May Day Mini Break

At the last minute we decided to pack overnight bags into the cars secretly and take the four wildlings on an adventure. It seems like every time we go on a day trip, the kids have so much fun they never want to leave.

Arlo literally sobs when he has to say goodbye, and the older cousins use diversion tactics to try and delay home time. Imagine their delight when we revealed that we were going to stay at a hotel. Together! All night!

I used Booking.com to make a reservation based on proximity to our Sunday trip to Arley Arboretum.

I often use this app to make last minute reservations as it is so simple to use. I used the filter to highlight the hotels with indoor pools and discovered Stourport Manor– a lovely four star hallmark hotel. This is ideally located for people exploring the Severn Valley Railway and other local attractions.

We arrived looking a bit worse for wear having been exploring the arboretum all day with four children in tow however we were greeted at reception warmly. The hadn’t received the details about the children from booking.com , so the additional beds in the family rooms were not made up for our arrival which reception apologised about but rectified swiftly.

Reception also called the leisure reception to ensure that there would be space for us in the pool, as the hotel was busy with it being the bank holiday, and so we ditched our bags, got changed and head straight to the pool.

The kids were delighted to be treated like mini adults and given their own spa towels and greeted warmly by staff, and we had the pool to ourselves for the best part of an hour. With changing facilities clean to the highest standards and a lovely kids splash pool we all had a fabulous time.

With it being so busy we decided not to take the kids to the restaurant downstairs and subject the other guests to our chaos – so we ate in our rooms, the beds had all been prepared whilst we were downstairs, and we gathered together to watch Jurassic a park on the TV screens before getting some sleep.

We all slept soundly, and the children delighted to be next door to each other were ready in their swimming costumes again at 7am. They had another hour in the pool before we went down to breakfast.

What a spread! I often stay away with work, but I can honestly say that the selection available here is one of the best, truly befitting of a four star hotel. With pastries and cereal, yoghurt and toast, all of the full English options, plus juices, coffees and fresh fruit we were spoilt for choice.

The staff and other guests seemed to be amused by how thrilled all of the children were, and the attentive service by the staff members made us feel extremely welcomed. Nothing was too much trouble, with staff happy to help us warm milk and fill our water bottles with cordial before we departed.

Check out was a swift process and we left after a sound night’s sleep ready to take on another outdoor adventure at Rays Farm to complete our Bank Holiday Mini Break. There’s so much to explore nearby we will definitely be back

The Fairy Tale Forest

We decided to conclude our May Day bank holiday mini break with a trip to Rays Farm, set in the Shropshire Countryside. With four children to amuse it’s sometimes difficult to satisfy all of the different age ranges, but here there really is something for everyone.

As we arrived we purchased tickets and animal food and headed to the farmyard to meet the animals. Arlo is now an expert when it comes to naming all of the animals and so he roused us all into a few verses of “Old Mac Donald” as we met rabbits, lambs, goats, chicks and ducks in the small animal shed.

We followed one little escapee goat across the courtyard to visit the llamas and donkey before heading to the open field to play with the goats. This is a truly unique experience, and the playful goats were happy to jump and skip around, and over us – this made our day!

We paused for a snack on the picnic benches before parking up the pushchairs and tying up our shoelaces to hit the forest trails. May is the perfect time to explore the beautiful English countryside and the work done along the trails at Rays Farm is inspired.

Along the entire route are wooden sculptures inspired by classic fairy tales, myths and legends. At the start of the route you can choose to go left or right at the big chair. There’s some giant boots you can try for size here too

We decided to take the woodland walk to the left first and came across Excalibur set in stone – alas none of us were strong enough to remove the sword and claim the English Throne – quite fittingly as we were here a news alert popped up to let us know that a new member of the Royal Family had been born.

We followed the path down alongside the brook, and were surrounded by a sea of the white flowers of wild garlic. All of the children were busy spotting wooden sculptures, and Logan the eldest at six years old pointed out an orienteering clip so we spent time looking for these along the route too.

The woodland walk is approximately 300yards and so if you have little ones with tired legs you can head back to the farm, however we marched on, and I’m so glad we did.

The pathway is a bit of a climb up and down, but there’s so much to see and so many rest stops that it’s a lovely route. Here we were delighted with the swathes of bluebells, and along the route were informative wildlife signs.

I won’t post too many spoilers with the sculptures, there’s plenty of nursery rhyme characters to meet along the way – including Humpty Dumpty.

There’s a fairy ring, a story telling witch and then three men in a boat looking over an assault course style play area.

The kids all had muddy knees, and the little ones were tired so without strollers they had piggy backs for the walk back, and then as we left the woods we stopped at the little crooked house for snacks, next to a field of goats at the far side of the farm.

We’d been exploring the woods for over three hours at this stage, and slowly ambled up the far side of the farm boundary to meet the pigs, Reindeer and the owls which bought us back to the courtyard.

We finished our day with some refreshments from the cafe and a little run around in the indoor and outdoor play areas, being followed by a mother hen with two chicks.

The farmyard is lovely, the animals are well cared for and very friendly but the stand out for us was the fairy tale forest. We will be back to explore again as the seasons change.

To read about our day out at nearby Arley Arboretum during our May mini break click Here

Have you got any suggestions for family days out in the Midlands? Have you been to Rays Farm? Which was your favourite sculpture? We’d love to hear from you