Before the kids came along to say the idea of a week at Center Parcs was not high on the holiday wish list would be an understatement. Good friends with young children would go on about how good it was but I simply refused to believe them. “You’ve changed” would be my response!
And then our world changed.
We had three girls in the space of 13 months and we had to dramatically redefine our definition of the word “holiday”. Out went the words “relax, book, romantic and rest” and in came the words “travel cot, stair gate, baby pool and buggy park”.
After looking at all sort of options the inevitable happened and we found ourselves looking at the Center Parcs website. Just to have a look of course! Like most newbies our first reaction was “**** its expensive in school holidays!!”. But as our three were nowhere near school age we were able to take full advantage of the midweek deals on offer. We even found the larger accommodation was cheaper than the smaller chalets as there was more of those left!
With enough luggage, travel cots, prams, nappies and wet wipes for a round the world cruise we set off for Nottingham. We look back now with a few years experience under our belts and it is funny but back then like most new parents we really had no idea! I mean how can you go on holiday without the “jumperoo”.
But that’s the point of Center Parcs. If you are going to venture out on your fist sole trip without family or friends there probably is nowhere better than Centre Parcs. Our three-bed chalet had recently been refurbished and was perfect for us. Extra travel cots and high chairs were provided and the kitchen was stocked with plastic plates and cups. And of course the necessity for any new parent… Wi-Fi! All footpaths are pram/buggy friendly and there is even a buggy park!
There are loads of activities for the kids, even for ours who were one and 6 months (x2) old at the time (play areas, painting sessions, soft play areas) and as everyone is there with kids no tutting in cafes and restaurants when crashing about and making lots of noise!
However as our three were very young there were no requests to do all the expensive activites and we had no time to go out and eat every night (although we did take advantage of the take aways) . The add on’s can get very expensive over a week when you look at the prices. Although we did manage a couple of activities…
The pool though is free (or at least included in the price) which is where we spent at least half a day every day. Getting a 1yr old and twin babies changed in a cubical the size of your average broom cupboard is let me tell you, intense! Especially when leaving!! If you were driving past on the motorway a few miles away that week you may have heard us!
But it is worth it. The pool area is huge and there are baby pools and even a couple of small slides for them. There were playpens available poolside but you had to be quick to get the few that there were. We managed somehow and at times it was even….fun! Our eldest was brave enough to go on a couple of the bigger slides and the wave machine was a firm favorite.
Have we been back. Absolutely. We have now been to the Penrith park twice, and stayed in the 4 bedroom chalets with the in-laws. The visit to Penrith in December was good fun with fire work displays and Santa but, now the girls are nearly 4 and nearly 3 (x2) we need the credit card far more!
This is a guest post by Mr Mini Travellers
Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!
Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.