My top 10 tips for Center Parcs

My top 10 tips for Center Parcs

  • We love Center Parcs and have been quite a few times with Finn. I think we love it so much because Finn is in his element with the swimming & exploring the forest. He’s always shattered at the end of the day so we then get a chance to relax. I know people say it can be pricy but we try to keep the costs down. Hopefully these tips will help.
  • Go Swimming first
  • We always pack a bag for swimming and keep it handy for when we arrive. That way we can park up, get some lunch & go swimming. I think we make the most of the first day then & avoid the car park queues. The gates open about 3.30 for you to drive round to your lodge but we find it really busy at this time & you just waste your time queuing. I think its better to go swimming then wait for the queues to die down and drive straight round. We do similar on the last day but pack up, park the car and then go swimming and make the most of our last day.
  • Take Supplies & Shopping
  • The Parc market on site can be quite expensive. We usually bring things from home & go to the Aldi close by (Whinfell). We take our own fire logs, toilet roll, dishwasher tablets, snacks drinks etc… to keep costs down. Stock up on alcohol as well as this is expensive in the Parc market.
  • Pre Book your activities
  • Once you’ve booked your break you can start to book activities. I try to spread the cost of these by booking one every few weeks or one a month. That way you don’t have to spend a big amount when you get there. You can also pre book restaurants with a deposit. I use the app to book all my activities and you view your itinerary on here to see what you have booked.
  • Cook in your lodge & eat out at lunch.
  • We find eating out at lunch time a lot cheaper as a lot of the places have set lunch time menus. It’s also easier for us with Finn as we can then relax in the evening. We cook a few nights & just take easy to make things that way we can keep the costs down.
  • Look around for the cheapest weeks
  • We find staying Monday- Friday in term time a lot cheaper than a school holiday break or a weekend one. Also when you go to book you can scroll through the weeks to find the cheapest ones. If you’re not too tied down to set dates it’s definitely worth searching to find the cheapest week for you.
  • Pick your lodge for your Budget
  • We’ve stayed in the apartments, executive & the more basic lodges and I think they are all really nice. The executive are obviously nicer but if you are doing it on a budget I wouldn’t be put off by going to a more basic lodge. You can pay extra to stay in a central location but we never bother with this and don’t find it too much of a walk.
  • Take your bikes
  • You can hire bikes there but it can be expensive. We always take Finn’s bike or scooter, there’s plenty of bike racks so take a lock.
  • Make use of the free activities
  • There’s plenty of free things to keep you occupied there’s swimming, a beach & sandpit, parks and a massive forest to explore. We make sure we take advantage of these. We go for a walk through the forest each day and we’ve done bug hunts ( take a cheap magnifying glass) or a nature hunt. I also love the bird hide as well so we always have a walk to that. There’s a few soft plays as well so usually we go to the lakeside inn and have a drink while Finn plays in the play area.
  • Take Snacks/ Lunch for around the pool
  • Now Finn’s getting older we can definitely spend more time round the pool so next time I will take some snacks or lunch a few days so we can make a longer day of it. The subtropical swimming paradise is heated to about 29 degrees and has plenty of places for you to sit.
  • Plan your day around the quieter times
  • The pool is always busier first thing & after lunch so where possible we avoid these times. We also try and avoid the restaurants at busier times as well just to make it a bit more relaxing.
  • I hope you find these tips useful and I’d love to hear yours in the comments below.
  • Jodie. X
  • Our April

    Our April

    I’ve recently seen a few people do the month in review Blog Posts and I love the idea. It’s so nice to have a record & see all the things you have got up to. All the little days out get forgotten so it’s lovely to look back on.

    We started the month with Easter Sunday, we had dinner at my Mum & Dad’s and a park trip to burn off the millions of eggs Finn had ate.

    We then had an amazing swimming lesson from Finn, which was a big turning point. He was really nervous and held onto his teacher when he first started but this was the point he slowly began to make progress and gain confidence m.

    We had a trip to Bents Garden Centre in Warrington which Finn loved, there’s a fab park & a lovely cafe.

