Tag Archives: Center Parcs

My perfect day at Center Parcs

25 Jan

This month Center Parcs are challenging bloggers to describe their perfect day at Center Parcs.

For my family, this would most definitely involve a lot of time in the sub-tropical pool. We LOVE the pool at Center Parcs, especially the outdoor area, the lazy river and the wave machine. My children would happily spend the whole day in the pool but we do tend to leave before we turn into a family of prunes.

Whilst watching the family videos on the Center Parcs website I heard one family refer to a ‘Baby Owl Handling experience’ Twit… Twoooo.. yes please! I would love to do this as I am crazy about owls. My husband would probably be very happy to have a go at the Aerial Adventure and my daughter may even give this a go too, depending how brave she was feeling. The thing we really love to do is to explore the park, either on foot or on our bikes. We love being at one with nature and making our own fun (although admittedly we do have to stop at EVERY playground that we come across!)

To complete the perfect day I would like a lovely meal at the Hucks Restaurant or The Pancake House. Both serve amazing food and are excellent at catering for coeliacs like myself. Just thinking about it is making my mouth water!

Back to the villa for hot chocolate and stories. On a perfect day the children would go to bed with no trouble at all and hubby and myself can sit back and enjoy a glass of wine or two….

‘I’m a Center Parcs Family Blogger and will be visiting Longleat village with my family. If you want to enter to win a place as a wildcard winner just go to the challenge page to find out how http://bit.ly/1gvBHBB

Exciting news!

28 Oct

CenterParcs Family Blog Club

Eeek…. I am very excited! I have been chosen to be a Center Parcs Family Blogger! The Family Blogger Club was set up by Center Parcs to bring the excitement of Center Parcs into Bloggers homes. Following a video competition, I was chosen, alongside 11 other bloggers to experience the wonder of Center Parcs during  a FREE short break at their Longleat park. As you can imagine, I am thrilled! We had to come up with a short video, describing our favourite family activity. You can watch our video here. You can find out about all the other chosen bloggers on the Center Parcs blog

I have not been able to tell the children yet as we may not take the break until next spring. They would probably self-combust in all the excitement waiting to go! We will tell them nearer the time and I can’t wait to see their little faces.

Being a Center Parcs Family blogger also involves taking part in regular monthly challenges. Anyone can enter these which means that you too could be in with a chance of also winning a short break at Center Parcs. Just keep an eye on their blog for more details.

We have had two visits to Center Parcs in the past. Both visits have been during their Winter Wonderland in December. This is a truly magical experience, especially if you have young children that are still ‘firm believers!’ Here is our review of our Winter Wonderland visit.

I look forward to bringing you news on our family ‘challenges’ and of course reviewing our visit to Center Parcs!

Cycling is our favourite family activity. This is why!

30 Sep

 

This is our entry for the Center Parcs Family Blogger Competition!

Read our other posts about Center Parcs here

Boat Building! A Center Parcs challenge

30 Aug

I was quite excited to see the latest competition from Center Parcs, in association with Tots 100. The idea is to make your own boat and be as creative as you like.  This was perfect timing for us as our four year old son is CRAZY about boats at the moment.  On a recent camping trip to Cornwall, we hired a little motor boat and whizzed around St Ives harbour. It was the most fun we have had in ages and the children loved taking a turn at steering the boat.

Sailing in St Ives

Sailing in St Ives

So, why a boat competition for Center Parcs? Well, at Center Parcs ‘water’ is a big part of the holiday experience.  There are a variety of watersports available including scuba diving and sailing. Exactly which ones are available will depend on the site that you visit.  Of course, there is also the fantastic subtropical swimming park which is what we love best!

When challenged to build our own boat we came up with lots of ideas as a family. This actually led us to build quite a few boats! Some were more successful than others….

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Our prototype was easy to make. Just paint a little pot, stick a lollipop stick through a slit in the top and attach a flag with glue.  However in water it was about as much use as a chocolate teapot.  It was top-heavy so kept tipping over and for some reason I used poster paint instead of acrylics (doh) so it all came off in the water.

Our next attempt was at building a little raft using simple bits and pieces like some corks, some string, a cocktail stick and some paper. This was pretty effective and the children had fun floating it in the sink but it wasn’t quite exciting enough to hold their attention for long.

Our little raft reminds me of Robinson Crusoe!

Our little raft reminds me of Robinson Crusoe!

Next up was a home-made house boat fashioned from milk cartons! I love these and the children do too. Initially we just cut them out and painted them with some acrylic paint to see if the idea would work.

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Once painted, we took the boats out to a little river and road tested them (or rather, water tested them) to check that they floated and that the paint stayed on. It was a success! The little ones loved floating them around and storing them in the harbour whilst we had our lunch.

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boat-collage

I love the idea of these little boats. I’ve always fancied owning a houseboat so in some small way I am living my dream! Thomas calls his, “The Rosie and Jim Boat”  for obvious reasons.  We couldn’t just stop here, we had to decorate them and add a few little improvements!

We gave them another coat of paint and also painted the top of the boat a different colour. The piece which we cut out of the boat was inverted into the inside of the boat and attached with my hot glue gun. This made a handy little seat and every piece of the carton was used.. ooh I do hate to waste anything! We then added some curtains and we planted up some cress seeds in little yoghurt pots which could sit proudly on our rooftop garden. Unfortunately these needed a few more days of growing before I took the photo but you get the idea! Next we hunted through our Playmobil toys to find some little bits and bobs we could add. We found pot plants, deck chairs and of course some little people to holiday in the houseboat! The results kept my little people amused for well over an hour, which after 6 weeks of summer holidays is a big thumbs as far as I’m concerned!

Chugging along on the old rag doll.....

Chugging along on the old rag doll…..

Boat-one

Both boats

Lily says this is '"Mummy and Daddy having a nap". Chance would be a fine thing!

Lily says this is ‘”The Mummy and Daddy having a nap”. I think we need to get ourselves a houseboat!

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….