The first thing anyone says to you when you say you’re going to Center Parcs is “Ohhhh you have to pay for everything though” – now, I don’t know if I’m just not doing holidays correctly but I’m yet to go on a trip where everything I’d ever want to do is included in the price of my accommodation?
To be fair to Center Parcs our villa was no more expensive than the average hotel and it came with free Wifi, ensuites in all three rooms, a generous living room and all the mod cons in the kitchen.
The impressive swimming paradise, which included two baby pools, five slides, a wave pool, an indoor jacuzzi and outdoor hot pool and an outdoor rapids was free. We did quite a bit of walking round the lake and the woods and that was free too. As we were there over bonfire night we even got a free fireworks display!
The things we paid for – mini golf, a tennis court, baby crèche and baby swimming lessons – hardly broke the bank and were all great.
And the whole place is all so well kept! It doesn’t feel scummy and dated at all (with the exception of the sports bar which had the feeling of a motorway service station where fat families convened to stare mindlessly at televised footie/cricket/rugby/whatever while stuffing themselves with chips and burgers and ignoring their squalling brats wreaking havoc with the ketchup bottles)
We went with two other families with babies the same age as Thea and it was delightful.
The girls were still a bit small to really enjoy the swimming pool but it was great for us. We got the babies dressed and took them up to the cafe in the Tropical Paradise for a feed then took it in turns to look after the trio while the rest went and “played” in the rapids and on the slides. It was hilarious!
Our girls also got to see their very first snow. Saturday morning started out raining and horrible but soon turned to sleet, then to snow as we started our trek to the main complex. By the time we arrived the snow had settled and blanketed Center Parcs in a thick coating of lovely fluffy white snow.
When we emerged from the swimming three hours later it was all gone and the sunshine was lovely and bright again!
We dropped our girls off at the crèche in the afternoon. Our very first time leaving them! Eeeek! The ladies in the crèche were lovely and let us feed them in the room to get them comfortable before we went off.
It was a little bit scary but I felt like it was a bit like ripping a plaster off. It’s good for us to be able to leave them. We went and played mini golf literally nextdoor to the crèche and had a coffee before it was time to go get them. We each got a little report card to say what they’d enjoyed playing with and how quickly they settled. They had all been completely unphased by it and were all soundly asleep for their 4pm naps when we came to collect them. Brilliant!
I am all up for making Center Parcs a yearly event. It is amazing for kids and therefore a great way for parents to have a bit of a break too.