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Activities For Couple’s At Center Parcs May 4, 2012

Activities For Couple’s At Center Parcs Longleat

There are numerous activities for guests at Center Parcs but as a couple you probably want something slightly different and with no children running around:

Aqua Sauna

This is the perfect activity for any couple on a romantic weekend, away from everything. Personally this is my favourite place within Center Parcs. The whole sauna has been recently renovated and you can definitely tell. The whole building is clean and fresh with all the facilities that you would expect from a high end sauna.

It is around £40 for a 3 hour session and this is more than value for money. On arrival you are given a freshly washed dressing gown and towel to go over your swim shorts or bikini. Once inside the rooms available will blow you away.

I’m not usually easily impressed but there are so many different rooms all of high quality. In total there are 15 different spa experience rooms ranging from a sauna, Turkish hammam, water beds, Zen garden, Japanese salt steam room and an Indian blossom steam room. This is a place to come and get rid of all of your stresses.

What’s more there are always staff on hand giving talks about products you can buy or offering massages and treatments. For couple’s this is a brilliant place to just enjoy each other’s company whilst experiencing un heard of treatments.

Here is a link for a full list of treatments:
http://www.aquasana.co.uk/sana/aboutthespa/new_experiences.jsp

Cross bows/ Archery

Although it may not be romantic, or calming, this is a great experience to have fun with your other half and try something new and interesting. There are both Archery and Cross Bow sessions that run every day of the week except for Mondays.

I have listed both as it is down to your personal preference as to which you would prefer. Both are taken by trained instructors and last for an hour. I would personally choose the cross bows as I believe them to be more exciting and something that you are unlikely to be able to do again for a while.

This is perfect for couple’s as you can help each other out and have competitions between yourselves. Also this is one of the few places where equipment and the teaching is of real quality and up to the standard you would expect. Many of the jobs within Center Parcs are seen as a waste of time by some staff, but this is one activity that those who teach it enjoy doing. Maybe it’s because they get paid more?

The staff are enthusiastic and help out anyone that needs help. After a couple of goes they are mainly there just for you safety and to tell you when to collect your arrows. This is a really exciting activity and something that you can both enjoy.

Falconry

Again this is something completely different but may not be to every bodies tastes. Here you get to experience what it is like handling a bird of prey and get to hold and fly one of them. This may not appeal to everybody but is something that couple’s can enjoy and learn about together.

Why would you want to take your partner somewhere where you are doing all the same activities that you could do at home?

For more information visit the Center Parcs activities website

http://www.centerparcs.co.uk/villages/longleat/todo/index.jsp

Twitter: @LongleatCPBlog

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Restaurants For Couple’s At Center Parcs Longleat

If you are going to Center Parcs with just your other half then you want to find somewhere to eat that has a romantic, calm atmosphere, with high quality food.

Here are my top 3 recommendations:

Rajinda Pradesh

This restaurant is brilliant for couples. It is situated down next to the Jardin Des Sports and opposite the lake. The layout of the restaurant is spacious and each table has a crisp, white table cloth with a selection of cutlery and glasses. The walls of the restaurant are made up of high windows that enable you to look out over the lake or onto the gardens.

Once sat the food is all freshly made and they have specifically trained Indian chefs. The food is brought to you in separate dishes which enables you to share your food and try each others. The service provided is quick and the staff are always willing to help. Even the toilets are better than the rest of the parks, with a variety of hand soaps and modern sinks.  I would however be careful when buying drinks as these are expensive with a glass of wine costing £7.00. Expect to pay a premium price but the quality of the food will make up for it.

This restaurant is perfect for a romantic meal for two and is the perfect end to an evening. Be careful not to want to eat here on a Monday though as this is the only day of the week it is closed. Be sure to book in advance as this is the most popular restaurant in Center Parcs.

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

Ortega’s

This is a tapas bar situated in the Plaza. It encapsulates what Spanish food is about and has a wide selection of tapas style dishes. This is the perfect place for sharing food and enjoying each other’s company. Unlike Rajinda Pradesh the prices aren’t so high here with dishes costing on average of £5. per dish.

The setting of the restaurant is tranquil and calm, especially when eating in the evening. There is dimmed lighting and occasionally a live musician will play. It is surrounded by tropical plants and has a real authentic, Spanish feel to it.

The food here is of good quality although not as high as Rajinda’s. I would avoid some dishes such as the ‘Chorizo Con Patatas’ as I know this is just brought in and micro waved out the back. You can definitely tell in the taste as well so make sure to ask what is made fresh.

The staff provide good, quality service whilst occasionally (usually new years) donning authentic Spanish dress and clothing. Try to book in advance although this doesn’t get as busy as Rajinda’s.

Here is a link to their menu:
http://www.centerparcs.co.uk/images/pdfs/menus/2012/ortega_2012.pdf

Cafe Rouge

This is probably the most under used restaurant in Center Parcs. It is a French style restaurant situated next to Ortega’s. It has a much bigger floor space than Ortega’s and a more laid back, European feel to it.

The reason I say it is under appreciated is because many of the guests see it as higher class. To be fair to them the prices are high and the quality of food isn’t as good as somewhere like Rajinda’s although it is comparable to Ortega’s.

The reason I would recommend going here is because it has a real casual atmosphere and is perfect for a couple after a day of activities. Not many families come here because of the prices and it is a restaurant you can sit back and relax in.

Like I said though, prices are high with meals costing around £10 for a main, but you will love it, your partner will love it and you will both be able to de-stress. Don’t worry too much about booking as it is rarely ever fully booked, but obviously if you are a worrier it is better to be safe.

Here is a link to their menu:

http://www.centerparcs.co.uk/images/pdfs/menus/2011/cafe_rouge_2011.pdf

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Activities In The Local Area For Families At Center Parcs Longleat

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.

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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.

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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.

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

www.longleat.co.uk

www.bristolzoo.org.uk

http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/site/around-wiltshire/tourist-information-centres

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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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