Short breaks with a baby - your top tips

16 September 2021

Short breaks with a baby – your top tips

What to bring

“Swim nappies, a sling, all-weather clothing and the usual baby items you need at home is pretty much all you need.” Jenna S

“Always remember baby bedding and spares. Take a night light for the kiddies’ rooms.” Kelly W

“A blackout blind for the bedroom (one that suckers to the glass).” Aileen B

“Bring nuts and bird seed with you so you can feed the wildlife.” Becky M (don’t worry if you forget – you can pick some up at ParcMarket)

“Fold flat bouncers – new-borns love to watch the wildlife from the patio. And food to entice said wildlife show.” Donna F

“Definitely take seed for the ducks and birds…we had a goose tapping on our window every day and my two-year-old loved it! Shouted “mummy the goose wants his food.” Gemma M

“Chalk for the chalkboards and DVDs for those early morning wake ups.” Stephanie G

“A playmat – the floor is not carpeted and can be hard for a sitting baby.” Emma L

“Highchair inserts – I would recommend two, one to pop in the bottom of the pushchair for eating out and one for the lodge.” Donna F

“Plastic toddler-friendly tableware (cups, plates, cutlery).” Jenny W

“An all-in-one rain suit/puddle suit if you’re going in winter so kids can enjoy the park, bikes and beach without getting wet.” Amy B

“Wellies are essential whatever the weather.” Kristen R

“Plenty of snacks and plenty of changes of clothes.” Emma W

“A bucket and spade for the beach regardless of the time of year.” Amy B

“A grandparent so you can get some well-deserved time at the spa!” Emma L (We like your thinking Emma! Mums and dads need some downtime too!)

“A fold down clothes airer, as there’s never enough room to dry towels from all the swimming.” Kelly MM

“Remember a bike lock for your pram when using the indoor areas such as the swimming pool, as the pram parks are located outside in purpose-built areas.” Gemma L

 

Activities

Mucky Pups was amazing.” Charlie M

“Book an Activity Den session – three hours of alone time and kids have the best fun!” Stephanie G

“Go to pottery and put a fingerprint on something – write the date and that it’s your first Center Parcs holiday, because it will be the first of many!” Donna F (Such a lovely idea, Donna!)

“Book your activities well in advance to make sure you can do everything you want to do.” Kristen R

 

Subtropical Swimming Paradise

“Take two smaller bags for swimwear as the lockers aren’t massive, plus you can split up and tag team, so one adult one child, or single adult who then takes the kid off the other parent so they can get changed after.” Amy B

“Take a big blue IKEA bag. When you get to the swimming pool changing rooms, put the bag on the floor to load shoes in, then outer garments then top with inside clothes. Easy to pick it all up and pop in a locker with one hand especially when carrying a slippery youngster. Ensures you don’t drop all your clothes in the inevitable puddle you make dripping on the floor when getting dried as well.” Rachel I (Great tip Rachel – other Swedish furniture brands are available!)

“Get a proper wetsuit for them as it will keep them warm and means they can manage longer in the pool – my nine-week-old daughter even fell asleep in the pool at Elveden last year.” Josie W

“Take a baby swim ring so babies can float along with you. Wet babies are heavy to carry.” Erica W (Don’t worry if you forget – you can buy floatation devices from the Subtropical Swimming Paradise or Aquatique shop when you arrive).

“Poncho style, over-the-head towels are great for the kids round the edge of the pool and for walking back to the changing rooms.” Amy B

“Bring a fleece all-in-one suit for after swimming. Baby will likely fall asleep but needs to stay warm. Also bring talc for after swimming – a talc covered baby is easier and faster dressed than a damp one!” Donna F

 

Restaurants

“The pouches in restaurants are fantastic – we always used them and our twin girls loved them.” Kelly W

“They have lots of jars of baby food, free of charge – wish we had known as I wouldn’t have taken so many with us and saved on space.” Paula H

“Bring toys to the restaurants.” Emma W

“Reserve a table for 4.30pm/4.45pm. By the time the food arrives it’s 5pm and the restaurant is full of other families.” Charlotte S

