We have just returned from an awesome weekend at Centerparcs. But what is a break at Center Parcs in January like?
As a family we are all avid lovers of the place, and each year takes us back there. I booked this break back in June, but we decided to tell the children on THURSDAY night, when we went out for a meal for my birthday. It was lovely to see them so excited for the weekend ahead.
I gave the tween strict instructions to be home from school on time on Friday, a quick change out of uniforms and we were on the M6 heading up to Whinfell. A few hours later and we had arrived at our lodge.
We were soon unpacked and off for a night time swim. We LOVE going swimming in the evening, and for some reason the kids like hurtling down the outside slides in minus temperature conditions, whilst I checked out the nice warm hot tub. We headed back to the lodge around 9.30pm for a well deserved gin, and to light the fire. Blissful evening.
On the Saturday the day started off with no plans. We had a walk around the forest, and ended up at the Sports Plaza. This is where most of the Center Parcs activities are, and the kids had their eye on indoor caving which is a fairly new activity. We found out they had space at 2.30pm, and I booked them in at a cost of £18.00 each. As they were over 8, this meant they didn’t need an adult, and this resulted in one hour child free!
Kids loved the caving, and it was nice to see them doing an activity together. By this time we were starving, and we decided to eat at The Pancake House. With full bellies we strolled back to the lodge and chilled out, before another evening swim. We came out around 9pm and we were all starving again. It must be the forest air! We were lucky to be squeezed into Hucks which is an American Restaurant. The kids love it there as a) they have apple macs you can play games on and b) they have an all you can eat buffet. Perfect for a hungry tween. We had a lovely meal and as it was Saturday night there was a lively atmosphere.
Sunday was a special day for 2 reasons. The first reason it SNOWED, and the second it was Katie’s 9th Birthday. What a fantastic surprise for her. We had a lovely morning in the lodge, watching her open her presents, building snowmen and throwing snowballs. I had booked a birthday meal at Bella Italia for 2pm.
This is the one restaurant I have never eaten in at Center Parcs, and we had a lovely table overlooking the frozen lake. The meal was lovely as was the service, and we will definitely return to Bella Italia. Next it was time for Katie and I to watch the Wizard of Oz show. It cost just under £18.00 for the 2 of us, and we were lucky to get a front row seat, and Katie loved the show.
Afterwards we met the boys and headed to the swimming pool again. But this time I had booked a Cabana. We had booked a Cabana last year and really enjoyed having somewhere to chill out. You get a TV, fridge with soft drinks in, comfy chairs, a safe and towels. It was good to use it as a base, and we had the use of it for 3 hours.
On the Friday I had told the staff it was Katie’s birthday, and they said they would arrange a balloon and a banner like they did the previous year. However, it was not done and the pool staff were very apologetic. They presented Katie with a HUGE ice cream and 2 inflatables for her to take home, plus a card signed by all of the lifeguards. The adults were not overlooked either as we got this below. Fantastic service by the pool team, and we were very grateful.
Monday morning and it was time to get the car from the car park and start packing. Even though we had only been there 3 nights, it felt longer as we had packed so much in. The kids wanted to go Ten pin bowling before we went home, and we were lucky to get a lane for 11am. The cost was £18.00 for 45 minutes, but this can rise to £28.00 if you book for the evening time. I got suitably thrashed so I will leave it there!
We left at 1pm to head home and back to reality. We all agreed this was one of our favourite Center Parcs break. Being there when it was snowing was definitely a highlight and Katie is lucky to have turned 8 and also 9 at Centerparcs, and I am sure we will return next year when she will turn 10 on the Monday. And the added bonus is I will turn 42 three days before, so I will have a Center Parcs birthday too!
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