Our stay at the Holiday Inn Express, Southampton

Whilst the weather has been rather up and down this summer, we’ve certainly tried to make the most of it. It’s been tough juggling working from home with the boys. When we’ve not been working, we’ve tried to plan lots of fun activities to do.

We’ve popped to London a few times, had picnics outdoor where the rain managed to hold off until after we ate (yay!), had play dates and had a couple of weekends away too.

One of those weekends, we were invited to check out The Holiday Inn Express, Southampton. They were interested in finding out the boys’ opinions of their hotel. My boys love a hotel stay, so much so – they even role play this at home (don’t ask me why!) so I knew they would be up to the challenge!

The Holiday Inn Express, Southampton

Southampton is just over an hour’s drive for us. The Holiday Inn Express, Southampton is just off the M27 and is right next to The Ageas Bowl. There are some retails parks nearby as well as some well-known fast-food chains – very handy for grabbing a bite to eat.

The hotel has a total of 182 rooms across four floors and there is free parking on site. It’s handily situated six miles from Southampton Docks and a 5-minute drive to Southampton Airport.

It’s also a great location if you’re looking to visit either Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth or Paulton’s Park – home to Peppa Pig World. Both are just a half hour drive away. Can you guess where we chose to spend the day after our stay at the Holiday Inn Express?

The Holiday Inn Express, Southampton


We arrived on a Saturday afternoon and had no problem finding a car park space. The reception desk is to the left as you walk through the entrance. We waited no more than 5-10 minutes to be checked-in. We were then shown where the bar/restaurant was and were taken to the room we’d be staying in for the night.

The room

We had a family room with a double bed and a pull out sofa bed for the boys. The room was an adequate size and had everything we needed for an overnight stay.

Holiday Inn Express, Family Room

I liked the fact there was an ironing board and iron in the room, as well as a full-sized hair dryer. There’s nothing worse than having to use the tiny ones that are provided in bathrooms that take forever to actually dry your hair!

Another bonus was the full-size shower gel and soap in the bathroom It meant no faffing around with tiny miniatures – they are never enough for a family of four, are they?

Holiday Inn Express Bathroom

The thing that Mr H and I loved the most though? The USB charger in the power sockets – total game changer and so handy. I want to have some put in our house!

After taking our things to our room we decided to venture out on foot to the Retail Park for a spot of retail therapy for a couple of hours before heading back to The Holiday Inn Express for dinner.


With it being the summer holidays, the restaurant was filled with families with children (young and old). We didn’t have a problem finding a table and were pleased to see there was a good choice of food available.

The restaurant area is light and spacious and there were high chairs readily available for those with younger children.

The boys were kept occupied with their newly acquired wooden trains (from shopping earlier) along with some activity sheets provided by the staff. It’s always nice to have these available for kids as it’s not much fun having to sit and wait for your food.

Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait too long for ours to arrive.

The boys had Garlic Bread, and Tomato Soup to start followed by Fish Fingers/Chicken Strips for their main. The portions were very generous and they went down a treat.

We chose to have Tempura Prawns and Macaroni Bites to start followed by a curry for Mr H and a lasagne for me for our mains.

The food was of a good standard and the staff were very friendly and happily attended to our needs.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay for pudding as M had a bit of a turn and wasn’t feeling too well, so we retreated back to our room for the night.

Night Cap

The boys were sent some hot chocolate and cookies up to the room which was a lovely touch and made up for them missing pudding. They happily had these in bed whilst watching SSpider-Manon TV. I don’t think they could have had a nicer way to end their evening!


The following morning we were up early as we were checking out to head to Paulton’s Park for the day .

Breakfast is served from 7-11am at the weekends and is buffet style and served in the restaurant area where we dined the previous evening.

As you can imagine, it was very busy and trying to grab your breakfast items from the small breakfast area where there are lots of hungry guests was a little chaotic.

