Activities

Outside there is a large pirate-themed playground with slides, climbing nets and towers as well as tennis courts and pitch and putt. There's also outdoor level-deck swimming and paddling pools for younger children which are both heated from mid-May to the end of September.

Water activities nearby also include sailing, wind-surfing, sea-fishing and diving which are available locally with instructors.

There are 100 acres of grounds (including well-stocked gardens) to run around in and five minutes walk away is National Trust-owned Studland Beach with its three miles of sand, dunes and views of the Isle of Wight.

Nearby attractions include the Swanage Railway steam train that will take you from Swanage village through the ruins of Corfe Castle, Brownsea Island (also National Trust owned and home of the red squirrel) and fossil-rich Kimmeridge Bay.

Food: Children have their own dining room at Knoll House where sausage and chips and jelly are served at 5.30pm by designated waiting staff in white pinnies.

The lowdown

Price: Prices start at £135 per night, per adult. Weekly full board from £945. Children’s tariff is £27 per day for a two-year-old and under, and from £135 per day for 13-year-olds.

How to get there

Road: Knoll House is approximately two hours from Heathrow (allow for a good three hours on Friday afternoons though). For Sat Nav guidance, the post code is BH19 3AH. For detailed driving directions visit knollhouse.co.uk/where-to-find-us.

Rail: A fast train service from Waterloo to Wareham takes just two hours. The hotel is just a 10 mile taxi ride away. You can book a taxi in advance with JJ Taxis; call 01929 427755.

Why go?

For families that want a UK beach break without a long journey from London, this hotel has great family-friendly facilities right beside the seaside. Counting Enid Blyton as a fan, Knoll House has been run by the Ferguson family for over 50 years and hunkers down among pine trees 400 yards from the sea. Although it's not the most stylish of hotel, The Knoll House prides itself on its independence, service and family-friendliness. Generations of families return year after year, many with grandparents in tow, and you can see why.