Centre Parcs at Longleat
Family Holiday for 1 Week in July 2014
- Book your activities and restaurants early to avoid disappointment,
- The Longleat Centre Parcs is hilly but a train is provided,
- Lots of play parks,
- Always pack essentials as its a long way back to the accommodation,
- Pack for all weathers,
- Check the weather before booking outdoor activities.
I was very excited about taking the kids to Centre Parcs, Harry was only 6 months when we went the first time, but this time he had just turned 4 so I was hoping he would be able to enjoy a lot more. I made sure all children had a good selection of activities booked and managed to book Harry into Mini Crossbows, Toddler Roller Skating, Mini Climbing, Mini Ariel Trekking, and Mini Bowling. We had also booked Nutty Noah’s Magical Show, and a selection of restaurants.
Swimming – Location, Sub-Tropical Swimming Paradise
Harry has always struggled with swimming mainly because of his glue ear so it was a relief to find Centre Parcs had catered for all ages in the tropical swimming pool (lagoon). For babies they have a dedicated section with small pools and sensory waterfalls and for toddlers they have a mini tube slide (managed by a red / green light), mini normal slide which both fall into shallow water. There is also a small lagoon area to walk around. Harry loved this area and having his own slides to enjoy, it was safe and mums and dads can sit in the water and watch.
Harry also enjoyed the lazy river, which does move quite fast so you will need to stay with your child. There were two other blue slides which Harry could also use but he needed to sit on my lap.
In the outside area there is a deeper pool and rapids for older children, plus a jacuzzi.
What I found really useful was the restaurant based in the lagoon, you can sit in your swimming costumes and order food and drink so there is no need to get out and change in order to eat. They provide highchairs but its best to bring a selection of baby food.
We decided to hire a Cabana for the kids as a treat while swimming. These are luxury tropical huts around the swimming lagoon. You are provided with towels, drinks, a flat screen TV and a safe for your items. We booked ours for 4 hours. Although it was a nice treat we wouldn’t use them again as there are chairs dotted around the pools and plenty of space provided. Plus because we were out swimming all the time we didn’t use it a lot.
We found the changing rooms, lockers and family facilities really good, especially the heated dryer. We are a family of 5 so having plenty of space and access to lockers is important. Toilets are in the changing areas and easy to use, plus baby changing facilities are in much larger rooms.
Mini Crossbows – Location, Jardin Des Sports
Harry is at that age where ‘goodies and baddies’ are very much his style of role play. I booked the Mini Cross bows which was held at the Jardin Des Sports area. There were about 10 boys in the class and an instructor; parents could join in to help their children out. Harry was given a cross bow and small sucker darts. In the centre of the room was a large target sheet which centred around a castle. The children were given lots of small challenging games which Harry loved. It was a positive experience and I even brought one of the cross bows for Harry for Christmas.
Mini Ariel Trekking – Location, Action Challenge Area which is outdoors around the lake by Jardin Des Sports
This was Harry’s first try at wearing a harness and getting use to the straps when doing a climbing activities. The facilities were fantastic and very new. The staff were lovely and also very kind and supportive towards Harry. Luckily Harry had no fear but we found the obstacle course quite restrictive. Please be warned, as the parent you will spent a lot of time ducking under the bars to help guide your child around as they will get stuck. The loops are restrictive at the directional changing point, plus the time it takes for them to get from one end of the beam to the other is very short.
They played a game at the end where the children had to find a helmet; this was fun and gave the kids something to focus on. Harry in particular gets bored very quickly so the game gave him a opportunity to keep busy. The course is a good way for small children to learn about safety, harnesses and coordination.
Mini Roller Skating – Location, Jardin des Sports
I thought this would be a brilliant idea, Harry had never roller skated before and this seemed a great opportunity to give it a go. The facilities were great, the skates were fantastic and all new, and padding was provided and again all new. Harry was so excited, and in particular, excited about the knee and elbow pads. The instructor was also very kind and made a big effort with the kids.
