Generally speaking, I don’t need much encouragement to allow my inner child to come to the surface. In fact, he resides fairly near the surface most of the time anyway. But when Center Parcs invited us for a long weekend to test out their brand spanking new water slides, my inner child’s heart nearly skipped a beat!
There’s something about water slides that I’ve always loved – yet never really experienced in it’s fullness. I enviously watch those TV shows that send groups to water parks in Spain and alike wishing I could hurl myself down the slide into the pool of water at the bottom only to run back up to the top to do it again.
This was the summer, that became a reality, all thanks to Center Parcs Longleat.
We arrived on Friday lunchtime and, you guessed it, headed straight to the sub tropical swimming pool. We’d been once before and knew that even without the new slides, the swimming pool is amazing. So amazing, we made our trips there a regular thing; every day, at 11am, we’d go swimming until our fingers couldn’t wrinkle any more.
The rapids, the old slides, the wave machine, the lazy river, the plunge pool, jacuzzi and outdoor pools all combine to make it the best swimming pool I’ve ever been in.
Add to that the brand new slides (which I’ll come on to) and the fact they’ve also created a fantastic new space for toddlers to splash around in and it makes the pool a 5*, 10/10 experience.
The new toddler area is a huge space with so many different elements, all allowing and encouraging water play. What’s so lovely about this area, is that, although you have to stay with your child, you can safely allow them to explore water independently. The depth is appropriate, giving them the confidence and freedom to move about as they wish. Last time we came, Ted wasn’t even 2, which meant he couldn’t really gain the full experience on offer. This year, however, he could. And he did.
As well as the new toddler section, his other favourite place was the lazy river; we must’ve spent hours in it across the weekend. Going round and round and round. He just loved it. At first, the waves were a little daunting but by the end of that first session, he didn’t want them to stop. we spent most of every day in the pool and by our last day Ted’s water confidence had grown dramatically.
Whilst Jen and Ted gently floated around the lazy river, Louis and I headed off to test out these new water slides. I’m not going to lie, I had pretty high expectations, having built them up in my head to be truly awesome.
Fortunately, they didn’t disappoint.
Firstly, Typhoon. A 2 person raft ride down a fast tube with some ‘rapids’ half way down that add an exciting element to the ride. Plus, you can customise your experience by selecting the lighting and sound; anything from calm Aurora to thunder & lightening. We really enjoyed this ride – the speed is fantastic and the twists and turns make it really exciting. Even Jen had a go and enjoyed it. Well, she screamed the whole way down, but I guess that’s a kind of enjoyment, right?
And secondly, Tropical Cyclone. This is a 2 or 3 person raft ride but… it’s simply sensational. You head down a huge pipe and just when you’re gaining plenty of speed you face a jaw-dropping drop. It feels vertical; so quick and exhilarating. Following the drop you find yourself in a giant bowl of white water rapids splashing you.
You really do have to hold on! (And if you’re facing backwards as you exit the ride, make sure your swim shorts are tied up… I nearly lost mine with the force of the water! Ha!)
So this became a pattern. Almost as consistently as Ted demanded to round the lazy river time and time again, Louis and I repeated the slides time and time again.
To get the real impact, without actually experiencing them for yourselves, it’s best you watch the video:
To be honest, I would have been more than happy to spend 12 hours in the sub-tropical swimming paradise, but to have the entire Center Parcs experience as well, really made this was a very special holiday.
We were fortunate enough to be able to stay in a Lodge and the accommodation was simply stunning. One of the best places we have ever stayed – set in beautiful forest, open-plan layout, outdoor dining area, comfortable beds, all the amenities and toddler friendly. We could not have wished for more. All of us agreed that rather than a holiday home, we’d be very happy to move in! We even had a sauna and games room! The quality of the accommodation was second to none and we are certainly hoping to go back again as soon as possible.
Take a look at our Center Parcs Lodge Tour video to see where we were staying and why we didn’t ever want to leave!
The beauty of going to Center Parcs is that everything you could possibly think of to occupy the family is in one place. It provides the perfect opportunity for uninterrupted, quality family time, with activities for all ages and interests. Our age range was from 3- 65 and everyone was kept happy from arrival to departure.
During our visit, Jen enjoyed a relaxing afternoon in the spa, Louis swung through the trees on the high ropes course and Ted had a taste for the low ropes course. And whats more, there are plenty of activities to do as a family, which is what family holidays are all about. We played crazy golf, went cycling and played tennis and badminton.
And I haven’t even started on the huge variety of places to eat! We ate out every evening and were very happy with the quality and range of foods on offer. Every restaurant was extremely toddler friendly making it a pleasure to enjoy dinner as a family. However, if you prefer to self-cater then the lodge provided everything you need to be able to cook and serve meals for the family. ( two refrigerator, freezer, oven, microwave, toaster, dishwasher, saucepans, oven trays etc etc)
We knew that we would have a great time at Centre Parcs, but we definitely didn’t know just how great. It was a 10/10 trip from start to finish and four days was definitely not long enough for us. Im not sure two weeks would have even been long enough! From the accommodation to the restaurants, from the activities on offer to the service provided, we could not have enjoyed our experience more.
We absolutely loved our trip to Center Parcs. It gave us the perfect holiday experience, providing quality family time with each other.
Of course, the highlight was hurtling down those new slides, though! ;)