How amazing is it that for the first time in like forever, we actually managed to get a night book away without the kids. I actually couldn't believe it. Like, we've never been away without them before and we were getting all excited for what would be a nice relaxing night, and no having to get up at the crack of dawn in the morning.
My parents were having the boys over night and we'd been offered a night in Novotel York Centre for the 2 of us to enjoy. We couldn't wait, and the fact that it was my husbands birthday made it all the more special.
I'd packed, we'd got everything ready, and then came the bad news - my mum had to work! Oh no, we now had no one to look after the boys whilst we were away. After much talking and to-ing and fro-ing, we decided to see if we could book another room at Novotel, so that the boys could come too.
I rang and spoke to a receptionist who explained that, in fact, we could book another room and what's more, they'd make them interconnecting so that we could access both rooms and switch between whenever we needed to. We also added on my husbands brother too so that my husband and I could still have a bit of quality time together whilst the kids were looked after by their uncle. And so, after all the plans of going away as a couple, we were now going to York as a family of 6.
We arrived in York by train, Novotel is just a 10 minutes short walk away and so we decided to pop in and drop off our bags first. Arriving there, we noticed just how lovely the building was. At the side of the River Foss, the building was well maintained and was so striking inside.
A lovely seating area and children's play area was in the entrance as well as a piano and the reception. We went to check in and they told us that our rooms were ready already and so we popped straight upstairs to drop off our bags.
The rooms are perfect - both a mirror image of each other - and just what you need from a hotel. With modern decor and comfort, the rooms feature a queen bed and sofa bed, en-suite bath and shower, large flexible work area, WiFi access, TV with Freeview channels, hairdryer, iron, safe, fridge and tea & coffee as well as having some toiletries in the bathrooms too which was an extra nice touch.
I could tell exactly why it was a 4-star hotel - the room was impeccably clean and even the kids beds being made up ready for them. It's all the extras that add up to making it an amazing stay though - the towels were laid out, ready to be used. the WiFi and even having the hairdryer and iron, it meant that we didn't need to worry about all of these little things, that we would usually pack, whilst we stayed.
For me, I love that you don't pay extra for children. The price of the rooms includes space for children and if you book breakfast, they eat free too. They even get a little gift on arrival - J chose a soft toy whereas C and T both picked yo-yo's.
Since we had the kids with us, we decided to take in the sights in York. I love rivers and so being able to walk over them and see these amazing bridges was just stunning - just look at that reflection in the water. It was all so calm, so still.
And you obviously can't visit York without seeing York Minster. Set just 5 minutes from the station, the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York, commonly known as York Minster, is the cathedral of York, and is one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe
We visited the National Railway Museum for the kids too. This is set just behind the train station and has so much for kids and adults to do. See all of those amazing, old train with all their history revealed, the kids love it and it gives them such an education on the history of trains, and even royalty.
The got to walk low down, underneath a train to see all of their workings and then they got to go up high and above a train and over a bridge. You can see a whole range of trains from the view up above.
After stopping for a bite to eat, we decided to go back to our hotel so that we could have a bit of a rest as, by this time, we hadn't stopped walking all day.
As we arrived in our room, we saw that we had been left some items in our room. How amazing was it that because they knew it was my husbands birthday the hotel staff had dropped him off a card with a bottle of prosecco and some fruits. They'd also left some juices, water and chocolates in the other room for the children.
It was so lovely of them and above and beyond of what we were expecting when staying with them. It was only right that one would have a nice bubble bath whilst sipping prosecco whilst there and so I did exactly that, and it was bliss. Even better that the kids were flat out asleep in the other room and the men had popped out for a bit, all that relaxation and booze, on my own.
After such a fun day in York and an amazing nights sleep, we all woke up ready to start a new day.
I think we were all ready for a nice big breakfast, and Novotel didn't disappoint. The buffet style breakfast had everything you could have imagined for breakfast. A hot food area with bacon, sausage, egg, hash browns and much more. Crispy pastries and toast with jam and butter. Fresh fruit with yogurts and a choice of cereals with seeds and dried fruits. There was even fresh juices and ice cold milk out too.
I think, between us, we tried a bit of everything. It was actually quite hard to choose what to have because there was so much choice. I ended up having some of the pastries and a bowl of cereal topped with some seeds whilst the men had hot food and the kids tried a little bit of everything available - I've never seen them eat so much!
We knew that we would be checking out in a few hours and didn't want to stay in this beautiful hotel without trying out the pool and so off we popped, with our swimming clothes in tow, into the pool area for a dip.
The indoor pool is heated and actually a lot bigger than I imagined it would be. When we arrived there was no one else in the pool and so we spent some time playing and the kids did some practising of their swimming too.
Looks can be deceiving with this pool though. On the left side it is nice and shallow, T could just about stand up in it - the other 2 boys wore armbands. Whereas the right hand side was very deep, even my husband couldn't stand up in it, and at the middle was a slope to take it to the deeper water.
It was great to be able to take a dip and have a play before we went home and it's a nice added extra that Novotel have pools in their hotels. It was also great that the pool was warm and had seats around it for when the littlest had been in too long.
After a shower and some packing, we were ready to check out - although we didn't want to - and off we popped back to the train station.
We fawned over some of the beautiful sights whilst walking back to the station. Parts of the York Walls are just dotted around all over the place. It's a beautiful walk from Novotel York to the train station as you get to find all of these beautiful places and buildings along the way.
After a lovely night away from home, we got back and were all mesmerised by the amazing day we had spent in York. We decided that we would be coming back soon to find out what else is available to do in York, and we'd definitely be staying in the Novotel York Centre again!