I bloody love a good holiday. Although I’m usually pretty stressed in the run up to it and leave a lot of the actual planning to the missus – thanks Hay – it’s nice being able to get away. The chance to see a new place, have different experiences and just escape the mundanity of everyday life.
Since having a kid, we’ve still managed to get away, but things have changed. We’re now more likely to go on short breaks around the UK – North Yorkshire, Pembrokeshire, Hampshire, Dartmoor etc – than road trips to the States. Similarly, we now look for holidays which are both child and dog-friendly as we prefer to keep the pack together when we go away. I’ve heard that it’s ‘frowned upon’ to leave a toddler alone at home…
Somewhere I want to go with the missus, toddler and dog in the not too distant future is Center Parcs. I’ve been three times before – Sherwood Forest with an ex-girlfriend’s family and friends in 2003, Elveden Forest in 2010 with my close family, and then Sherwood Forest again in 2014 with my extended family. We’ve not yet managed to visit with the sprog, but here’s my top four reasons why I think it makes a good place for a family break:
Spending Quality Time Together Outdoors
Being together as a family is really important to me. I’m still really close with my mum, dad and brother, so I’d like this to continue as I get older, whilst also forming stronger bonds with my own little family unit. I think holidays and breaks are a good way of doing this in a completely different environment to your normal surroundings.
Although I enjoy going on holidays as a threesome or foursome – if you include Dax – we’ve actually been away a couple of times over recent years with my extended family. The last time was to Center Parcs with 10 family members – 11 if you include Foetus L who was happy in the missus’ womb! I wouldn’t want to do this all of the time, but the occasional joint break works quite well, particularly as my folks – and grandma – live 3+ hours away.
Therefore, I view somewhere like Center Parcs as a place for us to go and spend a few days of quality family time doing stuff together – with only the occasional argument. I also find that there’s something great about being in the (relative) wilderness with the ones you love. You’re able to just enjoy the simpler things without the distractions of everyday life. The poor phone signal in the woods helps with this!
Everything You Need In One Place
Since becoming a parent, I’m becoming more and more about convenience. Everything is more difficult and takes soooooo much longer with a toddler, that I try to minimise hassle where possible. Finding places to go on holiday which have everything you need right there makes a huge difference.
This is why I enjoy places like Center Parcs as you have everything you need onsite. You literally drive there and park up, then have no reason to leave. Well, until the end of your break – I don’t think they want non-paying guests going all Robin Hood on them and sleeping rough in the forests.
Everything you need is within walking / cycling distance. You’re able to easily make your way from your accommodation to the woods, lakes, shops, restaurants and activities without the need for a car – or worse – public transport. If you compare this to alternative staycation venues – hotels, campsites, holiday parks etc – chance are you’ll have to venture further afield at some point in order to buy food, eat out, pick up essentials or just see something else.
I always thought that I’d be bored staying in one location – we used to do a lot of road trips and multi-centre holidays, so we’re used to seeing and doing different things. However, something like this gives the impression that you’re having different holidays on the same holiday, just without the hassle of travelling – if that makes sense!
Activities For All The Family
I enjoy holidays where you can do what you want based on how you feel. Sometimes you might want to chill out and watch TV, other times you might want to do aerial tree trecking, Bollywood dancing or a cupcake decorating workshop. Incidentally, I’ve only done one of those – I’ll let you decide which…
As such, finding somewhere to go on holiday where you can please and entertain all of the family is not only important, but is often like gold dust. This is why I like venues such as Center Parcs – there’s not many places around where you can keep your baby, child, teenager, mum and grandma all happy at the same time!
We’ve always been a pretty active family, so a holiday which incorporates different activities is right up our street. A break like this means that we’ll be found doing paid for activities – tennis, badminton, short tennis, American pool, table tennis, adventure golf etc – as well as included stuff like swimming or cycling through the woodlands. I may not be as fit as I once was, but as long as I can still beat my mum at racket sports, I’ll stay happy.
Variety Of Accommodation Options
When going on a break, it can be difficult to find accommodation that suits your needs. We’ve stayed in tents, caravans, self-catered apartments, cheap hotels and luxury hotels – some of which have been awesome, others aren’t worth writing home about.
That’s why I like places like Center Parcs, which offers different accommodation options. It seems like no matter what your requirements are – party size, features, accessibility, dog-friendly etc – you’re always going to be able to find something.
From recollection, I’ve stayed at a few different types of lodges when I’ve visited, including the more basic up to the more luxurious. On on our last trip, for instance – which was for my Grandma’s 70th birthday – we went for an Executive Lodge which included added luxuries like a sauna to make our break that little bit more special. If you really want luxurious though, check out the brand new Treehouses, which include things like an outdoor hot tub and a personal games den. That’s a holiday I can get on board with!
So those are four of the main reasons why I’d recommend going on a short family break to Center Parcs. What do you look for in a holiday? Let me know below!
N.B. This is a collaborative post written with Center Parcs.[jetpack_subscription_form subscribe_text=”Like what you’ve read? Want more? Pop in your email to get all of the latest posts.”]