As a result of our eagerness to pick up the kids from PGL (we arrived a day early!) we found ourselves seven hours away from home with nowhere to stay for the night. I started searching on Booking.com while Dave quickly priced up and checked availability of the nearest budget hotels. Thankfully Travelodge saved the day and Dave managed to book us a family room at Travelodge Grantham A1 for less than £50 (currently rooms are available from £29). As we only had the two girls with us we only had to book the one room. So our night in Stratford-upon-Avon exploring the Bard’s quaint town became a night in a Travelodge on the A1:
Travelodge Grantham A1 (Sat nav: NG32 2AB ) is situated in a Moto Service Area. It’s a convenient halfway stop for travellers (as well as being a bargain break for families who mix their dates up!). While they’re not the most scenic of places we actually find hotels at services are very convenient during road trips as everything you need is right next to the hotel- free parking, fuel, food and shops.
The girls look so fed up in the picture above but they were tired from our break at Oscar Lodge and happy just to relax watching some TV while Dave and I hatched a plan.
We found the staff very friendly at the hotel and we had all the facilities we needed- a clean room, beds, tea and coffee facilities and a TV. Our favourite thing about the hotel was spotting this lovely wild rabbit outside our hotel window.
I wondered if it was a hare due to the black around it’s ears but it’s ear shape and legs look more rabbit!
We kept looking out hoping (not hopping) to see more as usually once you see one wild rabbit you spot a few but we weren’t lucky on this occasion.
We went across to the services for our tea- the girls were delighted to have a Burger King! Hotel residents get a discount from all the food places at the services so we saved 20%. Bean Burgers can be made vegan if you ask for no cheese and no mayo (they never used to put mayo on Bean Burgers so I still find this strange anyway!) and check that it is fried in the fries fryer rather than the meat one. Years ago Burger King were one of the first restaurants to have a Vegetarian Approved Veggie Whopper and I really wish they’d lead the way and introduce a Vegan Society Approved Veggie Whopper (they were so good!). After dinner, the kids had fun playing on some of the games and prize machines then we went to WHSmith to stock up on comics, books, sweets, beer and wine for the evening! We were winning at life at the services!
Back at the hotel, we watched a movie, had showers and settled the girls. One thing I love about Travelodges are the vending machines in reception which I always find handy for after alcohol nibbles and soft drinks! We chose not to have breakfast at the hotel as Travelodge Grantham A1 is one of their hotels that offers a “Breakfast Box” rather than a cooked breakfast.
We ended up stopping at Oldrids Department Store & Downtown Garden Centre. Not being local, we hadn’t heard of these before but Oldrids is a family run chain of department stores in Lincolnshire which was first founded in 1804. It’s great to see family businesses like this still doing well.
We went to the cafe for breakfast and then explored the department store. It did remind us a bit of Grace Brothers Department Store in “Are You Being Served?” but actually it is a lovely store with lots of lovely stock. I was very tempted in the homeware department!
The kids loved the toy section, especially the big models on display. Look at this lovely panda!
We certainly do love Playmobil! #LovePlaymobil
As you know the girls love Furreal Toys (I have spotted some Furreal bargains recently in time for Christmas!).
The girls decided to spend their holiday money in the toy department. For some reason our kids always know what they want (“Can I have this?…) until they’re given permission to buy it and then cannot make up their mind. Eventually they chose a new LEGO set each and a small LEGO pack to open in the car.
We then had to go to pick Danny and Rebecca up at PGL (for real this time!) and decide what to do next.
I still really wanted to visit Stratford-upon-Avon so we booked a great deal on YHA Hostels and will write all about our stay here soon!