Things to do near Birmingham during the school holidays

Warwick Castle, Warwickshire

During the school holidays we were heading to the West Midlands Safari Park near Birmingham for a day out so we thought we’d make a mini break of it as I had a few more days off left.

On route to Birmingham we stopped at Warwick Castle for a few hours.  We had a fabulous time exploring the castle inside and out, the weather really made it.  There is so much to see and do, we saw several of the live demonstrations; The Bowman, Flight of the Eagles, Battling Soldiers and Jousting.  Unfortunately, we missed the Trebuchet Fireball as someone needed the toilet at that precise moment in time.

Days out - Warwick Castle

I’d really recommend a day out at the castle but my only suggestions would be to bring a packed lunch and if you decide to do the Horrible Histories Trail, finding the rats and collecting stamps, don’t wait until the last hour or you will be racing around the site with very tired legs.

Child Friendly Hotels in Birmingham

We stayed in the newly refurbished Jurys Inn in Birmingham, which have teamed up with some of UK’s biggest attractions to offer family packages that won’t break the bank.  They currently have offers with Cadbury’s World, Alton Towers and The New Sealife Centre to name a few.

If I’m honest, when we first approached the hotel from Broad Street and saw it, you can’t miss it really, it looked like a circa 1960s concrete office block.  However, once we made our way around to the car park, as it’s located on a one way street, you have to make your way down one block and then come back on yourself, we were truly impressed with the hotel.  It’s recently benefited from a £4.7 m refurbishment and is very centrally located for exploring Birmingham.

The best part for us is that it is truly child friendly.  In addition, to offering the Safari Park tickets as part of the package, they also have Jurys Little Library Service where you can borrow books for the duration of your stay.   The restaurant ‘The Grill on Broad Street’ has a Healthy Options Kid’s Menu with all the usual suspects; Spaghetti Bolognese, Pizza, and Bangers and Mash but all freshly prepared.

Plus, the adults menu is rather impressive as well, I splurged and ordered a Rib-eye steak, obviously accompanied by a glass of red wine and it was cooked perfectly.  I’m not normally a pudding person but treated myself to a piece of this gorgeous Maple Cheesecake.

Eating at Jurys Inn - Birmingham

And check out this chandelier!  It’s got my name written all over it.

Jurys Inn Birmingham

The package was on a B & B basis so we were able to fuel up with a cooked breakfast before our busy day out.  What I really liked about the hotel is that, as a family, we can still stay somewhere that is classy and a bit more sophisticated but truly welcoming to children.  There is no need to be relegated substandard budget hotels.

I also need to mention that the Hotel Staff were incredibly friendly and helpful throughout our stay.

Midlands Safari Park

Midlands Safari Park

We had a great day out at the Safari Park, which is a 4 mile self-drive route through Mini Africa in Bewdley, Worcestershire, where you will get up close and personal with White Lions, Cheetahs, Giraffes, Elephants, Rhinos and much more.  The nice thing about the park is that you can drive around as many times as you like.  At the end you can also park up and explore Mark O’Shea’s Reptile world, Sea Lion Theatre, Penguin Cove and an African Village you can walk through and see the adorable Lemurs and Meerkats.

Wallet Warning!

There is a Leisure Park with rides at the end of the Safari Park and there is no way you are going to get out of going on a few rides.  I’m not sure why, but I originally thought it was included as well but it’s not.  However, I had already promised my daughter a few rides beforehand, so I bucked up the entry cost, which wasn’t extortionate.  If I’m honest, I wasn’t overly impressed with the Leisure Park, there weren’t a huge amount of rides and they looked tired, but this may have something to do with the fact that we’ve recently been to Thorpe Park and Legoland, so it’s not really fair to compare.  But most importantly my daughter loved it.

Leisure Park Midlands Safari Park

Disclosure:  Our Stay at Jurys and Safari Park Tickets were complimentary for review purposes.  One night’s B&B based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing with tickets to the West Midlands Safari Park from £104.70

Things to do at Thorpe Park if you’re 5

‘Mummy, you know that place we went to on the weekend, I call it the best place ever!’ M age 5

Thorpe Park was originally marketed for 16- 24 year olds, so when I first invited myself along, I was a bit worried that there would not be enough for my 5 year old to do.  I had a quick look on the site and there were a few rides for kids starting from 900mm through to 1.1m.

The first thing I had to work out was how tall she was.  Luckily, she takes after her mum and dad, she’s not freakishly tall but a bit taller than your average 5 year old.  Once I got her to stand still, I worked out that she was 116 cm.  Result!  Plus, we also got her to wear her Heely’s without the wheels which gave her another 3-4 centimetres.

These are all the rides that she was able to go on.  We may have been able to sneak her onto a few of the 1.2m rides but didn’t want to jeopardize her safety.