    I then ended up in hospital for 2 nights with tonsillitis, I think though I was really run down. I’d been working loads & doing a lot of late nights & early starts. Luckily a few days later we went on our Amazing holiday to Costa Teguise in Lanzarote. We stayed at the HD Beach resort which you can read about here.

    When we come home we met my Mum & Dad in Chorlton & went for food & a play in the park.

    Another day another park visit, followed by Finn’s favourite coffee & cake.

    We went to Messy Mallie’s which is about 20 minutes away from us in Buckley. It was brilliant and Finn loved painting his own money box.

    After the Easter holidays we were entitled to more hours at nursery. I was sad in one way as Finn stared doing more days so we lost a day in the week together. It’s meant though that I’ve gone from doing 4/5 late nights a week to 1/2. I’ve loved the little things like us having tea together as a family & doing bath, story & bed time.

    Finn’s first go at Crazy Golf, followed by a Wagamama’s.

    A visit to Little Al’s Urban farm in Eastham. We love it here.

    Yet more amazing swimming from Finn, he’s managing to swim now with just the woggle & not holding on to his teacher.

    Finally a zoo trip, we are members of Chester Zoo so we go all the time. This time Finn played in the sand & water for over an hour.

    Costa Teguise, Lanzarote- The restaurants we loved

    Costa Teguise, Lanzarote- The restaurants we loved

    We have recently come back from a week in Costa Teguise and we went to some amazing restaurants. There was such a lot of choice & they were all really reasonably priced. We love Spanish food so we’re absolutely spoilt for choice.

    El Navarro

    We went here after a recommendation from a friend & reading good reviews on both trip advisor & Lonely Planet. It was a bit of a distance from our hotel but definitely worth it. When we first got there I thought it didn’t seem very child friendly but I was wrong, the staff were brilliant with Finn. I went for the prawn, spinach & ricotta ravioli to start followed by hake & mussels in a butter & lemon sauce. Both were amazing! I love mussels & I’d say these were the freshest & tastiest I’ve ever had. I had a creme brûlée for dessert which was lovely as well. Stu had the porks cheek & really enjoyed it. This was the most expensive meal we had at around €80 but was so worth it.

    El Navarro, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote El Navarro, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote El Navarro, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote El Navarro, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote El Navarro, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote

    El Navarro, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote

    La Tabla

    I found La Tabla on trip advisor & it was highly rated for Tapas. Again we weren’t disappointed. It’s on a little courtyard tucked away but it was lovely & peaceful. The tapas was brilliant value at €21 for 7 dishes and we enjoyed them all. It was so busy with people being turned away on a Tuesday evening so definitely book (the number is on trip advisor and you can send them a WhatsApp).

    La Tabla, Costa Teguise, LanzaroteLa Tabla, Costa Teguise, LanzaroteLa Tabla, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote La Tabla, Costa Teguise, LanzaroteLa Tabla, Costa Teguise, LanzaroteLa Tabla, Costa Teguise, LanzaroteLa Tabla, Costa Teguise, LanzaroteLa Tabla, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote

    La Aulaga Casa Felix

    Another tapas restaurant we found on trip advisor, although they did a wide range of meals here which all looked really good. This was again excellent value with each Tapa priced at €3. This is some of the best tapas we’ve ever ate and we are big Tapas fans.

    Casa Felix, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote Casa Felix, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote Casa Felix, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote

    Casa Felix, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote Casa Felix, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote Casa Felix, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote

    La Pardela Restaurant

    We fancied Paella one night and La Pardela came highly recommend on trip advisor. We opted for the seafood & it was amazing, packed with fish & seafood. The staff were brilliant with Finn and really made you feel welcome. We had starters as well but really didn’t need them as the paella was massive. It’s in a lovely location as well over looking the sea.

    La Pardela, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote La Pardela, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote La Pardela, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote La Pardela, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote La Pardela, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote La Pardela, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote La Pardela, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote

    Beach Bar Melia Salinas

    We never ate here but I’ve got to mention the Beach Bar, we loved it. Perfect surroundings, amazing cocktails & chill out music. We loved going at nap time and some evenings with Finn as he loved playing in the sand.

