Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Center Parcs Elveden in the summer

If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that we love a family holiday at Center Parcs. (I've written about them so much here that I should be on commission!) We've holidayed at several of the resorts in this country and also a couple in Belgium (you can find links to my other blog posts at the bottom if you are interested.)

The big drawback to a family holiday at Center Parcs is the price. That's why our recent trips have been to the Belgium parks - they are much more reasonably priced in the school holidays and represent much better value for money. Definitely worth a look if you are Center Parcs fans! We visited Elveden Forest quite a few times before the children started school when we could pick up a reasonably priced short break, but we hadn't been since.

Now that the children have moved schools we find ourselves with an extra two weeks of school holiday before most of the schools break up, and so we were able to squeeze in a mid week break in the second week of July at a much cheaper price than later on in the month. We chose Elveden Forest, as although it's not our closest park it usually seems to work out slightly cheaper and we do like it there.

It was quite a change for us, as all our previous Center Parcs holidays have taken place out of season in winter or early spring, so we were very excited to see what it was like to experience Center Parcs when the weather is warm enough to actually enjoy, rather than sometimes endure, being outdoors!

Barbecue at Center Parcs Elveden Forest

Something that we did for the first time on this trip was to hire bikes. We paid just over £100 for four bikes from Monday afternoon until Friday morning. We left hiring them until we arrived as we wanted to be sure that we'd have enough dry days to enjoy them. This did mean that there were no bikes left in Harry's size. Not ideal, but he managed fine with a slightly smaller one with the seat right up, and it's our own fault for not booking in advance! Having the bikes was brilliant, it's only recently that both children have been cycling fairly confidently on two wheels, and it was a good way to practice cycling on a road but with hardly any traffic.

We also used the barbecue for the first time, having gazed longingly at them in the past through rain splattered windows. They are designed to hold a disposable barbecue, and if you think you might use one it's worth taking one along as they are quite expensive in the shop. As we were planning a couple of barbecues Ram did a trip out to the Sainsbury's up the road to pick up supplies at more reasonable prices.

Feeding ducks at Center Parcs

Our cottage was right next to a small lake so we had plenty of duck visitors waiting for the leftovers! We've always felt that we see more wildlife at Elveden than any other Center Parcs and we saw loads this time - it must be the warmer weather! We saw lots of deer, rabbits and squirrels as well as the ducks. 

As always we spent a lot of time in the swimming pool. The children have really grown in confidence in the water, and they will go on just about all the slides now which is brilliant. The pool has changed a lot since our last visit and there's now a brilliant area for young children with slides, shallow pools and pouring water, as well as a salty lagoon pool. Harry loves the outdoor rapids and will go round and round again, and Mia loves the indoor water slides. When the sun was out the indoor glass dome was really warm, and without coats and jumpers it was much easier to fit things in the lockers!

Pedalo on the lake at Center Parcs Elveden

One thing that we've found as the children get older is that it's less difficult to hide the extra activities from them. Previously they've been happy with just the swimming pool and play areas, but now they've noticed other children doing fun things like pony riding and tree top adventures and have started clamouring to do them too.

Unfortunately the prices for these activities are ridiculously expensive compared to doing them elsewhere, and we've managed to hold out so far, but it's becoming more difficult! We did hire a pedalo for half an hour to explore the lake (which was definitely long enough - it's hard work!) and along with the bikes that's all that we paid extra for (and of course a visit to the Pancake House!).

It was another really lovely few days at Center Parcs. If you are interested in visiting you might enjoy some of my other posts:

Center Parcs Erperheide in Belgium - our first visit
Center Parcs Erperheide in Belgium - the return visit
Center Parcs De Vossemeren in Belgium

Center Parcs Whinfell
Center Parcs Longleat
Center Parcs Elveden Forest

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