It’s time to fold up the shorts, stow away the sun cream and dig out the slow cooker. Yes, summer has gone for another year as today officially marks the beginning of autumn.
This day is defined as the September equinox, which is when the sun shines directly on the equator, rendering the length of day and night as almost equal. But as the evenings get darker and the temperatures cool, leaving us to weep over the memories of those glorious summer days, we must remember autumn is a season of exciting and interesting change – particularly in the nature world.
Read our infographic to discover what you can expect over the next couple of months. The information included is aimed at Key Stage 2 children, so it’s perfect for printing out or downloading as an educational tool for your young nature enthusiasts.
Name: Quad Bike Safari
Where: Whinfell Forest, Elveden Forest, Longleat Forest, Sherwood Forest.
Who: Anyone over the age of 16 can join in. Not old enough? Try Junior Quad Bikes for ages 6 to 11 years.
If you ever needed an excuse to indulge in cupcakes, this is it. Ready, set, bake!
Decorate your own delicious treats on your next Center Parcs break
This week, we celebrate all that is good in the world. Specifically speaking, cupcakes. As yesterday marked the beginning of the fifth National Cupcake Week – a whole seven days to rejoice in the simple pleasure of creamy and delicious frosting atop soft, delicate sponge.
It’s been a rapid rise to stardom for the humble cupcake, undoubtedly buoyed by the popularity of Great British Bake Off and gourmet sellers such as Hummingbird Bakery and Lola’s. In 2008 – when the recession first struck – the fastest rising recipe search on Google was ‘cupcake’, while in 2009 sales of the bite-sized beauties rose by 50% in the UK. Three years later in 2012, cupcake sales in Great Britain reached a mouth-watering £23.5m.
1. We’ve thought of everything (we think!)
If you’ve forgotten their favourite toy, ran out of nappies, or need to entertain them during meals, everything is taken care of at Center Parcs. For water-loving tots we’ve got it covered; you’ll find swim nappies and buoyancy aids at the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, while Aquatique has a selection of swimwear, inflatables and accessories. In our restaurants you’ll find fun and educational activity sheets designed to keep them entertained while waiting.
If they’ve got extra energy to burn, some restaurants also have play areas while you can also find outdoor play areas in various places around our Villages.For an extra-special treat, our Village toy shop Just Kids has something for all ages and is guaranteed to put a smile on their faces. In various spots in our Villages you’ll also find covered Buggy Parks, ideal for parking up during activities and meal times without the worry.
After polishing off a taste tour of London, what can we expect from the new menu at Huck’s American Bar and Grill? Group Executive Chef James Haywood tells us…
In little under a month, we’ll be unveiling the new menu for Sports Café to you all – I can’t wait to hear your thoughts! In the meantime, I’ve been working hard to develop new menus elsewhere in our restaurants, in particular Huck’s American Bar and Grill. If you read my blog post in February you’ll know that the nation’s appetite for American food is bigger than ever, and I’ve been doing lots of research and tasting to bring our guests the best States-influenced tastes.
In fact, I’ve seen a handful of suppliers in the past three days, each showing off their finest produce for us to deliver. Last week I had the pleasure of visiting six different eateries in London for food tasting and inspiration-gathering. It’s always important to keep in line with trends. From Bodean’s BBQ and Meat Liquor to Covent Garden’s latest spot, Big Easy, I picked up lots of new ideas that I’m determined to bring to our Villages.
Spending the days reminiscing about your break?
At this point in the year you will have probably been away over the summer, so you’ll understand where I’m coming from. The holiday blues affect everyone. In fact, a recent survey found that it takes about four days to get back into the swing of things, both at home and at work. Productivity at work is particularly challenged; with one in five people saying they make more mistakes, while 40 per cent hit the chocolate as a way of easing themselves back in. This is hardly surprising considering all the wonderful memories you will be recalling while ploughing through the post-holiday email deluge. Well, you know what they say – preparation is half the battle. So I have pulled together a list of six things you can try before, during and after your family break to beat the post-holiday blues.
We understand that taking little ones away on a break can be stressful – the car’s packed to the roof with the travel cot, a month’s supply of nappies, the pushchair and more toys than a shop – so it’s easy to see why many parents with toddlers decide to stay at home.
Here at Center Parcs we pride ourselves on being able to cater for all the family, even the youngest members. The forest is a great place for young children explore and get closer to nature – imagine the joy on their faces as they feed the wildlife from outside your patio door!
Our safe environment, coupled with child-friendly restaurants and accommodation make our Villages the ideal location for your little ones to take their first holiday steps. Here’s our guide to Center Parcs with pre-school children…
Make your own pom pom Christmas wreath
In our latest issue of Village Life magazine, our craft feature gives some great ideas on how you can create home-made decorations for Christmas and Halloween. If you were left wanting more, you’ve come to the right place. Follow the tips below to craft your very own Christmas pom pom wreath. Don’t forget to share your photos of the finished piece!
A holly wreath is a traditional seasonal decoration, but our contemporary take on it is much more finger friendly – just remember that it is an indoor-only decoration. If you don’t have the time or the patience to make enough pom poms, then you can buy them from craft stores.
In the spring issue of Village Life magazine, we gave readers the chance to win one of 10 Luxury Spa Days for two at Aqua Sana. The successful ten entries had to then report back on their experience, to give an insight into what others can expect. Here’s what two of our Aqua Sana reporters had to say…
Relaxation, relaxation, relaxation!
Review by Vicky Foster
It was during the winding forest walk to Aqua Sana when I suddenly began to appreciate what I was leaving behind: my chaotic world of screaming babies, barking dogs and jammy fingerprints, for this serene and calming sanctuary. I took my mum with me for the day – her stresses are different, but equate to mine. I’m not spending enough time with her at the moment and, besides, she deserved a nice treat.
Entering the spa was like entering into your own private fairytale. Impeccably clean changing rooms, the softest fluffy robes and the nicest staff you could possibly meet. The team are dedicated, polite and courteous – nothing is too much trouble for these lovely people. We felt welcome, looked after and, to be honest, a little bit special.
Feast your eyes on the treats in store at ParcMarket
Whether you’re a first-timer or a Center Parcs expert, knowledge is power when it comes to going away with the family. To make sure your stay is relaxing and stress-free, we’ve put together ten tips to help you get the most out of your break.
1. Our Villages are set in 400 acres of woodland – that’s a lot of space! If the location of your accommodation is important to you, you can choose a particular Lodge for a small charge. Use our interactive Village map to explore further.