A Stay Play Explore Short Break in Leicestershire

Posted on
April 4, 2017

This weekend we were invited to try a Stay, Play and Explore short break in Leicestershire.
For just £149 (£159 during bank holiday weekends) a family of 2 adults and 2 children can visit any 3 out of 10 exciting attractions and enjoy overnight accommodation including breakfast at a choice of 4 star family friendly hotels and for larger families like ours you can buy an additional child ticket for £20.
The attractions included are National Space Centre, Conkers, Twycross Zoo, Twinlakes Theme Park, Stonehurst Family Farm, Swadlincote Ski Centre, Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre, Bosworth Water Park  and King Richard III Visitor Centre.
The attraction e-tickets are available to download and print once booking of your short break has been completed and are valid from the day of your stay until the end of 2017, so if you run out of time you can come back and use them another time.
We were booked to stay at the Hilton in Leicester, which was the perfect base for exploring the surrounding county and the fabulous attractions it has to offer.
Hilton Leicester
We set off early and made the 3 hour journey from Dorset to Leicester with our first destination of the weekend the National Space Centre.
National Space Centre
With the UK’s largest planetarium, six interactive galleries, unique 2D Simulator Experience and the iconic 42m high Rocket Tower, a visit to the National Space Centre is an out of this world experience.
National Space Centre
The highlight of our visit for me is the ‘We are Stars’ show in the Planetarium which helps you understand the how the universe was formed, but the whole centre is well thought out and the kids loved the fact it was interactive throughout and enjoyed getting stuck in to various activities, including sending Daddy into space in the Gagarin Experience.
Gagarin Experience
Isaac also got to present the weather forecast in a special pod and both him and Eliza took part in some astronaut training. Using various aptitude tests, the results were recorded on a ticket that the kids had to input before they answered the questions or did the activity. Isaac was selected to be an Engineering Officer and Eliza a Food Hygiene Officer.
National Space Centre
We spent just under 4 hours in the National Space Centre before heading to our next destination – Bolsover Castle, just over the border in Derbyshire.
Bolsover Castle
Bolsover Castle offers a real ‘WOW’ moment when it comes in to view and you can see it was designed to entertain and impress and the views from the top don’t disappoint either.
Bolsover Castle
We wandered through the lavish rooms of the Little Castle with the kids chuckling away at the many paintings of naked ladies and delighting in a ghost story or too.
Bolsover Castle
It was the exploring the romantic ruined terrace range that offered the most fun though, as they played hide and seek in all the nooks and crannies.
Bolsover Castle
Oh, and don’t miss the cheeky fountain, which was designed around the statue of Venus – goddess of love and pleasure – emerging from her bath in the Fountain Garden.
Bolsover Castle
It was then time to head back to the hotel ready for day 2 and Twycross Zoo.
Twycross Zoo is a medium-sized zoo which has the largest collection of monkeys and apes in the Western World but more excitingly for us, it is also the home to a herd of elephants.
The zoo offers large pathways to run around, interesting keeper talks and around 500 animals to see, all with clear information signs that tell you interesting facts about them, including if they are under threat from extinction.
Twycross Zoo
You could easily spend all day at Twycross Zoo as it also has a couple of play parks for the kids to play in, a splash park for when it is warmer and lots of green space where you can stop for a picnic or just a rest. The only pay extra activity we found was the chance to feed the Lorikeets which cost an extra £1 per pot.
Twycross Zoo
Our final destination of the weekend was Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire.
Kenilworth Castle
Kenilworth Castle has been linked with some of the most important names in English history and was a favoured residence of the Lancastrian kings. Today, with its Elizabethan gardens, its impressive Norman ‘keep’ and John of Gaunt’s Great Hall, it is the largest castle ruin in England, perfect for exploring.
Kenilworth Castle
The castle is sat on top of a large hill, perfect for rolling down and the kids made the most of the dry and sunny weather by rolling from the top to the bottom as well as clambering up the dark spiral staircases to take in the view from the top.
Kenilworth Castle
We thoroughly enjoyed our weekend away, it was the perfect mix of fun and education. Leicester is the perfect base for exploring the Midlands and we still have a play, stay, explore ticket to use so hopefully will be back soon for some more fun!
Please note that Bolsover Castle and Kenilworth Castle are not included as part of the Stay Play Explore ticket, we used our English Heritage annual passes.

  1. Reply

    Katy Stevens

    April 4, 2017

    Looks like a fantastic weekend away – you take wonderful photographs too!

  2. Reply

    Sam | North East Family Fun Travel Blog

    April 4, 2017

    Oh it looks fantastic. We’re visiting the area in June and are so excited to visit the National Space Centre – even more so now!

  3. Reply

    five little doves

    April 4, 2017

    Oh what a fab short break you’ve had! We went to Kenilworth last year for a wedding and visited the castle, it’s lovely down there!! I love the Hilton too, best breakfast ever!!

  4. Reply

    JuggleMum, Nadine Hill

    April 4, 2017

    Looks like you had a great weekend away, I didn’t realise there was actually so much for families to do in Leicestershire. It’s only about 90 minutes drive from us!

