When Little E was born things got quite hectic around here and we both said we really wanted to have a break so that we could regroup. It has been a stressful few years and with Ethan starting school in April we wanted to have some quality time with him whilst we could still take advantage of the term time prices.
I had heard a lot of good things about Center Parcs but had never really considered going there on holiday before. With Ethan’s love of water we thought it would be the perfect place to get away and also have a break from technology for a bit.
We decided on booking our accommodation in the central area and opted for the executive lodge. The executive lodge’s have WiFi, Darren wanted to make sure that Ethan would be able to use his iPad and get his YouTube fix if it was required. As much as we needed the break from technology we didn’t want to have to deal with a full-blown meltdown because Ethan couldn’t watch his Kinder Egg videos.
We chose the central area as we didn’t think hiring bikes would be an option for us and we wanted to be able to walk to the village. It turns out our lodge was in the perfect location for us and I really think it’s location made our holiday experience even better.
You can arrive at Center Parcs from 10am on your arrival day but you can’t have access to your lodge until 3pm. With this in mind we decided to leave home later in the day, aiming to arrive after 3pm so that there wouldn’t be a massive queue at the arrivals lodge and we could drive straight to our accommodation. Unfortunately our timings were out and we arrived at 3pm when everyone was queuing. This did mean that Ethan started to have a meltdown in the car, which made finding our lodge quite a stressful experience which added to Ethan’s meltdown. I had to carry a kicking a screaming Ethan into the lodge literally leaving Darren holding the baby! Thankfully the visitors waiting to great us at the lodge calmed everything down.
When staying at Center Parcs all activities, apart from swimming, have to be booked and are an extra cost. They also offer crèche facilities and baby sitting services. We did inquire if they could look after Ethan at the crèche and they were happy to accommodate his needs if they had the extra staff on hand. We decided this would be too much for him and instead found one suitable activity for us all each day.
We opted for Tenpin Bowling…
…the Elveden Mini Farm…
…and a horse and carriage ride.
We even booked a family photo shoot, which although was very stressful with Ethan and the photographer really needs a medal , it was a great experience.
There is of course the swimming to enjoy…
…and Ethan even enjoyed the playgrounds.
What really made our holiday memorable and was by far Ethan’s favorite part was the visitors to our lodge. We had daily visits from the geese and you always had company from the ducks.
We were even visited by a whole family of Muntjac Deer!
We had some meals out, where the children are perfectly catered for. There are microwave stations and even complimentary baby food for little ones. You can even order takeaways and we had both a curry and pizza takeaway. These can be pre-ordered from 3pm and you select your desired delivery or collection time.
We really enjoyed our break at Elveden Forest Center Parcs. It was very relaxed and Ethan didn’t need his iPad once whilst there, our visitors were enough to keep him entertained. I think at our children’s ages we could have easily gone to Center Parcs and not booked any extra activities. The swimming pool would easily have been enough and people were making a day of staying there.
Our accommodation was lovely and had everything you needed. Both bathrooms were en-suite so you could easily share with two adults and have your own space. We pre-ordered a family grocery pack which was there when we arrived and we used this through our stay. We also brought food with us for our fussy eater!
I would recommend making reservations for any restaurants you wish to eat in as we saw people turned away at peak dinner times. I would also recommend taking the time to look through all of the activities you can book before you go, or talk to customer services when you arrive. There were some very upset children being turned away from the Elveden Mini Farm as they had not pre-booked and thought they could just join the queue for the next session.
We also feel your accommodation location is the key, we didn’t realise how big Elveden Forest Center Parcs was until we were leaving and had to follow the one way system in the car. The lodges further out seemed quite close together, whereas our lodge location made us feel there wasn’t that many people about. I would defiantly pay to select my lodge location when booking.
Would we go back? Yes we would, but because the school holiday time prices are very different from the term time prices, it might take a while to save to go back.