Leicester and Leicestershire is packed with so much to do, you will need more than a day to discover it all!
With fascinating attractions and places to explore such as Conkers, National Space Centre, Twycross Zoo, Twinlakes Theme Park and Stonehurst Family Farm, it’s the perfect place to take the family for a weekend full of action and fun. Leicester and Leicestershire’s great value themed short breaks start from just £129 and last weekend we got to try it for ourselves.
Included in the price is Bed and Breakfast in one of four 4* Hotels and the chance to visit three of the five attractions mentioned above. Booking couldn’t be easier; just select your short break, pick your hotel and date of stay, pay and print your tickets. You then hand one of these tickets in at the attraction of your choice and away you go.
We chose to visit Conkers and the National Space Centre on our visit. If the weather had been kinder we probably would have squeezed in Twycross Zoo but it was torrential rain all day and although the weather doesn’t normally put us off, I hadn’t brought our waterproofs.
Conkers is perfect for visitors that love the Great Outdoors. You can either take it slow and explore the 120 acres of maturing woodlands, lakes, ponds and play areas – or go wild and take the 18 stage Assault course challenge, climb the hi and lo ropes or launch yourself down the 70m zip wire.
Indoors there is also a lot to see and do so the weather can’t spoil your fun. Delve into the life of a British Woodland with over 100 indoor interactive exhibits in our four seasonal zones. Or experience the Enchanted Forest full of adventure and discovery climbing through the treetops and along rope walkways – one day is not long enough to do it all!
There is even the chance to brave the barefoot walk and feel the forest floor under your feet. Be warned, it can get quite muddy and slippery in places so make sure you take a change of clothes for the little ones.
We chose to stay in Hinckley Island which is about a half an hour drive away from Conkers. It is a huge hotel with 362 bedrooms, a health club, swimming pool and most importantly has family friendly bedrooms. It also has conference facilities and is popular for events. We walked in grubby from our days adventures at Conkers to find a wedding, a summer ball and other parties going on, but no-one batted an eyelid at the scruffy, mud covered family walking along the posh corridor.
Our room was bright and airy with two double beds and a travel cot, including cellular blanket. There was also a small table and chairs, wardrobe and drawers for our clothes and a large flatscreen TV with freeview which kept the kids entertained whilst we cleaned ourselves up.
We ate in the Triumph Bar which features full size original Triumph motorcycle and lots of bike pieces decorating the walls. It is a sports bar and has large widescreen televisions on the wall but when we ate it was quite and peaceful. It didn’t have the largest menu, but had something to suit everyone’s taste and for adults a two course meal cost £18.95 and the children’s menu was just £4.50 with under 5’s eating free.
Bellies full of dinner and that all important dessert, we headed back upstairs to settle down for the night. Despite the hotel holding various events, our room was quiet and exhausted from a full day out at Conkers the kids were soon asleep.
Refreshed from a good nights sleep, we headed downstairs for breakfast the next morning, with the kids choosing a good selection of pastries. We were treated to an amazing spectacle as we ate as an Indian wedding were arriving complete with colourful, sparkly outfits and a drum that beat as everyone walked in.
We checked out with no problem and headed half an hour up the road to the National Space Centre, which is situated just North of Leicester. If you are planning to visit make sure you take £3 for the carpark – it is something we didn’t realise and I had no change with me. Luckily you can pay inside, but it did make for a stressful few minutes as I searched the car for change.
Upon arrival you will see the iconic Rocket Tower and the top of the UK’s largest domed planetarium and inside are six further inspiring galleries to discover. Crammed full of space suits, rockets, satellites, meteorites and planets the centre is packed full of breathtaking discovery and interactive fun. There are even dressing up clothes for the kids to wear as they explore.
We arrived at 10am, opening time, which was perfect as we got to explore in relative peace and quiet. By lunchtime the centre was packed, although you could still walk around freely, there were queues to do some of the activities, especially in the rocket tower.
I highly recommend doing the Planetarium experience as it is amazing and after years of not understanding physics at school, it has all become clear.
Because the centre is fully interactive, there were no mentions of those immortal words “I’m Bored” as the little ones got stuck into every adventure they could find. My only disappointment is that I wanted to read everything and it is almost impossible with small people in tow. We still spent an impressive 4 hours inside though and you can read my full review of the National Space Centre here.
I still have two tickets left to use, so we will be back to Leicester very soon. I would happily book a Stay, Play and Explore Ticket again, it is great value for money. If you have older children they also have Family Adventure short breaks with tobogganing and snow tubing, canoeing, bushcraft and more!
Disclaimer: We were provided with a Stay, Play and Explore Ticket for the purpose of a review. All opinions are my own.