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The Best Tournaments Available For Families May 13, 2012

Filed under: Families at Center Parcs - Longleat — centerparcsreview @ 5:58 pm
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At Center Parcs there are a wide range of competitions and tournaments available for the whole family to join in and be involved in. This blog is going to explore the sporting tournaments and which ones offer the best value for money:

Lads & Dads Soccer

This is perfect for any young footballer who wants to show their parent how it is done, or vice versa, a parent wanting to knock their child down a peg or two. Although this is named lads & dads obviously mothers, daughters, granddads, aunties and so on, can join in.

The sessions are run for an hour and there is a maximum of 20 people on the session. In peak periods this will get booked up so make sure you make your booking early. If you’re not holidaying in peak periods it’s probably better to wait until you arrive. This way you can check numbers and find out how many other people are participating. Center Parcs can be known to cancel a tournament late so take my advice and check on the morning of the event.


The tournament is light-hearted and the staff are aimed towards helping the children out more than the adults. If there is a 50:50 decision it is likely it will be given to the child. Some people can take this tournament too seriously and get a little up tight but the majority of dads will be there, just like yourself, to have a kick about with their kids.

The teams are split into families and the tournament is run with each team playing each other once, a final and a third/ fourth place play-off. This is a great activity for adults to have a laugh with their children and enjoy competing as a team, with each other, or against each other.

Lads & Dads Cricket

Again this is brilliant for an aspiring cricketer to smash their dad for 6 or bowl him out for a golden duck. Additionally once again, despite the name, this is aimed at anyone who wants to play cricket with their child.

This session is slightly longer than the football session at 2 hours long, despite being the same price, £7 each. So if you’re looking for value for money or something that is more likely to wear the kids out, this is probably it.

Again depending on peak time should motivate the time at which you choose to book. This minimum the session will be run with is 8 people, so if this is the case you will still have to participate or lose your money if you choose you don’t want to play with that many people.

In peak times there are 2 evening sessions every Thursday and Saturday and these are almost always packed with 26 people in each. Staff split the teams differently but a usual way is to split into batting pairs, have a certain number of over’s each, 2 innings and the winning batting pair wins.

This is a great laugh and something that you can really enjoy together. Again most parents are friendly and will bowl slowly to smaller children. The aim is for the kids to enjoy themselves whilst learning a few cricketing skills along the way.


Action Activities For Guests At Center Parcs May 12, 2012

Action Holidays at Center Parcs

As well as all the traditional sports such as tennis, badminton & pool, Center Parcs also offers many outdoor activities to get your blood pumping and heart racing. There are adrenaline sports such as paintball and wall climbing as well as clever thinking and nous, such as the Aerial Adventure. Coming out to Center Parcs is a great place to explore your sense of adventure and experience new challenges.

Here are my top 3 recommendations:

Aerial Adventure

This is brilliant for everyone, if you have kids, couple’s, stag/hen parties, whatever. This is a course that is 30 foot in the air. You are safely harnessed up and it is your challenge to get to the other side. Along the way are a variety of obstacles that will make it more and more difficult to finish up on the zip wire at the end.

This is a fairly expensive activity costing £25 per person and containing only one attempt at the course. However a good trick is to book up the morning slots (before or the evening ones (after These are the off peak hours for this activity and will save you £7 per person. If there is a large group of you this is something you probably want to consider as it will save a considerable amount.

Additionally if you have small children it is advisable to get them measured before booking. The height limit is 1 metre 22cm and many children do get turned away. This is also an opportunity for everyone else as it obviously frees up a space so if you see a session happening, ask them if everyone has turned up. If they haven’t you can join in and then go and pay after.

This activity ends in a zip wire that takes you over half the lake. This is what the children love and is a great opportunity for you to get an action photo of them.

Climbing Skills/ High Ropes

This is situated on the other side of the lake than the aerial adventure and is more skills based. Many guests ask the difference and the only real difference is that you are taught the basics and given a much better understanding of how to handle yourself whilst strapped to a harness.

