Friday, 17 February 2012

Family Holiday - Centre Parcs

Morning! I hope you all have a bottle of wine chilling ready for this evening as reward for getting through half term.  I know I shouldn't be encouraging people to drink, but boy will that first glass taste good when we reach wine o'clock!  As it's Friday it is time for another fab idea for a family holiday and today is one of our family favourites, Centre Parcs.

We always visit the Elveden Forest Centre Parcs as Drew says 'they're all the same so better to go the nearest one to save extra travelling in the car with the children'.  I have to agree with him, who wants extra hours travelling in the car with five chidlren when they don't have to.  Elveden Forest is about an hour away from our house so just about far enough away to feel you've gone on holiday but close enough to not have to fit in toilet stops. 

All squirrels are now known as Jerry after our last trip to Centre Parcs
after Kitty kept shouting out Jerry everytime she saw one!
There are several reasons we love going to Centre Parcs but most importantly they have accommadation that we fit in.  We can have a stylish house with four bedrooms and two bathrooms and a fully equipped kitchen, complete with a dishwasher.  After our first visit choosing to be close to the Village we opted for a house near the lake, we have since chosen a house further away. We found we could not use the patio area and barbeque without having several ducks, geese and swans visiting.  The children really didn't enjoy it and we have not made this mistake again. We now make sure we book a house on the outer circle, far away from the lake, with great spaces just through the patio doors for the children to play happily in.  There are some great trees for climbing and a big slope to have races up and down.  Oh yes we actually try and book this particular numbered house just to have this space outside!  Whilst many people prefer to be close to the Village we prefer to be on the outskirts and it is only a 5-10 minute cycle away from the swimming pool, lake, shop and restuarants.

With accommadation sorted out it's time for some exploring! We love cycling around the forest and Kitty loved sitting in the child seat on my bike spotting squirrels, however I feel next time we go to Centre Parcs she will be wanting her own bike.  Whilst the paths all have cycle lanes there are also some more off-road tracks to try out your brakes with some super skids aswell, Drew loved teaching the boys a few tricks last time we were there! 

I know many people think Centre Parcs is very expensive and having to pay for activities can seem a little pricey yet there are lots you do for a small fee or for free.  Swimming is free and although the pool can sometimes seem busy there is enough space to play in the water and there is also a fab paddling pool area for little ones.  Swimming jackets are provided so don't worry if you forget your childs armbands in the mad scramble of packing.  With flumes, slides, wave machine and lazy river there is enough to keep everyone amused for a while. 

Dotted around the village are some great playgrounds with equipment for little ones and older children too.  We actually didn't find all the playgrounds on our first visit!  Some of our favourite activities at Centre Parcs that don't cost a fortune are crazy golf, ten pin bowling, badminton, climbing wall, canoing and other watersports.  They have these fab canoes that seat up to 6 people which are great fun and didn't cost a fortune to hire for thirty minutes paddling around the lake.  There is also a little beach area at the lake which Amber & Kitty loved building sandcastles with me whilst Drew took the older chidlren out onto the lake.

Food and drink is well catered for within the village with a great choice of restaurants and cafes you'll recognise and we highly recommend a visit to the Dutch Pancake House.  It is also worth a cycle out towards the spa to enjoy a cold beer and yummy dinner at the Foresters Inn.  It is also really easy to eat in your house with a well stocked shop, fully equipped kitchen and a barbeque on your patio.  I always take essentials with us and buy fresh goods from the well stocked supermarket in the Village. 

Centre Parcs really does have something for everyone and it is a great place for a family like ours, with children of different ages.  I hope that we will have many more trips to Centre Parcs but I doubt we will try the other villages, well they are all the same! Although I would like to try oneof the Centre Parcs in France.  Oh and one last top tip, if you can book your holiday out of school holiday time and opt for midweek breaks as weekends seem more pricey.

Have you visited Centre Parcs? I would love to know what you thought about it or if you have any tips to share with our readers. 

Have a fab weekend,

PS  These photos are from two and half years ago, I can't believe how much younger Connor & Jack seem and Kitty was still so little :)

1 comment:

En4tainment said...

I go every year to Elveden Forest center parces i love it so much x

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