Center Parcs is a magical place – as a family we have been there 3 times and each visit gets better as our children grow older and can join in more activities.
We have just spent 5 days on the site at Elvedon Forest. The structured routine of activities throughout the day, tranquillity of the surroundings and the variety of wildlife that can be spotted there have suited our family dynamics. Our youngest son has been enamoured with the ducks, squirrels and rabbits that visited the patio door of our lodge. He took a soft toy squirrel with him on holiday and whilst away he bought a soft toy duck. He was content to sit on the floor by the patio door with his soft toys showing them to the real wildlife outside.
Our days were long and busy as we made the most of the facilities available. It’s not often you can try out so many activities in once place. We ensured that all 3 children did their own activities so that they all had some quality time e.g. our youngest son went on a pony ride and tried fencing with foam swords. Our oldest son went quad biking and street boarding and our daughter decorated cupcakes and did wall climbing. As a family we played badminton, went on a pedalo, painted pottery and used the swimming facilities. Our oldest two children love the thrill of the water rides and were in their element going on the rocky rapids, tropical cyclone and having a go at aqua jetting. I’m not brave enough for this, so preferred sitting in the lagoon cave with our youngest son, who is not a big fan of water and hates to be splashed/get wet! He was happy in the lagoon cave and it was a sensory paradise with dimmed lighting, shallow water so no one could jump in or splash him, quiet area away from the noise of the rides.
The lodge had a blackboard on a wall in the dining area. Our daughter spent time every night writing our timetable of activities for the next day. Her ASD does not allow her to be flexible and she likes to have a firm routine each day, so this was ideal for her. We’ve tried whiteboards at home, but she gets bored of them after awhile. Once she’s back at school, I am going to look for some blackboard paint to cover one of her bedroom walls with, so she can write her routine up each day. It may stop her getting stressed that she has forgotten something for school or not done her homework on time.
Restaurants at Center Parcs cover a variety of taste buds and each one has their own play area, which was ideal as the kids could run off steam whilst we were waiting for the meals. The staff were very good at catering for our youngest son’s limited diet and put different foods in separate containers as he doesn’t like them touching on a plate.
The biggest problem our youngest son came across on holiday was too much noise and he forever wanted me to cover his ears, especially when people put their hands under the dryers in the toilets. If we were sitting down and he was distressed by noise, we made sure we had a pair of headphones with us that could be plugged into our phones and he was able to watch a film. This helped to calm him, but I am now going to buy him a pair of ear defenders that he can wear to block out noise wherever he is.
Now the fun is over, we need to start saving again as the kids have already asked to go back next year!