Side Street Style: Stay Play Explore - budget family friendly break in Warwickshire

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Stay Play Explore - budget family friendly break in Warwickshire

*We were invited to try out a Stay Play Explore package in exchange for an honest review

We were recently invited to try out one of the fantastic budget-friendly packages that Stay Play Explore offer families, with a choice of three locations we opted to spend a weekend exploring Warwickshire. Straight away what I love about Stay Play Explore is that is has been designed with families in mind and offers excellent value.

The Warwickshire package which is £185 includes

* One night in a 4-star hotel in a family room for 4 people (there is also an option for families of 5)
* Breakfast is included
* Entry to 3 attractions or experiences for the whole family (we could choose from 10 different places)

They also offer the same package for Leicestershire and Yorkshire, both for £149. With all packages, you can add an extra night for £75 and turn it into a long weekend break.

The attractions included in the Warwickshire package are

* Warwick Castle
* Shakespeare New Place
* Stratford Butterfly farm
* The MAD Museum
* Shakespeares Schoolroom & Guildhall
* Mary Arden's Farm
* Halls Croft
* Royal Shakespeare Company
* Anne Hathaway's Cottage
* Shakespeares Birthplace
* British Motor Museum

The list of attractions is excellent and through this package, you save loads of money as we visited Warwick Castle and entry alone would set you back more than £60 so that have that as one of the options is great. Initially, I felt it was a bit too good to be true, once you add up all the costs of what the entry for the attractions would normally be for a family I worried that there would be a downsize somewhere but there really wasn't!

Firstly once you book and choose your hotel you are sent a PDF voucher which you need to print out three times before your break, these are your passes to the attractions and it leaves it open for you to change your mind so you don't have to pre-select your choices beforehand which is great as it adds some flexibility.

Shakespeare Birthplace, Stratford-on-Avon

As we wanted to make the most of the weekend so we left Cardiff early and headed to Stratford-on-Avon to visit Shakespeare Birthplace, one of the attractions included in the package. The drive took us just over 2hrs and I was really looking forward to it as the last time I had been to Stratford I was a young girl. The medieval town of Stratford-on-Avon is full of literary history and is, of course, the birthplace of one of the most famous writers in history and as I had read some good reviews about his Birthplace I thought it was the perfect choice for the boys and I to learn more about him.

The normal price for a family ticket to Shakespeares Birthplace is £46.50 so again it's great value that it's included in this package. We had no issues with our vouchers and simply handed them over and were let through into the exhibition. There is a beautiful walled garden which despite the colder weather was still in full bloom and offered a nice space for the kids to stretch their legs. We then explored the house he was born in, with costume guides to show us around and answer any questions we had. The house is fascinating and you get the chance to visited his bedroom and replicas of some of the toys, he and his brothers would have played with, the room his father worked out of.

Outside Actors put on performances on request which we all really enjoyed watching as the live theatre element certain helps bring his legacy alive in a fun and interactive way.

Jurys Inn Hinckley Island Hotel

After spending some time wandering through the streets of Stratford-on-Avon we made our way to our hotel which was around a 30min drive away.

Even though we have stayed in many hotels over the years this was our first Jury's Inn and we were all pleasantly surprised. Firstly there is ample free parking and the reception area is nice and large with plenty of spaces to relax. The hotel is very stylish while still being very family-friendly and our check-in was quick and easy and I can only say good things about the staff who were helpful and welcoming throughout our stay.

Our bedroom was offered up more than enough space with two large king-size beds and plenty of storage space and fast wifi throughout. The hotel has a few options when it comes to food with a Marco Pierre White Steakhouse which if I had been child-free would of gone too but we opted for a more relaxed meal in their Piazza Bar. We ordered some Italian pizza and a greek salad and both were delicious and surpassed my expectations. The breakfast was also delicious with plenty of choice and we certainly made sure we started the day right.

Warwick Castle

After we checked out we headed to Warwick Castle, something the boys were really excited about as we had enjoyed a visit there a year before in the summer and I was interested to see what was on offer out of the peak season. Unfortunately, it rained rather heavily on our arrival but that didn't deter us in any way and also meant we took advantage of the indoor activities first such as exploring the castle rooms. Luckily the weather eased off as time went on and the boys had a go at some Archery as well as watching some of the Halloween inspired entertainment and visiting the witches tower (normally the princess tower). We also enjoyed the Horrible Histories maze and being in awe of the huge birds of prey. You do need to allocate a good half a day at Warwick castle as there is plenty to see and do as well as lots of food options or bring your own for a picnic.

Stratford Butterfly Farm

On our way back we drove through Stratford-upon-Avon again so decided to use our last voucher at the Stratford Butterfly farm as it's something completely different and boy both love animals and insects. It's made up of a series of greenhouses and an indoor rainforest environment that is really unique and although not very big we thoroughly enjoyed it and it turned out to be a fantastic learning experience, coming close with a variety of butterflies and moths as well as seeing cocoons close to hatching. There is also a minibeast area with a variety of snakes, spiders and insects which again the boys loved. It was really tranquil and warm inside the greenhouse with a little waterfall, ponds and replicated Maya artefacts to help create that rainforest feel. Stratford Butterfly farm would normally cost £22.50 for a family but once again this was included in the activities we could choose from.

After spending an hour or so at Stratford Butterfly Farm we decided to take one last stroll down by the river and canal and watch the narrowboats as well as listen to some street performers. It was a great way to end a wonderful action-packed weekend break. As I've said the Play Stay Explore package is an amazing price with three activities included plus a stay in a 4-star hotel. I was really impressed from start to finish and this is certainly something I'd consider again 


  1. Wow! Those prices are great! I can't believe just how much you get thrown in and how much you can do for so little!

  2. Oooo this is good to know. We have done stay play and explore breaks in Staffordshire, but I would love to do it in Warwickshire

  3. I like the sound of these weekends away as really family friendly and lots to do. I love Warwick Castle! The place you stayed looked lovely too x

  4. first of all , what a truly stunning images , and i love that you wrote about budget way to make the most of your stay! and how much there is to do learn and explore

  5. Oh wow, the list of attractions include is really good. Sounds like a great offer. The butterfly farm must have been fun. It's great it was included in the options.

  6. I wish there was something like this near us. What a great thing for adventuring families!

  7. Shakespeare, medieval castle, butterflies and a nice hotel - seems that you had a really nice break in Warwickshire :D And the price is so low! Without reading your review, I would probably hesitate with booking thinking that it seems too good to be true...

  8. Great photos, Warwick is a great place to explore - looks like you had a fab time and visited some brilliant places.

  9. I would love to explore Warwick it looks a beautiful place. Its not too far from us, I'll take a look.

  10. Oh wow this seems such good value for money! I grew up in Warwick and know the area pretty well, so it would be lovely to experience it now I have children :)

  11. That's so helpful that they wrap accommodations in a package with experiences with things any traveler is going to want to do anyways. I love real life castles so will have to check it out!

  12. What a great package, the price is great for a family trip. Warwick castle has always been on my bucket list but I didnt know there was a butterfly farm

  13. Great review. Seems like a perfect package if you have a family but I travel solo and i usual like to explore attractions which do not comes in a package. However, I would love to explore warwickshire seems like a great spot..

  14. A good idea with such a family trip! You don't have to organize everything yourself and look for the best places to see, it's certainly convenient when you don't have much time for research. I really like Warwick Castle, it's very picturesque.


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