If you are like Cora then the idea of Holidaying in England isn’t a holiday. But not every holiday has to be abroad, sunshine or meaning you need a plane to get there. As a child, we used to go camping in the Yorkshire Dales a lot and we had some of the best holidays right here in the UK. More and more of us are wanting to experience more of what our home country has to offer and are spending our weekends away. My last weekend was no different and I was spending the weekend with friends at Center Parcs Longleat.
What Is Center Parcs?
Center Parcs is a woodland village holiday park in the UK. There are 5 sites in total and are based on outdoor activities, places to relax and a self-catering accommodation. The park allows cars to unload and load at certain times of the day but otherwise, cars are not allowed past a certain point. Making this a very safe place for families with children to roam around. The park offers up facilities such as a supermarket, places to dine out and a tonne of activities.
We have a great Center Parcs packing list that should help you if you’re planning a trip to Center Parcs. It also includes some foods to try and save you from buying them from the on-site store which is inevitably more expensive.
The beauty of staying at a Center Parcs resort is the comfort of knowing you can spend the night in like you would at home or dine out at the many restaurants. There is a villa to suit everyone and every size party, larger parties will be split into 2-3 villas but will be located next door to each other. I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived as it was a home from home. There was everything you would essentially need including baby gates at the top and bottom of the stairs, cleaning equipment and toddler bed.
While you don’t have to bring your own food and cook there is everything you would need to make a full meal and not struggle (unless your a chef and have a very equipt kitchen). I liked the accessibility of having a kitchen even if we rarely used it during our time. The bedrooms all came with an en-suite bathroom and one of the bathrooms will have a bath for babies and children.
Over the road from our villa, there were a number of large bins, for glass, recycling and general waste. The true beauty was that even though there was a road outside the villa it was peaceful and you never felt looked in on. There was always plenty of trees and greenery between villas to create a feeling of privacy.
What Is There To Do?
The parks have everything you would need for the weekend with a supermarket, a number of restaurants, a spa, swimming pools and slides as well as a little shopping. That doesn’t include the many different outdoor activities like high ropes, cycling, canoeing and zip wiring across the lake that are available.
While we were there we started the Saturday morning with the high ropes, this included a different level of challenges at different heights. There was a group of 6 of six of us taking part, plenty of time to each have a go at 2-3 activities. In better weather, you can use the equipment with a guide to do race challenges against each other. We, unfortunately, got snowed on halfway through to pace and activities were limited.
While we were doing our activity we spotted a small boat of people on the lake. There are plenty of canoe, boat and water sports activities to do. There is something for everyone from group electric boat hire, mini captain’s adventure boats for children and paddle boarding.
Swimming & Water Slides
Within the Plaza at Center Parcs, there is a number of things to do but the main one that I was impressed with was the swimming pools, water slides and jacuzzi areas. The swimming facilities at Longleat Forest include a subtropical swimming paradise with warm waters, lots of trees and fun for everyone.
As a group, we were dying to try out the water slides. With 2 amazing water slides as well as the outdoor water rapids there was plenty to do. The water slides are called Tropical Cyclone and Typhoon, both were amazing and suitable for ages approx 6+. We went on both rides multiple times before we lost our voices from screaming.
Our ultimate favourite was the outdoor water rapids, similar to a lazy river but fast-paced. The rapids had slides incorporated in to slide down. You could slide down anyway and dunk in the shallow pool at the bottom. The best thing was that the current carried you along so no need to swim.
Aqua Sana is the perfect place to relax before leaving the blissful peace at Center Parcs. We obviously were feeling a little worse for wear on the Sunday of our trip. So this was the best place to chill out and recover. Aqua Sana also has a place for groups that can be booked for special events called the Hideaway. Due to the snow, the spa was short staffed and so we couldn’t have the private room and service. We were more than looked after throughout the day with plenty of delicious food, snacks and drinks.
The spa has over 15 rooms to experience from hot saunas to meditation rooms. There is also quiet areas with water beds for relaxing and the heated pool in the courtyard. We loved sitting in the heated pool as the snow fell onto our heads.
While I think the true beauty of staying at Center Parcs Longleat is that the accommodation is self-catering there are still plenty of places to dine out. From all different culinary delights from The Pancake House to Rajinda Pradesh Indian to more well-known places such as Bella Italia.
The Pancake House
While we had brunch one morning at The Pancake House after a cold morning in the snow. We warmed up with freshly made pancakes and there is so much choice you won’t be able to choose. There is also a wide variety of omelettes and pancakes with both savoury and sweet flavours.
There was a great selection of hot and cold drinks. The most impressive was the double chocolate hot chocolate with a flake and whipped cream. The prices weren’t too expensive either to say that you were in a resort and the quality was outstanding. The food was made fresh and was definitely worth going to Center Parcs Longleat to try them.
Rajinda Pradesh Indian
On our final evening here we decided to book a table at the Indian in the resort at Center Parcs Longleat. While there were 10 of us there was no issue in seating us and many more in the restaurant. The service was great, friendly and quick while the food really excelled.
While we split the bill evenly no one paid more than £30. Everyone had a drink, starter, main with rice or chips and shared naan bread as well as popadoms and dips. There was also a jug of water provided for the table with ice. To start I had the onion bhajis with spicy chutney and for main, I had chicken Tikka Masala and rice.
While we only ate in these 2 venues while at Center Parcs Longleat there is so much more on offer. Such as Bella Italia, Forester’s Inn, Las Iguanas and many more. There is also plenty of places you can grab a drink such as Starbucks, Forester’s Inn or sports cafe.
Center Parcs Longleat really is a great way to spend a weekend or week exploring. Joining in activities or just escaping to the peace and quiet. There is everything you could think of to do and it is available all year round. I had a great time and can’t wait to go back to do more. If you have been to Center Parcs Longleat before let me know what you thought in the comments. If you are booked to visit another site soon what are you most looking forward to?