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Activities For Families At Center Parcs Longleat April 26, 2012

Activities

Center Parcs has activities for children of all sizes and adults with fears. You’re likely to feel guilt if you don’t join in with your children whether you have a fear or not.

Participating in activities at Center Parcs comes at a cost for the family. £8 for a badminton court, 50p for hire or racquet and £1.50 to buy a shuttle cock, my advice is to bring your own. if you don’t have it then at least make sure you keep your shuttle cock for next time. Many families hand them back in and end up paying again. The facilities for all activities aren’t  great either, table tennis tables are wonky and the roller skates are old and worn. Participate in the activities but be wary and check that some are up to your standards before using.

Here are my recommended activities that always get great feedback.

Get Active:

This activity takes the kids away from you for 3 hours and is aimed at 8-13 year olds.

Get active can consist of a variety of activities depending on the weather conditions and the preferences of the children. Three activities that are always part of the day are mini-archery, mini-fencing and team games. These activities are slightly different and unique to what your children may have participated in before.

Although, at £23 per child, this is one of the more expensive activities it gets the children completely out of your hair for three hours. Mini-archery and mini-fencing would set you back £16 for a start, the day also includes a game on the mini-bowling which costs £11 for 45 minutes. That’s £27 already so this is great value for money.

The children as split into teams and individuals throughout the day and participate in a fun, yet competitive environment. The mini-fencing involves fully kitting up and gives a real authentic feel and experience for the children. If I’m honest the team games aren’t great. They are usually games suggested by the children such as bulldog. There is little input from the staff in this but the children enjoy them. Although they may be games they always play, and may seem as if you’re paying for something they could do all the time, it is something they will be unable to do elsewhere on the holiday.

Indoor Climbing Wall:

This is very popular with people of all ages. There is a minimum height of 1.1m and the price is £6 for 20 minutes. This again offers something that children may not usually be able to take part in so appeals to their sense of adventure. Also adults can use it as well so there can be races between parents and children.

They are harnessed up by a trained instructor and alternated between the 4 different sides of the wall, each of varying difficulty. This is a very good activity at times that you are waiting for something. However make sure to book it up as it does become very popular the longer the day goes on. The last booking is at 16.40 and it doesn’t run on a Monday or Friday.

The Swimming Pool:

This is the best value for money in Center Parcs. It is one of the few activities that are free and children spend countless hours exploring and sliding around. In the swimming pool there are slides and pools for all ages. This is the activity that the kids enjoy the most and is the place where you are likely to spend the majority of your stay.

What’s more you will be able to enjoy it just as much. There are slides aimed towards children but also hot tubs, plunge pool and the rapids. These are for older children and adults.

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For more information on how to book & the various other activities available please visit: http://www.centerparcs.co.uk/

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Restuarant Recommendations For Families At Center Parcs Longleat April 23, 2012

Restaurants

Here are my top 3 recommendations of family orientated restaurants:

Huckleberry’s

This is the outstanding and by far the most popular choice for families for evening meals. During peak periods the restaurant is busy most evenings with very few spaces available for those just looking to turn up. Booking is essential.

The menu is typical of that of an American Diner. There are chicken wings, platters, ribs and nacho’s available to whet the appetite. The nacho’s are loaded with salsa, guacamole and chess and offer the best value for money, quantity wise.

There are steaks, ribs, burgers and a typical American Thanksgiving meal of Turkey with all the trimmings available. As in all the Restaurants there are half sizes available for children at half the price. There is also a children’s menu of the usual chicken nuggets, pasta, fish fingers .etc. for those children a little less adventurous.

This restaurant is perfect for families as you can send the children off to the side of the restaurant. There are pictures and colouring pencils, computers to play racing games and a small play area with padded toys, ropes climbing frames and balls.

The staff in here are also very friendly and good with children. The layout is fairly spread out and offers plenty of room for large parties. There are also unusual and child friendly, American style drinks such a ice-cream soda’s.

Many restaurants in Center Parcs are overpriced for the quantity and quality of the food. The portions here are generous and, whilst not all the food is of high quality (I’d avoid the salads), the burgers and steaks are fantastic.

Here is a link to their menu:

http://www.centerparcs.co.uk/images/pdfs/menus/2012/hucks_apr_2012.pdf

Pancake House

During the day this is the most popular restaurant on the village, however with its opening hours being between 11 – 5 you have to get in there quick.

The only problem with the Pancake House is that you are unable to book tables or time slots. There is a first come first serve policy so it is my advice to plan it into your week and get their early on that day.

The menu in Pancake House caterers for both the savoury and sweet toothed. A tip is to go for the Mexican which offers a mix of chicken, jalapeños, spring onions, salami, meatballs and cheese topped with salsa and sour cream. This is my personal favourite and it comes in a generous portion size.

Again there is a children’s menu or half size portions. With main meals averaging at £7.50 per head Pancake again offers great value for money.

Here is a link to their menu: http://www.centerparcs.co.uk/images/pdfs/menus/2012/pancake_generic_apr_2012.pdf

Rajinda Pradesh

Sells best quality of food in Center Parcs and will be one of the best Indian meals you will ever have. Situated down by the Jardin Des Sports it is a spacious restaurant in which you don’t feel as though you’re sitting on top of other people.

Just like Hucks this restaurant can be booked but you often need to get in there early for your reservations. Although not aimed at families and with the prices being fairly extortionate, this is a great restaurant to visit at least once.

As stated the food in here is superb. All the ingredients are fresh and the chefs are professional Indian food trained chefs.  All the food is cooked at the time with nothing being micro waved, heated up .etc. Which does happen in Sports Cafe.

There is no children’s menu here but child’s portions can be purchased for half the price. My tip is to drink before or only have one drink during the meal. Drinks are expensively priced with a Cobra beer costing £6.60.

All main meals can be ordered with either chicken, beef or king prawn so cater for different tastes and preferences. The sauces are rich and creamy whilst you can tell the meat is quality. However prices are high with some main meals costing as much as £15 per plate so take your time and make sure that you are willing to splash out.

The staff in here are again friendly although maybe more professional and not quite as personal as both Pancake House and Huckleberrys. The atmosphere is more formal and this isn’t a place to bring children who misbehave.

However with its location next to the Jardin Des Sports it is easy to send them off whilst you are waiting for your food to go in the arcade or play a game of pool. For those families without children this is the perfect restaurant to come and enjoy a relaxed family meal in a more formal environment.

Here is a link to their menu: http://www.centerparcs.co.uk/images/pdfs/menus/2012/rajinda_pradesh_apr_2012.pdf

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