Inspired by The Island: Get castaway-ready at Center Parcs

Have you been watching The Island with Bear Grylls on Channel 4? Two groups of survivors, a team of women and a team of men, are abandoned on deserted islands for six weeks, forced to scavenge, forage, hunt and - hopefully - survive...

Learn how to make a sturdy shelter at Den Building and Decorating
Learn how to make a sturdy shelter at Den Building and Decorating
Perfect your aim with a Field Archery activity
Perfect your aim with a Field Archery activity
Clamber up trees in our forest to test your survival skills
Clamber up trees in our forest to test your survival skills
Do your best Castaway impression and learn how to build a raft
Do your best Castaway impression and learn how to build a raft
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Learn how to make a sturdy shelter at Den Building and Decorating
Learn how to make a sturdy shelter at Den Building and Decorating
Perfect your aim with a Field Archery activity
Perfect your aim with a Field Archery activity
Clamber up trees in our forest to test your survival skills
Clamber up trees in our forest to test your survival skills
Do your best Castaway impression and learn how to build a raft
Do your best Castaway impression and learn how to build a raft

Last week saw the brilliantly named Barney Strange of the men’s island dissolve into tears when he realised that, had he not joined the show, he would have been with his family on their Center Parcs break!

Of course, our hearts went out to him and we just had to invite him back in place of the trip he missed:

Paramedic-by-day and all-round-good-guy Barney stepped up and donated his trip to The Family Holiday Association, a charity that helps out families who really need a break.

But The Island had got us thinking. If only Barney had taken his break just before he went on the programme, because some of our activities could really equip you for life as a castaway…

Every survival manual will tell you the same thing: your first priority is shelter. You don’t stand a chance against the elements on a remote craggy outcrop without somewhere to lay your head, and the chances of stumbling across a pop-up tent are low.

Not a problem, however, if you have tried your hand at our new Den Building and Decorating activity! Here you can learn how to make a sturdy shelter that the whole family can fit inside, and even test its weatherproof qualities, so you know you’ll stay warm and dry should an intense real-life survival situation present itself.

With a roof over your head, it’s time to get food in your stomach. Unfortunately, we’re fairly sure you won’t find The Pancake House on your desert island, so it won’t be as easy as ordering a Blueberry Delight Stack…

Learning to hunt for your next meal is a crucial skill for any budding survivalist. Try out Field Archery to get the hang of wielding a bow and arrow and feel all Katniss Everdeen in the process.

But if your hunter instinct is lacking and you just can’t bring yourself to take down that beast, no matter how loudly your stomach rumbles, never fear! Get to grips with nature on a Wildlife Walk and you could find your next meal on the forest floor. Led by one of our expert Rangers, you will hear all about the flora and fauna in our Villages, and learn how to recognise plants and shrubs that could provide your life-saving delicacy in a survival situation.

With shelter and stomach taken care of, it’s time to go beyond surviving and start thinking about escaping. Could you scale a cliff or rocky crag to get to high land? No? Better start racking up the hours on our climbing walls then! Indoors or outdoors, climbing is a physically challenging but hugely rewarding activity that is popular with guests of all ages at Center Parcs.

And more importantly, it might just get you up that sheer rock face to signal to any low flying aircraft for rescue!

But if no such convenient rescue arrives, you may need to take matters into your own hands and escape by water. You’ve seen Castaway (RIP Wilson), so you know how important it is to build a seaworthy raft. And if you and your family have taken on the Raft Building challenge at one of our lakes, you’ll know just where to start.

So there are all sorts of unique and exciting things to try on your Center Parcs activity break. And should you wind up shipwrecked on a hostile desert island, without food, shelter or means of escape, some of the skills you’ve picked up might just keep you alive. Or at least keep you dreaming of your next Center Parcs break…

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Maddy Potts

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Maddy Potts

As Marketing Executive at Center Parcs, I’m lucky enough to hear all the amazing stories that come from our guests, our Villages and the wider travel industry. I’ll blog about the best ones, bring you some fantastic competitions and update you on all the exciting new activities and goings on at Center Parcs.