We received our break free of charge
Have you heard of Stay Play Explore family breaks? They offer breaks to Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Yorkshire and include an overnight family stay in a hotel including breakfast and then your pick of three family-friendly attractions. There are several in each area to choose from so you are bound to find something to suit your family. We chose to visit Yorkshire for a couple of days and the kids chose the three things that they most wanted to try.
We stayed at the Cedar Court Wakefield hotel and went for the York sightseeing bus on our first day, followed by visiting Cannon Hall Farm on our second day and then having a go at High Altitude Ropes. The Husband and the kids did that last one without me, I was perfectly content watching the action from the ground! As we live in Birmingham, we decided to travel furthest on our first day and visit York as we always enjoy our time there, and then make our way back down the country towards home with our hotel and second day adventures.
York Sightseeing Bus
We decided to spend our first day in York as we have visited a couple of times before and always enjoyed it there. We hadn’t been on the sightseeing bus before but loved the idea of it so this was out first choice attraction.
You can hop on and off the bus for the full twenty four hours that your ticket lasts, or you can choose to stay on for the full tour which takes around an hour. We hopped off to explore the Shambles, York Minster and some of the shops.
It was a shame that it was pouring down with rain as we wanted the kids to experience an open top bus tour. However, we did manage to go upstairs for one of our journeys as the front part of the bus was covered over. The kids sat at the front and were more than happy to have such prime seats.
Throughout the tour there is an automated guide talking about everything that you can see and for a history geek like me, it was absolutely fascinating. York is a city packed full of history so we were taken from Roman times through to the Norman Conquest, the Black Death, the Civil Wars and more – I loved it! Boo was taking it all in as she has recently covered a little seventeenth century history at school so she liked tying everything in with her learning. Little Man was not particularly enamoured, but he was happy looking out of the window and being on a bus!
After we had looked around York, we headed to the York shopping outlet which is around fifteen minutes outside of the city centre. We have been there before and so we were keen to pop back and kick off our Christmas shopping. There is also a food court there so we had our dinner before heading down to Wakefield for our hotel stay. It took around forty-five minutes from York to Wakefield, and Little Man was counting the time down as he adores a hotel stay!
Cedar Court Wakefield
The hotel had a large car park so we had no trouble finding a space and our break included free parking. The kids were thrilled to find that the family room is made up of a main room and then an adjoining bedroom with twin beds and a television, all of their own!
We went down to breakfast at around quarter past eight on the Saturday morning and it was nice and quiet. There was a large seating area and plenty of places to sit, so I can’t imagine that it gets too crowded even at later times. There was a breakfast buffet which included several fruit juices, a good selection of hot drinks, fruit, cereals, hot food and plenty of pastries, crumpets, muffins, waffles and toast. Needless to say, we all ate our fill and were fuelled up for the day ahead.
The staff were friendly and helpful and our room was clean and tidy. We stayed until the very last minute on Saturday morning before checking out (we had to watch the rugby!) so we got the most out of our stay. We then headed off to Cannon Hall Farm, which was just under twenty minutes away from the hotel.
Cannon Hall Farm
If I preface this with the fact that it was absolutely pouring down and yet we still loved it here, you will get the idea that it was a fabulous place to visit.
The play areas alone could have kept the kids occupied for hours. There is a huge indoor play space and then several outdoor play areas. They did play outside for a while, but I know we’d have been out there a lot longer if it had been a dry day.
There are activities running throughout the day, from ferret racing to tractor rides (the Pigwarts Express) to sheep racing to meeting the animals and several farmer talks. We managed to enjoy the races, the tractor ride and several meet the animal sessions. There are then large barns, all under cover, where you can see pigs (and so many beautiful piglets), sheep, goats, ponies, horses, rabbits, reindeer, donkeys, alpacas, cows, llamas and more. There are also bird enclosures and a reptile house.
When we visited there was also a Pumpkin Festival running and it was one of the best we have attended. There was a scary forest and then a pumpkin field for children to select their own pumpkin, and little wheel barrows for them to transport them. We then took our pumpkins inside to a large marquee filled with tables and we were given marker pens to draw our pumpkin faces, before taking them up to the carving team for them to cut out our designs. We were then back to a table to scoop out the insides, and the tables were all well set up with several large scoops, a large bin and paper towels. There were then bags for us to pop our pumpkins into and take them home. I would say that it was the best pumpkin experience that we have had and very well thought out.
All of the staff were so friendly there, from the car park attendants to the tractor trailer guide to the pumpkin carvers to the restaurant staff. It was one of those places that was an all round pleasure to visit and we really could not fault it. It was clean, tidy, well planned out and we wished that we lived closer so that we would visit again and again, preferably on a dry day!
After the farm we headed to Sheffield, around half an hour away, for the high ropes adventure which did need to be booked in advance using a Stay Play Explore voucher.
High Altitude Ropes
The kids love high ropes and rock climbing, so I knew that they would want to give the High Altitude Ropes in Sheffield a go. They are both over the minimum 1.1m height, but not quite at the 1.4m that means that they can go up without an adult, so the Husband donned his harness and up he went!
There are a variety of obstacles to traverse whilst up in the air, from a rock climbing wall to a huge drop at the end. It took around forty five minutes for them to get round the course and, no doubt due to the poor weather, we were the only family there so the kids loved being able to yell to each other and shout out encouragement as they made their way round. The staff there helpful and friendly and were on hand if ever the kids got stuck.
This isn’t an activity that the Husband loves, he has done his fair share of them now with the kids! But, the children both adored every second of it and would definitely recommend it.
All in all, we had a brilliant time, and that in spite of the awful weather. We were really happy with the attractions that we selected and I think there were perfect for our family. They were also all quite different to one another so we enjoyed the variety.
I cannot recommend the Stay Play Explore breaks enough. I think that they represent great value as they are priced from £149 and they encourage you to have a full, funpacked family weekend. We have also had fun in the past on a Leicestershire Stay Play Explore break if you’d like to find out more about that option.
Would a Stay Play Explore break suit your family?
Disclosure: We received our break free of charge