September saw Zack’s first holiday 🙂
We wanted to go away for a week and do something special, but didn’t want to take a baby abroad. So we went to Center Parcs 🙂
We’ve previously been to the sites in Woburn and Longleat, so we were quite familiar with what to expect. A comfortable lodge with it’s own fireplace, big comfy beds (that we all slept very well in), and bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms… which isn’t standard but we opted for it.
We went with family members so the cost was really spread around, making it a great getaway that didn’t break the bank. As the lodge was self-catering, it also meant we didn’t spend a fortune on the restaurants, but rather enjoyed a few of them while cooking several meals in our lodge to enjoy as a family. It also allowed for several nights playing cards and board games together.
The peace and quiet of Center Parcs is one of it’s most attractive qualities. I’m not sure how peaceful it is for families during summer holidays, but we specifically went in September to avoid that peak season. Given how awful prices are during school holidays, we need to enjoy off-peak holidays while Zack is still young enough! I’m happy to report that it was not crowded at all and the atmosphere was quite relaxed.
There were a plethora of activities for us to enjoy, and as we had separate lodge keys we were free to split up and do the things we wanted to during the day… archery, treetop climbing, a professional baby shoot, a spa trip, a painting class and so on. Everyone was able to do their own thing 🙂
During one of the painting classes, Elle and I managed the surprisingly cumbersome tasks of putting Zack’s handprint onto a plate.
The activity we enjoyed the most, however, was the Aqua Sana spa. One of the benefits of going on holiday with family is that you have instant babysitters at home with you, leaving you free to go off and some alone time as a couple. We had a three-hour slot at the spa, so were able to take our time enjoying the heated pool, sauna, relaxation lounges and multiple steam rooms.
The three hours honestly flew by, but we emerged from the spa into a peaceful forest feeling calm and restored. Afterwards, we also continued the date night at Bella Italia while our parents looked after Zack back at the lodge. I’d initially wanted to try an interesting looking Indian restaurant, but I didn’t anticipate tables being booked up until 9.30pm. In hindsight, this was the most rookie mistake I could have made.
Always book in advance, Fed! (>_<)
Anyway, we settled for Bella Italia which was still quite nice.
An unexpected surprise is finding a Starbucks on-site that was calm and peaceful. If you live in a city like London, those aren’t words you’d normally associate with Starbucks. They are always noisy and crowded. But this one was such a joy to visit that we ended up there several times… even just to meet up with everyone or to feed Zack while we were out and about.
He also had his first Babycino there! Or rather… Baby Foam, as Costa Coffee seems to have copyrighted the name Babycino. Because “how dare babies drink steamed frothy milk for free?”
The foam around Zack’s mouth always makes me giggle! 😀
The sub-tropical swimming paradise was also terrific fun, consisting of indoor swimming pools and water slides. Like the rest of Center Parcs, this was designed with children in mind too so there were a couple of pools specifically suited to little ones. I rather enjoyed the larger water slides as they really knock you about!
Overall, we had a lovely week away. Spending time as a family is always so rewarding and I highly recommend Center Parcs in the off-peak season… particularly if you’re visiting as a family or even a group of friends.
Thanks for reading, folks!