Looking to catch some fine fall weather over October school holidays? Family travel specialists Smith & Family have handpicked five autumnal superstars around the globe to get you in the fall spirit
A drop in temperature that makes for guilt-free lie-ins, an absence of summer hordes and landscapes shifting from green to gold – discerning travellers already know that autumn is the new summer. The professional romantics at Smith & Family have picked five fall favourites, from Australian homesteads to British country manors.
Autumn in Singapore means spring in Australia, and there’s nowhere better to see wildflowers bloom and lambs gambol than Kingsford Homestead. This historic estate occupies a verdant patch of the bucolic Barossa Valley, famed for its wondrous wine (naturally, Kingsford has the wine cellar to match). Guests get 90-hectare grounds to explore – a green, russet and gold expanse, with towering gum trees and elusive kangaroos. NB: Little Smiths aren’t invited to this sandstone hideaway, but teenagers are (if you can distract them for a while, be sure to sneak off for a bush bath in the wilderness).
Smith Extra: A bottle of Barons of the Barossa Shiraz.
Smiths aged 7 and above can experience traditional Japanese luxury at Beniya Mukayu, whose wabi-sabi philosophy extends to the food – multi-plate, kaiseki-style feasts – and the styling: sleek Japanese minimalism that doesn’t scrimp on comfort (you’ll see what we mean, once you’ve tested out the futons and the onsen spa baths). Days here begin with free yoga in the Horin (symbolic forest), taught by lovely owner Sachiko; energised by the latter, explore the nearby town of Yamashiro, famed for its rich history, hot springs and Kutani-yaki porcelain. Back at Beniya, don’t forget to test out the homemade bath products (and the hotel’s wine).
Smith Extra: A glass of local wine or sake each at dinner.
Wake up in West Cape countryside at serene Schoone Oordt, which flourishes prettily like a wildflower amid the clipped lawns, neat trees and quiet streets of historic Swellendam. Cape Town is just a two-hour drive, but it feels a world away from this distinguished Victorian homestead, whose charms include a swimming pool, fragrant rose gardens and peaceful conservatory. Parents with tots in tow can borrow cots or request extra beds; babysitters can be arranged, should you – sensibly – want to maximise the boozy charms of the Winelands. Speaking of which, the nearby Graham Beck estate produces what is – in our humble opinion – some of the finest sparkling wine in South Africa. Prefer wildlife to wine? Take a trip down the Breede River and keep your eyes peeled for critters at Bontebok National Park.
Smith Extra: For one-night stays, a bottle of local wine to enjoy during dinner; for stays of two or more nights, a picnic basket for two to take to the nature reserve or a bottle of local Methode Cap Classique sparkling wine (please specify before arrival).
Introducing the coolest animal in the farmyard: the Pig, in Hampshire. The birth of this corker of a porker heralded a new era for country-house hotels – in place of stuffiness, style; in place of hauteur, hipsters. Kids will go wild for this porcine paradise thanks to the activities on offer: you can borrow bikes, play tennis, have a go at fly fishing, horse riding, archery or falconry, or stage a family billiards contest. Then there are the retro minibars (more mini-larders), stocked with old-fashioned sweets. Should you be longing for a good, long session (in the Potting Shed Spa), nannies can be draughted in. Take guilt-free pleasure in the locally sourced produce to be found in the restaurant (95% hails from a 25-mile radius); smaller versions of the dishes are served to smaller humans.
Smith Extra: A bottle of the hotel’s own-brand wine, the Pig Hut Rosé (a blend of syrah and grenache), in your room on arrival.
If you’re after a holiday with added sand between the toes, head to the 1770 House in East Hampton. Families can stake out the elegant cream-beige Carriage House, a two-bedroom cottage in the garden that’s more urban in style than the main house, decorated with splashes of khaki and cream, vaulted ceilings and gleaming cherry furniture. Pootle around the galleries and boutiques of Main Street, hang 10 at Montauk and enjoy the much thinner autumn crowds at Main Beach, but make it back to boutique basecamp in time for dinner: hand-cut fettuccine with house-made rabbit sausage or seared Montauk fluke with butternut-squash broth, perhaps, served in a cosy candlelit dining room.
Smith Extra: 20% off any treatment (massage, facial, peel) at Naturopathica Spa on Montauk Highway in East Hampton.
Mr & Mrs Smith gets you the best rates, guaranteed, as well as a little something extra on arrival at every hotel. To book, call the Smith24 team toll-free on +1 800 905 326, or visit mrandmrssmith.com.