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To want something like Center Parcs but without the verrucas and the damp?

(102 Posts)
OrangeSamphire Thu 29-Dec-16 16:42:01

We are looking for a short break in the Spring. Really as a birthday get away for DS who is unable to walk or talk and we struggle to buy presents for. He loves warm swimming pools, walks in the woods and animals, so... Looked at Center Parcs Longleat as it's about 2 hrs north of where we live.

Seemed to tick a lot of boxes - wheelchair accessible walks and a warm pool for 5yr old, tree top and climbing wall activities for my 8yr old. Spa. Close to Longleat for the wildlife/animal stuff.

So far so good.

But. I just cannot abide crapness. If I knew that for the £600 odd we'd get even Premier Inn standard accommodation for the long weekend, I'd tolerate that. But I've read so much about damp lodges, filthy swimming changing, terrible food etc, I am reluctant to book.

Anyone know of anywhere similar that will keep the whole family happy and entertained for a long weekend where quality is a bit more consistent? Ideally no more than a 3hr drive from east Cornwall.

Coldilox Thu 29-Dec-16 16:50:54

Have a look at Bluestone. Not sure of driving time from Cornwall. We went last September and very happy with it. Our lodge was lovely.

lastqueenofscotland Thu 29-Dec-16 16:52:14

Tattershall park in Lincolnshire?

lastqueenofscotland Thu 29-Dec-16 16:52:31

Ignore that it won't be three hours from Cornwall!!!

FeckinCrutches Thu 29-Dec-16 16:54:58

I've never seen damp lodges or filthy changing rooms!

OrangeSamphire Thu 29-Dec-16 17:02:01

I think Bluestone is too far for a weekend. It's 5hrs from here to Pembs. Shame.

Some of the MN threads about Center Parcs have really put me off. And trip advisor, but then I know you always get a mixed bag on there.

Has anyone been to CP Longleat recently and would recommend/not recommend it?

As a couple we like places like The Scarlet, Padstow Townhouse, a Malmaison perhaps if away with work but we've never quite managed to hit the mark for family breaks etc

FeckinCrutches Thu 29-Dec-16 17:03:21

What about the luxury family hotels group?

Coldilox Thu 29-Dec-16 17:03:50

If you like The Scarlet have you looked at the Bedruthan Steps hotel? It's their sister hotel aimed at families.

OrangeSamphire Thu 29-Dec-16 17:06:01

We have considered Bedruthan but it's not a great spot with DS in his wheelchair.

Welshmaenad Thu 29-Dec-16 17:06:36

Oh god, not Bluestone. We went there to use the pool once. Filthy, broken tiles, broken railings, lots of things not working (that have apparently never worked yet are still advertised on the website) and bloody cold. Air of a 1960s dilapidated lido. We complained but they didn't give a crap. Probably because they already had one, that someone left in the disabled changing room floor...

dingdongdigeridoo Thu 29-Dec-16 17:07:42

Sandy Balls?

If anything, I'd go for the name!

Coldilox Thu 29-Dec-16 17:09:27

Ah no, sorry missed the wheelchair requirement. Nope Bedruthan not ideal then.

Welsh that surprises me - we used it most days we were there (a week) in September, and every time it was spotlessly clean.

MagicMary1 Thu 29-Dec-16 17:12:34

Sandy balls is lovely. Went there once for weekend as was flying from Bournemouth.

OrangeSamphire Thu 29-Dec-16 17:13:20

Sandy Balls, what a name grin. Will have a look...

HighwayDragon1 Thu 29-Dec-16 17:15:25

Sandy balls is great... and you get to snigger everytime you say it

flowery Thu 29-Dec-16 17:16:07

"But I've read so much about damp lodges, filthy swimming changing, terrible food etc"

We go once or twice a year and have never experienced any of that! Not Longleat, to be fair, we go to Elveden or Woburn.

OrangeSamphire Thu 29-Dec-16 17:18:07

Is there a way of guaranteeing you won't get one of the old, crap, pre-renovation lodges at CP?

I've seen some horror show pictures on trip advisor from supposedly executive lodges that look completely different to what's advertised on the website!

Chrisinthemorning Thu 29-Dec-16 17:19:51

I have been to CP - Whinfell, Sherwood and Elvedon- more than 15 times and I always wonder about the threads on here.
It is expensive but we love it.
Don't go for the basic lodge - woodland or above for decent accommodation.
Food- well they are chains but same price and standard as Cafe Rouge, Strada etc anywhere else. Fine for one meal a day over a long weekend.
Swimming is great imo and everywhere is very accessible and child friendly.
So if I were you I wouldn't rule it out.
Have you looked at Ribby Hall as an alternative?

birdsdestiny Thu 29-Dec-16 17:21:51

Is Blackpool too far. Riby hall is lovely. It's not in Blackpool but in a tiny village nearby. It is lovely like a mini center parc. It's slightly different in that you can leave the park, I know you can leave center parc grin but most people don't . Tiny hall has swimming pool, activities for kids, restaurant, bowling, etc . You have Blackpool zoo and I think Knowsley safari nearby but my geography is terrible. Also I have stayed at center parc about 10 times, only had a problem once ( not clean) and they came and sorted it.

xxxbingbunnyxxx Thu 29-Dec-16 17:23:12

The wheelchair lodges at CP are good quality, not damp. The elvedon site has a separate Childs swim area and from experience it is nice and warm, and accessible without steps

Boysnme Thu 29-Dec-16 17:25:30

We are just back from CP whinfell and lucked out because the cheapy (if you can call anything at CP cheap!) lodge had been upgraded between booking and going. It was amazing and spotless. Pool was pretty clean too. Might be worth calling them and asking what their newest lodges are and paying for a specific one. We had a fab time.

TheLesserWeevil Thu 29-Dec-16 17:26:29

The swimming pool at Longleat CP is a LOT nicer than the one at Sandy Balls, for certain. We've always had lovely, spotless lodges at CP as well - best if you can travel out of peak times and go for the newest lodge in your price range. If you need an adapted one for your son they were very well located and looked nice from the outside!

OrangeSamphire Thu 29-Dec-16 17:28:52

Blackpool is definitely too far I think. Plus I'd be worried about it being very cold as we'd be going in Feb/early March.

We are southern softies used to a Cornish winter/early spring climate.

Good advice to call and find out which lodges are refurbished. I hadn't realised you can book specific lodges on the CP website but it looks like you can. And it tells you which ones are step free and exactly where they are on the site which is actually great.

susurration Thu 29-Dec-16 17:34:22

We've been to center parcs lots and never had a problem. You can choose which level of lodge to book. Woodland or Executive. It will tell you on the website what you're booking, and you can even choose your lodge number and location if you really want to. Have yet to find anywhere else with that kind of organised activity style holiday that is as nice as center parcs tbh. Except for maybe Ribby Hall but I wouldn't holiday there simply because my Mum literally lives two minutes away from it.

BarbaraofSeville Thu 29-Dec-16 17:40:09

I'd take a lot of the bad reviews with a pinch of salt. Remember that Center Parcs is a bit marmite and some people can't see the appeal of 'a shed in the woods'.

Also, some people have extremely high expectations re standards of quality and cleanliness. Just look at all the cleaning obsessives and well off demographic. Center Parcs will be perfectly lovely to 98% of the population and most of the other 2% will be on here complaining that the thread count of the sheets wasn't high enough and the maids only cleaned the bathroom once a day.

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