Do you fancy going to Leicestershire for a weekend getaway?” My husband asked. I was intrigued. Why would we want to go there? “Have a look at this company, Stay Play Explore.”
I browsed through the website www.stayplayexplore.co.uk for a few minutes. The activities and attractions on offer looked great and the accommodation looked the height of luxury. In fact I couldn’t really believe what good value it appeared to be.
“Ok, why not, let’s give it a whirl.”
Stay Play Explore offer weekend break packages in Leicestershire and in Warwick & Stratford Upon Avon. The deal we chose to try out is £149 for 2 adults and 2 children. Under 3’s are free. The package includes entry for the whole family into your choice of 3 local attractions. You also get bed and breakfast accommodation from a choice of four star family-friendly hotels. We chose the Hilton Leicester as it can accommodate 5 in a room and we were lured by the option to use their 18m indoor pool and the proximity of the hotel to the motorway – just off J21 of the M1.
What’s great about booking you break with Stay Play Explore is that you don’t have to pre-book the attractions you want to go to. There is a choice of ten in Leicestershire and you can leave it until you are away to pick which three to go to. This means if the weather turns or the kids have a change of heart you can be flexible and you know it’s not going to cost you anything extra.
The night before or trip we had a family meeting round the dining table and loaded up the webpages for the attractions that were suitable for our kids ages. We then let the children pick which ones they wanted to do. Libby (2) chose Stonehurst Family Farm, Oliver (4) chose Twinlakes Theme Park and Henry (6) chose the National Space Centre.
Twinlakes is, in our opinion, a super little theme park for children of a similar age to our own. We arrived at lunchtime so headed to the picnic area first. We then spent the rest of the day going on the rides, seeing the birds and animals and playing on the many different playgrounds. It was quite quiet when we visited so the children we able to ride their favourite rides as many times as they wanted to without queuing. We found that the staff were really friendly and the park was clean and well maintained. What a hidden treasure this place is. If we lived nearer we’d definitely buy an annual pass.
The park closed at 5pm so worn out and happy we headed off to the hotel to check in. We stopped for fish and chips on route to the Hilton Leicester. However, the hotel does have a fabulous restaurant, Flavours, which opens at 7pm. There is a good deal on at the restaurant for 2 adults and 2 children to have a three-course meal for £50.
Our room was spacious, modern and super comfortable. There were two double beds and a pull-out sofa bed. In the end the children slept together in one double so we didn’t need the sofa bed after all. We decided to let the children go swimming as the pool is open until 10pm. They were so excited! Our eldest one told us it had been a perfect day and we all agreed with him.
Next morning’s breakfast at the hotel also delighted us all. The Hilton Leicester has an amazing choice on offer: full cooked breakfast, cereals, toast, fruits, yoghurts, pastries, cheeses and deli meats, there’s even freshly cooked waffles and syrup. Delicious! To drink there’s tea, coffee and a selection of fruit juices.
Although check out is at 12pm which allows you a generous lie-in and the kids perhaps another swim, we decided to get to the National Space Centre for opening time as we’d been told that it’s worth going early to get your planetarium tickets for a show at a time that suits you rather than having a long wait for it. We managed to see the ‘You Are Stars’ show at 10.30am and it really did wow the children, albeit most of the information went over their heads, literally as well as metaphorically! Oliver declared loudly at the end that he loved the show and wants to buy the DVD. Sadly this isn’t an option! There’s so much to see and do at the Space Centre that we easily filled 3 hours before we realised it was lunchtime. We stopped off at a supermarket for sandwiches and baby wipes (somehow managed to only bring 1/4 pack!) and made our way to Stonehurst Family Farm, our final choice of attraction.
Stonehurst Family Farm is an adorable place. It’s popular and for very good reason. Our children had a super time feeding and handling different animals, going on a pony ride, bumping along on the tractor ride and playing in the play areas. We’ve been to a number of farms like this nearer to home and this one ranks alongside our favourites. It’s clean and the animals look in tip-top condition, and they behave beautifully – there’s no worries about whether they are happy there! It was a lovely visit to round off a fantastic weekend.
Visiting Leicestershire with Stay Play Explore has been an absolute pleasure. We can thoroughly recommend it.
NB: Ian and Emma visited Leicester as guests of Stay Play Explore but all views and opinions are their own.
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Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!
Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.