There are activities for all ages, from toddlers, through to older kids and adults. We recently stayed at Center Parcs Longleat Forest with our three children – two boys aged 13 and 11 and our 9 year old daughter.
Here’s what we did at Center Parcs:
Aerial Adventure – walking along ropes and wobbly wooden bridges between trees very high off the ground is not for me, but all three of my kids did this, and loved every second of it. They’re so high up, it took my breath away just looking at them, but they weren’t scared! The adventure ends with a spectacular zip wire across the width of the lake. At £28 per person (child or adult), it’s expensive, but it’s an experience the kids won’t forget in t a hurry!
Soccer tournament – this is my husband’s 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. There’s no reason why women and teenage girls shouldn’t play, but it’s usually men. The soccer tournament costs £8.50 per person for about an hour and a half. Other football activities are available for all ages.
Ten pin bowling – big kids always love bowling, don’t they? 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.
Hire a tennis court – my kids have never played tennis before, apart from occasionally whacking a ball round the garden, but this was a good opportunity to try. Courts are available to hire for most sports. A tennis court costs only £11.25 for an hour, giving the whole family time for a good knock-about. We also hired rackets and you have to buy the balls at 75p each (obviously you could save money by bringing your own).
Guest passes – grandparents, aunties and uncles or friends want to visit for the day? No problem! 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 can arrive from 10am and can stay until midnight.
Aqua jetting – this is an underwater activity for adults and kids over 8. A hand-held submersible craft helps you to swim underwater, so you can duck, dive and weave like a fish. My husband and kids loved this, although the craft was pretty heavy for my 9 year old daughter. This is an early morning activity, as it has to take place before the pool opens at 10am, so my teenage son decided not to take part! I’m sure a lot of other teenagers might struggle to get out of bed on time. It costs £13.50 per person and you can pay extra to have an underwater photo taken, although we decided against this and opted for my own photography ‘skills’! I was pleased they let spectators in with cameras, as it was lovely to watch.
Swimming – the best activity of all is included in the price! Swimming at the Subtropical Swimming Paradise is really what Center Parcs is all about. So make sure you don’t over-schedule your other activities and leave yourself plenty of time for the pool. The indoor and outdoor pools are heated to 29C, with the outdoor pool feeling lovely and warm even in winter. They are the best place to relax and enjoy yourself, whether you want to swim, sit by the pool and chat/ read/ sleep or go on the slides. For us, and most teens and tweens, the best part is the Wild Water Rapids – a crazy series of currents and slides in the outdoor pool that we never tire of.
Running and walking – Center Parcs is a great place to walk, run and enjoy the fresh air, the lack of traffic, the scenery and wildlife. It’s worth taking some time to walk and make the most of the surroundings.
Cycling – 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, like we did.
We stayed at Center Parcs Longleat Forest, although very similar activities are available at the other four Center Parcs locations around England.
Find out more about a holiday at Center Parcs at http://www.centerparcs.co.uk