Our first family holiday – Center Parcs, Longleat

sunrise at Center Parcs

Last week we went our first family holiday to Center Parcs in Longleat, read on to find out how got on 🙂

How we chose Center Parcs

My other half and I LOVE our foreign holidays and we always thought that baby W’s first holiday would be to somewhere like Spain or Greece. However, as he still isn’t sleeping through the night, the thought of the 3 of us sharing a hotel room all week was unappealing! We’d been to Center Parcs separately (read about my girly weekend there when I was pregnant) and both loved it so we knew it would be perfect for our first family holiday as we’d have plenty of space! (And if he screamed the house down, we wouldn’t wake up any neighbours!!)

Preparation

I’ve never been so busy in the run-up to a holiday! We wanted to take as much food and drink with us as we could, to try and recoup some of the money we’d spent on booking the holiday! So the day before I went to Aldi’s, home bargains AND got a delivery from Tesco lol!

The day we left it took us a good couple of hours to get our stuff together and into the car. The accommodation doesn’t include a washing machine, and the weather was looking mixed… and you never know when baby’s going to have a growth spurt… so I took a LOT of clothes!

So as well as food, drinks, clothes, toiletries we also managed to get into the car baby W’s bath, moses basket, bouncer and playgym!

Our accommodation

We had a ‘new style executive’ chalet in the Pines area. When we arrived I initially felt like it needed a good scrub and/or a bit of a refurb e.g. the bathroom grouting was grubby, handrprints all over the patio doors… but once we’d unpacked our stuff those thoughts faded away and it really felt like a home from home!

This was a slightly more expensive chalet than the previous one I’d stayed in and some of the extra features were a coffee machine (nice!), Jacuzzi bath (lush), en suite bathrooms, daily maid service (fab!) and TV’s in the bedroom (which we didn’t use). The rainforest-style showers in both bathrooms were AMAZING!

I love this wall in the chalet at Center Parcs!
I love this wall in the chalet at Center Parcs!

And of course the best thing about the accommodation is the view out from the sofa… the trees, the peace and quiet, the birdsong, the squirrels and rabbits running around….

the view from our back garden, Center Parcs
the view from our back garden, Center Parcs

We were really happy with the location – we could walk to the main Plaza and down to the sports area. When I’d been before we had to get the land train over to the Plaza, so it was nice to be able to be within walking distance this time.

What we got up to

We were blessed with beautiful crisp, sunny weather every day so we did lots of walking around with daddy and baby W making good use of their Baby Bjorn carrier!

Daddy and baby W went swimming nearly every day in the lovely, warm subtropical paradise pool – mummy joined them a couple of times too 🙂

Daddy treated Mummy me to not one but two massages in the Spa and a spa session – bliss! The massages were wonderful, and I really enjoyed using all the steam rooms and saunas that I was unable to use when I was pregnant – my favourite is the lemongrass steam room mmmm. I still think that this spa is the best one I’ve been to by far!

Even the walk to the spa is lovely at Center Parcs!
Even the walk to the spa is lovely at Center Parcs!

My parents came to stay for 2 nights so cue more walking, swimming and eating!

We ate most of our meals in the chalet but we did have brunch in the Grand café, lunch in the Pancake house, lunch in Café Rouge and a Chinese takeaway – all very good! I must add at this point that I noticed all the staff at Center Parcs are super friendly 🙂

So other than that we just chilled and played in the chalet. Unfortunately baby W was a bit grouchy for the first few days but perked up by the end of the week. my OH and I took it in turns to have lie-ins/naps so we both managed to catch up with some much-needed sleep 🙂 For the (un?) lucky one that was up early, we were blessed with some amazing sunrises….

sunrise at Center Parcs
sunrise at Center Parcs
sunrise at Center Parcs
sunrise at Center Parcs

One early morning when I was giving daddy a break I took baby W down the lake and we saw a baby deer (fawn?!) on the way 🙂

early morning walk down at the lake, Center Parcs
early morning walk down at the lake, Center Parcs

We also made a trip into nearby Warminster to stock up on wine, supplies and we bought some 99p reading glasses from Poundstretcher as my OH had misplaced his glasses!

The week flew by and suddenly it was our last day 😦 We made a lovely day out of it, going on safari in Longleat park which was great fun especially seeing lions very close-up (didn’t get a decent pic as I had baby W on me at the time!), having a monkey banging on our bonnet and watching the very nice Mercedes in front of us get trashed by the monkeys! Oh and making baby W wear a giraffe hat that came with a Next sleepsuit, he looked SO cute but unimpressed 🙂

We’ll definitely go back to Longleat park once W is a bit older…

giraffe at Longleat
giraffe at Longleat
Lemurs all cuddled up together at Longleat
Lemurs all cuddled up together at Longleat
Monkey on our bonnet! Longleat
Monkey on our bonnet! Longleat

We then stopped in Warminster for lunch – we went to a Wetherspoons for my first time in ages and I was really pleasantly surprised by the food, tasty and great value!

Home time

A couple of days after getting home, the weather turned – it seems to have gone from Summer to Winter here in Cardiff – a shocker but makes those memories from last week even more lovely… baby W falling asleep in his baby bjorn in the sun, his first real encounter with ducks… 🙂

Hopefully we’ll take W abroad next year, but we will definitely take him back to Center Parcs at some point – it really was a home from home and it was great being able to take all of his home comforts and toys with us – I’m not sure how we’d cope abroad without his playgym and bouncer!  (Although I guess by then he will have outgrown them!)

Where was your first family holiday? Or where would you like to go?! I’d love to hear from you – leave a comment below, or follow me on Twitter or Bloglovin x

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3 thoughts on “Our first family holiday – Center Parcs, Longleat”

  1. It definitely looks more comfortable than Iris’ first holiday! Camping in the rain with a 10 week old baby was maybe a little bit too adventurous! I’ve been to that Center Parcs a few times, but never to the spa. I feel like I’ve missed out now! xx

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