Whereas the aerial adventure is meant purely for enjoyment and entertainment, this is a little more serious. The sessions last 2 hours and are the same price as the aerial adventure so offer much better value for money.

If you have an interest in climbing or are looking to start climbing then this will be more suited to you. The staff are excellent and all highly trained. They make the sessions extremely enjoyable and you will play a number of different games and take part in various exercises. These include capture the flag in which you have to climb to the top of the wall the fastest whilst competing as a team. Whilst aimed at everybody, for children under their teenage years I would recommend the aerial adventure.


Horse Riding

Although it may not be viewed as the most daring or enthralling activity, for those who have never done it before it is something completely different and exciting. There are a number of different difficulty levels and courses for different age groups. This is the perfect opportunity to try out this age old tradition in a safe environment.

What many guests don’t realise is that the horse riding takes place off site. This is something you should be aware of and probably isn’t advertised enough. Depending on the session you book in for, you need to check whether you will be transported by bus (which happens on woodland walk sessions) or whether you will have to make your own way there.

This is a great activity for children who have never experienced horse riding before. Again the staff are very understanding and helpful. It is very enjoyable and an activity I would definitely recommend.

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Activities In The Local Area For Families At Center Parcs Longleat May 4, 2012

When you’re on holiday you might not want to be stuck inside Center Parcs facilities for the whole time you’re there. Here are my top three recommendations for families:

Longleat Grounds & Safari Park

This is situated directly opposite but it is still worth getting in the car to go other. There is a busy road in between and the walk from the top down into the centre of the grounds will take a good half an hour.

My first piece of advice would be to book online before you even get to Center Parcs. Plan your holiday before and recognise which day you would preferably wish to go to Center Parcs. If you can’t do this then still book online before you leave the park as there is a 15% discount on online tickets.

Secondly decide which ticket is best for your family. Prices are expensive with it costing £27.50 per adult and £19.50 for a child. Decide whether you wish to use everything in the park, for example the Safari and the Adventure Playground, if not then get a House & Gardens ticket which are considerably cheaper at £13.50. Bearing that in mind the Safari and Adventure offer great fun and excitement for the children. I would advise that if you have children between 5-16 then pay the extra for the all day ticket.

The Safari is one of only three in the UK and will give you a chance to see lions, tigers, rhinos and monkeys. However the monkeys do try to take bits off of your car so be a little wary.


Bristol Zoo

Bristol Zoo is about an hour’s drive from Center Parcs but is easy to get too and uses mainly A roads. Its more than likely that you won’t want to do this and Longleat but this is a good option if Longleat doesn’t appeal to you or if you’ve been there before.

It is advisable to leave early and leave plenty of time to get there to be able to fully appreciate and enjoy your day. The roads can get busy and you don’t want to spend more time in the car than in the zoo. Again there is a discount for online bookings and the prices are more reasonable than Longleat. This is a great place for younger children and also offers more interaction and talks about the various animals than you would find at Longleat.


Westbury White Horse

Westbury is around a 10 minute drive from Center Parcs. It is free and perfect for a hot sunny day. You might decide to take a picnic or just go for a walk around the area. There has been a horse on the site for 300 years and it is the oldest of 13 white horse landmarks that Wiltshire is famous for.

With it being free it is something that you can enjoy without having to pay a premium for. The area is lovely and you will have views of the beautiful countryside around as well as neighbouring towns. However you will also have a view of a large, concrete chimney that has been the bane of campaigners lives for many years now. However it has been shut down recently so may, someday in the future, be demolished.


Here are some useful links for more information about Center Parcs & the surrounding area:

Twitter: @LongleatCPBlog


Activities For Families At Center Parcs Longleat April 26, 2012


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.


For more information on how to book & the various other activities available please visit:

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


Here are my top 3 recommendations of family orientated restaurants:


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:

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:

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:

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