Since their UK launch in 1987, Center Parcs has been a firm favourite with families looking for an active break in a relaxing woodland setting. Offering a fantastic range of activities, each of its five UK locations encompass a beautiful lake, a sandy beach and 400 acres of woodland. If you’re tempted but not quite sure what to expect, we’ve got the lowdown for you. So read on to discover which accommodation will suit you, what the food options are and what the re-vamped children’s activity schedule has in store.
1. Checking in
Ok let’s get the boring part out the way first! Completing your registration online before you arrive will make check in loads faster, so you can start enjoying your holiday sooner, Be warned, there can be big queues to get in and out on changeover days, so it might be worth booking early arrival for 2pm if you have an impatient toddler or a hungry baby, for example.
With standard bookings, you will have access to all the facilities from 10am, but can’t get into your accommodation until 3pm. We prefer to get there around midday and make the most of the free time to hire bikes, go for a swim, book activities for the week and enjoy a leisurely meal at one of the many restaurants. Then once the 3pm rush has died down, make your way over to your accommodation, without the queues.
BabyBreaks Tip: The car park could be quite far from you accommodation. They like to keep the village traffic free. So make sure you unload everything you’ll need to avoid traipsing back and forth.
Standard woodland lodges are modern and spacious enough for most average families. They sleep up to six adults and some are dog friendly too. A TV and DVD player, log burner, free wifi, and a cot and high chair come as standard, so there’s no need to pack those bulky travel cots.
If you want TVs and an en suite in every room plus a daily housekeeping service, upgrade to the Executive Lodge, some of which have a sauna. Plush! These larger lodges are ideal for a break with the grandparents, or a group of two families.
There are a further three types of lodges, including treehouses which are the most luxurious. Splashing the extra cash will get you a games den, an outdoor hot tub and personal host. A great option for a special occasion.
No time to food shop? Center Parcs’ optional pre-arrival delivery services cover everything from kids birthday packs to a continental breakfast or a full fridge.
Now here’s the part which everyone loves about Center Parcs – the activities! The recently re-vamped children’s activity programme provides fun and adventure for all abilities and ages, from babies to teenagers. Some of the new exciting activities include Chocolate Chefs Academy, Forest Crafts Woodland Creations and Pirate and Princess Adventure. There’s also an Ofsted registered Creche, and hundreds of family activities which you can enjoy together. However, be prepared to pay extra for ALL of these activities. It can get expensive, so make sure you budget to keep everyone happy.
One thing you do have unlimited free entry to is the famous Subtropical Swimming Paradise. Heated to 29.5c all year round and bedecked with lush green trees, this is so much more than a swimming pool. There’s a wave pool and wild water rapids for adventurous kids, plus a play area for little ones and relaxing whirlpools for five minutes time out. If you plan to spend all day here (and really why wouldn’t you want to?) you could hire a private Family Cabana, complete with TV, refreshments and loungers.
Unlike many holiday parks, there is a great amount of choice at Center Parcs when it comes to food. Each village offers more than 10 restaurants and cafés, including high street favourites such as Bella Italia, Las Iguanas, Café Rouge and Starbucks. So there’s bound to be something your family know and love. They also have their own restaurants including Indian, and they even do delivery to your lodge. Many of the restaurants have play areas too, as well as “baby stations” complete with microwave, bottle warmer, bowls, and free baby food.
But of course you don’t have to eat out every night – all the accommodation is kitted out for self-catering, including an outdoor BBQ and the all-important dishwasher!
So there you have it, our insider knowledge of Center Parcs – we are big fans of it at BabyBreaks. Have you been yet? Let us know what you thought!
The post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. More info: Disclosure.