The final full day at Center Parcs has arrived. It’s definitely a bittersweet day. On the one hand, you still have one more day to enjoy the many activities and restaurants the village has to offer. On the other hand, check out day is fast approaching! I’ve said this in pretty all my blog posts but you just cannot beat waking up in the forest – bit of a broken record but it’s so true.
Thursday = Running Mk.2, Bowling, High Ropes & Swimming
Started off the day running again, didn’t I? Since it was technically our last full day to enjoy as many activities as possible, I had to get one more run in. This time I wanted to do a different route which went past some lodges I’ve previously stayed in within the Maple area. I think some people would try to plan a route, whereas I just went for a jog around the area without knowing where each road/pathway would take me. All part of the adventure though!
I took this opportunity to take some early morning photos too. It’s quite eerie being outside when there’s only a handful of people out and about, especially during these unprecedented times. Granted the sun was still shining so it made for a fun run around the lake, the Plaza and the Village Square. One thing I did enjoy was waving to fellow runners and cyclists alike. Yes, it may be strange times but this felt like a bit of normality has restored for us all.
After relaxing from my morning run, it was time to enjoy a game or two of Bowling. A 45 minute session is more than enough for 2 people but if you’re a family of 4 or more, I would recommend booking the 1 hour slot so you can get at least 2 games in. The main Bowling area is within the Plaza, on the lower level right next to the entrance to the Subtropical Swimming Paradise waterpark. Whilst this is dimly lit with UV lighting, it has a nice ambiance to the area.
There are 8 lanes, with 4 lanes out of action to allow for social distancing between household groups. These lanes are in between set lanes so make sure you note down what lane is given to you on your booking. Before entering, you’ll need to wear a face mask until you have reached your designated area – I’m not 100% sure if this has changed and if you’ll need to wear a mask at all times, please check with Center Parcs! You can order bar snacks and drinks to your table via a QR code which will be served to you by a member of staff.
I never feel like I am good at Bowling because it’s been a very long time since I last played. However I won the 2 games we played so I must have some skill – or that competitive side of me couldn’t bear losing haha!
I’ve done a few Go Ape courses over the last few years so of course, had to book the Aerial Adventure High Ropes activity. Whilst this course isn’t the most difficult of courses to get through, you still need to be energetic and have a good amount of strength in your arms and legs. For me, I was a little concerned as the last time I did a Go Ape course, I had to get help from an instructor to pull me up from a Tarzan Swing net. Given I have spent the last 9 months or so working on my resistance training with dumbbells, I thought this would have helped me.
Thankfully, I noticed a big difference in my strength. Yes, my core balance is not where I would like it to be, but I managed to climb the ropes and work my way through the course without needing the help of an instructor. Some elements were trickier than others and it may not be the longest of courses. The finale zip wire is probably the main event as you fly above the lake – with many spectators watching you. Definitely a highlight for any thrillseekers.
As we made our way back to the lodge, we had a bit of time to make a spot of dinner before enjoying our final session in the waterpark. Again, we did an evening session purely because it’s way more fun to enjoy a waterpark in the dark!
Check-Out Day & Final Overview
As our final day drew to a close, it meant we only had a few hours left in our lodge. Check-out day did begin with an early start as you need to leave your lodge by 9am – an hour earlier from pre-COVID times. Once we packed up our bits in our car and headed back to the car park, we enjoyed a short stroll through the village towards the Sports Cafe for a bit of breakfast. As with all the new restrictions in place, you will need to leave the village by 1pm on check-out day.
Overall, the staycation has been extremely pleasant and I didn’t once feel unsafe. All staff members made you feel welcome and were always happy to help. One-way systems and signage stating COVID measures were clear and easy to understand. Honestly, Center Parcs has done a great job of making their villages safe and secure in 2020. I won’t hesitate to make a return trip over the next year or so with my family again – Longleat holds a lot of sentimental value to me. Until next time Center Parcs.
Which village is your absolute favourite to visit?
What other activities are an absolute must-do?
Who is planning a trip to Center Parcs over the next few months?