This is a collaborative post with Leicestershire Promotions
Last weekend, we went on our first holiday with just the four of us – which is something very rare. We’ve been on little getaways to weddings and birthdays further afield, but the ‘just us’ break is not something we’ve been able to make happen. And boy did we need it! Some time together, away from cooking home-cooked meals, tidying away the plastic toys at the end of the night. A little escapism as a family and as soon as we set off, I though to myself “why don’t we do this more often?”
There are some major perks to having two children with a big age gap – especially as my stepson is basically like Harry from 1D to Emma. However, it turns out that when it comes to holidaying, entertainment for a teenager and a toddler inevitably becomes a bit tricky. So when we were contacted by Leicestershire Promotions to review their Stay Play Explore weekend, I couldn’t think of anything more perfect for our family set-up.
The Stay Play Explore weekend is a brilliant package holiday to promote all the things to see within a 30 minute drive of the hotel’s base. You do need a car of some sort to make it work I’d say, which was no problem for us as we had always planned to drive up. I find it so much easier than trying to compactly pack everything into one or two bags – Emma’s favourite toys seem to change daily! The weekend ticket costs £149 and gives you 1 night’s accomodation at a 4-star hotel, plus free entry for 2 adults & 2 children to 3 attractions while you’re there. There was lots to choose from: a safari, a zoo, water park, an orienteering experience and also the Space Centre.
Our journey up was brilliant, considering it was a Friday night and we had to wait until after school finished to set off. It’s always a bit of a difficult one, living in Brighton, as usually by the time you hit the M25, it’s just in time for rush hour. But we must have got lucky as it was relatively hassle-free and we timed it well to stop for a cheeky KFC for dinner before we arrived in Leicester. Emma was so well behaved all the way up too, and I’m always grateful that she travels well in the car.
We stayed at the Hilton Leicester, which is located just off the M1/M69 junction and very easy to find. There was a big car park, where we were able to park free of charge but I believe they are trying to install a parking metre system at the moment, so I imagine it might not stay that way for long. The hotel was brilliant and one thing that struck me was how accommodating and friendly the staff were. Those of you with little toddlers will know that they obviously play up in the most inconvenient moments. In just two days, Emma had a tantrum at breakfast lying on the floor, dropped a glass on the lobby floor another time but no-one batted an eyelid or made us feel that we were being a nuisance (we probably were).
The hotel room was very spacious and had 2 double beds plus a travel cot that the staff kindly set up for us before we arrived. My stepson was immediately delighted that he had a double bed to himself as he’s so used to being relegated to a single camper-style bed when we have stayed in family rooms in the past. This extra space plus a perfect temperature in the room makes all the difference with Emma in tow. I’m not sure if it’s easier because she’s a little older but she seemed so at home and within seconds was jumping on the bed with glee.
Eating in a hotel, when Mummy forgot to pack the baby monitor, is always tricky so we opted for room service and can’t tell you how impressive it was. Between us we had a burger, a curry and a roast chicken, all perfectly cooked and like they had been prepared for the restaurant. What a pleasant surprise and hassle-free so we could eat in the room while Emma played with her puzzles. It’s a small but very vital thing for us, as eating out in restaurants with our little lady is taking a backseat for a while.
So what did we choose to sightsee? This was a big decision for us and we did have a family gathering about it to decide! We’ll be back next Friday to tell you about the amazing days out we went on during our stay. Hope you’ll check in to find out…
Disclosure: Leicestershire Promotions provided us with a complimentary Stay Play Explore Family Fun Short Break ticket plus 1 night’s accommodation at Hilton Leicester for the purpose of this review.
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