Weekend in Colchester, Essex, Oct 2011

by Emma Bumpus on October 28, 2011

Colchester Zoo’s Halloween “Shriek Week” gave me the perfect opportunity to theme this weekend’s family break by booking a night at the established “Holiday Inn”.

After countless “are we there yet?” and a stop at Maldon’s Promenade Park made it clear why members of Netmums.com voted it one of their favourite free places to visit in South Essex this year. Situated on the banks of the river Blackwater, it’s boat and crab lake, splash park and family friendly amenities gave us a flavour of Essex life and an introduction to the surrounds of Colchester.

My curiosity and excitement with the prospect of spending our first night in a Holiday Inn did not diminish as we were warmly greeted by Reception. An easy check in and kindly received children’s pack made it clear why the brand is appropriately named “Holiday” Inn.

A fresh and bright family room with all mod cons was the “thumbs up’ to stay and explore the hotel’s pool, which with a sauna and spa, enhanced the whole leisure and fun experience weekend breaks offer.

Hearty appetites led us to the restaurant, which was relaxed, friendly and pleasantly spacious for us to study the menus. Without hesitation I chose Rib-eye steak from the “specials”, which with chorizo and blue cheese sauce, helped us indulge further in a bottle of New Zealand Shiraz!

Fresh white bedding calling gave us the impetus to retire early for our morning zoo visit. Impressed with the pool’s early opening hours meant we were able to capture an 8am swim and spa before sampling a generous breakfast, which exceeded our expectation of a three star hotel.

Halloween ready, we took an eight-minute drive to Colchester zoo, making our hotel ideally situated for a fun weekend in Colchester. Cobwebs and witches greeted us for “shriek week” as we approached the Discovery Centre, a ghoulishly dark and atmospheric array of skeletons and werewolves.

Impressed with the ghostly graveyard, spooky swamp and “festering jail” the chamber of horrors gave us ample fun fair adrenaline before embarking upon the day ‘s discovery of wildlife, conservation and environmental enrichment.

An action packed day of feeding the elephants, watching penguins under water and a Birds of Prey display explained why Colchester Zoo won the “Large Visitor Attraction Award of the Year” and “Sustainable Tourism Award” from the East of England Tourist Board.

Thanks to Holiday Inn, with so much to see and do in Colchester we agreed this is not our last visit!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

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