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centre parcs first time any tips please ...(21 Posts)
we're off for a family get together in Oct, and would appreciate any useful hints, friends who have been suggested taking own drinks etc as can get a bit pricey. TIA
Yes take as much food as you can - we found the onsite supermarkets very expensive!
Torches for getting back to the lodge late at night perhaps.
Very comfortable trainers / enclosed toe shoes for walking and sports and cycling.
Some duck feed or corn is useful as we fed the ducks at the back of our lodge when we were there but I guess it depends where you're staying.
Enjoy - I think it's a love it or hate it holiday, we love it
Which one are you going to?
We plan everything before we go and tend to only book one or two activities as they can get expensive. Our DCs are 8 & 9 and we make full use of the pool, we also take our bikes which the DCs love.
I also meal plan before I go, taking the majority of the food. For me part of the holiday is planning ahead so when we're there my brain can switch off. The Parc supermarket is not silly expensive though.
We've already booked for next July and can't wait
I always cook things like curry beforehand and take them with me.
Be prepared to spend more money than you thought- a lot of activities are "extra".
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
thanks - we're off to whinfell forest
You can pick up the special crackle logs for the fires in places like Home bargains MUCH cheaper than at CP so stock up with these too.
We go there a couple of times a year, I love it. We used to take
loads of food but the parc market is fine and the sandwiches and pasties etc are similarly priced to local bakeries. Ditto everyone elses advice, The Lakeside inn is nice but the Indian isnt amazing, the horse riding is a massive trek to get to but worth it ... have a lovely time
Book anything you know you want to do in advance as can get booked up, especially the Spa.
Are you taking your own bikes? Don't forget your bike lock.
Yes to taking own main food and pre planning/cooking so you can just whip us a salad and good to go.
Couple of DVDs and popcorn do cinema night.
Blanket to sit on by the water.
Midge candle so you can sit outside and enjoy your wine without being bitten, though in October you should be fine.
Multiple swim ware or you will be getting into a wet cossie
cheers for tips, really looking forward to it!
We went for the first time this year (not Whinfell though) and absolutely loved it (with similar aged children). We were in our school hols which are different to most other areas, so not officially school hols according to Center Parcs, but it was still pretty rammed in the pool area during the day. If you're going in October half term, be prepared for it to be busy. If your children like doing the slides / rapids etc there will probably be big queues, so my top advice would be to switch your day around so that you use the pool from about tea time to when it closes. Most of the families with pre-school children / babies had gone by that time and there were few queues and it was pretty much perfect. There was a part of the pool area called Treasure Cove (for little ones but I have a 5yr old too) and we had that completely to ourselves one night. I think it closed at 9pm so we used to go from say 6pm-9pm. It used to be all lit up at night too - they loved it. Children would be in bed at 9.45- 10pm (late for my children) but slept in until 9am (unheard of) so we all got a break .
We did quite a lot of what I would say are the cheaper activities - roller skating, French boules, short tennis (which was great), the Dad and Lads football tournament, and the katakanu on the lake. We only booked one of those beforehand, there was plenty of availability.
The lodge was lovely, agree with a couple of DVDs, 2 lots of swimming kit, dishwasher tablets, we found the on-site shop wasn't massively expensive but it was quite limited. The bakery was great though. We ate out a couple of times (Café Rouge was lovely). Every lodge had barbecue equipment so depending on the weather you could barbecue. If you're eating in, kitchen perfectly well equipped.
And bikes - this is what made it I think for us, it meant it was easy peasy to go back to the lodge for lunch / a drink etc, and the kids actually loved bike riding. You can hire the chunky D locks from the bike store when you get there (for free - you have to pay £15 but you get that back when you hand the lock back in).
We were at whinfell in March and we loved it. Agree that it's a good idea to pre book activities, we tried to have one activity a day and then went swimming daily as well. The spa was really nice and my toddler loved painting ceramics and messy play. We are going back next spring
Go swimming while everyone else is checking in and queuing up in their cars, then take your car and un pack etc while everyone else is swimming.
ha @ Lube!
Take waterproofs and wellies - lots if nature stuff to do that is free if it rains etc. I cook stuff like bologna use sauce, freeze it and take. I take extra loo rolls, ice cube bags, sharp cooking knives, kitchen roll, tea bags etc as it all gets used
I wouldnt eat at the inn. Far too overpriced for what it is. The Sports Plaza is a better deal as the have bogof offer most nights.
The DiningIn is nice for pizzas etc. I took pop with me in a rucksack for the kids. Just find a discreet corner and they're none the wiser. Same with crisps etc.
We just came back from Whinfell yesterday.
1. Take your own logs. You have to use Zipp fire logs but they are 3 for £10 at CP i bet they are much cheaper elsewhere!!
2. Its expensive to eat out and if you are eating out at night you generally have to book and pay a deposit. It cost £70 for the 3 of us to eat at the indian and £55 to eat at hucks for 2 courses (although DP is a pig ).
If you really want to eat out then its cheaper to do it at lunchtime and less likely to be fully booked.
There are special deals on certain days/nights for the restaurants so make the most of them.
3. Drinks are very expensive (compared to typical northern prices anyway). A pint and a vodka and coke was about £8.50!
4. Take extra loo rolls as you only get one. Take some of your own towels for swimming as its £2 to hire them. Our lodge had a DVD player which kept DS happy when it rained.
We had a great time and i expected it to be pricey anyway so it wasn't a huge shock.
Stock up at the supermarket before you go, we take pizzas, salad, soft drink and wine as it's very expensive to eat out. We usually go with family or friends so each host an evening in their lodge providing supper and drinks.
We treat ourselves to lunch out and I do enjoy people watching with a Starbucks coffee .
Go swimming either very early or very late, it can get very busy in the middle of the day.
We tend not to book too many activities and just see what we dance when we felt there, you can some times get them slightly cheaper ( although they might also get booked up of course )
I always have a trip to the Spa, usually the Twilight on because it's cheaper and I find three hours is long enough. I wouldn't want to be in there all day.