Vote for us! Center Parcs nominated as Best UK Holiday Provider

For the 12th consecutive year, Center Parcs has been nominated for a Tommy’s Award

Tommy's Best Holiday Provider 2014Back in 2014, 2.5 million members of the public were asked to nominate the brands and companies that make lives a little easier for families around the UK. We always strive to make ensure families feel carefree, safe and happy when visiting our Villages, so we are delighted to know that Center Parcs is one of your top family friendly companies.

We love hearing about your special Center Parcs breaks on our Facebook page. Here are a few recent comments from our guests on their recent breaks:
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In Focus: Aqua Jetting

We love giving our guests the opportunity to try new activities, and Aqua Jetting is like nothing you have ever tried before. It lets you swim like a fish, dive like a dolphin and swivel like a shark. Give it a go on your next family break with us – it’s possibly the most fun you can have in the water.

Aqua Jetting at the Subtropical Swimming Paradise

Aqua Jetting at the Subtropical Swimming Paradise

Name: Aqua Jetting.

Where: All five of our Villages.

Who: Aqua Jetting is open to everyone over the age of 8. Not old enough? Try Mini Jet Skis for an equally splashing good time.

What is it? It’s something totally different. You take hold of one of our special jets (called a Seadoo) and hold it underwater. As you turn it on, the motor propels you forward allowing you to twist, turn and dive like a sea creature.

What if I’m not the best swimmer? Don’t worry, our pool isn’t too deep and there will be a trained lifeguard watching the whole time. You don’t need to be a mini Michael Phelps either as the jet will do most of the work. Having said that, if you are uncomfortable underwater, this may not be the one for you.
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My gluten-free experiment left me feeling like a second-class citizen

In his quest to develop the upcoming Huck’s American Bar and Grill menu, James Haywood shares his experience of a gluten-free life

Huck's-Waiter-06Baked beans. They were my safety net during my four-week trial of living as a coeliac. Staring into a half-empty tin of Celebrations at Christmas, realising I couldn’t have anything other than a Bounty, I wondered to myself: ‘why on earth am I doing this?’

The answer is, I was curious. We’re developing allergen-friendly menus alongside our main menus for restaurants including Sports Café and Huck’s, and I just wanted to see what it was like out of interest. I wanted to know how accessible gluten-free food is, not at home because there are supermarkets – although some are better than others – I wanted to look out onto the high street.
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Stay safe on two wheels with our cycling tips for families

Cycle safety for you and your family

Trainers, school uniform and bicycles – the three things children are guaranteed to grow out of almost immediately after you’ve bought them. Despite this, in a fit of festive merriment I bought my two boys a new set of wheels for Christmas.

Family cycling together at Center Parcs

Luckily, as they are still young, they were the stabilisers-and-go-faster-stripes kind, not the full-face-helmet-and-leathers kind. And if nothing else, the new bicycles will certainly come in handy when we go on family breaks in the UK. Cycling as a family is my favourite way for us to spend quality time together, see new places and get a bit of exercise while we’re on holiday.

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A taste of adventure with family Den Building and Decorating

Den building at Elveden ForestIt’s a staple of childhood – building a den in the bushes during summer, or an impenetrable sofa fort out of cushions over a long rainy weekend. It’s as nostalgic as smashing conkers or exploring rock pools. To tap into those memories and ensure the joy of youthful adventure is never forgotten, Center Parcs has created a new activity for intrepid, creative families – Den Building and Decorating.
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Take a look at the family trees growing in our forests

At Center Parcs we pride ourselves on creating the perfect family environment. So much so, that some families don’t want to leave! We talk to the husbands, wives, mums, daughters and siblings who work together across our Villages

Megan-and-NatashaMegan and Natasha MacLoughlin
Sisters Megan and Natasha have worked together at Elveden Forest for almost four years. The sisters are not only part of the same team, elder sister Megan is actually Natasha’s supervisor too! Megan tells us all about it…

I started working at Elveden Forest in 2007, part time, as a Saturday girl and worked my way up to where I am now as Team Leader of Leisure Facilities. Around four years ago, ahead of Winter Wonderland, we were recruiting Elves for Santa’s Woodland Workshop and I suggested to Natasha that she should apply. Although Winter Wonderland is only for a seven-week period, I said that if she got on OK she might be able to move into my department throughout the year.

“Her stint as an elf was a success and she now works alongside me. Although I’m her Team Leader.”

Is there ever an issue of sibling rivalry I ask? “No not really,” says Megan. “Because I’m older than her I’ve always been the more superior one so we’re both used to that relationship. It’s actually really good working with my sister; we read each other well and we look out for each other. I would say it’s brought us closer as siblings.”

FamiliesJanet and Julie Auty
Mother and daughter duo Janet and Julie work together in Whinfell Forest’s ParcMarket. But according to Janet, it’s not the first time…

“We used to work together at Morrison’s, so this isn’t new for us. I was the Checkout Manager and she worked on the shelves. I moved to Center Parcs nine years ago – nine years this week actually – and she joined me around four months afterwards.

“I don’t think it’s a question of wanting to work alongside me, but I’d told her about how much I loved working here and said: ‘why don’t you apply’? It’s never been an issue for us; she calls me Janet at work and never mum. We’re professional about it.

“We don’t get many guests that notice we’re related, but there are a few working families at Whinfell Forest and I think guests quite like it. They like that we work together because I think it makes Center Parcs even more of a family environment for guests.”

Ben-and-sarahBen and Sarah Morton
Childhood sweethearts Ben and Sarah both work at Sherwood Forest. Although they’re not in the same department, it still brings its benefits as Ben explains…

“I started working at Sherwood Forest in 2002 as a Leisure Assistant for the Jardin des Sports. I worked my way up in my career and, by 2010, I was Assistant Manager for Leisure. It’s still what I do now. My wife Sarah, who I met at school when we were just 15 and 14, joined Center Parcs after she had finished her degree in Primary Education. She started in 2007 as a Nursery Assistant for the Time Out Club [now known as Activity Den], before moving to the Outdoor Activity Centre as an Instructor.”

So what are the benefits of working as husband and wife? There must be many, I thought. “It’s great to work for the same company as you get to car share!”

“Aside from that, it’s great because we can share stories from our day at work and we understand each other’s job and department. On the flipside we do often find ourselves talking about work at home, which can get a bit repetitive, but at the same it means we have a lot in common as we both work outdoors and are in the same environment most days. It brings us together as a couple.”

Your family holiday highlights of 2014

At the end of 2014, we asked our Facebook fans to share some of their holiday highlights of the past year.

Almost 200 of our guests shared their thoughts and we had some amazing stories. Here are a few of our favourites:

Gavin Williams

Gavin Williams’ daughter at Elveden Forest

Gavin Williams: Our baby started crawling for the first time at Elveden and she went swimming in the big pool #myfamilytime
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Five ways to shift the festive pounds in the New Year

If you’ve indulged on one too many mince pies and have drifted into a state of hibernation, kick start your New Year here with these five easy-going fitness ideas

Festivefitness-blogFor lots of us, the beginning of a new year means a fresh start in many aspects of life, whether it’s dropping bad habits or just adopting some new hobbies. At the start of 2015, there’s no doubt that many of us will adopt the mantra of ‘new year, new me’ and it should come as no surprise that, after weeks of seasonal indulgence, Britons’ top resolution is to shed weight and get fit.
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