A couple of months ago, my family and I were invited to visit Leicester on a Stay Play Explore overnight break, and as avid travellers and day trippers, we were more than happy to hop the ferry to the mainland and spend a night in Leicester. Now, Leicester may not be the first play you think of when you’re planning a mini break, but hopefully by the end of this post you see why you should.
What is Stay Play Explore?
The premise is simple: book your Stay Play Explore Family Fun or Adventure holiday, and choose from three ‘activities’ that you can do during your two days in Leicester, as well as spending a night in a hotel with breakfast included in the price.
We opted to book a different hotel near Leicester the first night so that we could get a bright and early start to the first day of our Stay Play Explore Family Fun break.
Now, let’s start with the hotel. I know you’re thinking budget family hotel, right? You’re wrong. Our hotel was the beautiful Sketchley Grange Hotel complete with swimming pool, kiddies pool, jacuzzi, steam bath and sauna. The room was exquisite. The view was beautiful. We’ve stayed in some nice hotels in our time, but I pretty much think this one took the cake. Booked independently this family room would have cost us £160 for the night according to the sign at reception. Read a detailed review of the Sketchley Grange Hotel by clicking here.
What does Stay Play Explore Family Fun include?
Aside from your bed & breakfast in a four star hotel, there are five activities you can choose from as part of the Family Fun package:
You can choose any three of these, so since we had two full days, we chose Conkers for a full day, the National Space Centre for a half day, and Stonehurst Family Farm for the other half day. You do not have to do all three activities in two days. Your tickets are valid for several months, and if you’re able to you can come back another time and use the one you haven’t yet on a different trip. Or you can choose to book an extra night’s accommodation and use the third on a third day.
We worked out that for two adults and two children, the National Space Centre would have cost us £37 (£48 with two children over 5), Conkers would have cost us £32.95 (under 2’s are free) and Stonehurst Family Farm would have cost £18 (under 2’s are free). For our family of four with one under 5, the total for these three activities would have been £87.95 (£98.95 with two over 5).
(My partner and I are pretty certain we remember the price of the hotel being £160 a night for a family room, but looking on line right now rooms are available for as low as £79, with an additional £37.50 for breakfast.) Add the beautiful hotel with the evening swim, king sized bed and full breakfast in the conservatory and our total would have been (based on the website price) £204.45, (£215.45 with two over 5’s).
So… how much does the Stay Play Explore Family Fun break cost as a package deal, for all the above? Three activities, the hotel and breakfast will set you back: £129. For our family with the activities we chose, we saved £75.45.
If we had opted to go to the zoo or the theme park instead of the animal farm, our savings would have been £108.03 or £119.96. Those are huge savings for a two/three day break!
TIP: One thing to note if you are booking this is that you must print out the vouchers that will be emailed to you. We assumed that – like with the 100’s of other places we’ve been, the electronic voucher would be okay, but no, you have to print the voucher out THREE TIMES so that you have one for each attraction. Even the forestry venue, Conkers, insisted on printed vouchers, which we found rather ironic!
If you’re trying to find short breaks to fill up your summer, I cannot recommend Stay Play Explore Leicester enough. I know we’d love to go back for the Family Adventure package when my girls are a little older, and I’m just waiting for that first girly weekend occasion to come along so we can book on the Gourmet Taste package too!
*We enjoyed two beautiful days in Leicester in exchange for this review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.