There really is a lot to do at Center Parcs. Whether you’re sporty, into nature, want to be adventurous or you enjoy crafting, there will be something for you. Pretty much anything at all you’d like to do will be available at Center Parcs.
With occupancy at Center Parcs Longleat Forest, where we stayed, at 95-98% all year round (no doubt it’s similar at the other Center Parcs around the country), it’s worth planning ahead and booking your activities before your holiday to avoid them all getting booked up. Remember that if you’re going in the school holidays, the activities for older kids will be more popular, but if you’re going in term-time it’s likely to be the toddler and pre-school activities that get booked up.
Don’t forget too that Center Parcs is supposed to be a relaxing holiday. It’s not actually necessary to book too many activities, especially as they are quite expensive. Take a moment to consider what you’re doing at what time and on what days – if you book something for 11 and something for 3 at the Jardin Des Sports, that doesn’t give you enough time to go swimming in between as they are in different venues.
Here’s what we did at Center Parcs Longleat Forest:
Walking along ropes and wobbly wooden bridges between trees very high off the ground? What’s not to love? All three of my kids did this, and they loved it so much that I dedicated a whole post to it. At £28 per person (child or adult), it’s a lot of money, but, if you can afford it, it’s an experience the kids won’t forget in a hurry!
Hire a tennis court
My kids have never played tennis before, apart from occasionally knocking a ball round the garden, but my husband thought it would be good for them to try. Courts are available to hire for most sports. We booked the tennis court for an hour for only £11.25, giving the whole family time for a good knock-about. On top of this, we hired rackets and you have to buy the balls at 75p each (obviously you could save money by bringing your own rackets and balls).
Grandparents, aunties and uncles or friends want to visit for the day? They can! Guest passes are £30 per person per day and entitle the guest to do everything you’re doing on holiday, including swimming or even doing booked activities. Guests shouldn’t arrive before 10am, but can stay right until midnight if they want to. If they’re not on holiday with us, Grandma and Grandpa always like to visit!
My younger two kids and husband had a go at aqua jetting – holding a small submersible craft under water, which allows them to swim almost without swimming, so they can twist and turn on the water or under it! The crafts moved pretty slowly and I wondered if they’d be disappointed, but they really enjoyed it. It was lovely and relaxing to watch too! You can pay a bit extra to have an underwater photo taken, but they let spectators in with cameras, which I was really pleased about. Aqua jetting costs £13.50 per person.
This is my husband’s absolute favourite activity – a football tournament for adults and over 16s. If you don’t have friends, sons or brothers to play with, you just make up a team with the other players on the day. It doesn’t have to be men and teenage boys, it could be women and girls, although in all the years we’ve been going to Center Parcs, I think we’ve only seen two women taking part. Football is played on the tennis courts and the soccer tournament costs £8.50 for about an hour and a half (other football activities are also available for all ages).
Ten pin bowling
There’s a small bowling alley in the Plaza next to the swimming pool. You pay by time rather than for a game – it’s £28 for 45 minutes (which was just enough time for five of us to play a game) or £33 for an hour.
Kind of indoor crazy golf without the crazy! This putting course is a relaxing way to unwind at the end of the day. We went in the evening, which meant we had the course to ourselves and could spend as long there as we liked, so we did two rounds! It costs £12.50 for a group of four for about half an hour (or longer if you decide to stay on!).
The best activity of all is included in the price! Swimming at the Subtropical Swimming Paradise is really what Center Parcs is all about. The heated indoor and outdoor pools are the best place to relax and enjoy yourself, whether you want to swim, sit by the pool and chat/ read/ sleep or whether you want to go on the slides. For us, the best part is the Wild Water Rapids – a crazy series of currents and slides in the outdoor pool that we never tire of. The kids and I went on this approximately 10 times every day we were at Center Parcs!
Running and walking
More free activities! Center Parcs is a great place to walk and run and enjoy the fresh air, the lack of traffic, the scenery and wildlife. It’s really worth building some time into your day to walk and enjoy the surroundings.
Cycling is both the main way to get around and an enjoyable, relaxing activity in itself. Bikes are available to hire on site or bring your own!
That’s just a snapshot of everything there is to do at Center Parcs, based on our experiences, but there is so much more to do.
This is not a sponsored or review post. We paid for our holiday to Center Parcs and will no doubt pay to go again many times in the future!