I pre-booked plenty of activities for us to do beforehand which you are strongly encouraged to do. On the day of our arrival, the only booking I made was for dinner at the Lakeside Inn. After we unpacked, we had a good look about and a then a drink at the Village Centre. It wasn’t long before we had to make our dinner reservations. We enjoyed a carvery dinner and the girls exhausted themselves at the soft play area.
The next day we headed to the ‘subtropical swimming paradise’ which you don’t have to book or pay extra for. I absolutely loathe swimming pools when they are busy but this was so big and spread out that it didn’t seem too busy. It was also lovely and warm which is just made it so much more pleasant. We all had a great time in the pool and would have stayed longer but we had more activities booked so we had to go. Next time I will make sure we have more time to spend at the pool.
I booked the girls into a Chocolate Chef Academy at the Activity Den. It was an activity that suited both their ages (6 & 3) and did not require a parent or guardian to stay with them. Bonus! The activity lasted three hours which meant the adults could enjoy activities of our own (table tennis at the Sports Plaza). The Chocolate Chef Academy was quite expensive but it was worth it. It was three hours of childcare and I felt confident that my kids were being well looked after as it was extremely well organised. As well as all the chocolate treats they made to take away, they got a Chef’s hat and apron to keep. The staff found out it was my daughter’s birthday and gave her a card and balloon and sang happy birthday, she was as pleased as punch.
The girls did a similar activity on the Sunday, a Princess and Pirates Party in which they were able to dress up. Again, it was three hours of childcare so hubby and I headed to the tennis courts. We had a good laugh and the girls had a great time at the party. Win, win!
The final activity we booked was the mini tree trek. My eldest was perhaps on the old side for this activity but she is not the most confident child when it comes to heights so she really enjoyed that she could do this by herself and wasn’t scared. If your six year olds are confident and adventurous, then this might be too easy for them. My girls loved it and the staff member who assisted was great.
We were all sad to leave on the Monday but have since booked again for next September weekend.
Things I’ll do differently next year:
- Have dinner in the lodge. Meals out were pretty expensive. Restaurants were good but I’d rather eat out at lunchtime and relax in the lodge in the evening.
- Spend more time at the pool. By not making dinner reservations, we’ll probably take the opportunity to swim later in the afternoon/early evening.
- Reserve a lodge closer to the village centre. You have to pay extra for this but my mum struggled a bit with the walking so for us it will be worth it. If it were just me, I wouldn’t bother as I enjoyed the walk.
- Go to the spa. It looks amazing!
As a family, we headed to Center Parcs, Whinfell Forest for the long weekend at the end of September. My Mum and Dad also came along which was lovely for the girls. This was the first time any of us had been and we were all excited. I was put off Centre Parcs previously as it is pretty expensive as well as the fact that you to prebook everything including restaurants. I usually like to go with the flow and see how I feel at the time. How am I supposed to know what I want for dinner and at what time months before? However, I do see the benefits of planning a short break in order that you make the most of the weekend away. Center Parcs is a well oiled machine and works because everything is booked in advance.
We paid extra for the early check in at 2pm which I would do again. We arrived just after 2pm and it was a smooth process. We were able to go straight to our lodge and unload. After 3pm there was a big influx of cars and I was glad we were already settling into our lodge.
Ours was a three bedroom, executive lodge. I can’t complain about the accommodation at all. It was spacious, clean and modern. Perfect for the six of us. It had a physiotherm room which is kind of like a sauna. Hubby and I tried it on the Saturday evening but we were disappointed. It took a while to heat up and I barely broke into a sweat which I think is the point but it was just boring. I wouldn’t bother paying extra for a lodge just for this physiotherm room.
Our lodge was in ‘Meadow View’ which seemed to be the furtherest away you could possibly be. Not that it took that long to get to where the action was and I enjoyed the walk. You can pay extra to choose an address which I think lots of people must do to get the same area every year.
Center Parcs is, of course, known for being safe to cycle. We didn’t bring any bikes nor did we hire any. My Mum and Dad didn’t want to cycle (Mum has already broken her hip once, she does not need to do it again!) and our two aren’t that proficient on their bikes yet so we decided to leave them at home. I was worried we would be the only ones ‘walking’ but it wasn’t the case. Plenty of families cycling and plenty walking.
I’ll tell you more about what we got up to in Part 2.
So it’s the September weekend which means I’m off work until Tuesday. I can’t remember the last time I went away for this holiday so I’m really excited to be heading off tomorrow with my girls, hubby and Mum and Dad. One of my New Years resolutions every year is to spend more time with family and get out there and do things. I hate to just let weekends and holidays pass by without doing something. There have been times where I’ve spent holidays like this cleaning the house and catching up with work instead of doing the things I really want to. I’m beginning to realise more and more that, life is short and we should live in the present, not wait until tomorrow.
I’ve been a bit stressed at work this week as I’ve a presentation to do on my first day back next week as well as a few other bits and pieces. I knew that I would have to be prepared so that it wasn’t going to be hanging over my head all weekend and have lots of work to do on Monday evening when I get back. I’m glad to say I’ve pretty much done everything I have to do so I can truly relax and forget about work for a few days. Usually I end up doing work over the holiday weekend or leave it to the last minute and panic about it the day before. Going away has forced me to clear my desk and I’m so happy and relieved. Now I’ll need to begin planning for the October break.