  5. Reply

    Sarah MumofThree World

    April 4, 2017

    It looks like a lovely weekend and what an absolute bargain! I’m quite tempted to give this a go myself. My kids have been to the Space Centre on a school trip and Twycross Zoo used to be my regular zoo as a kid because my grandparents lived nearby. I probably haven’t been there for well over 30 years and would love to see it again.
    I would have thought Leicester was more than three hours from Dorset!

  6. Reply

    Elinor Hill aka Beach Hut Cook

    April 4, 2017

    What a great offer! That’s a seriously good price and looks like you packed in such adventures into your mini break. Elinor x

  7. Reply

    Musings of a tired mummy...zzz...

    April 4, 2017

    We passed through Leicester on the way to York last year so just went to the space centre which we all really enjoyed

    • Reply


      April 4, 2017

      Ooooo I want to visit York

  8. Reply

    Erica Price

    April 4, 2017

    It really does look like the perfect base to explore from. I must find a chance to do some more exploring in Leicestershire. We love the Space Centre, Kenilworth and Twycross Zoo too.

  9. Reply

    Suzy Mccullough

    April 4, 2017

    You packed in so much well done. Twycross and the space centre are big favourites of ours. We went three times last year

  10. Reply

    Sophie's Nursery

    April 4, 2017

    We only live an hours drive away from these places, what a great offer I will def be looking into! We have only visited Twycross & Kenilworth so would love to see the other places x

  11. Reply


    April 4, 2017

    That sounds like a really good value stay and play offer. You visited some fab places too!

  12. Reply

    Ana De- Jesus

    April 4, 2017

    Bolsover castle is so gorgeous, I love the stately rooms and the outdoor grounds. I had no idea that Leicesershire was so beautiful x

  13. Reply


    April 5, 2017

    The space centre looks like great fun! I love reading about all your adventures.

  14. Reply


    April 5, 2017

    Wow, not ba for a family bonding. Looks like you kids really had a lot of fun interacting with the animals too.

  15. Reply

    Katy (What Katy Said)

    April 5, 2017

    What a great deal, I would definitely try this out! Looks like you had a great time! x

  16. Reply

    Kerry norris

    April 6, 2017

    This is a really good deal. I went to the national space centre when I was younger and loved it. Would love to take the girls.looks like you had a fab weekend away x

  17. Reply

    Charlene | High Heels And Fairy Tales

    April 7, 2017

    What a lovely weekend getaway! Bolsover Castle especially looks incredible!! 🙂 #WanderlustKids

  18. Reply

    Fi Ni Neachtain

    April 7, 2017

    Bolsover Castle looks absolutely amazing! Looks like you all had a great and fun break!

  19. Reply


    April 7, 2017

    We live so close to Bolsover castle but have never actually been, really must make sure we add it to our list this year!

  20. Reply

    Penny Alexander

    April 7, 2017

    Wow you fitted loads in! I’ve been meaning to try this actually as it is such a good value offer, lovely photos as always 🙂

  21. Reply

    Baby Loves Travel

    April 7, 2017

    Wow, that sounds like a bargain weekend away – I will have to investigate… #wanderlustkids

  22. Reply

    Welsh Cakes and Wellies

    April 9, 2017

    My sister-in-law lives in Leicester, this has given us some great ideas for places to go with the little ones when we next visit. The stay and explore deal sounds really good value.

  23. Reply

    Nichola - Globalmouse

    April 10, 2017

    Looks like a great trip and I love how destinations are bundling attractions and hotels at a really good price.

  24. Reply

    Cathy (Mummytravels)

    April 18, 2017

    That is a real bargain break and some great activities too – I would love to visit the National Space Centre (and the Richard III exhibition though not sure how I’d sell that to a 4yo). A stop at Kenilworth would be a huge bonus. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

  25. Reply

    Sol Solntze

    April 22, 2017

    That was a busy weekend! It’s a great deal, you describe! I really want to go to the Space Centre, but I think I’d have to go to the Richard III museum too.

  26. Reply

    Cath - BattleMum

    May 1, 2017

    Wow, that sounds like the perfect way to have a fun weekend. I love the idea of a stay, play and explore weekend and even better that the attraction ticket lasts the rest of the year if you don’t manage to squeeze it all in. The National Space Centre is somewhere I’d love to visit, as I haven’t been to a planetarium since I was a little girl. And BattleKid would love to go dragon hunting at either of those castles. Thanks for linking up last month! #wanderlustkids

  27. Reply

    Lauren The Helpful Hiker

    May 24, 2017

    I love the idea of the stay play and explore break, I’m thinking of doing it for my husband’s birthday this year (he’s a space geek and would love the space centre). I was worried about fitting everything in, especially with a small child so love the fact that you can use your ticket at another time. It looks like you and your family had an amazing time. #GetGone

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Are we nearly there yet? is a new online blog run by me, Kara Guppy, and is named as such thanks to my daughter Eliza who always asks that very question when we are less than 5 minutes up the road heading off on our adventures. You may know me from my other family blog