There was a good selection of pastries, jams, spreads, yoghurt and fruit as well as hot breakfast items such as bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs and beans. A variety of teas were also available as well as a coffee machine and juices.

Any items that were running low were replenished by the staff quickly. We found that once the initial mayhem died down a bit we were able to select what we needed to refuel – it was just what we needed for our busy day ahead.

Kids Advisor opinions

Things the boys loved

  • The buffet breakfast
  • Having hot chocolate and cookies in bed
  • Comfy sofa bed

Things that could be improved

  • TV wasn’t big enough – E suggested a movie screen in the rooms
  • Adding a Kids Area with toys and a movie area with popcorn
  • The boys wanted a swimming pool!

Watch the video we made of the boys enjoying their stay:


The Holiday Inn Express, Southampton generally caters well as a place for families to stay. As the boys mentioned above, it would be nice to have a Kid’s Zone where they could perhaps have a TV that showed movies in the evening and some toys for them to play with so parents could enjoy a drink or two before or after dinner.

We enjoyed our stay, the rooms are clean, beds are comfy and the staff are attentive and friendly and will happily help you with any queries you might have. We were made to feel very welcome and definitely would look to book a stay at a Holiday Inn again.

*We were invited to The Holiday Inn Express, Southampton for the purpose of this review.

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  1. My girls simply love a good hotel stay, no matter the hotel! They would have enjoyed this experience immensely! What a great thing to get to do with your family! #KCACOLS xxoxo

  2. I’ve never taken the kids to stay in a hotel, but this has made me want to! #kcacols

  3. We haven’t stayed in a Holiday Inn Express but one of the best family resorts we’ve stayed in was the Holiday Inn in Mai Khao (Phuket). Just fabulous. #KALCOLS

  4. I used to stay in Holiday Inns when I was kid but we haven’t actually stayed in one as a family so it’s good to read your review. Sounds like a good option though I agree a Kids Zone area is always a big plus. #KCACOLS

  5. Ah great review. Shame M didn’t feel so good. Southampton is a great city. lots to do and see #KCACOLS

  6. Helen @talking_mums

    Looks like Holiday Inn are improving their hotels. Looks really nice but yes kids areas are always a winner x

  7. Twicemicrowaved tea

    My toddler gets so excited by hotel stays too – she doesn’t care where we go or how nice the hotel is! I haven’t stayed in a Holiday Inn Express for a long time, but they look like they’re still smart hotels. #kcacols

  8. Awesome, loving that the kids wanted movie screens in their room. Dream big! #kcacols

  9. It looks like you had a pretty nice stay…I would agree that they could perhaps offer a few more incentives for families to help make their stay better. #KCACOLS

  10. I wanna know what happens if you press the “fidget spinner” button in the lift lol
    I love that you boys play hotel at home. How cute! We love staying in a hotel but we’re always upset by the size of the tele compared to our 49″ at home. Always struggle with the milk storage and reheating too so that’s stressful. Nearly three years old I wished I’d never started heating his milk lol

    Fab post. #KCACOLS

  11. Sounds like a great family hotel. I love that there is an iron and hairdryer too! The boys suggestions sound great too haha #kcacols

  12. Great plan for Peppa Pig world! Love those USB sockets – brilliant! #KCACOLS

  13. Pingback: Review: Paultons Family Theme Park | Suburban Mum

  14. It’s good to get away with the kids and getting a good nights sleep is always top of my priorities list!:)

  15. Sounds great. I’d be interested in how many kids you can fit in their family rooms as with 3 kids it is going to be a bit of a problem staying places when the youngest hits 2. I’ll have to check them out.#KCACOLS

  16. We stayed in one in wincanton! It really was a great place to stay 🙂 #KCACOLS

  17. I don’t know why but I’ve never stayed in holidayInn.Need to say it looks really nice and if it’s family friendly than ever better

  18. They look very cosy in that bed! #KCACOLS

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