Some friends who go there annually invited us along to Center Parcs, somewhere I’d seen on telly but totally dismissed thinking it was like Butlins.
It turns out it is nothing like a bad 60’s holiday camp and it’s an amazing place to take a baby and a toddler, even in the depths of winter.
We stayed mid-week and in February, with another couple with their toddler in a 3 bed chalet at the Suffolk resort. It wasn’t huge, so I’m glad we had an extra bedroom to spread out. Weasel was only 4 months old, and still in the travel basket thankfully. I’m pretty sure we couldn’t have fit a full travel cot in our room.
The microwave and dishwasher made life with a toddler so much easier. What exactly did people do before their invention?!
The swimming pools were pure amazeballs. We got a swim ring (purchased there for reasonable price) and spent most of the time going round the lazy river. There’s a wicked toddler pool area that sadly Weasel was too young to get much out of, but our friend’s little one had tons of fun in.
You can do ceramic painting with a 4 month old – really! We managed it. Yes, Weasel ate the end of the paintbrush, so kind of painted more like an exploited elephant in a developing country than a proper person. But what the hell, it got us some coasters for the grandparents and I think she enjoyed it. Inability to yet sit in highchair of course means she had to sit in my lap, and i did get some weird looks.
It’s cheap! We did everything; spa (husbands babysat), zip-lining, cross bows, aqua aerobics, badminton, etc and still paid under £250 each family in total.
Starbucks. I love Starbucks. I know it’s wrong. I know they kill local coffee shops. But I do love my tall skinny ice vanilla lattes and a babyccino. I know it’s controversial, but if some of the local places could do consistent coffee and baby changing rooms as standard I would frequent them. Anyhoo, there’s a Starbucks with free wifi so I can get my fix and Weasel can have her frothy fun.
Not quite so good points:
The ‘lodge’ (ie prefab chalet) had been recently kitted out in very trendy style. Sadly I think they wacked paneling and rugs over the top of the old stuff. Every morning it smelt musty and antihistamines were required for my sensitive husband.
The heat goes off at night, you wake up freezing. Thankfully I have lived in England long enough to know to bring a small fan heater with a thermostat with me.
Abandoned travel cot on cold floor in favour of most of my friggin bed-
Obviously the outdoor stuff is more limited in the winter, but that’s why it’s so cheap. I cannot wait to go again now that Weasel is older to be able to exploit all the facilities.