If you follow me on Instagram you will absolutely know that we have had a BLAST this past weekend in Manchester. Yep, some bloggers might start their half term holiday off by going far afield to exotic places, some of my very favourite peoples have popped off to Disneyland and we have chosen Manchester.
What can I say? We’re original.
Anyway, we went to Manchester and we had the BEST time. Honestly it was amazing! We had a blast.
First things first, we stayed at Holiday Inn Manchester City Centre who we were collaborating with – their hotels are guaranteed to be family friendly with the aim that no matter whether you have muddy feet, noisy playful voices or temper tantrums, you’re going to be in a place that *gets it*. Now as a mum I always take that with a pinch of salt. We have stayed in some amazing places, really amazing and they have lived up to the claim but there have also been some hotels that haven’t quite got it like they promised they would – this was absolutely one of the diamonds that just *got* it!
We stayed in a suite which was perfect for families, it meant that all 5 of us could stay in one room, without having connecting doors. I quite often panic that if we close the connecting door slightly to give myself and Adam a bit of quiet time whilst the kids go to sleep that they might get confused in the night and go out the main door, get locked out and panic. I KNOW that is totally illogical and silly but it’s an anxiety that I don’t shake well and Adam could tell you that I have a habit of leaving the door open when we go to bed and bolting/chaining their main door. This was a perfect solution in my mind. It had a dividing wall, so we weren’t “seen” and not hiding in the bathroom as we have on so many occasions! The rooms were lovely, so well styled and just a real treat to be in.
Breakfast was absolutely delish, we really enjoyed it with something for everyone, and the same with dinner – though our second night of meals was by far our favourite. Toby wasn’t keen on the fish fingers at all on the first night and we felt that the pizzas and steak were nice but nothing that left us absolutely salivating over the next night, the second night was a different story and genuinely lush!
One of my favourite aspects of this brand is that the Holiday Inn is one of the only hotels that offers free stays and meals for children under the age of 17 (kids eat free under 12) if staying with parents. It makes family travel, especially with a large family, absolutely brilliant and so much easier.
The NCP car park was a slight bug bare of mine; it’s £24 per night and reduced for hotel guests to £19.50 but I’m a big believer that hotel stays should come with complimentary parking – however I have as of yet to find a hotel in Manchester that offers this! It seems to be the standard and whilst I find it a bit annoying; it was preferable to have the car in a secure car park.
I can’t recommend Holiday Inn Manchester City Centre enough, it was such a beautiful hotel and from the games area with a tonne of board games in the restaurant for the children to enjoy to the spacious rooms and their Open Lobby where there was enough space to just relax, it was a really brilliant family hotel and one that Adam and I will use again if we come to Manchester for an event.
So what did we get up to?
On the Saturday evening we went to INFLATANATION and it was AMAZING. £45 for all 5 of us for 1 hour (a little bit pricey yes BUT we loved it and it’s all they have talked about since we left) in a warehouse filled with what can only be described as the hugest inflatable fun factory. There are obstacle courses, slides and a giant ball pool. IF you have older children and you don’t want to pay for you to bounce then they have a cafe that serves food, drinks and free water (which I loved because they had ample opportunity to charge people for bottles of water and making a killing whilst the kids stood and moaned that they were gasping after an hour of bouncing and they didn’t!) I would highly recommend it and anyone who follows me and is more local to our family in Malton you might want to try out the Beverley one!
We took a trip to one of our fave places Legoland Discovery Centre at Trafford Centre. Whilst I love the Lego Discovery Centre it is absolutely not a cheap or even reasonably priced day out, it cost us £105 for a combo ticket (which allows you into the Sealife Centre next door) and it was limited to 3.5hrs (which we weren’t advised about!!) because it’s half term – with no price decrease… cheeky. Anyway, it’s expensive but my gosh is it worth it. Much like Legoland in Windsor, if you have Lego and Duplo loving children then you really need to make sure that you get yourself there at least once. It’s just so fun and something that the children adore. We filled our 3.5hrs with no stop fun and they loved every second. You can watch my vlog about Lego Discovery Centre here.
After that we popped into the SeaLife and I find, like with most SeaLife Centres this was a great way to kill a couple of hours, it wasn’t something that lasted for any massive length of time. I love the way that this particular SeaLife has lots of crawl through tanks for the kids so they are immersed in the world of fish!
After that we headed into the city centre because we were told that Halloween Manchester was happening, an event that had taken over the weekend before Halloween and promised something for children and adults alike, from a trick or treat treasure trail to a dog fancy dress contest and huge inflatable monsters on the buildings. It was phenomenal – all I can say is bravo Manchester for putting on such a wonderful event and getting so many businesses involved! All of the restaurants and bars had decorated windows, special offers and baskets with sweets – it made the kid’s night.
It was such a fun weekend, I highly recommend it. If you want to find out more about Holiday Inn or you would like to take advantage of their 15% off offers you can find out more at http://holidayinn.com/weekend