Center Parcs Longleat Forest Staycation – Part Four

Center Parcs Longleat Forest Staycation – Part Four

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

Running… again

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.

Bowling

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!

High Ropes

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?

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Center Parcs Longleat Forest Staycation – Part Two

Center Parcs Longleat Forest Staycation – Part Two

There’s nothing quite like waking up in the forest. The one thing that I can never get over when having a stay at a Center Parcs village is opening the curtains and staring into the quiet bliss of the forest around you. With the weather being glorious, I couldn’t help but open the patio door and embrace the cool September breeze – yes, it may have reached 26 degrees during the day, it was still cold in the mornings. I do miss that feeling each day but hey ho, I’ll be back real soon!

Tuesday = Running, Badminton & Waterpark

Morning run

2020 has pretty much changed the way I view health and fitness. I started off the year regretting all my food and fitness decisions from 2019 and I wanted to change. Lockdown happened which exposed me to finding more motivation to exercise including starting to run. Honestly, I didn’t think I would ever be interested in running as a hobby but never say never.

I knew before this staycation that I wanted to get at least 2 runs in. You may be thinking, ‘you’re on holiday? What the hell?’ Center Parcs is your own holiday. You can make your break as chilled or as exciting as you want it to be. I enjoy exercising and sometimes I feel a little sad when I don’t get my exercise fix in each day. Since I normally do strength/resistance workouts at home, I wasn’t going to continue this on my holiday. This is where running comes in.

The sunny weather was the best excuse to get out of the lodge first thing in the morning. Now I’m in no way saying I ran a 5k – that is a far off goal that I may not ever achieve. I did manage to reach near 4k but I was focused on doing run/walk intervals. Longleat Forest is very hilly in places so at times, I had to walk a bit longer up the hills. This didn’t stop me from running to the Sports Plaza area which includes a massive lake. The views around the forest and is one way to really see the whole village.

Badminton

After my morning run and spending a fair bit of time chilling out in the lodge, it was time to start off our staycation with a bit of Badminton. For me, it wouldn’t be a Center Parcs holiday without a Badminton session. With the current COVID situation, you had to wear a mask as you walked into the Sports Plaza. All equipment is loaned out to you for your session, located in a quiet corner where you won’t cross paths of other guests. You didn’t need to wear a mask as part of your session.

As I am writing this post now, you will be required to wear a mask during your activity – so please do read up on the rules before your session!

Badminton sessions are booked for 1 hour however 45 mins of play and then 15 mins required for essential cleaning. I did notice some other guests continued their activity past the 45 mins which was a bit disappointing to see. Badminton may not be everyone’s cup of tea however this does take me back to my PE lessons at secondary school. I’ve always been fairly good at playing at Badminton even if sometimes my coordination is out of place.

Subtropical Swimming Paradise

With the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, you will be required to book your 2-hour slots. I stayed for the midweek break (Monday to Friday) therefore I was able to book 2x 2-hour slots. I opted for the later sessions in the evening as I hoped it would be quieter and more opportunity to enjoy the night in the outdoor area. Nighttime does seem to transform the waterpark into a new experience. The darkness adds to the atmosphere and transform the slides/flumes into a thrilling experience.

The outdoor rapids as part of the waterpark are a highlight. I remember the ones at Longleat Forest being particularly fun and exhilarating. Again, another change that was implemented as part of COVID is the lifeguard will be in control of separating groups at the start of the rapids. Generally, you would be able to go in regardless of how many people are about in the area. Whilst I do miss seeing other people’s reactions and experience in the rapids, it was nice to have the Rapids to yourself as you could pretty much take over the whole space without worrying about bashing into someone.

A new experience for me was experience the 2 new slides, Typhoon (double raft slide) and Tropical Cyclone (the family raft slide). I thoroughly enjoy both, especially when you are able to pick your theme for the slide. The lighting package is fun but maybe I was expecting a bit more – guess looking at pro-slide POVs are spoiling me. They are both incredibly fun and certainly give you plenty of opportunities for water to rush into your face – still wonder how my contact lenses stayed in place! Overall, it was a really good first session and couldn’t wait to go again on the Thursday evening.

What is your favourite activity at Center Parcs?

Chilled out break or high impact break?

LOTTIE TRAVELS