As children, we visited Centre Parcs regularly as a family and loved it. I had always said that when I had children, this would definitely be a place I would take them too. And so when the girls had just turned two, we booked our first family stay. However, when you’re going the Centre Parcs with toddlers, there is a lot more to think about, so much to pack and I hadn’t been for such a long time I felt I needed to do my research. I needed some tips and hints from others that had taken children and I am sure a lot of you have all thought the same.
For those of you who haven’t been to Centre Parcs with toddlers, it is a holiday village set in woodland. It caters for all members of the family with so many activities on offer. From swimming, toddler music groups and art groups to magic shows, soft plays, playgrounds, and bowling, just to list a few. There are far more activities for older children and too many to list here. No matter what time of year you go, you will always have a great time.
Where are the Center Parcs Resorts?
There are five Center Parcs locations across the UK – each one is unique in its own way. All of our villages offer the same wonderful features you’d expect of a Center Parcs break. Center Parcs for toddlers is great no matter which location you choose.
Center Parcs Longleat Forest
Situated in the Longleat Estate, Longleat Forest’s rolling hills and towering trees make for spectacular scenery. There are a wide range of activities, restaurants and accommodation in this expansive resort. They have some of the tallest Giant Redwood trees in Europe, babbling brooks. For older members of the family there are themed adventure golf and escape rooms. You can also chill out in the Hideaway at Aqua Sana.
Center Parcs Elveden Forest
Stunning forest surroundings and wildlife spotting make Elveden Forest ideal for those who love spending time in the great outdoors. Discover a forest filled with activities, restaurants and accommodation, all in the heart of rural Suffolk. You’ll get to see the tiny Muntjac deer, go cycling over flat terrain, there are watersports and for the more daring a fun zip line. You can even stay in a waterside lodge.
Center Parcs Woburn Forest
Just an hour from London in rural Bedfordshire, Woburn Forest is one of our newest Center Parcs villages. You’ll find a range of activities, restaurants and accommodation types within a compact 300-acre site that’s an ideal holiday for families with babies in the UK. Discover the Subtropical Swimming Paradise with the biggest selection of rides and slides or relax in the spa. There are hidden gems such as the ‘Hugging Tree’ and secret picnic areas and the whole area is a haven for wildlife such as Muntjac deer, hedgehogs and lizards.
Center Parcs Sherwood Forest
Deep in the Nottinghamshire forest once home to the legendary Robin Hood, Sherwood Forest is the original UK Center Parcs village and a traditional family favourite. There’s a range of activities, restaurants and accommodation nestled amongst the pines and oak trees.They have a refurbished Aqua Sana Forest Spa, including the UK’s first Treetop Sauna. You can try RacketBall, Creepy Crawlies and the Virtual Reality Experience.
Center Parcs Whinfell Forest
Discover beautiful landscapes at Whinfell Forest, a wildlife sanctuary nestled on the edge of the Lake District. There’s a range of activities, restaurants and traditional accommodation, all set around a beautiful lake. Look out for endangered red squirrels and the uncommon orchid. Try Go Karts and explore their largest Subtropical Swimming Paradise. You can stay in traditional, Scandinavian-style lodges, tucked away amongst the trees
Centre Parcs with Toddlers Day Pass
Center Parcs allows local family and friends to join you on your break – all you need to do is pre-book a Visitors Pass. This means friends could join in with adventures with you during the day. It would also allow you to enjoy an evening meal with family members who have booked a day pass to join you.
Center Parcs with a Toddler – Winter Wonderland
From November to early January you can step into Winter Wonderland at Center Parcs. Whether you’re planning a family festive weekend or a midweek break, there are plenty of seasonal activities going on to get you and your toddler in the Christmas spirit. They’ll be a magical Christmas playground covered with snow, twinkling lights and festive decorations. An Enchanted Light Trail, Santa’s Woodland Village where you can visit Santa in his Woodland Workshop. Just staying in your lodge would be an amazing experience in itself and magical for your children. The sis the perfect time to come to Center Parcs with toddlers.
Center Parcs with Toddlers – Swimming pool
All of the Center Parcs locations have a Subtropical Swimming Paradise. With a buggy park outside the facilities, generous family changing rooms, baby changing facilities and a special toddler swimming area (with a warm shallow area that is great for babies), it’s the perfect place for them to enjoy their first swim. Center Parcs also offers Water Babies swimming classes. Each lesson uses sing-song and activities to teach your little ones.
