This April, historic farmstead hotel, winery and spa São Lourenço do Barrocal will introduce a wild and wonderful new program of creative and immersive nature-based experiences for children, alongside the opening of a brand new children’s pool.
Set amid the grasslands of Portugal’s raw and unspoilt Alentejo region, the hotel and estate is working with local archaeologist Manuel Calado to develop a series of new family experiences inspired by the estate’s natural surroundings and fascinating megalithic heritage.
Artistic little ones will explore their creativity in a wild art class, inspired by the Stone Age relics scattered throughout the region. They will explore the estate to collect natural objects, creating unique artworks using stones, sticks, feathers and wool alongside mineral and vegetable dyes.
Sculptors-in-waiting will join Calado in digging for natural clay soils and pigments, which will be used to create replicas of the prehistoric pottery offerings found within the estate’s ancient stone dolmens, or megalithic tombs.
Aspiring young chefs can join Calado on a feasting and foraging tour of the estate. They will find out how to use the seasonal abundance of healthy nuts, flowers, fruits and edible fungi to make salads, teas and sweet treats, and learn about the diets and cookery techniques of the region’s prehistoric communities.
Competitive kids can enjoy a range of sporting challenges in the wild, learning how to craft their own prehistoric bow and arrow, propellant and assegai before competing in a tournament to prove their sporting prowess.
Following an exciting day of activities in the wild, youngsters can splash about in the brand new children’s’ pool, set to open in May 2018. Situated in the heart of the estate, away from the hotel’s peaceful main pool, the 15m children’s pool will offer a family-friendly spot to cool down the summer heat.
All families visiting São Lourenço do Barrocal will have the opportunity to take home a Barrocal Bird — a handmade and illustrated textile thrush bird, inspired by the resident flocks and designed by awarded Portuguese printmaker Sofia Morais — as a permanent reminder of their family break in nature.
Beyond these new activities, São Lourenço do Barrocal offers a plethora of countryside experiences to keep even the most active of families entertained. Guests can set out on the estate’s sweet-natured Lusitano horses for guided explorations of the estate, with lead rein-wanderings and carriage rides available for little ones. Foodie types can indulge in family bakery classes within the pastry kitchen, learning how to bake Alentejo regional bread, cakes and biscuits; before relaxing in the shade of a gnarled holm oak tree to enjoy the spoils of their endeavours. Treasure hunts through the estate can be arranged for intrepid families, while the estate’s large playroom offers a quiet spot for children to play, with a make-believe kitchen, games, books and movies, plus childcare available on demand.
Away from the estate, families can enjoy private boat trips to the countless secluded coves and islands of the vast Alqueva Lake, just 10 kilometres away, with the option of continuing their aquatic explorations on paddleboards, canoes, water-skis and wakeboards.