Heading back towards Brighton, this time to the enchanting market town of Arundel with its Medieval Arundel Castle and Roman Catholic Cathedral in West Sussex, we kicked off Half Term at the Hilton Avisford Park for a weekend of quality family time and fun.
Formerly a Georgian Manor House, the Hilton Avisford Park has retained many of its original features, providing a quintessentially English abode for tourists and locals alike, boasting elegant manicured lawns, multiple swimming pools, a golf course and 89 acres of breathtaking countryside.
(Beautiful bag gifted by Luella Grey London/)
Alexander announced, ‘Well, this is a classy hotel’ on arrival which made us all laugh, and he was right.
Our huge suite was perfect for this family and became our base for the stay. With my very own dressing room, a massive TV we could all comfortably see from our respective beds and delicious room service accomodating our varied tastes and dietary requirements spanning burgers to veggie salads, spicy chicken wings, nachos and everyone’s fave: sticky toffee pudding, we certainly went to bed happy on Saturday night.
I must add that every measure was taken to ensure we were as safe as possible with regular gel stations, enforced mask-wearing requirements and swimming times restricted by numbers and time (1 hour per family).
Breakfast was staggered too and there was a made-to-order menu as well as a buffet available.
With two wonderful swimming sessions under our belt on both days (I can’t remember laughing as much as the boys cracked jokes and Oliver sulked when he didn’t win Swim Tag) and several long walks later, the weekend felt part-adventure, part-restoration, and was exactly what we needed after the jolt of restarting school after 5 months of homeschool and a return to normal working hours.
I still can’t believe I would slog until the early hours after teaching the kids during the day, when the schools were closed. This was definitely my well deserved reward and I lapped up every minute aware that it would be Cinderella time again for the rest of Half Term!
Sunday was dedicated to Marwell Zoo in Hampshire, an hour away from the Hilton, and en route home, back to Windsor. To provide some background, Marwell Zoo is owned by the world renowned, action-oriented charity, Marwell Wildlife, whose aim is to conserve global biodiversity and pursue a sustainable future, with their scientists working across the UK and Africa, creating initiatives to identify some of the most important animal habitats and help restore destroyed ecosystems.
It’s a conservation charity committed to the care and welfare of the animals who live there and it was one of the most most epic wildlife centres we’ve ever visited in the UK.
We felt instantly transported back to the safaris of South Africa at Marwell Zoo as it’s set on 140 sprawling acres with 4 adventure playgrounds and literally hundreds of animals to gawp at.
Providing daily talks, animal feeds, cafes and a gift shop, you need at least 4 hours to fully enjoy the zoo, and you could easily while away a whole day there. The food was top-notch too (something rare at zoos I’ve found) and the gift shop stocked lots of reasonably priced teddies, pens and chocolates (again, a rarity usually). The boys spent £5 each of their pocket money and left with a pen and toy each. I think it was the first time we’ve ever visited a zoo without them asking where the gift shop was. That’s how captivating Marwell Zoo is!
And look how stunning it is in autumn!
Alexander has been obsesed with animals since he was a toddler (he sleeps with 16 animal teddies every night) and proclaimed that Sunday was the best day of his life.
He also asked me if I’m planning on changing my job anytime soon because, ‘We are so lucky to do all these amazing things because of your work, Mummy’. Bless him. He’s not wrong there and it warms my heart that both my sons are so deeply grateful for the perks of my job.
The giraffes were just beautiful (and Peter even managed to fit them into a square for Insta so Go Insta Husband, Pete!) and I was certainly dressed for the occassion with my leopard print scarf! What must the leopard we saw, must have thought!
The meerkats were Alexander’s favourites, the penguins and sloths were loved by Oliver, and the flamigoes stole my heart. Peter plumped for the lizards and zebras as his highlights.
The thoughfulness of how the zoo is designed made it easy to navigate and enjoy, and the added touches of awe-inspiring themed LEGO sculptures means children of all ages will be utterly captivated.
The zoo really is an action-packed, thrilling day out for all the family, and I can’t recommend it enough. You will be wowed!
Have you visited the hotel, or zoo before?
Excitingly, you can win a family stay (2 adults and 2 children) for 1 night (including bed and breakfast plus Afternoon Tea) at the charming Hilton Avisford Park.
Enter via Rafflecopter below.
Ends November 30th 2020.
No cash alternative.
You must stay within 6 months of the competition ending.
If the winners do not respond within 7 days of the notification email being sent, new winners will be randomly selected.
This is a review and the weekend was complimentary. We made a donation to Marwell Zoo.