WiFi comes to the forest

With speedy free internet connections now available across Elveden Forest, we have rounded up the best websites and apps to help families make their Center Parcs break even more magical.

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If you’re heading to Elveden Forest on a break, you can now enjoy a fast WiFi connection in all main buildings as well as in the comfort of your own lodge, free of charge. Bringing WiFi to the forest was not an easy task – the project, which began in 2013, involved a dedicated team of 12, who have implemented 950 access points to ensure all central buildings and 787 Lodges are wired up.

The WiFi project will also be rolled out across Longleat, Sherwood and Whinfell Forests by the end of 2016.

To celebrate Elveden’s new connectivity, we have rounded up the best family-friendly apps and websites from all corners of the internet. Think that has to mean having you or your children having your faces stuck in a phone, oblivious to the natural surroundings and missing out of quality family time? Think again – we have sought out examples that will enhance your break in the forest, not detract from it, whether that’s making the car journey here more bearable, helping you identify the wildlife you spot, or just having some creative, silly fun back at the Lodge in the evening.

So without further ado, here are our ‘prize-winning’ apps and sites… *drumroll*

Highly Commended for ‘Keeping them Busy’: Sesame Street Family Play

sesameWhat is it? Have concerns about your little ones playing smartphone games endlessly? Don’t fear, this app is all about giving you the ideas and resources to put the device down and play in real life. It is crammed with simple, educational and entertaining games to play with your little ones. It is even categorised by place, so you can easily find ideas to keep them busy in the supermarket, at a restaurant, or even in the car on your way to Center Parcs!

How much? £0.79

In ten words or less: Less screen time, more play time

Get it here

 

Gold Prize for Gardeners: Wildlife Trust fact sheets

wildlife trustWhat is it? A large archive of free fact sheets to download, print off and enjoy outdoors as a family. Topics range from making your own compost to transforming your garden into a butterfly haven.

How much? Free!

In ten words or less: Great way to get the children all green-fingered

Find it here

 

The ‘Make it Magical’ Merit: Night Sky

night skyWhat is it? A critically acclaimed and award-winning app that can automatically identify stars, constellations, planets and satellites when you hold your smartphone camera up to the sky. Try it out on a clear night on your break and see which constellations you can find from the private patio at your lodge.

How much? £1.99

In ten words or less: Spellbinding stargazing for all ages

Get it here

 

Wonderful Wildlife Winner: Project NOAH

noahWhat is it? The best way to share the wildlife encounters you have on your break. Take a photo of plants and animals you come across, tag the photo and upload it via the app to the NOAH website where it is catalogued with thousands of other sightings. You can learn more about what you have spotted, and search by location to see what else has been spotted nearby.

How much? Free!

In ten words or less: Become a wildlife boffin on your break

Get it here

 

Best for Bed Time: Classic Winnie the Pooh

poohWhat is it? Read the original A. A. Milne stories of your childhood, reimagined for the digital age but with all the charm you remember. With music, sensitive animation and engaging narration, you can see all your favourite characters – in their original E. H. Shepard form – come to life when you tap them.

How much? £3.99 (includes one free story)

In ten words or less: Relive your childhood with a bed time story

Get it here

 

Do-good Distinction: Green Boot

green bootWhat is it? Apps that track how many steps you take are ten a penny these days, but Green Boot is unique in that it runs adverts while it is open, and then allows you to choose from a selection of charities that promote land conservation to benefit from the proceeds of those adverts! Turn it on while you explore our trails to see how many steps you take, and to help save more forests around the world.

How much? Free!

In ten words or less: Get your walking boots on for a good cause

Get it here

 

Play Time Plaudits: Lego Super Hero Movie Maker
lego heroWhat is it?
A smartphone game with a difference – this helps children be creative with their toys by using Lego figurines (you can stock up in our toy shop, Just for Kids, on any of our Villages!) to create their own animated adventures using their own voices. The hardest thing is not taking over to play with it yourself!

How much? Free!

In ten words or less: Creative, clever and all-consuming

Get it here

 

Five Stars for the Forest: Center Parcs UK

cpWhat is it? The ultimate digital companion for your Center Parcs break. It allows you to build and view your break itinerary, book activities or make restaurants reservations on the go and set up notifications to ensure you get everywhere on time! You can even pin your car parking space and your lodge on an interactive map so you always know where you’re going.

How much? Free!

In ten words or less: Make your break easy-peasy and hassle-free

Get it here

 

Top tip: Don’t get caught out by unpleasant and unexpected app store bills. Many free apps these days use ‘in-app purchases’ that are easy for little hands to make without realising what they are doing. You can disable in-app purchases on iPhones and iPads in the device’s settings (go to General > Restrictions > Enable Restrictions), using a different passcode that you can keep secret. On Android devices, you can set a password for all purchases in the ‘settings’ areas of the Play Store.

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  • Laura Stephen

    We were pleasantly surprised by the addition of Wi-Fi in the lodge when we visited Elveden 2 weeks ago. We only found it by accident. Wish you could have told us about it properly!! The speeds were better than we hoped too – perhaps as most people hadn’t discovered it yet?

  • Lindsey Russell

    Great. Now the kids can ignore us further whilst on holiday there instead of just at the plaza. I quite preferred the no internet. Gave the family a chance to actually interact not all sit on phones etc. technology sometimes it’s a pain.

  • M CHARLES

    Great news that wifi has now been introduced across Elveden Forest. Does this mean that mobile phone reception has also been improved? We stayed last September and could only get mobile phone reception in the car park.

Maddy Potts

Post Author:
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.