Need to know
60, plus 22 three-storey country lodges with kitchens.
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in is 3pm, although you're welcome to arrive earlier and use the facilities, have lunch and make yourself at home before your room is available.
Double rooms from $176.84 (£133), excluding tax at 20 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional service charge of 5% per booking on check-out.
Room rates are usually room only. Breakfast costs from £15 for a Continental buffet (£5 for children), a full English spread is £20 (£10 for children). Children stay free in cots and under-14s stay in extra beds for £20 a night.
Within the main building, there are two accessible bedrooms, each with a level entry wet room for guests in wheelchairs or with limited mobility. There's a disabled toilet and an emergency alarm.
At the hotel
Spa, indoor pool, restaurants, bar, crèche, school-holiday kids club, helipad, 275 acres, gardens, woods, falconry school, golf course, tennis courts, putting green, DVD library, free WiFi. In rooms: flatscreen TV, mini-fridge, kettle, free bottled water, safe, Espa bath products, slippers, bathrobes (plus baby robes and slippers). Lodges have fully equipped kitchens, a DVD player and utility rooms.
Our favourite rooms
All rooms from the Castle category up can take one extra bed or cot, but the suites are much roomier – with separate living spaces and dining tables – and they all have space for two extra beds. One of the Grand State rooms has a decked balcony directly overlooking the countryside. For bigger families, there are the 14 three-storey lodges dotted around the grounds; they each have three ensuite bedrooms and sleep a maximum of six adults and two children (with two extra beds). They also have utility rooms, outdoor areas and enviably kitted-out oak kitchens with microwaves and dishwashers.
There’s a heated indoor pool which features a Jacuzzi at one end; it’s adults-only from 7am–9.30am and again after 5.30pm, but firmly family-friendly for the rest of the day. Free swimming nappies are available – just grab a member of staff. The area contains a scattering of chic deckchairs and is utterly spotless.
The Elan Spa uses Espa products in its relaxing and rejuvenating spa treatments; choose from a range of classic massages, body wraps, age-defying facials, aromatherapy and reflexology treatments, pre- and post-natal massages, and Orly mani-pedis. The spa itself is quite basic – a reception leading to a few treatment rooms, but the service and attention to detail are excellent.
Children can choose from all kinds of brick-building sets, from Lego Duplo to techier kit for teenagers.
Up to two small dogs a room are welcome (£25 a night, for each dog). Liaise with the hotel in advance if you are planning to bring your pet to stay. See more pet-friendly hotels in Devon.
During school holidays, the kids’ club is a life-saver and if it’s booked up when you get there, you might be devastated. Call ahead at all costs. Babysitters need to be booked at least two days in advance.
Anything you can possibly think of, Bovey Castle has thought of it first (if it’s raining, they’ve even got a jacket for you) – from a trampoline, crolf (croquet mixed with golf), falcons and ferrets within the castle’s confines, to the parkland that lurks beyond. Wear out your little ones, so you can unwind over an Armagnac, spend a few hours at the spa, or hit the world-class golf course.
Kids of all ages.
The Playroom opens daily and has supervised sessions during half-terms and school holidays; it contains craft materials, dressing-up chests, puzzles and games, and the brilliant staff will entertain children aged 3–8 with painting, clay-work, puppet-making and imaginative play for up to three hours. Supervised under-3s are also welcome. Prices are £20 per three-hour session or £10 an hour. You can choose to book in advance or sign up on the activities board on a daily basis.
If your 6–14-year-olds love to get stuck in, Bovey Rangers runs during school holidays and half terms; it’s excellent and gives adults a break from all the outdoorsy, adventurous stuff you might not fancy. A Bovey Ranger might spend their morning making a campfire, building a shelter, learning archery, building a raft or canoeing. It costs £35 a 60-minute session. Book your spot in advance if you can. For younger children, there's the Bovey Bears Den.
Children are welcome in both restaurants, and highchairs are available. There’s a small but thoughtful kids menu available in both restaurants, which features all the big hitters – half-pizzas, 'Heinz' tomato soup, pasta and sausages – meals cost £8.50 and come with cordial and ice-cream. On sunny days, staff are always happy to pack you off with a picnic.
Babysitters are available for £20 an hour (minimum three hours); book at least two days in advance. Different rates apply during the festive season (£30 an hour on Christmas day; £40 an hour on New Year's Eve).
Letterboxing combines orienteering and puzzle-solving and there’s a trail within the grounds of the castle. Ask staff for details, but the basic aim is to locate hidden weatherproof boxes using clues, keeping a log of each one you find. The trail gives purpose to your walking and stops little ones getting bored.
Bovey Castle draws all its water from the Bovey River, cleaning and purifying it before pumping it through the hotel.