The Pancake House for breakfast – always a winner.” Stephanie G

“Pre-book your restaurants as soon as you are able. Bookings around teatime are often popular so get in there quick if your kids eat at a certain time.” Konica S

 

Getting around

“Personally, I found wearing baby in a sling is great for their first Center Parcs trip. Found it so much easier getting around and still being able to do activities and things we enjoy.” Jackie B

“Bring a buggy – there are so many wonderful walks and little legs do get tired.” Kristen R (If you’re wanting to save space in the car, you can hire a pushchair from our Cycle Centre)

“We hired one of the pushbike trailers, which was super handy for getting our toddler around.” Elly H

Hire bikes and a bike trailer. Great fun exploring the parks by bike and little ones love sitting in the trailer and looking around and, if it’s wet, they stay dry under cover!” Lauren H

 

Top tips

“Bring a little treat for the queue when you arrive, be it a toy or chocolate treat, just for that last little hurdle when you check in and it has been a long journey.” Kristen R

“My father-in-law brings his night-time wildlife camera and captures all of the activity that goes on through the night. It’s amazing.” Zoe G

“I’d recommend new first-time parents use the apartments. They are normally better situated and there is no need to pay for an unused additional bedroom.” Donna F

“I found the cots very narrow and no good for a starfish sleeping baby/toddler – found it easier to take our own larger travel cot.” Catherine T

“You can book bed guards through Guest Services in advance for toddlers.” Louise K-D

“You can request an extra cot – both me and my sister go together and we both have babies the same age. We always phone and request for an extra one to be put in.” Sarah D

“If you’re taking a Perfect Prep machine, take ice as well. The heating being underfloor meant our lodge took ages to cool down and the machine overheated – meaning no bottles!” Millie B (our lodges all have freezers so you can make your own ice or pick some up from ParcMarket when you arrive)

“An umbrella fold pushchair fits in the storage pocket of the bike trailer. When you park up the bike you can transfer the child to the pushchair, meaning you don’t have to carry them around the parts of the village where bikes aren’t allowed.” Leanne B

“Take shower caps to put over your bike seats so they don’t get wet in the rain parked up, and a drawstring bin bag to go over the baby seat on the back of the bike.” Amy B

“Don’t stress, if you forget something the ParcMarket will most likely stock it!” Konica S

“There are lovely feeding rooms if baby needs five minutes peace to feed.” Susan M

“Try to remember, don’t stress! It’s easier than you think. I was so nervous with our four-month-old but it was absolutely fine. Just relax and enjoy.” Emma M

“Most of all, enjoy the family time, lovely food and fresh air.” Ann-Marie R

“When your toddler shouts ‘mummy there’s a big duck in the house’ move quick, it’s probably a swan!’ Angie R (Our favourite tip so far, Angie!)

 

And some glowing endorsements…

“My little boy and I have been coming to Center Parcs since he was a toddler (now just turned 7). It’s our happy place.” Fiona C

“Center Parcs is fantastic for a first family holiday. We enjoyed it as it’s not too far from where we live and has a home from home feel.” Jenna S

“In January 2022 we are bringing three babies – one nine-month-old and two three-month-olds. We have been going to Center Parcs since Sherwood first opened. Our son is now 33, he first went to Center Parcs when he was 18 months old. We love it so much and always spend all family birthdays there. In January 2022 there are 25 of us going.” Andrea S

“The first time I went I was 18 months old in 1992. The first time I took my daughter she was nine months old in March 2020.” Emma W

“Just enjoy every moment. It’s such a lovely place to take a little one, so well-equipped and lovely, safe environment. It was the first holiday for all four of my children and can’t wait to take my grandchild next year. So many happy memories and so many more still to come.” Donna S

         

Lizzie Jackson

Lizzie Jackson

As PR & Media Relations Officer at Center Parcs, I’m always hearing amazing stories from our teams on the villages. I’ll share as many of these as I can with you, as well as giving you a glimpse behind the scenes to see what goes into running a Center Parcs!