    Beach Bar Melia Salinas, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote Beach Bar Melia Salinas, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote Beach Bar Melia Salinas, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote

    HD Beach Resort, Costa Teguise Lanzarote

    HD Beach Resort, Costa Teguise Lanzarote

    We have just returned from a fab week at the HD resort in Costa Teguise Lanzarote. I thought I’d do a quick review of the hotel, we really enjoyed our stay and I’d definitely recommend this hotel to anyone looking to stay in Costa Teguise.

    HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

    HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

    The first impressions of the hotel were really good, it was really bright & modern and on a beautiful beach front location. The Staff were all lovely, especially the staff in the restaurant they were so friendly & spent time chatting to us and made a big effort with Finn.

    HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

    HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

    We stayed in a Junior Suite with sea view, I always get a sea view where possible as I normally find I’m up before Finn in the morning so it’s nice to sit out there and have a coffee & it’s nice at the evening as well if he’s in bed. The views from the balcony were amazing and really peaceful. The room was really big with a double bed and pull out sofa bed. There was a fridge, kettle, toaster, coffee machine & microwave so everything you needed even though it’s all inclusive. The bathroom was big as well with a large walk in shower & 2 sinks.

    HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

    The hotel was is a good location right on the beach and about a 10/15 minute walk down the prom to the main centre with bars & restaurants along the way. There was a few supermarkets & shops close by as well. One night we got a taxi to the centre as well and it was only €3. There’s a taxi stand right by the hotel on the main road. It took about 40 minutes on the transfer bus to get to and from the airport but if we we were to go again I’d just get a taxi as I found out when we were there that it’s only €21.

    HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

    We stayed all inclusive and on the whole really enjoyed the food but we did eat out 4 of the 7 nights. We do this anyway when we go away as we like to try the local restaurants, especially in Spain as Spanish food is our favourite . The restaurant was on the ground floor and was quite big, there was a section with a semi open room so if felt a bit more airy. I think my one disappointment with the hotel is there was no outside eating area which is a shame given the beautiful views. The food was good with loads of choice, the breakfast was really good with plenty of fruit, cereal, pancakes, pastry’s, hot & cold items. Lunch there was always lots of choice of salads, paella, meat fish etc.. The evening meal was similar to the lunch & had different themes, as I say we only ate there twice So I can’t really comment, but Finn loved the chocolate fountain. We also ate in the A la Carte one evening which was really nice. There was a good choice of drinks as well with juice, fizzy drinks, wine, beer, spirits, cocktails & cava. There was a self service bar around the main pool.

    HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

    There was 2 pools which Finn loved, there was a big pool with a smaller kids pool this pool had lovely views out to sea. There was also a splash pool with slides and sprinklers. The only downside to this pool is there was minimum seating around it. The pools were quite cold but the adults seemed to mind more than the kids. There was also a park & pool table.

    HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

    We didn’t really go to the entertainment but there is a kids club & mini disco and various acts on each night. We just preferred to go for a walk in the evening but the bits we did see looked really good.

    HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

    All in all we loved our stay and would definitely return it’s a perfect hotel for families in a fab location.

    HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

    Disneyland Paris, the best rides, attractions & shows for a 3 year old

    Disneyland Paris, the best rides, attractions & shows for a 3 year old

    Finn was about 27 months the first time we went to Disneyland and turned 3 the second time we were there. These are the main rides, attractions & shows he loved & were the most suitable for his age.

    Alice’s Curious Labyrinth- We all loved this where you work your way around Alice’s labyrinth to get to the Queen of heart castle. The view from the top around the park are amazing.

    Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast- Finn’s a big toy story fan so this was one of his favourites. The queues can get quite big so we went in this using a fast pass and during extra magic hours.

    Cars quatre rallye- Finn loved the cars theming of this one, I get quite travel sick so sat this one out. Queues were normally about 10/15 minutes.

    Casey Jr. – this is a lovely little train ride, It was really quiet whenever we went on this.

