We love Center Parcs. We have been a few times now, at different times of the year, and have stayed in different accommodation types, all at Longleat, which is quite close to us. Each time we have visited we have had a great time.
The first time we went I wasn’t sure what to expect. We wanted some family time away with our parents and BB, it was a year after J had been unwell, and we really wanted to have a relaxing time away. 5 years on and we haven’t looked back. Previously we had always stayed midweek, this was before BB started school. We knew that holiday time prices would make it much harder to go, and weekends always seemed too short as we needed to be back for school, and were also a little more expensive. It just so happened that after BB had returned to school for a week after half term, an extra inset day was scheduled. Controversially, or not depending on how you see it, we also chose to take him out of school for an extra day so we could make the most of our time away. So embracing the weekend we set off.
We arrived early on the Friday, swim stuff to hand and went straight to the pool. BB got his confidence in the water here when he was younger. LP got a bit of a shock, in the toddler area (which is currently being revamped), there are cone shaped cups that slowly fill with water then tip up getting the recipient wet, my timing was wrong, and we walked in ending with LP totally drenched and crying. Fortunately the slides redeemed the situation, and he soon forgot about his earlier trauma. If I have one gripe it’s the getting changed afterwards. Now this is purely because we have a 2 year old. LP just wanted to run around. I dispatched J with BB to the male changing room and I went with LP to the female changing room. We had previously made the mistake of all cramming in a family changing room. Cue being squashed in like sardines, trying to balance all our stuff on benches and racks, whilst trying to stop LP from putting his hands in the nappy bin, and trying not to get our clothes wet. The female changing room, whilst more open is still a pain. I find copious amounts of snack food for LP are a big help so always have a supply on hand. Also my top tip is to remember to pack your underwear and clothes in your bag, not in my case as I did in J’s bag, where I had to shout at the top of my voice “J you have my underwear”across the changing room. The lady next to me found this very amusing.
We went with some friends, and with our friend B’s little boy who is the same age as BB. I thought that as it was the weekend it may be busier, but it didn’t seem like that at all, apart from the Sunday in the sports cafe, though the football and rugby were on!
Our accommodation was a woodland lodge. It was in the Pine area and was close to the Plaza and Village Square which was ideal. Previously we have always stayed in executive lodges new and old style which afforded us an ensuite per room. We did miss this in our lodge this time, and personally we would go for that again. If I’m completely honest the lodge was a little tired, but with their turnaround I’m not really surprised, and it didn’t make any difference to us, as we weren’t there that much.
We took way too much food and, as usual ate out more than we thought we would. Me and J even got to go out for a meal together!
I managed to get some relaxing spa time in the lovely Aqua Sana Spa. I have been every time we have gone and just love that few hours out. Definitely the best spa I have ever been to. Whilst we were in there J went out and about with BB and LP, thinking he might like to do some indoor putting or play badminton or some other fairly easy activity. BB decided he wanted to try out the climbing wall. Brave boy, not normally something he would want to do, but super proud of him, and he got a climbing badge for his achievements. We didn’t do too many activities as we were in the pool mostly, but LP and BB loved all the parks, and soft play area in the sports cafe and generally the freedom to run around.
The weekend culminated with celebrating LP officially turning 2, we took presents with us and a cake. We went out to the Grand Cafe and had a Sunday carvery to celebrate, they brought out the cake for us, though not before the waitress asked BB what his little sisters name was, to which I shouted “BOY” across the table. She was a little mortified, we just laughed. Not remotely girly in my opinion, but I’m biased.
We laughed, ate, drank and had fun, and all too soon it’s time to come home. Each time we analyse, well I analyse how we could do it better, what we would do differently. I guess it changes as the boys get older. One thing for sure is, we will be back Center Parcs.
Note to myself, take more photos! I cannot take credit for the beautiful main image.