, and fashioned on a Japanese theme, with minimalist dÃ©cor. The hotel also boasts a telephone child-listening service.
In the area
The 12th-century Malmesbury Abbey is right next door and Westonbirt Arboretum, Bowood House (which has a huge adventure playground), and Lacock National Trust village are all within a 20-minute drive.
"The Den" playroom and nursery is supervised by nannies, free of charge, between 10am and 6pm daily and is stuffed with toys and games. There is also a small "Cyber Room", which has computers and a Nintendo to keep older children happy, and an outdoor playground with swings and a sandpit.
A supervised 12 o'clock lunch and five o'clock tea are provided in "the Den", along with a good selection of snacks and light meals at other times. The restaurant lets parents dine in some style, but is not suitable for small children.
At weekends, they are mainly young families from London, plus a few grandpas and grannies taking the little ones for a treat. It's less family-orientated during the week, when the hotel is a popular business venue.
Small double rooms from £95; capacious deluxes for £150, including breakfast. There is no further charge for children sharing; cots and extra beds are provided.
The Old Bell Hotel is in Abbey Row, Malmesbury, Wiltshire, BA15 1YX (tel 01666 822344, fax: 01666 825145).
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 'Kidnapped boy may have been abused and murdered by VIP paedophile ring,' say police
- 3 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 4 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict
£55000 - £65000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in their fiel...
£45000 - £52000 per annum + bonus+bens : Investigo: My client, a global leader...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: One of the fastest growing g...
25,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: CRM Executive – Global Travel Brand – Luto...