Recently my family of 5 and my buddy and HER family of 5 all went to Centre Parcs for a jolly week.
We had 6 kids with us, aged 2, 3, 5, 6, 6 and 8.
I’ve listed below some tips / points that may help you if you are considering a Centre Parcs trip and have never been – or just general tips for going with young kids.
- Take with you little bits and bobs from home for use in the lodge: dishwasher tabs, some washing up liquid, couple of bin liners, few toilet rolls, condiments, ANTIBACTERIAL HAND WASH, and any little bits and bobs you may need to be comfy whilst you are there.
- Take a few kids DVDs, as the basic lodges have a dvd player in the lounge. You can hire them there for £3.99 a night, but easier to take some yourself!
- TAKE TEA BAGS MAN. If tea is a necessity like it is for me! Oh and Sugar if you are that way inclined.
- If you have young kids like us, the Subtropical Swimming Paradise is MORE THAN ENOUGH entertainment for them. You can easily spend 3 hours in here without them getting bored. Don’t feel you have to book activities as well, these are quite pricey.
- You gotta go swimming in the evening at least once! We preferred evening swimming as it was less busy, the rapids in the dark are AMAZING and generally it was just a fab way to tire the kiddies out before bed time. There’s so much to do it’s not just a big pool, there is Adventure Cove which is a splash park with lots of tunnel slides and a little shallow area for babies and young toddlers. Also a lazy river, the main pool which has waves every half an hour, the ‘cave pool’ as we call it, which is like a big Jacuzzi and is shallow enough that my tall 2 year old could stand up comfortably in it. Oh and it’s WARM! There’s also the rapids (which are for older kids / kids who can swim and adults. SO MUCH FUN!) and the Tropical Cyclone – for older kids and adults. Along with lots of whirlpools, the outdoor pool and cold pool. It’s bloody pool-tastic.
- Take your own swimming towels, you can hire them there but at £2 a pop it saves money to just take your own.
- CP have life vests for kids which are free to borrow in the pool.
- Be prepared for squirrels, birds, ducks etc to come and say hello on your patio – the kids loved this! We also saw deer and what I believe to be a heron, but don’t quote me on that. Kids said it was a pelican 🙂
- We also had a spider the size of a small dog in the lodge. Be prepared for this as you are living in a forest, init. It is vital to take someone on holiday with you that isn’t scared of spiders.
- There are hairdryers in each room, and an iron and ironing board, so if you wish to pack by throwing your clothes into a bag, then you will be able to iron your stuff there! Win.
- There is a big chalkboard in the lodge which the kids will be delighted with and should keep them amused drawing for a bit.
- We did a food shop prior to going and took it with us – this saved lots of money as the supermarket on site is well stocked but quite expensive imo.
- We ate out at Hucks diner – it has been refurbished since we last visited in 2015 and I have to say we were really impressed. The play area was fab – a small baby area with soft padded ‘soft play’ toys. Then a larger area with a slide, lots of climbing nets and was suitable for I’d say age 3 and up. There is also a computer area with about 8 computers, with games on that kept the kids entertained after they’d eaten so we had a nice meal and the kids were happy. They do a children’s buffet for £8.25 with lots of kiddy type choices – hot dogs, nuggets, burgers, fruit/salad cups, chips, the usual! For an extra pound they get a drink and a dessert. It was clean, service was good and food was nice.
- Our kids did the indoor wall climbing activity which they loved – there are a variety of walls to climb and at the end they get to climb up these tall tubes. I believe the cost was £21 for an hour. But don’t quote me on that.
- We also did a boat ride – the kids loved this and the daddies took them out on the boats so me and my buddy sat and watched and had a full 30 mins of silence which was amaze balls.
- The kids disco is really good – starts at 7pm til 8.30pm and has the usual cheesy kids tunes, along with games etc. All our kids loved this – but as we were a fan of the late swim we only went once.
- We paid a little extra to stay in the MAPLE area of the site – the closest lodges to the centre. I’ve also stayed in the very outer areas before and would definitely again pay a little extra to be closer, it’s well worth it with small kids.
- Take scooters/bikes with you if you have space, you can hire bikes if you don’t have space though.
- They now use a wrist band method – upon check in all the adults in the party get a bright green electronic wrist band that opens your lodge door as well as the lockers in the swimming pool changing room, meaning you don’t need to worry about having a key for the lodge and change for the lockers.
- If you have a baby in a cot, Take all cot bedding as this isn’t supplied. (All other bedding and towels are supplied)
- There are plenty of free things to do if you’re on a budget. There are 3 good sized different play parks for kids of all ages. During the day (in the area where the evening disco is) there’s soft play stuff for under 5s. There’s plenty of woodland to explore. Also the little beach which the kids all enjoyed playing on. There’s football pool which our younger ones loved playing whilst the big ones did their climbing activity.
- For those with babies, everywhere is pram friendly or has a pram park nearby. We found CP to be very child friendly (and rightly so!) When we went with a newborn I used my stretchy wrap a lot to keep baby warm and mean I was hands free.
I hope this was somewhat helpful! It’s worth mentioning we paid for our trip and Centre Parcs haven’t paid me to write this (wish they had! Hahaha) but I just LOVE waking up in the forest every morning, I love having lack of phone signal, and I love the ease of chucking stuff in the car and driving the short distance to Elvedon. We will most definitely be going back again!
Do you love Centre Parcs? Leave any tips you have in the comments below! 🙂