Again, as the parent you’ll need to be fully prepared to hold on to your wibbly wobbly little one. Harry found the whole ‘trying to get your balance’ extremely frustrating, it would’ve helped if they had had little walkers or a roller animal to help, similar to the seal when you take them ice skating. We didn’t last long in the class as Harry got upset and wanted to leave.
Mini Bowling, Location – Jardin des Sport
Harry really really loved Mini Bowling, it was perfect for little ones as everything is small and easy to use. You can book mini bowling at the reception desk when you first walk into Jardin des Sport, it is expensive but a good treat for little ones. Harry did mini bowling 3 times in the end. You get a good allocation of time for each game which is fantastic.
Nutty Noah’s Magical Show – location, Pancake House
I booked the magic show only really knowing it was a magic show at the pancake house. I booked late and had to phone them up to ask to squeeze us all in, but they did and I am so pleased we managed to get in. The magician was Nutty Noah, who did a brilliant and funny show for the children (and adults). He was fantastically entertaining and everyone was totally absorbed in his show. I cannot advise you more to book this show if you do visit centre parcs as not only will the kids be entertained but you will enjoy it too.
Buffett Food and Pancakes
Due to the large number of people at the show, the Pancake House provide a buffet and pancakes for afterwards during this event. Toilets and baby changing is available
Treasure Trail – Location, Jardin des Sport, and Cycling….everywhere
One day during our holiday we decided to do the treasure trail which is set up around Centre Parcs. The idea is brilliant as you can set off as a family at your own leisure enjoying a bike ride while challenging the kids. There are set clues located around the park with riddles and maps, the kids loved this but it can take up to 3 hours. At the end all our children got a prize and were really happy.
There are lots of cycle routes around Centre Parcs and the best way to get around is cycling. Harry used the Trail Gator which was attached to a main adult bike making it easier for him to get around.
On the Wates – Katakanu Hire – Location, The Lake
One morning we booked a Katakanu, a 6 seater canoe on the lake. It was a different activity to do and gave us an opportunity to do something together as a family. The lake is a good size and we booked a 30 minute slot. It probably takes about 10 minutes to get around the lake but you are able to watch people come down the zip wire, watch other water activities and see the ducks close up. We wished we had remembered some bread so it might be worth taking some so you can feed the ducks.
Indoor Climbing – Location, Jardin des Sports
We booked indoor climbing for all our 3 children, Harry really enjoyed the challenge but needed help and support trying to climb the smaller walls. The climbing walls are interactive with lights and sounds, and in the middle there are climbing poles which get higher and higher (more for older children). Again the staff were really friendly and supportive.
Eating, Accommodation and Train Service
Centre Parcs at Longleat have a good selection of restaurants to visit. We were lucky to eat out at several places including;
- Pancake House – Brilliant and fun for everyone, good facilities but quite hilly to get to,
- Sports Cafe – can get busy with long queues, very large but good selection of food,
- Rajinda Pradesh (curry) – Not so relaxing for children, food was ok but very expensive,
- Bella Italia – really easy going and it has a small soft play, visited several times
Our holiday at Centre Parcs at Longleat was a challenge as it flooded badly when we were there, plus we had a hen party and another large party either side of our accommodation. We were moved to a new location but this was flooded. After compensation and being moved for the third time we finally could relax. All the accommodation we stayed in was good, our last home was the Exclusives lodges with games room. These were lovely and very kid friendly.
A train services goes around the park so its worth checking on the times and stops should you wish to use it.
Play Parks – Locations, Jardin des Sport, The Lake and Pancake House
During our stay we found 3 excellent play parks, the largest was based on 3 tiers by the Jardin des Sports, the kids loved all the slides and climbing sections, it was a fabulous layout with lots to do. A woodland play park is also next to the Pancake House, it is built through the trees and has a small mine and zip wire. Harry really loved this one the most. The other sandy play park is opposite the lake.
Prices are suited to your holiday budget and parking is situated at the entrance. On the day of your arrival be aware that the parking queue and checking in is quite a wait so arrive in plenty of time if you can.
For link to Centre Parcs at Longleat please click here
For Map to Centre Parcs at Longleat please click here