This past week we have been enjoying our first family holiday at Center Parcs. It was so lovely to spend time just the three of us and get away from it all.
If you are thinking of taking your brood along on a Center Parcs break I would definitely recommend it for young families. The facilities are really great and its so much fun no matter what your age. I would know as Ive been there as a kid, as a teen, just after I got engaged, when I was pregnant and with a baby so it really is suitable for everyone! All the accomodation is nice and spacious (which is handy with the amount of stuff you have with a baby :S) and they have a cot and high chair available in every lodge. Outside of the accomodation there’s also baby change facilities dotted around the site but what I really like is that they have feeding rooms available which are decorated with pretty images on the walls and are kitted out with comfy rocking chairs and story books (incase you have other little ones in tow).
As I said before I have visited Center Parcs a few times and each time I remember the joy I get from riding a bike. It is really catered for cycling so you can casually cruise around the beautiful site and soak in the peaceful woodland setting. You can hire bikes and bike trailers once you are there but we took our own bikes and bought a trailer before we went. We purchased a Infantastic bike trailer/jogger through Amazon. At £79.99 is was a bargain as trailers can be very pricey, especially brands such as Burley which are the trailers available for hire at Center Parcs. However, I must say we were very impressed with our trailer and can hardly fault it. It was simple to put together and can be folded down fairly easily for storage and was very spacious with room for 2 toddlers and lots of storage space in the back for bags etc. We also love that it can be transformed into a jogger/stroller which will come in handy when we attend festivals in the Summer and we can easily trudge through the fields and grassy/muddy terrains! As Arlo is still little and not quite sitting up independently we inserted his car seat into the trailer which we secured with the harness and a ratchet strap. He loved being pulled along behind Antony’s bike and looked very cosy in there. The only downside with this trailer is that the zips on the mesh cover are rather taut and you have to slowly and gently zip it up each time to avoid a tear. Put for that price this is a problem we can deal with! If your not keen on cycling you can walk or they have a land train which runs fairly regularly and I noticed lots of buggy parks in different locations including by the swimming pool so you can leave your buggy/pram as you get on with different activites.
Another highlight of the holiday was definitely the swimming pool. The temperature is perfect for Arlo- nice and warm as he can get grumpy if it’s too chilly. There is a baby/toddler pool and ofcourse the slides, rapids, wave machine & jacuzzi are so much fun for adults and older children. We made use of the on site crèche so that we could enjoy the rapids and slides together (rather than just going one at a time while the other holds the baby). I was a bit nervous leaving Arlo with people he didn’t know at the crèche (I’ve only left him twice with Nana so far) and it did take him a while to settle (ok, ok it took us both a while) but he did eventually and the nursery nurses were very sweet with him and kept him happy with painting, playing and cuddles. I only left him for 2 hours but the session was for 3 hours at £22 which is not too badly priced. You can even get the staff at the pool to ring up and check how your little one is getting on which was reassuring for me!
There are lots of places to eat on site including the amazing Pancake House which offers sweet and savoury pancakes and waffles. We went for a sweet and savoury pancake…..each (obviously)! All the restaurants are spacious so lots of room for prams/buggies and they all have have bottle/food warming facilities and offer free baby food!
There are so many activities you can do book but we have done most of them before (pre-baby) and we were just happy to enjoy all the freebies such as cycling, swimming & playing in the play park.
The main thing we did splurge on was the food and a day out at Longleat Safari Park which was cheaper to book through Center Parcs (we got our tickets for the same price as a childs ticket). There is so much to do there it is definitely worth a visit if you haven’t been. Arlo had a stimulation overload as there was so much for him to look at. He was amazed by the meerkats but his favourite animals were the Penguins! It is a good time of year to go actually as although some of the animals were not out it was really quiet and we could leisurely make our way around without having to queue or feel crowded.
All in all it was a brilliant first family holiday. We never tire of the place and will definitely be back again I’m sure. Where did you go on your first family holiday with your little ones? Or perhaps you have a trip planned?
I hope you all had a great week and if you are a mother I hope you were spoilt rotten yesterday! I had a great day. I got pressies and went out for lunch it was the perfect end to a lovely week.
I’m sharing the joy of our first holiday with #sharethejoylinky
Also linking up with #mummymonday