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Our Winter Wonderland holiday at Center Parcs

6 Feb

Happy Days at Longleat Center Parcs

This is a little belated, since it is now February but I just wanted to share  our Winter Wonderland experience at Center Parcs. This takes place from the end of November, up until Christmas.

Thanks to my lovely mum and stepdad we were treated to 4 nights here, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We were amazingly lucky and are so grateful for such a treat. We all stayed together in one of their Executive Lodges which were spacious, clean and provided everything we needed for a home-from-home holiday.

Having never been to a Center Parcs before I didn’t really know what to expect but it far exceeded any expectations I might have had. The children LOVED every minute of it. We spent the days swimming in the amazing water complex or riding our bikes through the vast woodland and exploring all the playgrounds and walks. If you’re a family that loves the outdoors, wildlife and nature then this is definitely a holiday for you. The magnificent giant redwoods create a magical canopy above you and the woods are home to many rare species.  I know people have had deer coming up to their villa doors looking for food and company!

No Winter Wonderland is complete without singing reindeer!

I thought being away at Christmas would be strange and I did wonder if it would even feel like Christmas but it all felt very seasonal. We arrived to find a Christmas Wreath on our villa door and a real Christmas tree inside (you need to remember to take your own lights and decorations). There are gorgeous twinkly lights all around the park at night and Santa’s grotto is just brilliant! You can even see his real reindeer waiting outside for him to finish his visits. My children both had a wonderful visit with him. You really can’t compare this to the grottos that you get springing up in garden centres and shops at the end of October…. It was so lovely I actually had tears in my eyes when we came out (ok, it doesn’t take a lot to start me off!)  It costs £10 per child but both children received a really lovely toy which  will last forever, not just some cheap plastic thing that gets forgotten about after 5 minutes.  We were not rushed at all during our visit and we received a wonderful photograph of the whole family with Santa.

We went to see the park pantomine while we were there, this was great fun and such a lovely atmosphere too. The children were right down at the front of the stage on a blanket and there were free mince pies and drinks for everyone. It was great that the children had such a great view of the stage, could jump up and down and shout and scream at the bad witch and really get stuck in!

There are always lots of other activities available at Center Parcs, for both children and adults alike. These are always charged extra and are not cheap! This is my only negative comment about a holiday here.  Even a basic holiday here is pretty expensive, especially in the school holidays. It’s a real shame that they can’t just throw in a couple of activities for free and I imagine that’s the one thing that might put people off a Center Parcs holiday.

The highlight of the holiday was swimming in the outdoor pool under the stars on boxing day evening. We could have been anywhere in the world, the water was so warm and the whole family were happy and relaxed.  I can see why people keep going back to Center Parcs, I think I am addicted now….