Over February half-term we spent another fantastic week at Center Parcs in Erperheide, Belgium. You can read about our first trip last year here - Center Parcs, Erperheide - and we were very happy to be back.
We spent the week for the second time in cottage 514, a VIP cottage which is very centrally located. You can read more here in my more detailed blog post - VIP Accommodation at Center Parcs, Erperheide. link. It's a two bedroom cottage with a fully equipped kitchen and is perfect for us.
One of the things that we love about Erperheide is that there is so much to do that is included in the cost of the holiday. The swimming pool area is large with lots of different slides and chutes, and some really lovely lagoon pools which are slightly warmer that you can just float around in. Mia enjoyed going down the slides with Ram (and even braved the outdoor rapids once although she wouldn't do it again!). Harry was just happy to swim about, or sit in the hot bubbly pool with me and talk about Minecraft.
Then every day we also spent a couple of hours in Baluba - a huge indoor soft play area. The children ran around, climbing up and going down the slides. There is also a foam ball area where you can fire the balls about, trampolines, a bouncy castle, a huge area for building with big Lego bricks, a mini race track with cars to drive around for a small extra cost, and another smaller soft play area over the other side.
There are lots of activities organised for children, with something on nearly every day, and usually for free although the costs of the extra activities, like the crafts and so on, are very reasonable. There are a group of characters that run the children's activities that the children loved. Twice a week you can watch the Orry and Friends Kids Show, a sweet little show with singing and dancing. It was performed in a mixture of Dutch and German so I was able to translate it pretty well, but to be honest the children would still have been able to work out what was going on even if they didn't understand the words.
Then twice a week in the evening you can watch the family show Straordinario. We watched the first half on our last visit but the children fell asleep as it starts quite late, so this time I kept Harry going long enough to watch the whole thing. It's a fun show, very well put together with dancing and singing of popular songs, and suitable for young children (although I must admit that we did find it a little strange and random in places. Harry was a little freaked out by the four legged lady, and the long-armed lady that came up to me and tried to make me pull on her hands!) There was also a kids disco one night with all the mini disco favourites. Almost every evening there seemed to be something going on in the Market Dome, whether it was a musician, bingo or disco night, and there was always a great, friendly atmosphere.
We didn't pay for any extra activities, but as part of the booking we received four Toppings vouchers which you can use towards them. We used one to secure our villa number, then we used two for a game of family bowling and the last voucher was valid for two pony rides. They really loved their pony ride, although Ram and I were a little terrified that we had to lead the horses around ourselves!
There is a lovely little farm on site where children can visit and touch the animals. On our last visit it was fenced off as it was full of baby animals, but this year they could wander about and stroke the sheep and goats. Harry wasn't sure at first, but he soon got used to them!
There are some donkeys in an enclosure with a nice little story outside about how the donkey is a magic donkey, and you can write him a letter to leave in the little post box outside. Harry was enchanted with this idea and came straight back to draw a picture for the donkey which we posted the next day, he was so proud of it!
We had a lot of fun feeding the ducks, there was always a bit of bread leftover from our daily fresh roll delivery. In the background you can see one of the large outdoor playgrounds.
We also explored the forest, building dams and collecting sticks and pinecones. There are lots of other play areas scattered throughout the village and a variety of different cycles and children transport options that you can hire, I especially liked the look of the wagon things that you can pull children and swimming gear about in!
We ate in most nights, bringing some of the food with us and stopping briefly at the nearby Lidl on our way in to buy the rest. There is a large shop on site which seemed reasonably priced, to so we also bought a few bits here, including fresh milk which Lidl didn't sell! But two nights we ate out at the cafe in the Market Dome. There is also a buffet restaurant here where I think you can eat breakfast and dinner, but it seemed quite expensive to us, especially as our children aren't big eaters, so we stuck with pizza in the cafe which was very tasty.
We had another brilliant holiday here, and I really hope that we'll be able to return another time, whether it's back to Erperheide or perhaps to one of the other parks on the continent, we have a couple in mind!
On this trip we made a visit off site to the local attraction Plopsa Indoor, Hasselt. We had a really fantastic day and I'd definitely recommend a visit if you are staying, it's only about half an hour drive away. You can read my review here - Plopsa Indoor, Hasselt.
We visited Center Parcs, Erperheide for the second time over February half-term 2016. We paid around £500 for our VIP cottage for the week, plus about £100 for the Eurotunnel crossing. The park is about a three hour drive from Calais. If you have any questions I'd love to help, just leave me a comment!