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To ask for your centre parcs top tips?

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whatareyoueventalkingabout Wed 05-Feb-14 20:17:56

I think we are going and I had a horrible time there when I went about 12 years ago. Very different situation now but wondering if I will have a nice time? And how to make it the nicest time. Can you help?

Redbird12 Wed 05-Feb-14 20:29:42

Which one are you going to and with DC's or not? If you havent yet booked go for a Woodland style lodge rather than a Comfort lodge as they have been more recently refurbished.

I would say planning is the key. Book most activities online in advance if you know you want to do certain classes or have spa sessions/treatments. If you want a more relaxed week or weekend, then swimming is free, cycles can be hired when you get there and activities like hiring a badminton court or crazy golf are fairly easy to do when you get there without pre booking. Sometimes you can overbook activities and just rush round the whole time so dont go too mad, it can be quite nice to just walk or cycle through the forest (weather dependent).

For food we normally do an online shop just before we go and load the bags straight into the car, then pop to the parcmarket for anything we forgot. Remember cleaning and washing stuff as well i think only a very small supply of things like dishwasher tablets are supplied.

If you are there on a Sat night and want to eat out at one of the restaurants, book this in advance online as well. Sunday night always quieter and easier to decide when there.

What did you not enjoy last time you went?

KatherineSwynford Wed 05-Feb-14 20:29:46

What was it that you didn't enjoy last time? How many are going / ages?

We love it there (as a family with DC 4 & 2) - we find we get the most out of it by doing an activity or restaurant a day, going swimming quite a bit, getting out and walking.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 05-Feb-14 20:30:21

What was so awful? Which one did you go to?

I haven't been for years (IIRC my DC were 5 and 2.6 approx last time , )

They were too young to do alot of the activities (and the extra ones are £)
They loved the swimming pool though
It has always rained sad
As the driver, I had to drive back through the s-l-o-w traffic to drop the car in the car-park then walk back to the villa. Then the reverse on leaving day.

My DC are now 14 and 11.6 and I was considering for next year (it will be DH and my 20th W.A. ) but for a week it would be over £1,500 shock (Needs to be Easter break)

Though if you get a villa with a dishwasher and a 'log' fire, it's nice smile

ilovechips Wed 05-Feb-14 20:31:32

I know lots of people don't like it on MN but I have been a couple of times and loved it. I would say don't buy your shopping on site, take it all with you, as the on site supermarket is pricey. The extra activities are expensive but just do one or two if possible, and make the most of the things which are included, such as the rapids/pool etc. Ultimately, it's what you make it and as long as you're with people you enjoy being with it'll be fine! smile

namelessposter Wed 05-Feb-14 20:32:52

Take lube <old joke>.

DrNick Wed 05-Feb-14 20:34:40

out of curiosity what exactly did you think might be unreasonable about this request?

pinkdelight Wed 05-Feb-14 20:36:43

Ha ha nameless, was waiting for the bum sex reference.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Wed 05-Feb-14 20:38:18

I've been to the sherwood one several times and always have a great time. The pool is brilliant and I love the rapids! They have built a new centre which should be open this summer and I would think the pool should be even better!

Definitely shop before you go. You can hire bikes online I think it's cheaper than waiting til you're there. You can book activities online too. I always enjoyed half a day in the spa.

Get an executive lodge or villa if you can.

Nombrechanger Wed 05-Feb-14 20:39:48

Ugh!! You beat me to it Nameless!

strawberrie Wed 05-Feb-14 20:40:45

Take some salt and pepper for your lodge.

whatareyoueventalkingabout Wed 05-Feb-14 20:45:27

When people say that you should park and go in and go back to get your car where do they mean that you should park?

yummumto3girls Wed 05-Feb-14 20:46:38

I think Redbird pretty much covers it!!! Agree planning is the key, activities and meals. Don't wait til you get there everything will be booked up! We tend to eat out a couple of times and take food for eating in a couple of times, or cook something to take so the 'holiday' is as easy as possible!!

Cluelessat30 Wed 05-Feb-14 20:46:59

Take a scented candle with you. Last time I went the downstairs smelled of bleach and it took a couple of hours and a lot of coffee making and toast to get rid of the smell.

It was nice to have it smell of vanilla though, I'll be taking another candle for the next trip.

Don't buy too many fridge items as you only get a small fridge.

yummumto3girls Wed 05-Feb-14 20:50:30

Cars are not allowed on site except during certain times, to unpack cars and then on leaving day, to reload car. Other than that all cars should be left in main car park. It can be a bit of a logistical problem as sometimes lodges are quite a trek. My husband normally leaves his bike in the car and then rides it back after dropping car back to car park

mamadoc Wed 05-Feb-14 20:57:44

You have to park in the car park and walk back to your lodge as it is car free on the site (a good thing IMHO).

We recently went with large extended family, kids 2-6, childless 20 something's grandparents and loved it.

Lodge was really nice especially log fire. No need to eat out really unless you want to as kitchen is fine for family meals.

