In my previous post on Center Parcs, I said that it takes us an hour and 20 minutes to get to Center Parcs. This is, in my view, a very good time to get to a holiday destination. What I omitted to mention was that the journey involved driving through Bath – a city 10 miles from the motorway and with ridiculously heavy traffic. So it took us an hour and 40 on this occasion. Still blimmin’ quick for going on holiday.
When you arrive you drive up to the ‘arrivals lodge’ and are handed your keys and stuff. Then you have to find a parking space in the large and very busy car park. At this point, do you know what Center Parcs needs? A toilet. Either by the arrivals lodge or in the car park. For us, the journey to Center Parcs isn’t long enough to warrant a toilet stop, but it’s long enough that you really need to go when you arrive. But there’s the getting the keys thing, the finding a parking space, the lifting the bikes off the roof rack and then a walk to the nearest toilet. My daughter was so desperate she was almost in tears. I could see she was in pain. We got inside the packed Plaza and joined the long queue for the three cubicles in the ladies.
Throughout Center Parcs we noticed little improvements and updates in the 18 months since we last visited -to the shops and restaurants and, yes, toilets.
First things first, we headed for the swimming pool. The changing area can be a bit of a nightmare, with people trailing around dripping wet desperately searching for a changing cubicle while others (us) swelter in their coats, also desperate for a cubicle. And then we stumbled across something which had never been on our radar before – the ladies’ changing area. There are no cubicles, but it is spacious and not busy. Changing cubicles have their benefits in that mummy and daddy can change together with the kids, but the ladies’ changing area is the way forward. My daughter and I used it for the rest of the holiday – and my husband and sons used the men’s.
At the swimming pool we did all the fun stuff – the rapids, the slides, the wave machine. I didn’t see my husband and sons for ages because they were repeatedly going on the rapids (MY absolute favourite thing – kind of like a log flume without the log) while my daughter just wanted to swim underwater in the shallow end.
And then I did something I’ve never done. It’s really no big deal. Hardly worth mentioning really. Regular readers will know I’m risk averse. I’m scared of a lot of perfectly normal things (DOING things – I have no issue with spiders and creepy crawlies). There’s a couple of slides there that are very steep and very fast. I’d always considered them too scary. But, whatever it was that was holding me back, lifted and I went on the slides and loved them. I have no idea what my issue was.
I think this was the only time we’d been to Center Parcs without my mum and dad since our very first holiday. So we stayed in a three bedroom villa rather than a four bedroom. It was actually next door to the one we stayed in last year. Inside it was identical, just slightly smaller. The boy’s room, ‘Grandma’s room’ and ‘Mummy and Daddy’s room’ were all instantly recognisable. Illogically, my daughter adopted Grandma’s room for herself. It has an ensuite shower room. She doesn’t shower. Our room had a bath in the ensuite. We don’t bath.
Center Parcs has its own little supermarket (Parc Market) which has most things you would be likely to need on holiday, including gluten free and dairy free stuff. It’s a bit expensive and I have a particular issue with the fruit and veg – over-packaged (goes right against my green principles), over-priced and over-ripe.
In the past, we’ve always been to Center Parcs in spring. I’m a big fan of autumn colours (isn’t everyone?), but somehow I wasn’t expecting them. When I think of Center Parcs, I think of very tall, dark green evergreen trees. There are a lot of those, but there are also lots of deciduous trees, with yellow, red and brown leaves. The colours were stunning and the leaves were falling like snow. It was quite magical. There were also lovely autumn sights like mizzle-covered cobwebs in the bushes. The weather doesn’t make any difference to your enjoyment of Center Parcs and I would definitely return in autumn.
This is an unsponsored post. I have paid for all of my holidays to Center Parcs out of my own pocket and expect to do so many more times in the future.