Suzanne Baum explains why she and her family are addicted to Center Parcs!
Aside from bribing them with money, there is almost nothing my two teenage boys would do to agree to getting up at the crack of dawn during their school holidays. So to see them up and dressed on the first day of half term by 8am is a complete rarity. And that is why I love Center Parcs so much-there is such an element of excitement attached to it that all of us were eager to get there as soon as possible.
For anyone new to Center Parcs, it is certainly not a camping holiday and a long way off from being an “upmarket Butlins.” In fact, the accommodation is so smart and comfortable that our lodge proved a sanctuary away from home. Not only did it have every appliance possible, the beds are so comfortable we all slept like logs.
Having visited the other Center Parc sites (there is five in total), Woburn is our favourite being just a 40-minute drive from our North London home. It is small though so does not give as much space to cycle around as the other villages do, but that suited us fine. Having opened in 2014, it remains spotlessly clean and the trees have grown so much since our last visit that it feels even more forest-like than before.
Checking into Center Parcs and collecting our bikes proved a very easy process and in no time at all my three boys were off exploring the village. For my 15 and 16-year old kids, a day spent playing and watching sport, swimming and bowling is a dream come true-and with the option to cycle without me breathing down their necks an added bonus. As for my seven-year old, he couldn’t get enough of the water slides that are housed inside the £28million Subtropical Swimming Paradise!
The one thing that always attracts us back to Center Parcs is that there really is something for everyone. As my husband and I enjoyed a doubles game of badminton with our eldest boys, our youngest was enjoying his wall climbing lesson next to us. And the group family activities are amazing- it is rare (with the difference in age of our kids) that we do a team sport together and much fun was had in our game of laser combat that has a brilliant set up in the middle of the forest.
What is also no doubt an appealing factor for families with young kids is that many of the restaurants have a soft play area in them. This proved hugely popular with our youngest when we dined at Strada, which enabled us to have a leisurely meal knowing he was fully entertained.
On the subject of food, the on-site supermarket is a novelty in itself for little ones who get their own mini trolley to wheel around. For once supermarket shopping with kids in tow is an enjoyable trip!
In fact, there’s very little I can fault about Center Parcs apart from the fact the kids had such a good time they are nagging to go back and its price; a four-night stay during half term can prove quite expensive. For me though good quality time spent together with the family is utterly priceless…..
Does your family have a favourite holiday? Let us know in the comments!