Centre Parcs - Top Tips please(25 Posts)
If you want activities book them online before you go, but with your DC I would just book them into the creche/supervised kids club for one session so you can chill.
There are lots of free activities for younger ones, playgrounds, walking, cycling, wildlifevwatching (red sqirrels, deer, ducks, rabbits, birds etc), small beach by the lake and of course swimming.
If yours are anything like mine prepare to swim twice a day. We went first thing as kids pool opens before the main pool, and around 5pm as this is another quiet time. There are lots of pools, slides etc to explore, it's nice swimming outside in really warm water!
I would take lots of easy food so you dont have to shop, cook or eat out unless you want to. The food is all a bit overpriced and naff imo.
Also worth taking bird feeders and nuts for squirrels to attrack them to your back door.
Take bikes/trikes/scooters as it is fab having solid tracks with no traffic for DC to ride on. Locks are essential as everywhere you go has big bike parks and you cant take them inside.
Book a babysitter and book the twilight spa-heaven !
Also we do the family portrait every year-its really worth it and you get a fairly decent 10x8 pic included in the price.
We always take some cheap bird seed as the highlight for your dc will be the squirrels ect at the door.
Go to homebargains and buy 3 logs-99p each instead of a tenner in CP-bag of marshmallows and toast them on an open fire at nightime.
We always bbq one night as every chalet has a private a gorgeous view at back.
Take extra dishwasher tabs and fairy liquid.
You will be outdoors most of the time so don't spend on fancy accommodation !
Enjoy we love it and dc are 21 18 10 and 3 and we all meet up from wherever the elder ones are every year stillx
If you're going to Longleat don't bother with bikes if you're expecting DCs to cycle, it's too hilly so get the land train instead. We never book anything, just do swimming/playgrounds etc (have paid too much to get there to afford anything else!) supermarket is about the same price as Waitrose IMO, so expensive but not crazy and a good choice. Def agree with swimming on the first day, I think you can get into the park from 10 and although they say not to swim until 2 you can just go straight in and it's quiet and lovely. Personally I'm not that fussed on their spa and don't think it's worth it (full of hen parties yapping on and not as luxurious as you could get for the same money on the outside) Having said that the kids clubs are great, and if it's a rare opportunity to get some time with DH then I'd do it (although you could put them in the kids club and just go swimming!) Hope you have a good time, we think it's ace!
Surprised it got 17 clean posts before someone had to lower the tone.
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If someone who was new to MN read this thread they would be think WTF right now
Can't believe no-one's said lots of lube yet .....
And you can go in as early as you like on the Friday. I rock up about 9am!
Take your own bikes if you can, they're expensive to hire.
We tend to swim all morning, eat lunch in the swimming place. Do stuff in the afternoon, nature walk with warden, go biking, crazy golf, high wire course, owl handling are all good. We eat dinner quite early back at the villa and then swim again.
Only me trying not to type something inappropriate???
I would recommend taking your own food as the local grocery shop is ridiculously expensive and I have heard the eating out places are generally not good. We found the Pancake House at Longleat to be ok though. Also, if you don't like going to the swimming place when it's really busy, go after 5pm.
If you're only going for the weekend don't book too many activities otherwise you'll be rushing around.
Center Parcs is one of those Marmite places, I think. But I love it and so do my dds (aged 11, 9 and 4). It's a very relaxing place to be imo and very geared up to the needs of children - there is nothing they have not thought of.
Book before you go. If you are going to long leat then do the football - the coach is great. Fencing and archery are good too.
For us it works to do 1-2 activities in the morning and swim in afternoon or vice versa.
Get there early and go swimming straight away.
Do full size bowling (cos they have the ramps) rather than mini bowling.
Hucks isn't great for 2.5 cos too small really for soft play. The new soft play in strada is good.
Don't wait until you get there to book your activities.
Book your meals out if you're having them as well. You can book at early times which is great for small kids, we normally book tables for 4.45 - 5ish.
Get to pool early and leave early to grab some lunch.
Go to the spa - I go by myself one evening for some chilling time while DH is in charge at the villa, but you could use the kids club thingy and go during the day if you prefer. Definitely book kids club thingy before you go as obviously they can only accept so many children due to ratios.
Take your own food (a slow cooker can be very useful as you can go out for the day and not worry about supper).
Take locks for your bikes.
Book activities but not too many, it can exhausting running from one thing to another, you need time to enjoy it all.
Go swimming around lunchtime or late afternoon, avoid first thing in the morning and early afternoon as it can be rammed and no changing rooms/lockers.
The shop is really really expensive, so bring most of your food with you. There is a good Lidl near the one in Longleat. We have been twice and neither time booked anything, just pootling around on the bikes, playing in the play ground (great for your dcs age group) and going to the swimming pool was enough. Most of the activities are for a slightly older age range than your children.
Book activities online before you go if possible so you can avoid disappointment, but don't book up too much or you end up trailing from one thing to another with no time to just be spontaneous and chill (this wound my hubby up when we went as it was all a bit timetabled).
Try and have lunch early as the restaurants get so busy and the queues are grim. If you get to the swimming pool when it opens, you get a really good first hour when it's not too crazy and there are no big queues on the slides etc and then go for lunch at midday and you'll also avoid the rush there.
You and the kids will end up super shattered in the evenings so take plenty of chill out activities like colouring and sticker books etc for them to do in the evening.
It's great - have fun xx
Deffo book DC in the club and have a morning or afternoon in the spa.
Thanks for the good idea to book in advance - what hAve you tried which is fun? Do they do any kind of kids club, to enable parents to have a lie down? Like the sound of Pancake Place - they used to be one in the v small uni town when I was a student.....( getting nostalgic)
Cp is great! My dh was a sceptic at first too but loves it now. Which one are you going to? Hire bikes depending on where your cabin is. Book activities when you get there as waiting till the time you want may mean miss out. Also eat at the pancake house. Tis lovely! I
We have given in and are taking our dS1 ( nearly 5) and ds2 ( 2.5) to centre Parcs for weekend in August. My DH thinks its going to be awful, can anyone give me some tip tips for having a good three days and convincing sceptical DH is not going to be unbearable.
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