My tips and tricks for Center Parcs!
Considering the fact I’m currently in my swimming cossie at the Subtropical Swimming Paradise at Center Parcs I figured it was only fair I did a blog post on my tricks and tips for a break away to Center Parcs. By no means am I an expert but with us coming here 5 times in the past 18 months I’ve come to learn what’s good and what’s not around here! So here goes....
-Take your own food!
We have found by doing a super luxury food shop the day before we come to Center Parcs we not only save tonnes of money but also make our lives so much easier. The food here can be pretty pricey and quite often nothing to rave about! So we decided that by doing a big food shop with all those bits you walk past in the supermarket every week and think no I can’t justify spending that on some food or nope we definitely don’t need that this week we’d make our stay so much more enjoyable. Not only from a money prospective but an energy one too! After a day of park trips and swimming after swimming we have found Evie has been exhausted and by half 5/6 could think of nothing worse than venturing out for a sit down meal! Don’t get me wrong we still visit the sweetie shop and grab those few bits you just always forget (like gravy for a Sunday roast or ketchup for pizza!) from the little on site shop but bringing a good solid food shop with you is definitely the way forward!
-Find the freebies!
If like us you don’t want spend a small fortune on activity after activity to fill the days, mainly due to the fact my 4 year old terror would most likely decide 30 seconds into it that she hated it and no longer wanted to take part then look for the cheap or free activities. Scattered all over the parks are outdoor parks and indoor soft play areas. There’s volleyball and pool tables indoor for the grown ups and even a badminton court for 45 minutes isn’t that expensive! We also took uno cards, monopoly and a jigsaws. The accommodation is made to be social and there’s usually a big table you can all sit round and play games together!
-Visit the Pancake House
As outrageously priced as the food may be the Pancake House is so so so worth it. We make it our mission to get there every time we go, it’s perfect for having as either as early afternoon tea break or for brunch in the morning before swimming. The pancakes and omelettes are to die for there and worth every single penny. It can get busy though and on some sites you can’t pre-book the tables like you can at others so definitely try time it right!
When you book to reserve a table or activities you need to pay a £5 deposit per person. Take it from me it’s easier to pay this separately as either individuals on separate cards or per family. If not it’ll come to paying the bill and the maths is brain boggling!
-Go as a big group
Don’t get me wrong when me, Joe and Eves have been as a trio it’s been amazing but going as a big group as friends or even better with family definitely makes the trip a different experience. Grandparents love coming along and there are such a big help when it comes to getting out of the door or getting ready for swimming, it’s a fab place to spend some good quality family time and really is made to accommodate bigger groups. If you don’t all fancy staying in the same house then I’d definitely advise staying in a few smaller houses so you can go home at the end of a busy day with tired kiddos knowing when they throw that paddy that’s brewing all day it’s in your own space not everybody else’s!
-Just be you
Center Parcs is definitely not one of those you need to look your best all day everyday! I rarely wear make up at all from the minute I arrive to when we leave! I tend to spend our time there in my gym gear or loungewear sets! There’s nothing worse than trying to get jeans back on after you’ve been swimming, I bloody hate it! People don’t seem to be there to judge, everybody is just there to chill out, have a good time and enjoy themselves. Mums are just mums, trying to make sure their kiddos have the best time possible and not once when I’ve been here in my cossie with my mum tum, bingo wings and love handles have I feel judged or conscience.
-Bring a rucksack and water bottles
These are two of the most used items you’ll take, trust me! Rucksacks or the reusable bag for life’s(you know the ones I mean, the 34p ones from Aldi!) are fab for all your swimming bits and picnics. Water bottles are definitely a money saver, drinks are crazy expensive and so so needed when you are swimming because of the heat in there! Also if you find yourself out and about walking, there isn’t going to be a co-op around the next corner so it’s a good idea to have a drink handy somewhere.
If you have any hints or tips for a trip here please let me know as we are booking to go again soon!