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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.

Twitter: @LongleatCPBlog


The Morning After The Night Before (Food) May 9, 2012

Let’s be honest, most of the week you’re going to be getting drunk and waking up with a hangover. What you want when waking up is a big hearty breakfast if you’re a bloke or maybe a continental breakfast to clear the head if you’re a lady. I could be wrong, whatever takes your pick.

Sports Cafe

Although you won’t be coming here for the high quality of food it will definitely do the job after a night out. Saying that the food isn’t bad at all, I enjoy eating here, but if you’re looking for high quality tasty food I’s probably not the place.

They have a full English Breakfast, burgers, lasagne’s, curries, chips and steaks. Perfect for the day after the night before. I recommend Sports Cafe because their portions are big and you can also heal your hangover with the hair of the dog early the next day.  They also play all the live sport so it is the perfect place to come and build up to your next night.

The burgers are a personal favourite of mine and I would recommend the chicken burger. It comes crispy, with fresh tomato, lettuce and you can pay a little extra for cheese and bacon on top. The prices aren’t particularly cheap compared to places outside of Center Parcs but compared to the other places within it is the cheapest you will get. Meals will set you back around £8 with a pint costing £3.60.

Cafe Rouge

This is perfect for the women after a night out.  You can order the continental breakfast which has a selection of muffins, meats and cheeses. If that isn’t for you then the full English is a little different to the traditional. It doesn’t have beans or chips or black pudding but grilled vegetables and potatoes.

The setting is quiet and tranquil so perfect for a head that is spinning. There are a wide selection of drinks including a variety of unusual tea’s. This is for the little more sophisticated taste and the portions are much smaller than Sports Cafe.

However the whole atmosphere is different and is much quieter and laidback whereas sports cafe will be buzzing for the days sporting events.

Grand Cafe

This is the best breakfast on the site. The full English has everything you want, all the trimmings and extra’s if you want them. The portion is even bigger than Sports Cafe but there is no alcohol or sports played in here. Again there is a continental option and a wide variety of tea’s.

This is the best location of the three as it is right in the middle of the village square. On the other hand Sports Cafe is down by the Jardin Des Sports and Cafe Rouge is in the Plaza. The prices are again similar to the other two and it would definitely be my choice before heading down to the Sports Cafe for a few beers.

Twitter: @LongleatCPBlog


Nights Out In The Local Area May 8, 2012

Nights Out In The Local Area

One of the main problems that stag and hen parties have when they come to Center Parcs is that there are loads of activities to do during the day but very little entertainment for them during the evenings. The bars and restaurants all shut at midnight and there is very little for adults to do. There is a family disco in Sports Cafe, which, by the huge lack of people that attend, is absolute rubbish.

Here are my recommendations:


Bristol is one of the best nights out in the UK. It is around an hour away from Center Parcs so you will have to get the train there and a taxi back late at night. However it has so many different nights for different types of people and for different parties.

There is an Oceana in the centre which has a huge selection of rooms ranging from the ice room to the cheese room. You can stumble between rooms and listen to music from every music genre. For older stag/ hen parties the cheese room may appeal with 70’s/80’s/90’s hits. Whereas for those a little younger the main room with current chart songs may appeal.

There are also various different nights available ranging from Drum & Bass to indie nights. There is a Superclub called the syndicate which does various nights on different days of the week.

Bristol is definitely the best place to go for a night out in the local area, the close are within close proximity of each other and you are sure to have a good night.

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Again this is a fair distance from Center Parcs taking around half an hour to get there. But yet again it has a variety of pubs/ clubs that are probably more suited to hen/stag parties. There are two Wetherspoons in the centre and these are a great place to start your night on cheap beer and cocktails.

There are also various cocktail bars and themed pubs. A personal  favourite is the Slug & Lettuce which offers cheap shots and shorts every day during the week.

Once already on your way you will want to visit the clubs. Blue Rooms is renowned for its CocoLoco night on a Thursday whilst Revs will be rammed at the weekends. Something different about the Bath nightlife is that almost all the clubs are below the ground. Although this can lead to some being a sweaty mess, they are completely different to what you may be used to.

On weekdays most are quite flexible on dress code .etc. if you have a theme. Although it may be good advice to ring up and find out before.

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This is the local town to Center Parcs and is only around a 5 minute taxi ride away. Although there are no clubs this is a good place to come on a weekday with karaoke happening on every night of the week in the various pubs as well as various drinks offers and deals.

The most common place to go is The Old Bell. This is packed on a weekend and is fairly busy in the week. Although not like Bath or Bristol it offers a cheap and local night out. I would recommend pre-drinking quite a lot (which is more than likely if you are on a stag/ hen party) as the pubs are busy and it can sometimes take a while for you to get served.

Once you’ve left there is a ‘club’ called JB’s that the locals venture too. If you love your feet sticking to the floor whilst trying to dance to chart music, this is the place for you.

The locals are fine here and having a fancy dress theme won’t go down badly. As long as you are friendly and don’t start any trouble, neither will they.

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Activities For Hen Parties At Center Parcs May 6, 2012

Being on a hen party you probably want something a little different to what the lads would want on their stag do’s. Here are my recommendations:

Aqua Sauna

Aqua Sauna is the perfect place to start your hen party. You can relax and enjoy the variety of different rooms and treatments that it has available. There are different packages available but the best for a hen do is the spa day which will set you back £79 or £69 for a Monday or Friday.

The experiences offered are suited exactly to a group of ladies looking to have one last week/ weekend away before one of their friends ties the knot. There are water beds and various rooms such as the Swedish sauna.

