Since opening on the banks of the Thames last year, the Mitre in Hampton Court, in the London Borough of Richmond has created a buzz as one of the UK’s loveliest new boutique hotels. Junior’s Travel Contributor Zoey Goto and her family checked in to this regal outhouse, just 30 minutes from Waterloo station, to see if it gets the seal of approval as a child-friendly weekend retreat.
The Mitre: Check In
One of the perks of the Mitre’s relatively dinky size, with just 36 bedrooms, is its homely feel. As soon as we walked through the door, complimentary wine and juice were offered and we checked in from the comfort of the plush leather armchairs in the lobby area.
The listed property has an impressive backstory, having previously been used to house the overspill of guests from King Edward II’s epic parties at neighbouring Hampton Court Palace. This regal connection is played up throughout the hotel; with do not disturb signs featuring Henry VIII in the bath and portraits of the temperamental king hanging in the corridors.
The Mitre’s photogenic interiors have been created by Nicola Harding (who also designed Beaverbrook in Surrey) using a pleasing mish-mash of hand painted wallpapers, comfy overstuffed Chesterfield sofas and up-cycled antiques, which all add to the quintessentially English vibe.
The Family Rooms at the Mitre
The Mitre has three guestrooms specifically designed for families, each with a generously sized master bedroom and a curtained off alcove area for children. This hideout area, with bunk beds featuring gingham privacy curtains and a secret nook filled with classic children’s books, was an absolute hit with the kids, who soon declared it a parent-free zone!
The hotel had included thoughtful touches for the children including homemade cookies in fabric bags and Little B by Bramley toiletries waiting in the bathroom. The main bedroom featured a kingly double bed, sitting area, Farrow and Ball hued walls and a glimpse of the river from our window. Although we were within earshot of the alfresco bar, our room was well soundproofed so we didn’t hear a peek as night fell.
GOOD TO KNOW:
The Mitre’s family rooms comfortably sleep four and cots can also be added for an additional £20 per night.
Dining at the Mitre
The Mitre’s restaurants have become a destination in their own right, thanks to head chef Ronnie Kimbugwe, formally of Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s. The Mitre’s 1665 Riverside Brasserieis the more formal bar and dining area. On a warm summer’s evening the hot-ticket tables are out on the deck, offering ringside seats to the flowing parade of boats and swans gliding down the river.
The food at 1665 is exceptionally good. At supper I tried their melt-in-the-mouth lobster, soaked in a rich garlic butter and it was the best I’ve ever tasted. My partner’s steak was as soft as Turkish delight and the children finished every last morsel of the lightly battered fish and chips. It’s always a good sign when a restaurant puts as much love into the children’s food as the adult’s dishes.
For breakfast the following morning we visited the hotel’s casual dining café and bar, Coppernose (named after Henry VIII’s moniker), offering up great views of the Sunday morning paddle boarders navigating the river. Again, the food was outstanding, with health-packed smoothie bowls, a hearty full English and fresh juices. It’s a charming spot to relax with a coffee, and if the little ones allow, catch up on the papers.
But, is the Mitre Family Friendly?
A stay at the Mitre certainly ticks the family friendly box, but not in the kids-club-and-summer-camp sense of the phrase. This is more the kind of gorgeous hotel that you might have visited pre-children for a treat – but thankfully, they’re perfectly happy to welcome you and your brood back and ensure that the kids feel right at home.
Alongside the beautiful family bedrooms, both restaurants have carefully considered children’s menus, high chairs, and colouring sheets. There’s a jukebox in the library that guests can control via Bluetooth, which should keep tweens and teens entertained.
TRAVEL EXTRA: Hampton Court Activities for Families
One of the Mitre’s main selling points for families is its location, offering an impressive choice of attractions within easy walking distance. A stone’s throw from the hotel is Hampton Court Palace, former home to the notorious Henry VIII. There’s something for every age and interest here, from horse and cart rides around the grounds, trying your hand at cooking over a roaring fire in a Tudor kitchen, or history buffs will enjoy wandering through the decadent royal apartments. Hampton Court Palace also has a brilliant Magic Garden play area, with battlements and secret grottos, plus a coffee stand and benches for weary parents to recharge. Entrance tickets to Hampton Court Palace from £25.30 per adult, children £12.60, under 5s are free.
For a dose of nature, Bushy Park is a ten-minute stroll away. This picturesque royal park is free to enter and boasts woodland, lakes and free roaming deer with enormous antlers.
The Mitre is also well positioned for a session of messing about in boats, with rowing boats for hire on the hotel’s doorstep. Just across the road you’ll also find Turks River Cruises, who have a fleet of handsome Mississippi style paddle steamboats. For a reasonable £10 for adults or £7.50 for children, you can cruise to Kingston and back in true Huckleberry Finn style.