We are fully embracing all things ‘stay-cation’ this year. Like many young families that I have been chatting to lately, we are staying home this summer, but, a stay-cation doesn’t have to be void of adventure. We are being very intentional about embracing all that this beautiful country has to offer, our plan is to be tourists on our very own shores. So, you can imagine my delight when Roe Park Resort invited us to come and try out their newly refurbished Family Suites. The timing was perfect; it coincided with our six year wedding anniversary and the last day of Playgroup! To top it all off, the weather was blooming marvellous. Excitement levels were high all week as we busied ourselves packing and planning our first adventure of the summer.
We had done some research so we knew that Roe Park Resort was perfectly situated to enjoy long walks in Roe Valley Country Park which was ideal for our little gang. If you have older kids it is in close proximity to Carrowmena Activity Centre, Foylehov Activity Centre, Crindle Stables Professional Showjumping, Riding and Livery Yard and Long Line Surf School, so there is tonnes of choice for all the family. Had we been staying longer we would have ventured further but with a huge family pool, a stunning golf course and a luxurious spa we barely left the resort for the 24 hours that we were there.
The drive to Roe Park was all ‘oohs and aahs’ it really is set in a beautiful part of the country. With rolling hills and steep valleys we quickly got chatting about all the fun things we could do on our return trip, yes that’s right, we were barely an hour into our break before we were planning our next. Of course the weather helped immensely, Northern Ireland really does like to show off when the sun is out.
We had a seamless check in, which is always helpful when you have a toddler itching to see their home for the night. Our room was absolutely stunning and huge! I mean there was space for four families in there never mind just our party of four. Susanna was immediately won over by the fact that she had two single beds to choose from. Hubby and I quickly clocked the cosy living room area with a great big wide screen TV, the perfect spot to toast to our Anniversary once our girls were snoring. Then the bed, oh my, the bed! I have no idea what size category it fits into but it was massive; let’s just say we both had room to starfish! I used the excuse that Connie needed fed and flopped on top of the bed for a blissful half hour before dinner, that thing was like an actual cloud. Now you know you are travelling with kids when you instantly delight in the fact that there was both a bath and a shower and plenty of room to navigate between the two, the bathroom, much like the rest of the suite was massive. We agreed within ten minutes of being in our beautiful room that we wished we were staying much longer.
There was enough entertainment within that one room to satisfy our toddler; between jumping from bed to bed, indulging in the delicious chocolate covered strawberries, seeking out the best spots for hide and seek, of which there were many, and snuggling up to watch her favourite shows on TV. However, dinner was perfectly timed to allow her an evening in the pool before bed so we had some fun getting all dressed up and then made our way through the pretty courtyard to the Coach House Brasserie.
One thing I will say pretty quickly is that the staff really made our trip. It is easy to feel like a nuisance when you are travelling with a family; whether it’s because your pram is bulky, your toddler is ‘enthusiastic’ or you just have a few more requirements than the average guest, if the place is not ‘family friendly’ it can leave you feeling frazzled rather than refreshed. However, Roe Park made us feel so welcome right from the outset and the restaurant was no different. We had a table perfectly positioned to allow us to keep the pram at our side. Susanna was made to feel like a little princess and we were just inundated with smiles and lovely chat from our waiters and waitresses. We weren’t the only ones; all the other guests that we got talking to said the very same thing, the staff are incredible.
We had the most delicious and relaxing meal, Susana chose Mac N Cheese which I’d be lying if I said I didn’t “taste test”, I had Sea Bream in Chorizo Sauce, as I’m typing this I am drooling at the memory, and Mark went for a great big rack of ribs and some salt n chilli fries. The choice was amazing though, if you were staying for longer you certainly wouldn’t be at risk of getting bored of the menu. We lingered over our meal, a testament to how relaxed we felt before gathering our things and taking a wander around the pretty gardens.
A huge attraction of this type of stay-cation is the swimming pool; Susanna is such a water baby and so we made sure to leave lots of room in our schedule for her to splash and swim her heart out. When tummies had settled, she made her way to the pool with Mark. I’m sure Connie would be fine to swim too but the sun was shining and she was sleepy so I popped on my trainers, bundled her into the pram and headed off for a woodland walk through the Roe Valley Country Park. It was absolutely gorgeous and so good for relaxing my mind too. I walked a couple of miles, just taking it all in and then made my way to the spa area to watch Susanna playing in the pool. The pool area is dotted with comfy loungers, no prizes for guessing where I spent the rest of the evening, it was total bliss.
By the time a very late bedtime rolled round we had such a sleepy girl that she didn’t even make it through a whole story. This is when the perks of a room like this really showed; we were able to comfortably watch a movie and have a glass of bubbly in the living room area, whilst still having the girls well within our sights. Needless to say we all slept incredibly well; the beds were every bit as comfortable as they looked. Opting not to close the blackout curtains, in favour of waking up to pretty views, we all woke gently around 7am.
We had a blissful, slow start to our morning. Lingering in the shower, having a welcome cup of coffee and playing around in the room before heading to breakfast in Greens Restaurant. A breakfast buffet gets us all excited, I can’t lie. Susana had a great time picking out a unique combination of fruit, coco pops and scrambled eggs before moving on to toast, yogurt and another helping of fruit. All that swimming had clearly left her hungry. Breakfast was beautiful; I was trying to be sensible so I had a lovely bowl of porridge followed by some grapefruit and then some scrambled eggs and grilled tomatoes. I have it on very good authority that the Ulster Fry was scrumptious, Mark is quite the connoisseur.
After breakfast there was only one thing on Susanna’s mind, swimming pool. So, once again she took Daddy by the hand and made her way there while I relaxed in the room with Connie and packed up our things. Check Out was at 11am, which definitely came round too quickly. I took another stroll around the resort, soaking up the glorious sunshine and once Connie had drifted off to sleep In her pram I found a sunny spot in the courtyard, grabbed a paper and ordered a cappuccino. Honestly, I felt like I was in Italy or somewhere far more exotic than Limavady but with the huge bonus that home was only a short drive away. No airport security, long waits or restricted leg room to worry about, I breathed a little deeper and enjoyed every second of that nap time unwind. By noon Mark and Susanna were out of the pool. We ordered some drinks and let Susanna explore the courtyard, she was completely lost in a game of make believe. Sadly it was time to make our way back to the car and homeward bound. Within five minutes of leaving the resort the toddler was fast asleep and not entirely happy when she woke to find we had left the hotel.
From start to finish we had the most wonderful break at Roe Park Resort. The Family Suites, which are among the biggest in Northern Ireland, was super comfortable and ideally laid out for a family to spend quality time together without feeling cramped. This was the perfect way to start our summer stay-cation and it’s no surprise that we are already planning a return trip to Roe Park. We would like to say a huge thank you to Roe Park Resort for inviting us to try their newly refurbished family suites and for making us feel so welcome.
*This trip was gifted by Roe Park Resort but all views and opinions expressed are solely my own