We have had a pretty insane October Half Term. We kick started our adventures with a chance to discover our #WeekendSelf with Marriott Hotels. We were invited to have a microbreak. I can imagine a microbreak without children being pretty chilled out, but for us at the moment we needed a place to explore that was both fun for adults and children. We decided to spend our little microbreak in Portsmouth/Southampton which is around a two hour from our home. Research from Marriott Hotels in the UK, reveals large numbers of Brits are opting to take short but sweet breaks in their own region, with as little as one night away, 25 miles from home, now regarded as a leisure break.
We mainly picked to stay close to Southampton as P2 has been begging us to return to Paultons Park since we left a year ago. They have actually got a new addition there too called the Lost Kingdom which is a dinosaur themed area with bigger, exciting rides. P2 being the little fearless lady that she is went on all of the big rides not just once but around five or more times each! Hubby and P2 were in their element. I love the new kingdom and think it’s such a brilliant addition to Paultons Park. There are even littler rides that P1 and P3 could enjoy there and a brilliant bouncy castle and trampoline area too.
After spending such a long time in the Lost Kingdom we decided to head over to the popular Peppa Pig World part of Paultons Park. We have been to this one many times and it’s definitely my favourite theme park for all of my girls to enjoy. Now that all of the girls are much bigger they are able to enjoy more rides than ever before. P1 can even go on some all by herself, not that she would of course. The girls got to meet Peppa and George too which is always a highlight. I just love how bright and clean the whole of Paultons Park is in general but Peppa Pig World just brings dreams and magic to life. P3 really enjoyed driving her own car and seeing all the characters there too. We ended up staying at Paultons Park up until closing.
It’s a short drive from Paultons Park in Southampton to the Portsmouth Marriott Hotel. The girls ended up having a short nap on the journey, even I sneaked in a few minutes too. The Portsmouth Marriott Hotel is in the middle of an industrial park although it doesn’t actually feel like that once you are inside. There’s actually this huge sense of space inside with huge ceilings above the restaurant and entrance area. They are currently having extensive refurbishments to the outside of the hotel but you wouldn’t realise that once you are indoors.
The staff were incredibly welcoming and explained everything we needed to know about the hotel. Parking is also free if you are a hotel guest which is fantastic! This Portsmouth Marriott Hotel has a leisure centre with an indoor pool, whirlpool, steam and sauna rooms with towels provided. There is also a well equipped gym and a health and beauty room. There is also a cute little outdoor garden area with a patio and grass area. The hotel hosts weddings and has the facilities to host meetings and events too.
Our room was on the 7th floor which is easily accessible via a lift, or stairs if you’ve had a lot to eat and need to burn off some calories. Being a bigger family it is always tricky getting booked into a hotel as they usually only accept up to four per room. However, we were lucky enough to be given interconnecting rooms and this was our first experience of them as a family. In one room there was two Double beds and the other had one King. Each room was well equipped with large tv, a writing desk, chairs, wardrobe, coffee/tea maker, hair dryer, trouser press and an iron/ironing board. The bathroom had a shower over the bath, toilet and a sink with huge mirrors surrounding it. There was definitely a sense of luxury throughout both our rooms and having them connect via a door gave all of us the privacy we needed for a two night staycation.
We had breakfast included in our stay which was being served as a buffet style. The selection was amazing with a full English with anything you could want, pastries and a delicious fruit and cereal selection too. The chef even made pancakes to order for P1 although they are automatically made during the weekend which we experienced on our last morning when it was much busier. Even during the busier times, the food was still up to scratch and was being replenished frequently. They even make fresh omelettes and fried eggs too. The girls were given cute little activity packs at breakfast time too which was a lovely addition. I have to admit that I do really enjoy a Marriott Hotel breakfast.
On the second day of our microbreak, we went seeking for a more chilled out day that our previous adventures. We were invited along to Marwell Zoo which is a zoo I hadn’t heard of before so was excited to explore. On arrival in the car park you are greeted with super cute, bright characters helping you to be able to remember where you’ve parked your car. Parking is free at Marwell Zoo. It felt very well kept and that feeling went throughout the zoo. The staff were lovely on the gate and advised us to download the zoo app which had the park map and was much easier to navigate than holding a paper map.
The zoo is set on 140 acres with over 70 different types of animals from Giraffes to Lemurs. I personally loved being able to see a Rhino charging and honestly thought it was coming straight for me at one point! All the animals look so happy and have so much space in their enclosures which is really lovely to see. There are also many different play areas and food outlets. We had a brilliant time at Marwell Zoo. The gift shop caused a few tears from P1 who struggled to understand the value of items but we eventually steered through that tantrum and headed back to the hotel with a few cuddly toys in our possession.
During our previous stay with Meon Valley Marriott we realised that there is a price to luxury and the dining experience was quite a pricey one. So I was really interested to get inside the dinner menu at the Portsmouth Marriott Hotel and I was pleasantly surprised. The steaks were the most expensive thing on the menu, but there was a good choice of relatively reasonable priced meals to pick from too. I ended up having fish and chips on both of our two meals in the restaurant as I fell in love with the chips. They also had a special children’s menu with quite a limited choice of food but thankfully food that the girls loved. They chose fish goujons on the first night and a burger on the second. The kids meals were definitely not portion-sized for their ages and I think that they should have shared really. But all foods from the restaurant were absolutely delicious.
We had an amazing microbreak with Marriott Hotels. Their beds are super comfy and we all slept much better than we do at home which must be saying something. I love the feeling of luxuriousness throughout the hotel. If we had longer in Portsmouth I definitely wanted to visit the trampoline park which was literally opposite and there was also a KFC in the distance that I could see. I actually love having little microbreaks with my family as it’s more convenient for us and there’s so much left for us to explore in England. I vlogged our entire trip. There’s three videos compiled into a playlist which can be viewed below by pressing the play button. I hope you enjoy!