There are various other treatments available and ones that you may never even have heard or thought of before such as the Hopi ear candles. This helps prevent headaches and migraines and is a natural way of de-stressing.

The only advice I would have would be to book in advance and know exactly what type of treatments you wish to get. These are additional on top of the £69 so you need to budget and work out which ones would be best suited to your needs.

As I’ve already stated though this is the perfect way to spend at least one day of your hen party. Between treatments or enjoying the various facilities available you also receive a free meal from Zilli’s cafe. For more information on this please read the blog titled ‘Restaurants for Hen parties at Longleat’.

Aqua Jetting

This involves whizzing through the water in the swimming pool using a hand held water jet. These sessions are run in the morning before or after the pool has opened or shut. Furthermore you will need to book before you go as there are few spaces and they get booked out really quickly.

Once in the water you are given a jet that you hold onto and it pulls you around the water. Each session is half an hour long and is something that is only available at Center Parcs. It is an activity that you will love and all guests who have spoken to me about it have loved it.


There are only 4 spaces per half hour so you may have to split up and do it at different times but it is definitely something not to miss.

Twitter: @LongleatCPBlog


Activities For Stag Parties At Center Parcs Longleat

Coming to Center Parcs for a stag do seems to have become a lot more popular in recent years since Center Parcs started introducing new activities. The activities are also all on site for guests now which makes it much easier for everyone to get to the activity centre even if they do have a stinking hangover.

Quad Biking

This is a favourite for all stag do’s. A motorbike is a classic lads gadget and the facilities provided allow for competitiveness to come out in a safe environment. Although the track only allows for 8 of you to do it at a time, this is more than enough of your party to make it interesting.

Priced at £30 per head it isn’t particularly cheap but is something you will definitely want to do. You will get all kitted out as soon as you arrive and receive a brief health and safety brief. This will then lead to a talk about how to control your bike and you will be put around a test track. Once you’ve got a feel for the bike you’ll be put onto the main track and will be able to race against your mates.

You will have around 35-40 minutes on the main track. Just ask the staff if you want to be racing the whole time. They can start you off and make sure that it is all done fairly if that’s what you want. If not it’s a great way to have a laugh with your mates, something you may not be able to do as much once you’ve got that ring on your finger.


Probably the activity that you will all be looking forward to doing the most. This is where you will get the opportunity to be brutal with your mates and take the opportunity to hurt them without them being able to have a go at you.

There is a maximum of 30 on the session so depending on the how many of you there are and how you want to play it you can either split into 2 teams or play against other people booked onto the session. Again it is fairly expensive at £25 per person but this is another activity which you probably chose to come to Center Parcs for.

Once kitted up you will play a number of different games. It is £5 for 100 extra paintballs that you need after you have used up the 500 you are given at the beginning. The staff are great and although they do enforce the rules they recognise when it’s mates messing around and people being serious and endangering other people.

This is really easy to get to and probably, in my opinion, the best activity on the site. The outdoor activity centre has only recently been built and all equipment is new and up to date.

Laser Clay Shooting

At £12 per person this is significantly cheaper than the previous activities mentioned. This activity is something you can enjoy as a group and be competitive with as well. Its slightly different and not something that you can enjoy everywhere.

It is basically clay pigeon shooting but with lasers rather than proper pellets to smash the pigeons. The lasers give an instant score of accuracy and all results are tallied up at the end by staff taking the session.

This is more relaxed and less physical than the other activities so is probably best to start your day with. Like the other activities mentioned, this does get booked fairly quickly so it would be my advice to book before you arrive.

Twitter: @LongleatCPBlog


Activities In The Local Area For Couple’s At Center Parcs May 4, 2012

If you’re coming from far away or just want to explore the surrounding areas then there are plenty of places that you can visit:


Bath is well known for its stunning architecture, Roman Baths and is a World Heritage City. Conveniently it is only about half an hour’s drive from Center Parcs  as well. Bath is the perfect city for a couple to take a romantic stroll, taking in all the beautiful buildings and enjoying the mixture of street entertainers and quaint shops.

There is something to meet all needs and tastes in bath. You may want to go to the local racecourse and have a flutter. There are various bars and restaurants that you may wish to visit, Yak Yeti Yak is a Nepalese restaurant where you can choose to sit on a table or on the floor. It is a little bit different and may be somewhere you wish to go for a more quirky meal.

Similarly there is the new South Gate shopping centre that has recently opened. Here there are all the usual types of shops that you would expect in a shopping centre, but the building, although new, were designed to fit in with the surrounding architecture.

The Roman Bath’s are a great place to learn about the history of the city and are reasonably prices at £12.25 per adult. This is again a great place to experience something new and to learn about the history of our country.

Heaven’s Gate

This is only a 5 minute drive from Center Parcs. If it wasn’t for the security fences around Center Parcs you could walk there in the space of 5 minutes. This is part of the Longleat estate but is free to enter and wonder around in.

This is a great place for couple’s to come and enjoy an evening stroll. There is picturesque countryside on all sides and various route’s and paths that you may wish to take. One route takes you through onto a hillside looking across the Longleat estate. It is a fantastic view and something you can sit and enjoy together.

Furthermore there are modern granite stones and a granite walkway. This is all whilst being surrounded by the local wildlife and nature.

Another of the paths takes you down towards Shearwater which is also part of the Longleat estate. This is a large lake built by Lord Bath (the owner of Longleat) and is where local fisherman like to go and relax. It is surrounded by beautiful woodlands and a short walk away from neighbouring villages and country pubs.

Twitter: @LongleatCPBlog