How to make the most of the long weekend at Center Parcs

Arrive early, leave late – it’s our least favourite way to work but the best way to do a Center Parcs break

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Four-day week, four-day weekend, four-day week. The calendar never looks better than it does over Easter, and it’s the perfect time for a few days away at Center Parcs. With Friday and Monday off work (for most of us), there’s no need to rush your arrival or departure. So we’ve put together some tips for making the most of your time in the forest.

When you arrive…

Arrive early – you won’t be able to access your accommodation until 3pm (3.30pm at Whinfell Forest), but you’re welcome to arrive from 10am. Simply park up in the car park and head onto the village to explore.

From 2pm, you’re welcome to start your break in the Subtropical Swimming Paradise. We recommend packing an ‘arrival bag’ to have handy, so you don’t have to go through all your nicely packed suitcases to find that last pair of trunks.

Swimming, splashing and sliding works up an appetite, so you’ll want to stop for some lunch. Pop into Sports Cafe – there’s no need to book a table so you can arrive whenever you’re done in the pool, and the casual vibe means you’ll feel at home, even with post-pool wet hair! Try the new Middle Eastern flatbreads for a light, colourful lunch.

Once everyone is fed and watered, why not start exploring the forest? It’ll give some time for the car park to quieten down so you can zip straight to your lodge later on. Venture out of the village centre and walk some of our miles of woodland trails. In amongst the trees, you can enjoy the peace, spot some wildlife and get your bearings (if it’s your first visit).

By the time you’re all ready to rest your feet, your lodge will be ready, the car park quiet and you can go and settle in. Do remember to return your car to the car park once you’re done though – it’s really important we keep our villages traffic-free for all our guests’ enjoyment and peace of mind.

Tips for your arrival bag:

  • Swimming costumes
  • Flip-flops
  • Towels
  • Changes of clothes
  • Comfy shoes for exploring post-swim
  • Camera for snapping wildlife on your walk
  • Magazine/book/e-reader for poolside

On your last day…

We ask you to vacate your lodge by 10am so that our housekeeping teams can begin their twice-weekly marathon of turning around thousands of rooms for arriving guests in just a few hours.

But you don’t have to go home just yet! You’re welcome to stick around and enjoy the village until as late as midnight if you like.

So pack up your things on Monday morning, fetch the car, load up the suitcases then pop it back in the car park. We suggest putting a few essentials – bottled water, camera, purse – in a ‘last day bag’ like you did for your arrival. That way you have everything you need at your finger tips without having to traipse back to the car park.

After all that packing, the family’s probably ravenous. How about a last brunch at The Pancake House? Our favourite is the American stack with bacon and maple syrup (because we’re suckers for sweet-and-savoury), but the all-day-breakfast omelette is pretty sensational too.

If you’re visiting without little ones, why not head to Aqua Sana for a relaxing morning in the spa to unwind before your journey home? You can explore the different experience rooms, journey between dry saunas and steam rooms, cool down in the outdoor pool and curl up with iced water in a comfy cocoon chair or stretch out on a lounger.

When you’re suitably relaxed, just change out of your fluffy robe and wander to the village centre for a quick browse around our shops. From souvenirs to sweets, designer jewellery to top fashion brands, you might just find something perfect to take home with you.

Retail therapy done, head back to the car park to make your way home, thoroughly invigorated by your stay in the forest.

Do you have any tried-and-tested tips for squeezing everything possible out of your Center Parcs break? Let us know in the comments!

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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.