Last weekend we went south of the boarder and visited York for the weekend. Travelling with two young children is never going to be as straightforward as we’d like, so we carefully selected a hotel that we hoped with provide the facilities we needed for the kids as well as being in a prominent central location. We settled on the Novotel York Centre – but did it give us what we hoped for?


The Novotel York Centre is located down a quiet street on the banks of the River Foss. Despite being right in the centre of York the location was quiet and peaceful. A car park is available on site (charged at £12 a day) which we made use of, but it is less than a mile from York railway station.

After parking up the car we didn’t use it again until the day we left. It was only around a mile to York Minister, and around a mile and a half to the National Railway Museum. Even Piglet with his little 3 year old legs managed to walk to York Minister with no complaints.

A young boy in a blue jumper is eating a chocolate ice cream with his father, eating a mint ice cream, in front of York Minister Related Post: Autumn Bucket List


We opted to make use of a suite. It is possible to have a standard family room which sleeps 4, but we wanted to have the additional space that a suite would give so that we wouldn’t be tripping over JJ’s cot.

A small sofa, table and footstool in a hotel roomRelated Post: Ready For Guests With Sleepbear

The room didn’t disappoint. There was plenty space for the boys to play, and with 2 televisions we could resort to CBeebies for the kids when necessary! A partition separated the 2 different areas of the room. On one side was a sofa which converted to a bed for Piglet, as well as a really cool chair (JHogg has been trying to find one for us to have at home – he was in love with it!), wardrobe and a desk. There was also a mini fridge and a Nespresso machine, which I believe is only available in the suites.

Nespresso coffee capsules in a boxRelated Post: Energising Tips For Tired Mums

On the other side was a large double bed, a second small wardrobe and the door to the bathroom. The bathroom itself was very luxurious. Twin sinks sat next to a large bath and separate shower cubicle. The toilet was in another small cubicle, which was appreciated when you have 4 people sharing one room.

A double bed in a hotel room in Novotel York Centre, with a tree wallpaper behind itRelated Post: Merifor Serenity Cot Bed Mattress Review

Novotel York Centre Facilities

Unfortunately the hotel was being renovated during our stay. We do wish we had known this at the time of booking, however on the whole it didn’t make a big impact on our visit. It does mean that we didn’t manage to make use of all of the facilities that are usually available.

Reception Area

The reception area was in the heart of the renovations, but we could clearly see the potential for the area once the work is complete. The staff were friendly and helpful, answering all our questions and speaking kindly to the boys every time they went past.

Just off of the reception was a small area with a games console. We often saw children in there having a turn, and it is the small details like that which makes it a really great family hotel.


We arrived at around 6pm on the Friday night which was already well past the children’s usual dinner time. After we checked in we headed straight down to the restaurant for dinner. It was very quiet, unsurprising for the early time, but it soon filled up.

We were greeted by a number of members of staff who were really lovely and chatted to the children. The quickly got a highchair for us, and sat us in a booth so that Piglet would be able to spread out. The support a charity that is working with endangered animals, so they even came over with a little polar bear toy for the boys to play with while they waited for their food.

The children’s menu gave them 3 courses and a drink of £5, and the portion sizes were actually so large that both the boys shared one meal. The children are also able to order a half portion from the normal menu if they prefer. On our second visit to the restaurant, a few days later, we requested a plain pasta dish which was not listed on either menu. The staff were more than happy to make the arrangements for Piglet and he was really happy with his meal on both occasions, despite his usual fussy eating!

a young baby in a highchair at a restaurant. He is wearing a green and red bibRelated Post: Our Top 3 Weaning Woes

JHogg and I both enjoyed our meals too. There was a fairly wide range of dishes available, and I had a carbonara on our first night and a steak wrap on our last night. Both were delicious! JHogg first had a pizza and then had a steak. He cleared his plate on both occasions so there were no complaints there either. The meals are priced quite reasonably, giving us a fairly mid-ranged meal.

The drinks selection was fairly extensive. I explored some of the local gin options while JHogg experimented with the local beers. As we had the children with us we didn’t go and sit in the bar area. If we ever get to escape back to York without them I would definitely want to spend more time on the terrace overlooking the River Foss with a fresh drink in hand.

Swimming Pool

We had one very excited boy desperate to get down to the pool, so early the next morning I took him there. The changing rooms were being renovated and so we were unable to use them. Although a little irritating, robes were provided in the rooms so we simply went down to the pool in those.

The pool area was a little sparse, but again I would put this down to the renovations. We never saw anyone else in the pool, and Piglet made full use of having the area exclusively to ourselves. There are seats and loungers if you wish to spend longer in the area. The towels provided were large and soft and there were plenty readily at the pool side.


There are quite a few additional extras provided by the Novotel York Centre if you need them. There is free wifi throughout the hotel, and I was pleasantly surprised to find it was of a good speed. Piglet used it to watch some YouTube when he needed downtime, and we were able to FaceTime my parents so he could tell them all about his trip.

Pets are allowed, for a charge of £12 per day. You can even pay for a babysitting service if you would like.

They offer both an early check-in or a late check- out, for an additional charge. However with a check-out time of midday we didn’t find we needed any extra time with the room.


Since we have gotten home we have already recommended the Novotel York Centre to one person, and I’m sure we will continue to do so. We really enjoyed out break there and would happily have stayed for longer than the 3 nights we had booked

The hotels location and spacious rooms suited our family perfectly. The friendly staff made us feel welcome, and once the renovations are complete we will definitely be back.

We paid for a 3 night stay in the Novotel York Centre and 2 meals in the restaurant with our own money.

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