A young boy licking his fingers after tasting one of the tea cakes before him.

The family staycations where kids can learn to cook

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If you’re planning a UK family holiday, what better way to treat aspiring cooks than with a delicious cookery class in one of these top hotels.

Unleashing a child in the kitchen can be daunting prospect. But teaching little ones to cook and bake is beneficial in so many ways. Not only does it equip them with a life-long skill, but also teaches them etiquette, manners and how to communicate effectively. If your youngster can’t keep away from the kitchen or enjoys cooking, find out what these interesting cookery classes can offer.

Take a beginner’s baking class at The Langham, London

The Langham has rightfully gained a reputation as one of the capital’s finest hotels: dripping chandeliers, rooms of refined elegance and unflappable service. Yet for all its decadence, it’s never shied away from welcoming children. Take its kids’ cooking classes at The Langham, curated under the auspices of super-chef Michel Roux Jr, who helms the hotel’s acclaimed dining room, Roux at the Landau. Over almost four hours, aspiring cooks aged four to 10 are led on a beginner’s guide to baking, learning the fundamental techniques from one of the kitchen’s top chefs, with a focus on crafting cookies, muffins and cakes — all with Roux Jr’s seal of approval. They do ask that a parent oversees their little chef-in-the-making, but it’s a small price to pay for the prized bakes you’ll leave with at the end.

A female chef demonstrates the art of baking at The Langham, London.
© The Langham London (also pictured above)
Learn how to be a junior chef at The Swinton Estate, Yorkshire

There is so much going on at this country pile in the Yorkshire Dales that guests tend to stick around from dusk until dawn, not least to busy themselves in the kitchens at the excellent Swinton Cookery Schools. Young chefs can book into either of the half-day classes, from six to nine years, or the junior chef option, from 10 to 14 years — both of which tailor the menu to the seasons, though with a focus on baking. They’ll get stuck into kneading, whisking and sieving, returning to the grown-ups with their bounty, plus an apron, recipe ideas and a goody bag to take home. And when they’ve hung up their pinny for the day, let them run wild in the parkland and tangle of forests fringing the estate, where trails wind in the shadow of the boughs. There’s pony trekking and a bird of prey centre, but if it’s pelting down outside, nab a lounger by the pool or book in at the spa while your other half keeps an eye on the kids splashing in the balmy outdoor pool.

Enjoy a mocktail-making class and pastry lesson at The Club Hotel & Spa, Jersey

For something entirely different, look to this hotel in Jersey — the British island with a Gallic spirit. Its Michelin-starred restaurant, Bohemia, has been turning culinary heads for some time with its impressive plates served beneath twinkly grand lights. And at The Club Hotel & Spa, behind the flashy scenes, kids can sign up to a mocktail-making class with the resident mixologist. Once they’ve stirred and shaken their concoctions, there’s also a lesson with the Michelin-starred pastry team, who will guide them through decorating a smorgasbord of saccharine nibbles. The good news for parents? While the kids are tinkering away in the kitchen, grown-ups can pull up a pew and revel in a classic afternoon tea — no cooking required.

A young boy inspects a crab from the fishmongers tentatively.
© The Club Hotel & Spa, Jersey
Book the chocolate bar masterclass at The Grand York, Yorkshire

This grand dame — all Edwardian grandeur, high ceilings and lashings of Northern cheer — also hosts a rotating menu of cooking classes for kids where, over three hours, young chefs can dabble their hands in kitchen. There’s a chicken and veggie fritters class, where little hands will pull together a plate of crispy garlic and herb chicken goujons with veggie fritters. Looking for the sweet stuff? Try out the The Grand York’s chocolate bars masterclass, tempering chocolate and scattering toppings before getting stuck in. Plus there’s pizza-making, cupcake-baking and the ultimate lesson in rustling up your own burger. All this, plus there are plenty of plush interconnecting rooms for families to stay, along with white-gloved staff who dish out colouring books and children’s robes. As for the location, it takes some beating — it’s just a few minutes’ walk from the Minster and York’s main shopping streets. These classes will be available to book from June 2022.

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