Sunday, 23 December 2018

Centre Parcs Festive Xmas Break - Longleat Forest

Beautiful Plaza Walkway Lights

Just back from an amazing Christmas spent at Centre Parc Longleat Forest. 

We’ve been to several of the Centre Parcs  (Sherwood Forest and Longleat Forest) over the years but this was our first Christmas spent there. It did not disappoint. From the moment we arrived until we (reluctantly) left it was fantastic.

We were a small group of 2 adults and a 10 year old child so we were a little anxious that we might have felt swamped by large groups celebrating but we never felt anything other than part of the celebrations and the fun.

The park itself was decorated beautifully. We were in pine area so very close to the Plaza and fortunate to be located right on the main walkway with its amazing lights in the trees. The staff did a great job all over the park to make it feel very festive.  There are different light displays all over the park but our favourite was the walkway from the Plaza to our cabin.  Truly stunning.

Every member of staff we encountered were friendly, helpful and went above and beyond to make sure we had a good Christmas time and they always had a smile on their faces.

As we have been several times before we know you need to book your activities well in advance or you will miss out. We did lots of festive activities;
- Breakfast with Santa on Christmas Eve in Hucks was really good. Balloon animals, presents, visit with Santa who also walked round the tables, reindeer food to leave outside your lodge etc etc
- Santa’s Workshop was really good fun and well organised. I’m fairly sure my daughter doesn’t believe and this was her last year of visiting Santa but it was definitely a good way to end the fairytale. The photo and gift are included which was  a lovely surprise.  you get allocated times so no long queues waiting with inpatient children.
- Horse and Carraige ride was lots of fun even though there was a slight galloping incident with the carraige before us. The lady who was ‘hosting’ was very enthusiastic.
- Carol Service in The Venue was good but unfortunately our daughter was a little bored so maybe better for the adults.  We thought it would be Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer but it was more O Come All Ye Faithful
- Pantomime. So funny that we spent the whole 2 hours laughing. I’ve seen some big polished pantos over the years but I think this was my favourite. Buttons was hilarious.
- Christmas Quizmas this was quite good but ran on a little too long and would probably be better with a larger group
- Aqua jetting whilst not a Christmas activity still our favourite and the instructor was really good fun. We do this activity every time and we all love it.

All the usual Centre Parcs activities were on offer but we didn’t get the time to do anything else as we spent most of the rest of our time in the pool. After 5 long sessions both my husband and I were exhausted, bruised, aching and sore but when asked by our daughter for another trip down the rapids we both eagerly did it again. Really good fun and she’s such a water baby she could be entertained there for ever more. The new slides were really good and hardly any queuing even though it was very busy all the time.  It was quite different to be going around the rapids at 10am on Xmas day. 
Xmas Day Rapids Fun

We decided to completely buck the Christmas trend and had a bbq instead. Not sure if I was 100% happy with this but a nice change. Although now we’re home I’m yearning for a Christmas lunch with all the trimmings.

For the first time we didn’t take or hire bikes. We thought the weather would be bad and we had paid extra to be close to the Plaza (knowing that was were we would spend most of our time). We did however manage to log record breaking steps and used the train a lot even managing to spot some deer on Xmas Day which seemed like a very special treat. 

We have already been online to get our next Christmas at Longleat sorted. It really was one of the best Christmas times I can remember and definitely one we won’t forget.  Next year though we need to bring lots more Xmas themed clothes as everyone wore them all week long.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Winter Visit to Weston-Super-Mare

We love Weston-Super-Mare and we probably love it even more out of season.  There's something quite magical about being wrapped up in scarves and gloves and going for a walk along the seafront in the wind.

We're quite lucky to only live 45 minutes away so visit here quite regularly but we always have fun.

Our day follows a simple timetable.  We arrive mid morning and go for a walk along the seafront.  We walk past the pier and past the outdoor pool (which is usually overflowing) and along past the beach huts to the old pier that has fallen in to serious disrepair.  There's always lots of people out walking with their children or dogs and it's a lovely friendly route.  We then turn around and go back towards the peir stopping for coffee and cakes at one of the few open cafes.

Next we go on the pier.  Well a trip to Weston Super Mare wouldn't be a trip without the pier.  It had somewhat of a face lift a few years ago and has lots of rides and arcade machines.  Enough to be honest to keep anyone entertained.  It's very cheesy but great fun.  And there are some great rides inside as well.  There's also a great little go karting track that provides lots of fun. 

Beautiful Rainbow Over Weston Super Mare
The pier itself has a little train you can ride on from one end to the other.  Lots of fun for the younger children and I think it costs about 50p.   All along the pier there are information boards giving you facts about the area and one of our favourites is about the water being called gravy due to it's lovely brown colour!  On our visit we were lucky enough to see a double rainbow over the sea which was great and not something I'd ever seen before.

If you're looking for a great day out at a very traditional British seaside town then you can't get much better than Weston Super Mare.