Thorpe Park for Younger Children

Rides for 5 year olds at Thorpe Park


  • Zodiac – spinning sensation, say good-bye to your lunch
  • Depth Charge – 4 lane super slide
  • Flying Fish – Bonus, the kids could go on without parental supervision!
  • Rumba Rapids – Yes, my bum got very wet!
  • Rocky Express – I can’t believe they went on it 5 times in a row!  I would’ve been sick.
  • Mr. Monkey’s Banana Ride – My daughter’s favourite as it gave her butterflies in her tummy.


  • Logger’s Leap – a classic log flume with two drops
  • X – an indoor rollercoaster with a light and sound show

1.1 m

  • Storm Surge – swirling water ride

As you can see there was more than enough to entertain us for the day and we managed to avoid the Tea Cups.  If you count the Carousel she was able to go on at least 10 rides.

Disclosure:  our tickets were complimentary.





Win 4 Tickets to Thorpe Park

I’ve been on a few rollercoasters in my time, but I’m definitely not an adrenaline junky.  As I’ve got older I now find that I tend to feel quite sick if I go on rides.  However, my daughter is now 5 and a half, to date I’ve managed to avoid a lot of the big theme parks in the UK, but it’s only a matter of time before we will be visiting a few.

We’ve been to Eurodisney and Adventure Land in South End, but she was a bit younger so I was able to avoid a lot of the hair-raising rides.

I’ve just been having a look at the Thorpe Park site as I was putting together this competition.  I will need to measure her but it looks like she can go on quite a few of the rides.  Storm in a Teacup and Loggers Leap sound about my level but if I know my daughter, who like most children has no fear, I will be dragged on the scariest ones she is allowed to go on.

Tidal Wave – a heart-stopping 85ft plunge into the blue!  At my age!!!!  This will be the end of me.

Tidal Wave Thorpe Park


X – A Roller Coaster that races through light and sound.  Eeeek!

X Thorpe Park


Heaven help me!

Are you an adrenaline junky and fancy winning 4 tickets to Thorpe Park? 

Enter by simply using the Rafflecopter form below.  Full Terms and Conditions can be found at the bottom of the form but in short it’s open to UK residents aged 18+.  As it’s a big one this competition will run for two weeks and closes on the 8th May 2013.

This competition is listed on Loquax, Prize Finder and Competition Hunter.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Caravan Holidays in France

Prior to having children I wouldn’t have set foot in a caravan park and to be honest, I couldn’t think of anything worse; spending my holiday with loads of screaming kids and their egg and chip eating parents, I’m such a snob!  One day I will have to tell you more about my new best friend ‘Bev’ from Barnsley who liked to nick Stella glasses, she was a right laugh and lovely woman.

When our daughter was first born we did attempt to carry on travelling as we always had, we even took her to a B and B in a pub when she was 10 days old, with cord still attached, to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, not  one of my better ideas.  What we find, when trying to carry on as we did pre-kids, she really doesn’t enjoy herself and as you know if the kids aren’t having fun neither are the parents.

So this year, when we were offered an opportunity to stay in a Caravan Park in Brittany, France, we decided to give it a go and for the most part it worked out.

We used the caravan park as a base and spent the days exploring the nearby historic villages and stunning beaches.  Brittany is beautiful; we were staying just outside of Pont-Aven.   Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t brilliant, a mix of sun and rain, but we made the most of it.

Our top 5 places to Visit near Pont-Aven (with kids)

Anse de Rospico a lovely sheltered beach, with a picturesque stream flowing into sea. It’s  less than 5 miles away from the campsite, turn right when leaving the site.  It’s a bit difficult to find but worth the effort.


Concarneau Medieval Walled Town, it may not look impressive from the outside but once you’re inside you can explore the narrow streets lined with shops and restaurants.  There are also some great views of the harbour.


Bénodet is about a 30km drive away.  One of Brittany’s most fashionable Seaside resorts with stunning beaches.  The highlight for us was having Fruit de Mere on the Seafront at a place called Le Transat.  Winkles were a hit!


Pont-Aven is an attractive village, full of galleries and shops with some lovely riverside walks.  It’s a great place to spend a rainy day as you can dart in and out of all the shops, including the Chocolate Shop!


Trevignon Start with crepes on the promenade followed by a stroll along the sea wall, perfect.  If you carry on past the historic house there are some fabulous rocks to climb on and a chance for some rock pooling.


Kid’s Highlight!

However, our daughters favourite bit of the day was coming back to the caravan site. The caravan in itself was a real novelty for her.  Plus, there were several play areas, indoor swimming pool with waterslide and kids clubs.  Most evenings they have children’s entertainment in the form of the Pirate Club, an experience not to be missed, which all the children love and the parents can sit on the Veranda enjoying a drink or two from the Ocean Bar.

If I’m honest, I’m still not convinced Caravan holidays are for us, but this may have to do with the weather and the fact we went outside of school holidays so it was really quiet.  However, our daughter would disagree as she loved it and as you know it’s not about us anymore!

Disclosure:  Our holiday stay and ferry crossing were compliments of Siblu Holidays and Brittany Ferries.