    Disneyland Railroad- We loved this, we went all the way round the park on it and you get some really good views. You can also use it to get to the different areas of the park. It always seemed to be really busy even in quiet times but we went on first thing one morning and the queues weren’t as big.

    Dumbo- Finn loved flying round on the elephant, the queues never seemed to be really big for this.

    It’s a small world- My favourite, even though you end up stuck with the tune in your head for days. The queues were never massive but if you stand near here to watch the parade you get a good view for that & can then walk pretty much on it’s a small world.

    Le Carrousel de Lancelot- a traditional merry-go- round, Finn really enjoyed this and there was rarely a big queue.

    Flying carpets over Agrabah- this was in the Studio’s you fly on a magic carpet on an Aladdin themed rides. It can get busy.

    Mad Hatter’s tea cups- this was another of Finn’s favourites, the cup of tea ride he called it. This was another quiet ride.

    Orbitron- Here you can ride in a rocket, the queues for this one always seem longer than they say so be prepared to wait but Finn loved it.

    Peter Pan’s flight – this is a lovely ride but can get really busy. We got fast passes for this which I’d definitely recommend doing.

    Pirates of the Caribbean – I was really nervous about this one as I though Finn would be scared but apart from a few drops it was quite gentle & we all loved it. We were quite lucky to just walk on this a few times.

    Ratatouille- this was another favourite of ours, it gets busy but you can get fast pass. There is WiFi in the studios so we used the Disneyland app to check wait times and managed to just walk onto this one day.

    Slinky Dog- Finn loved this being a toy story fan and we managed to just walk on it quite a few times. I suffer with motion sickness and this did make me feel a bit sick.

    Thunder Mesa riverboat Landing- I loved this boat ride & definitely recommend you go on this. It’s a lovely little ride round which you don’t expect & has loads of little things to look at.

    Toy soldiers parachute drop- I thought this would be really scary but we all loved it, you also get a fab but quick view of the castle! It can get busy.

    Moteurs Action Stunt Show- This was a massive hit, Finn’s face when lightening came out was one of the highlights of our trip.

    Mickey and the Magician- This is a lovely show and definitely worth going to if it’s on, true Disney magic.

    Mickey presents Happy Anniversary Disneyland Paris- a fab show located on the stage near the castle. Finn loved all the Characters and them all waving.

    Cornwall, Day’s 5 & 6 and the journey home. 

    Cornwall, Day’s 5 & 6 and the journey home. 

    Day 5

    Today we headed to Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm, about 30 minutes from where we were staying. We didn’t do the full tour as we thought Finn would get fed up but we did the tractor tour. He loved this , he cried when we had to get off. This was £9 for the 3 of us and lasted about 15/20 minutes. Finn also loved the animals there. We stocked up on scrumpy & rattler Cyder for ourselves and to give as presents. Driving back we drove through Fistral Beach and Hollywell Bay, Finn was sleeping so we didn’t get out. They both looked like beautiful beaches so we will definitely visit here again when we return. 


    In the evening we returned to The Old Custom House, we normally like to try different places but we knew they had tables and are child friendly. We really enjoyed our meals. I had a crab sandwich as I read it was a must try when in Cornwall. I wasn’t disappointed. We finished the evening with ice – creams by the harbour. 



    Day 6 

    We wanted a BBQ on our last evening so we headed to Padstow Farm Shop to stock up. I really wish we would have found this earlier in the week. The food was amazing, the meat was all really high quality and good prices. If you’re in the area it’s well worth paying a visit. 


    In the afternoon we visited another beautiful beach, Tregirls Bay. This is another beach with nothing there but it was stunning. The views make it worth the walk. 


    The Journey Home 

    Before we made the journey home we had breakfast at Victorian Tea Room. We had a lovely breakfast at a reasonable price. I loved all the decor it was really quirky. 


    The journey home took 10 hours, Finn slept a lot of the way as I think the week had tired him out. At times though it got quite stressful as the trafic was bad and it was quite hot. I think with hindsight we would enjoy a day out have  tea and then travel back early evening  after rush hour.