We have driven past the Knoll House Hotel in Studland many, many times on our journey from the Sandbanks car ferry to our usual choice of self-catering cottage in Swanage.

On each and every occasion, we have voiced our intent to one day stay at the hotel. Well, last weekend my family and I were, at last, able to put a tick against Knoll House when we checked in for a two-night stay at this hidden gem.

On the approach to the hotel we were reminded why we had always admired the location. The hotel faces the beaches of Studland Bay with unspoilt sea views; we would have to wrap up warm, but we were determined to explore the four miles of sandy beach right on our doorstep.

Pulling into the car park, the children were excited to see the large pirate ship nestling in the adventure playground which was just one of the many child-friendly attractions they were yet to uncover.

After a warm welcome from the front-of-house staff and a briefing of what was where, we were shown to our accommodation. Whilst a bit small, our interconnecting rooms were spotless and adequately furnished with balconies overlooking the courtyard.

After unpacking we went to explore the hotel and its offerings. I can see how some may say it’s a bit dated with the feel of an old boarding school, but, in my mind, its quintessentially English with a real ‘home from home’, relaxed feeling.

Wandering around you can feel the history in the house with great tributes to Enid Blyton a regular visitor to the Knoll House which is said to have inspired her Famous Five adventures.

A log fire burned in the comfortable seating area outside the bar where a family were enjoying a game of scrabble chosen from the selection of games on offer to guests.

A film was playing for younger guests in the cinema room and adults were partaking of pre-dinner drinks in the cosy bar.

We found the bistro which has a full menu to chose from and where guests can enjoy afternoon tea. Children can have a high tea here and play in the adjacent well-equipped playroom.

It was now time for us to head to the restaurant for dinner. Again, greeted warmly we were shown to our table which afforded a fabulous view across to the sea.

The menu was varied and offered something for most tastes, there was a separate children’s menu with the usual offerings attractive to the younger palette.

The dining room is large and airy and, it does have the ‘boarding school’ charm and the food we ordered did not disappoint.

Parents also have the option to feed their children earlier and take advantage of the baby listening service.

After dinner (and nagging/pleading from the children) we ventured to the games room and after more than a couple of very competitive games of table tennis and pool we were ready for our beds (which, I am delighted to report were extremely comfortable).

After an excellent night’s sleep, which meant we rose later than planned, we headed back to the restaurant for breakfast and were pleased to note that we had been allocated the same table for our entire stay.

Breakfast is essentially a buffet style affair with everything you could want, from the makings of a full English to all manner of cereals, yogurts and fruit. For those fussy about their eggs, a table menu offers poached and fried as well as smoked kippers. How was breakfast? Yummy, no complaints from any of us.

Not being the season for swimming in the large outdoor pool, my husband and children decided to try out the indoor swimming pool and even braved the outdoor hot tub which, I am told, had amazing views across the downs.

I, conveniently, had forgotten my swimming costume so relished the opportunity to curl up by the fire and enjoy my book. Next time though, I am definitely going to treat myself to a couple of pamper sessions available in the spa.

We are already planning our next stay at Knoll House. This was a fabulous, relaxing escape from our busy, modern lives and not once did the words “I’m bored’ leave our children’s lips.

There is so much we didn’t get to do on this visit. The children are longing to try out the hotel’s golf course, tennis courts and heated outdoor pool.

The summer months will also be more appealing, hopefully, for a walk along the beach to Old Harry’s rock. Being a dog friendly hotel, we may bring along a four-legged member of the family that we all so desperately want.