We understand that taking the little ones away can, occasionally, be anything but relaxing. There’s the pressure of trying to remember everything, the Jenga-esque pursuit of fitting it all in the car and then there’s the journey itself. If, after all that you’re still clinging on to some semblance of sanity, Center Parcs is the perfect place to keep them entertained.
We’re focused on fun for all the family, and that includes the smallest members. In fact, there’s no better environment for under 5s – all our villages are set in 400 acres of woodland; a safe and serene environment that allows children the freedom to explore and be curious.
After the 10,000th repetition of “are we there yet?” you’ll be clamouring for a speedy check-in. Use your booking number and check-in online before you set out – that way we’ll get you to your lodge in no time.
Keeping the little ones happy takes preparation and having a plan is essential. The Center Parcs mobile App allows you, amongst other things, to type in your booking details and the app becomes a pocket itinerary allowing you to easily and quickly check what you have planned for the day or week ahead. It’s also a good way to check menus and dining options at our various restaurants.
You can bring your own bikes to Center Parcs, or hire them from our Cycle Center. If your children are too small to ride a bike, a buggy trailer can be hired as long as they’re old enough to sit up. They’re surprisingly lightweight to pedal around – just look out for squirrels crossing!
Top tip: A buggy trailer also doubles up as a handy shopping cart for trips to the ParcMarket. Providing the little ones don’t mind sharing their space with a baguette…
Family dining options
The fussy eater, the nibbler, the hoover, the grazer – whatever type of eaters they are, there are loads of options available to keep the children happy. For toddlers and beyond, children’s menus with healthy and tasty dishes are available or, if they want what you have, some restaurants also offer half portions. Huck’s American Bar and Grill offer a children’s buffet, so they can help themselves without waiting. Most of our restaurants also have soft play areas and there are crayons and activity sheets available to keep them happy.
Top tip: Baby food is free in all of our restaurants, and bottle-warming facilities are also available.
In an age of cable TV, Nintendos, Facebook and YouTube, we think it’s important that children get up close and personal with nature once in a while, and there’s no better place to do that than in our forest retreats. We hope you like visitors, because every morning you’re likely to find rabbits, ducks, geese and squirrels have joined you for breakfast.
Top tip: Bring a cheap magnifying glass with you. Our villages are a haven for wildlife and they’ll spend hours hunting bugs and trying to identify them.
Keep them amused, come rain or shine
We can guarantee fun, but we can’t guarantee good weather. The good news is we’ve got you covered for every eventuality.
Five great indoor activities for 5s and under:
- Swimming – our Subtropical Swimming Paradise is perfect for children of all ages. Away from the main pool, they’ll love our toddler splash pools with slides and plenty of toys to play with. Don’t worry about packing buoyancy aids, we have racks full of them and they’re free to use
- Baby Balance Bike Buddy – if they’re a budding Bradley Wiggins, this hour long session will help them find their feet and is a great progression to stabilizers
- Soft play – there are dozens of indoor play areas across our villages, with themed equipment built for all ages and sizes. From swings to balance beams, they’ll have a ball
- Mucky Pups – little ones can explore their creative side and get messy with a range of things such as sand, water, jelly and pasta shapes
- Mini Adventures Together and Mini Adventures at the Den – whether they’re learning the art of fencing, or trying their hand at some super science experiments, you’ll love watching your children learn new things
Five great outdoor activities for 5s and under:
- The beach – if the sun’s shining they’ll love the sensation of sand between their toes. Grab the bucket and spade!
- Teddy Bear’s Picnic – for £8 your child will get a packed lunch and a chance to meet our ‘real life teddy bear’. Plus, there’ll be stories, songs and a Center Parcs teddy at the end – now, that’s what we call a picnic!
- Adventure playgrounds – with plenty of things to jump on, climb on, slide down and whizz across young children can let their imaginations run wild. Why not grab a coffee and take the weight off while they play?
- Baby Owls – Get up close with these beautiful, spectacular birds. Guaranteed to be a magical encounter, it’ll bring out their inner wizard
- Ranger’s Ramble – What do squirrels eat for breakfast? What’s that funny-looking plant? Discover more about our forest habitats with our knowledgeable Conservation Rangers
Don’t forget to pack…
We believe we’ve thought of everything, but there are a few things we’d recommend packing from home if you’re coming with young children:
- Takeaway containers and cling film – perfect for storing leftover food in the fridge
- A tiny backpack – if they’re old enough to carry one, they’ll love being in charge of their own bag for the day
- Wellies and waterproofs – hey, it is the UK!
Don’t panic if you forget the essentials, ParcMarket is well-stocked and have saved the day on many occasions.
Exhausted chasing your mini adventurers around? If you get some time to yourself, we’d recommend popping into Aqua Sana. Unwind surrounded by nature – there are saunas, steam rooms, relaxation rooms, hot tubs, foot spas and a large heated outdoor pool.
A bit of pampering and relaxation is a great way to recharge the batteries. But make the most of it, before you know it you’ll be back saving the world.