Everyone loved the swimming and water rides. We had a family cabana one day which was nice and sociable.

Spa was really lovely. I would have spent more time there easily. If you want to save money it was very nice without having a treatment.

We didn't book any other activities, that and some woodland walking/ cycling filled the time nicely. You can easily do crazy golf, bowling and badminton without booking in advance.

So my top tips are don't overbook stuff. Plan some easy meals to bring with you as eating out is expensive. Book any treatments at the start or end of your spa time so it doesn't eat into the time for just chilling.

Beavie Wed 05-Feb-14 21:05:10

Pay the bit extra and get a lodge near to the central plaza. Some of them are waaaaay out and you have no choice but to get the sodding land train all the time, which is a pain in the arse as you waste so much time standing around waiting for it and then sitting on it while it trundles around at 4 miles a fortnight. If you get one close to the plaza you can even negate the need to hire/bring bikes, although you might want to do the bike thing.

If you are going to Longleat, unless you are all mega fit keen cyclists, beware that it is mega hilly and tbh some bits are quite dangerous if you have smallish dc on 2 wheels.

Book your activites beforehand or as soon as you get there as things do get quite booked up.

Bring your own food, it's bloody expensive both in the restaurants and the supermarket there. The restaurants are generally not great but huckleberrys (I think that's what it's called) is not too bad.

urterriblemuriel Wed 05-Feb-14 21:15:04

Cost saving tip - all lodges have these lovely fires but the zip logs are like a fiver each and last just a couple of hours. You can get also them in poundland and then have a couple on the go at once, whilst not losing a fortune!

I love CP although last time we went in Nov my DD got bad ear infections and we spent the whole week in the lodge, missing out on lovely walks and the fun pool sad They have a medical centre tho who were great.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Wed 05-Feb-14 21:32:57

Take a sharp knife, the ones there are rubbish. The ovens are gas so it takes more time to cook. Probably all a tactic to get you to eat out. The restaurants are pretty standard, Strada, Cafe Rouge etc. We cooked every night anyway. Meal plan before you go.

EllaFitzgerald Wed 05-Feb-14 21:38:40

If you're going to hire bikes, take cycle locks with you so you don't have to buy them. If you're going to Longleat and you aren't very fit like me then use the land train because it's very hilly.

shewhowines Wed 05-Feb-14 21:48:03

We are going again soon. It's good but not what I personally would choose to spend that sort of money on. Going with family though, so we'll have a good time.
As others have said, pre-book everything, including restaurants. Mix up cheaper activities such as geo-cache, with the more expensive options.

Take bikes and suitable all weather clothes. Take provisions with you for convenience, greater choice and cost savings. Freeze meals in advance, such chilli, so that you can re-heat them easily and not spend hours cooking.

Go with the flow and don't have too high expectations. Take time to relax and read a book if the others want to rush around. Make sure you do a bit of what you want to do.

chicaguapa Wed 05-Feb-14 21:52:31

Our CP breaks were all planned with military precision. grin

You can arrive before 2pm if you want to.

Take swim stuff separately so when you arrive you can park and go to the pool for a couple of hours. When you come out, the queues to the lodges will have gone and you'll be able to park near your lodge.

Meal plan and take exactly what you need so you don't have to pack it all again when you go home.

Remember tea towels and a sharp knife.

Get 2 lockers at the pool. Put coats, shoes & other outdoor clothes in one. The other is for clothes & towels. When you come out, you only need the contents of one locker to get dry & dressed. Then you can get the coats, shoes etc out when you're not wet and laden down with things.

You can take a cool box in the pool.

We always went to the pool mid morning 11-ish with our lunch in a cool box and stayed until mid afternoon. This was the quietest time of the day and you didn't need to keep getting changed.

Or take 2 sets of pool towels, one for the morning and one for the afternoon else you'll be using wet towels after lunch.

On the last day, pack the swimming stuff separately and you can spend the day in the pool after you've checked out of the lodge. There's no kicking out time from the pool.

Arrival and departure days are the quietest in the pool.

YY to taking your own bike locks and the crackle logs.

Finally, go to CP in Europe, especially in May half term as is a lot cheaper.

Hope you have a good time.

chicaguapa Wed 05-Feb-14 21:54:16

Forgot one... take a prepared meal for the first night, especially if you've been to the pool, as it's great just to stick it in the oven and have something that's quick.

scantilymad Wed 05-Feb-14 21:59:13

We are going again in March.
If you have a cabin with a wood burner then stock up on the paper logs before you go. It is £9 for three in the CP shop and they can be found more economically in the supermarkets or B&Q.
You can get bowling lanes more cheaply if you look online and book in advance.
Pre-book at least one activity a day so there is some structure.
Even if you don't book any treatments, visit the spa building as the Longleat one has all the products they use out in reception for testing!

splasheeny Wed 05-Feb-14 22:45:32

Don't go! Overpriced and overrated.

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