Center Parcs Bike Hire
If you are visiting Center Parcs with toddlers then you have to hire a bike. At Center Parcs you can explore the forest at your own pace. With so much wildlife around you cycling is a great way to explore the forest with your baby. You can pre-book a bicycle, complete with a toddler buggy trailer at the Cycle Centre (suitable for six months and older).
Center Parcs with Toddlers Tips
I have made a list of 34 tips to make your stay at Centre Parcs with toddlers a little easier.
- You can’t get in to your lodge until 3pm, but you can use the facilities on-site – Pack all your swimming stuff separately so that you can park up, load up your buggy with all your bits and spend the morning swimming.
- Don’t hurry off to bring your car up to your lodge at 3pm if you don’t have to. Let the rush die down a bit and then go, and you’ll beat the crowds and get a bit more time in the pool.
- Alternatively pay the extra for the early check in. They let you through to the lodges at 2pm and you can be off exploring by 3!
- Book the crèche early – they get busy. They also do evening babysitting so you can get out or go to an evening spa session (3 hours with dinner).
- Phone head of your stay if you have twins and require an extra cot and high chair. They are free for multiples.
- You can hire a bike and double trailer for twins or two small children, but all bikes have to be parked in the bike bays, you can’t take them right up to the pool area, restaurants etc, so at times it is easier to have a buggy.
- There is a Tesco just 5 minutes up the road from Elveden so arrange a click and collect order before you leave home. This will save space in the car and is much cheaper than the onsite supermarket. There is also a lovely little farm shop that you pass on the way into Elveden.
- Advance book crèche and a spa 2 hour package for that extra treat.
- Take your own plastic bowls and cups.
- Most of the restaurants have free soft play.
- Door stops are useful to stop little fingers getting trapped in the doors
- If eating in, take easy cooked food and snacks and plan your day.
- Take a black out blind if they like it dark to sleep!
- The supermarket is well stocked but expensive so take basics with you – toilet roll, kitchen roll, wipes, dishwasher tablets, drinks and food etc
- Take a Bike lock for the pushchair.
- Depending on the age of the child, take scuttle bugs or scooters then you don’t always need the pushchair.
- The pools do have swim vests (floating aids) available but they are often too big for small toddlers.
- Don’t forget towels for the pool and swimming nappies.
- A twin float is great for the swimming pool and lazy river.
- The mixed changing cubicles have a changing table so what we did was one baby strapped to the table while one of us held the other, meaning whoever was free could get changed, then we swapped.
- Use the human drying machine in the shower area when you come out of the pool it saves time drying them in the cubicle only £1 for a family.
- The cabanas in the swimming area is bit of an expense but it’s worthwhile to have a base, there is usually a small square cot in them too. I got myself and the twins dressed in the cabana before we left the pool so less of a mission getting 5 of us ready in the changing rooms. They have heated chairs and a TV.
- You can take a packed lunch to the pool, or buy food at the lagoon bar.
- Take your own inflatables if you have them. You can get them blown up at the kiosks in the pool area.
- Look out for the beach area in the warmer months and ensure you pack buckets and spades.
- You can take your own bikes rather than hire.
- Rucksacks are useful to carry all your stuff whilst leaving hands free to cycle / deal with toddlers / push the buggy etc.
- Toy Box Tots come highly recommended. You can hire toys from them for the week and it gets delivered to the Parc. No need to pack toys to take with you.
- Some of the restaurants do takeaways to save cooking (Pizza, Indian etc) and the supermarket sells those takeaway bags too.
- Write a simple itinerary before you go and pre-book, then you spend as little time as poss arranging things when you get there.
- Download the Centre Parcs app before you go, too. It’s really handy for finding out what’s on, pre-booking and paying for activities before you go, and remembering what’s on your itinerary once you’re there.
- Most of the restaurants have baby feeding areas – a microwave, bottle warmer and baby food pots. It’s free!
- You’ll find CBeebies on the TV, and there’s a DVD player in the lodges if you want to pack some kids’ DVDs. You probably won’t need them, but you never know.
- Take the Grandparents!!
35. Enjoy your stay, have fun and make memories!
If you have any more tips, please do comment and let us all know.
Yoto Story Player – The Best Travel Product on the Market!
Why not take a Yoto Story Player with you to Center Parcs – it is one of my girls favourite ever gifts and it brings some familiarity for home on ever holiday.
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