It’s the 1st of December folks, that means it’s officially the start of Christmas 2014!
Is anyone else thinking this year has gone freaky fast?!
We got the festive season off to a great start with a day pass visit to Centre Parcs (Sherwood Forest). We were lucky enough to be able to meet up with Steve’s relatives – our girls love their wider family so it was lovely to share Centre Parcs’s Winter Wonderland with them.
We went to Centre Parcs for a week this summer and seeing how the landscape changes with the seasons is amazing. Centre Parcs go all out with their Winter Wonderland theme, right from the snow at the entrance to the sparkly reindeer on the check in cabin roof top – cue lots of Ooh’s and Aah’s from the back seat and beaming smiles (even from our eldest who kept trying to tell her sister the snow wasn’t real!!)
We soon realised that this was only an introduction to the Wonderland theme. By the time we had parked the car and walked down to guest services, we were surrounded by beautifully lit up trees along the paths and singing reindeer. It was great to see how our girls were entranced by it all – but it clearly had a similar effect on us adults too as everyone appeared captivated by the scene.
After meeting up with the rest of the family and an essential Starbucks hot chocolate (of course) to refuel, we were ready to see what Centre Parcs had in store for us. We took our youngest to meet the reindeer at Santa’s Workshop while our eldest went to play adventure golf with her older cousins.
We walked along a lit up path towards Santa’s Workshop hidden amongst the trees. The reindeer were living in a nice enclosure, they seemed very happy and inquisitive of their adoring public! Next to the enclosure were pony rides, an enormous Christmas tree and little wooden huts selling hot chocolate and shortbread – it was a very magical setting and although only 2 years old, Poppy was happy to take it all in!
We met up again with everyone at the adventure playground, we were very lucky with bright blue skies and a fairly dry playground, which meant that the girls were happy to play for a good hour – the best thing about the adventure playground is that the equipment is suitable for adults too!
For lunch we headed to Strada in the Village Square; great for kids with their own menu and soft play area in the corner – a considerate waitress gave us a corner table with picture window out over the subtropical swimming complex which gave the girls plenty to look at and meant they stayed put at our table (something our youngest struggles with!!).
After taking our eldest to visit the reindeer we wandered up to the sports centre for some Christmas rollerskating – my husband bravely offered to take our eldest! Neither of them can skate so I got my camera ready to capture some hilarity (cruel but true), I was actually felt a little cheated when my husband turned out to be really good and after a couple of falls our eldest got the hang of it too! They had a great time – all set to Christmas tunes, amazing!
Centre Pars do multi age entertainment really well and once again there was a soft play area (ball pool and slide) for our youngest nearby.
Centre Parcs sometimes gets a bad rap for being expensive and while it’s not the cheapest break available, once there it really is up to you how much you spend.
On longer breaks we make use of the free activities; swimming, adventure playgrounds, soft play areas and the children’s disco, we also take our own bikes. We schedule one activity per day with perhaps a bonus family activity – in the summer we did geo-caching for the first time and loved it, great way to do something together.
Less is definitely more at Centre Parcs, especially when they are young.
It’s easy to get carried away and spend too much on all the extras – we are as guilty as anyone, but pre planning can keep this to a minimum.
With the girl’s flagging after rollerskating and playing in the ballpool we decided to head back to the car. It was dark as we made our way through the village and the Winter Wonderland was lit up to full effect, with fairy lit pathways and snow scenes projected onto buildings. It wasn’t just the children who thought it was magical.
Our day at Centre Parcs was a great way to kickstart Christmas 2014 and I am officially feeling festive!
Do you have any Christmas days out planned?