> The Beesley Buzz: A weekend of family, friendship and fun at Center Parcs Longeat forest

A weekend of family, friendship and fun at Center Parcs Longeat forest


Last weekend we had one of the best and most special weekends ever. Earlier this year we were chosen to be Center Parcs family bloggers and last weekend we went for our stay at Center Parcs Longleat Forest where we got to meet another blogging family and spend the weekend together.
 
We met up with Pauly and Laura from Gifts from the Pirates and their two adorable boys (Laura actually also has her own blog too at Natural. Eco. Vegan. Mom). Meeting up with them was amazing and deserves a separate blog post in its own right so look out for that soon!

Now onto all the great things we discovered at Center Parcs...

Accommodation

First up accommodation. We had never been to Center Parcs previously so were not quite sure what to expect. In our experience, sometimes holiday accommodation can be a bit dated and lacking in facilities. I'm so pleased to be able to say that the accommodation totally exceeded our expectations. We stayed in a three bedroom woodland lodge and it was up-to-date in terms of the decor and really well equipped too.
Exploring the kitchen.
 
There was a cot and high chair provided, and although the cot did fold for storage it was a proper style cot (rather than a fabric travel cot). There was a TV in the main bedroom and well as in the living area and the kitchen was well equipped with cooker, utensils, crockery, cutlery, pots and pans and had a microwave and dishwasher too!
T was happy with the cot provided.
 
Extra little touches like a step stool by the sink, and coat hooks in the entrance lobby were a big help.
Coat hooks at full height and child height came in handy.
 
There are no laundry facilities at the Longleat Forest site but if like us you do end up desperate to get clothing washed (we had arrived straight from a few days in Cornwall so had a couple of bags of laundry upon arrival), there is the possibility of getting the laundry done via guest services who can enquire whether housekeeping have any additional capacity on that day. It was charged at £8.50 per carrier bag and is not available on Mondays or Fridays. For us it was money well spent because it proved to be a big help.
This chalk-board wall in our lodge proved popular.

The other point worth mentioning about the accommodation is that despite there being so many lodges and buildings on site, from inside the building you feel like you are in the forest without being surrounded by lots of other lodges. The lodges were positioned and designed cleverly to give a sense of solitude. We had a lovely view of a pond and had the ducks visit us each morning much to T's delight.
T tries to spot the ducks each morning.
 

Activities

We were very well looked after by Center Parcs who had arranged for us to choose a group activity. There is a huge range of activities on offer at Center Parcs from climbing to water sports, quad biking to Segways, paintballing to archery and lots lots more. Because of the varying range of ages of the children we wanted to pick something that everyone in our group could take part in so we chose bowling. 

It was a great ice breaker as before this weekend neither the children (nor the adults) had previously met. The kids found it exciting changing into their bowling shoes and although T was a little unsure at first, she did join in towards the end (with a little help from daddy).
Bowling shoes!
 
My children all adore swimming so they were REALLY looking forward to the subtropical swimming paradise...and they weren't disappointed. They loved the slides and the rapids and there were even some toddler areas and toddler slides so T didn't miss out on the fun.
 
They couldn't wait to go back again the next day! Access to the subtropical swimming paradise is included in the cost of Center Parcs breaks so there is no additional charge for this activity.

Aqua Sana spa and treatments

I was lucky enough to get to try out the luxurious and relaxing Aqua Sana spa. I was booked in for a 3 hour session and was initially sceptical. Could it really take three hours just to pop to a sauna and steam room? But oh how wrong I was! There is a whole plethora of different types of sauna, steam rooms, experience showers and other wonderful experiences. And yes, you can easily spend three hours in there! 

I went back later in the day for a Decléor Plump and Lift facial which was truly bliss!

T was booked into the Time Out club whilst I spent the morning at the Aqua Sana spa and despite not having been left with anyone much previously, the childcare staff were experienced and able to help her settle. Despite a few tears, she managed a full three hours there and came out having played musical instruments, done some painting and joined in with snack time.

The Aqua Sana spa was reasonably quiet in the morning and seemed to get busier as the day went on, so my top tip would be to book a morning slot.

Getting around

I wasn't really prepared for just how big the site is. There are pathways and boardwalks for walking and cycling around and there is a land train that runs regularly throughout the day. However, my top tip would be to make sure you plan your day and allow enough time to get to where you are going (yes I did come unstuck a couple of times by not allowing quite enough time). There is also very little mobile phone signal on site which is another good reason to plan ahead so you know where to meet up with family and friends.

A range of cycles are available to hire for all ages, including trailers and baby seats. Daddy and the kids had great fun on the bikes.
 

Overall

We were very impressed with Center Parcs overall. We could see just why so many of our friends and family were envious of us when they heard we were going there. It is one of those places that I think you would get even more out of on a second or subsequent visit once you have visited and know where everything is and how to get from A to B.

I would highly recommend the Aqua Sana spa! With J being home-schooled and T too young for pre-school, it is extremely rare for me to get any time totally childfree and to myself so it really was wonderful to get that precious time at Aqua Sana.

When we go on holiday, we are usually not too bothered about booking any additional activities - but thanks to Center Parcs we were really pleased to be able to do a group activity and having seen the wonderful range of activities on offer, we'd definitely book something again in future.

Having met up with another family on this break, we discovered that Center Parcs is a great place to visit with friends and family, and we really hope to visit again soon.
T enjoys her food at The Grand Café.

Disclosure: Center Parcs provided us with a weekend break free of charge as Center Parcs Family Bloggers, including some activities and cycle hire. We have not been paid to write this post and all opinions are our own.

Center Parcs are also opening their fifth village, Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire, in 2014. Tropical Cyclone, the new family water ride, is now open at Elveden Forest, and a man-made caving adventure is now available at Whinfell Forest. Perhaps some ideas for us to consider on our next visit! For more information, see www.centerparcs.co.uk

 

2 comments:

  1. It looks like you had an absolutely wonderful time :) We love Longleat and it is only 45 minutes from where we live now! Let us know next time you are there and we will come and say hi :) Congrats on winning the break :) xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks Victoria. Yes we will let you know - how fab would that be to meet up! xxx

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...