If you are looking for a short break with the family then I thoroughly recommend visiting Leicestershire with the Stay, Play, Explore package. This allows families the opportunity to have a short break with attractions included at a great value price. Or a getaway for just 2 adults is also available. Chose the package that suits your needs best from: Family Fun, Family Adventure, Gourmet taste of Leicestershire, City Treat Experience Leicester, Glorious Heritage Leicestershire and King Richard III Short Breaks Leicester & Leicestershire.
Stay, Play, Explore Family Fun Short Break
My family and I were invited to try the Family Fun Short Break for purposes of review. Prices start from £129 for a family of four and I am pleased to say that additional children can be added on and the price recalculated. This includes entry into 3 attractions out of a choice of 5, plus overnight stay in a 4* hotel with breakfast included. Tickets are simply printed off and easily exchanged at each attraction. The attraction tickets are valid for 12 months so do not need to be used immediately. Also as the tickets are for all the attractions, until exchanged on entry, you do not need to decide in advance where you want to visit. So wake up and let the weather or your mood take you where you fancy.
Having already visited Conkers we decided that we would visit The National Space Centre because The Sensory Seeker had been learning about Space in Year 1. Also it seemed to be an option that only took 3-4 hours rather than a whole day which meant we could leave a little later in the day. Based on this I decided to select the Hilton Leicester hotel as it was nearby. It was easy to find but once we arrived we noticed that there were parking charges and were unsure if these applied. The lady on reception was very kind and explained that normally guests had a cheaper charge of £5 for all night parking, but that parking was included in the price of a Stay, Play, Explore.
I was told where the best place to park was for easy access to our rooms, and all about the facilities (gym, beauty therapy and swimming pool) at the hotel as well as the Hilton Honours Club (which gives free wifi). The room consisted of 2 double beds, a desk and chair, a table and 2 chairs and a bathroom. I was later informed that we could have had a pull out bed added to our room if we had asked (but my 2 youngest are small enough that we all fitted into the 2 doubles). The room was clean and well stocked of the things needed in a hotel – including fresh towels and a hairdryer – as well as soap, shampoo, conditioner, shower cap, body cleanser and flannels. Also drinks were provided in the room and we were impressed with the number of cartons of milk provided (there’s never normally enough is there!).
Swimming at the Hilton Leicester
The boys were very excited to be staying at a hotel with a swimming pool (another reason we had opted for the National Space Centre on the first day) and so was one of the first places we went when we arrived (children had to be out of the pool by a certain time – 8pm I think). We had rung down to check if we were able to take all 3 of our children down to the pool as there’s a restriction on numbers of children in the pool at one time (15 I think). They reassured us that it was fine, confirmed that they provided towels for the pool and advised us what the situation was with lockers. All in all a very friendly and efficient service. The changing rooms themselves were brilliant with not only providing the option of changing in groups or cubicles, shampoo/body wash, a hair dryer but also a spin dryer for the swimming costumes – and wet bag to put it in. The pool was split in two and we were told which side to go to play and which side to swim. There is a sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi.
Food at the Hilton Leicester
Our son has Sensory Processing Disorder and by the time we had visited our first attraction, checked into a hotel and been swimming he was not coping too well. It was getting late and he needed feeding. The Hilton Leicester has an offer whereby children under 10 eat free with a paying adult meal. We were weighing up whether this was our best option as the restaurant looked unsuitable for our son at that point. The staff were absolutely amazing and told us that the same great offer applied to the bar (where there was more space and it was lighter – generally a much better environment where we felt he may cope better). What we hadn’t realised was that this offer actually meant that the children could have 3 courses and a drink for FREE. If I had to give the waiter a rating out of 10 I would give him a 15. He was so patient and kind. He really listened to what the children wanted (including The Sensory Seeker who as I say was what we call struggling). He made us feel special and very welcome guests indeed. The food was delicious and we did not have to wait long at all. Being the beauty of staying overnight my husband and I also were able to enjoy one pint of alcohol each too.
The next morning we awoke to find a newspaper had been delivered to our room. We then went down to breakfast where we were seated for breakfast and offered drinks. There was such a delicious array of breakfast items – muffins, pastries, fresh fruit, yoghurt, full English, cooked meats, bread, salad, juices, tea and coffee. In fact we ate so well that it really set us up for the day and we hardly need to supplement it with any other food (the children ate at lunchtime more out of habit than hunger I think). Again the service was fantastic with staff clearing away our dirty things quickly – but not too quickly and always checking we had finished.
We were then not too far away to set off to arrive at our next attraction for opening times. We chose Twinlakes all action theme park as it is the furthest attraction from our home. Given the overnight stay (including parking and breakfast) I would definitely say that a Stay, Play, Explore is worth the money – and then you get to visit the 3 attractions on top. You cannot visit the same attraction twice so we now have Twycross Zoo or Stonehurst Family Farm to visit (technically we can go back to Conkers as that was not part of this package).
Leicester Shire Promotions is the tourism organisation for Leicester and Leicestershire and provided my family with this amazing review opportunity for over the school summer holidays. I cannot thank them enough and words and opinions are my own and very honest. It was a VERY positive experience and I cannot recommend the Hilton Leicester highly enough.