Since Richard Crabtree celebrated his 40th birthday at Longleat Forest in 1995, every major family birthday and occasion has taken place at Center Parcs. And, as Richard himself says, “we always have a great time!”
It was while they were enjoying their visit for Richard’s son Joe’s 18th birthday in September 2013 when his daughter Jess, then 24, had an idea. “She suggested I should plan another Center Parcs visit for my 60th which, back then, was 16 months away. It was such a long way off, but she reminded me a few months later. It was then than I had the idea of inviting all the in-laws, cousins, nephews and nieces – most of whom has never been to Center Parcs before.”
To Richard’s delight, everyone was on board and, with around a year still to go before the big birthday, he had a party of 20 – including three under-twos – raring to go. He booked three Woodland Lodges next to each other, all within walking distance of the Plaza.
“Over the next few months ahead of my break I received some useful prompts and reminders from Center Parcs about my booking, full of great ideas and things to do when we arrived.” But Richard says the most useful email he received was from Claire and Emma, the Group Bookings Co-ordinators at Longleat Forest.
Going on a short break in a group of 20 has the potential to be a logistical nightmare – where will you all eat together? What will you find to do that keeps everyone happy? Not so at Center Parcs.
The Group Bookings Co-ordinators, available at every Village, offer an exclusive – and completely free – service to parties of 8 or more to help ensure their stay is easy and hassle-free. Co-ordinators like Claire and Emma can make activity bookings for large groups, often with exclusive offers, and reserve tables at our restaurants. They can even arrange for meals to be pre-ordered for smoother running on the night.
If you are joining us for a special occasion, like the Crabtrees, our Group Bookings Co-ordinators will go the extra mile to make your break memorable, perhaps by decorating your restaurant table with balloons or arranging for a cake to arrive at your Lodge by special delivery.
The Crabtree party had activities and restaurants booked with Claire and Emma’s help. “They even pre-registered our entire party and all our cars before we arrived which saved us loads of time and was very much appreciated.”
Group Bookings Co-ordinator Emma Ledbury says: “After liaising with the Crabtree party a number of times before they arrived, I am so glad that I could help make their stay as memorable as possible. It is always lovely to hear back that the guests we helped have had a great stay.”
Richard was certainly happy with the help he received: “Everything went smoothly during our stay and our itinerary was spot on!” The family packed in plenty of activities on their break. Richard’s son Joe, now 19, filmed the whole thing and edited it into the fantastic video below.
Take a look to see the family trying everything from pony treks to ten pin bowling, and tackling the Wild Water Rapids and Huck’s American Bar and Grill’s new loaded hot dogs with equal gusto (though not at the same time)!
Richard says: “A special mention must go to the staff at the restaurants who were so helpful and attentive for such a large group of varying ages, aged 2 months up to 60 plus!” (Look out for little Isabel Corrick on the video, born on the 21st October 2014. She is Richard’s wife’s new grandniece!)
It’s great to hear the Crabtrees enjoyed our restaurants, which pride themselves on being thoroughly family friendly and accommodating to groups of all shapes and sizes. There are children’s menus and activity sheets in all our outlets, and special soft play areas in some, so little ones can burn off energy while you finish eating in peace.
Judging by the video, it looks like Richard and his family had a pretty good time on their break with us – and he agrees! “The feedback I have had from the other party members has been 100 per cent positive, especially from those visiting Center Parcs for the first time.
“I’m sure all of them would have no hesitation in returning to Center Parcs in the future. My family and I are always thinking of when we can get there again!”
And we can’t wait to have you all back, Richard! A 61st birthday is a good enough reason, right…?