Centerparcs Longleat Forest is one of the destinations that we’ve been wanting to visit here in the UK as a family for a while now. Staycations, day trips and short breaks in the UK may well be the future of travel until things change with the current pandemic.
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We were nervous about travelling too far afield so with Centerparcs Longleat forest being only a short drive away we decided to take the exciting opportunity to get away. Our main aim was to enjoy quality family time together and to relax. We packed lots of face coverings, hand sanitiser and plenty of essentials from home. Our trip began with an exciting car arrival from Honda. The team had kindly loaned us the Honda CR-V Hybrid for a week so that we could test drive it while exploring the local area.
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The Honda CRV features a hybrid electrical and traditional engine meaning you get the best of both worlds; low emissions, silent driving and long range as the petrol engine and braking recharges the battery to power the electric motor. Other great features like reversing cameras, lane assist and adaptive cruise control made the journey a breeze meaning we were fresh and relaxed before we even arrived. It really is the perfect family car.
The large and spacious boot comes in very handy for all of your luggage and the comfort of its gorgeous interiors and heated seats make travelling anywhere on chilly autumn days a cosy experience. Stay tuned for a more in-depth look at our time driving the Honda CR-V Hybrid coming soon!
On arrival to Centerparcs we were greeted by friendly and cheerful staff who genuinely seemed keen to welcome you and get your holiday started with a smile. It’s the little details that make Centerparcs stand out immediately from other destinations we have been to and is something I’ll touch upon in more detail later in this feature. We were given wristbands and instructions on how to get to our lodge. Everything felt safe and you could clearly see that social distancing was being abided by from the get-go.
We pulled up to our lodge and unloaded our luggage from the car. You are allowed to unload outside your lodge and then you drive your car back to a secure car park for the rest of your stay. This keeps Centerparcs feeling like a secluded forest getaway and makes it safer for biking and walking everywhere.
We had kindly been left the family grocery pack (which you can also order at the same time as booking) and this was packed with lots of essentials that would save you bringing your own. Tea bags, coffee, milk, cereals and more. The chilled sausages and bacon were already in the fridge for us which was great.
We stayed in a new style executive lodge in the Pine area. It was the perfect mix of stylish and modern décor with cosy touches that fully embraced the forest surroundings. There is a private patio area with a brick barbeque, surrounded by trees and woodland. You can pick up logs for the indoor fire at the shop (or pre-book them when you make your booking) and all of your BBQ essentials at the local shop in the plaza.
We spent our evenings cozied up in our lodge with a roaring fire crackling away in the background. There is very little light pollution in Centerparcs Longleat forest, so stargazing each night whilst wrapped up in blankets on our private patio area was the most relaxing and magical experience!
Beds were comfortable and both rooms in our lodge had an en-suite with modern ‘rainfall’ style showers and heated towel rails. Perfect for drying your swimming gear and towels! The master bedroom had a really impressive jacuzzi style bath tub too.
Our lodge was just a short walk to the central areas and pool. We had three adult bikes for the duration of our stay and I would highly recommend booking these if you aren’t bringing your own. Biking around the Centerparcs Longleat forest was one of our favourite family activities.
We had so much fun exploring and the bikes get you everywhere so much quicker than being on foot. The bikes were disinfected before being handed to you and social distancing and mask wearing was adhered to by all. We never felt unsafe.
Everyone will have their own style of Centerparcs break and you can really tailor your stay to suit you as a family. We were looking for a relaxed break with plenty of outdoors time. Being surrounded by greenery and breathing in the fresh forest air was wonderful. We booked bowling as a family activity for our first evening as a great way to kick off the excitement.
Lanes have been spread out so that you aren’t in close vicinity to other families. Hand sanitising stations are on each entry and the tables and lanes were clean and tidy. If you’ve been watching my IG stories you’ll already know that I lost terribly at bowling whilst the rest of my family got strike after strike! I think I need to practice my bowling skills ready for next time…
We made full use of our time at the swimming pool as we had heard so many good things from friends and family who had been before. Centerparcs have temporarily reduced the amount of pool time you can have during your stay in order to help keep everyone safe. We were allowed to pre-book x2 two hour swimming sessions on our Friday-Monday break and this actually suited us well. The pool was never too crowded and the changing rooms were clean and well kept. You had to have your temperature checked before entry and were given a coloured wrist band to indicate when it was your time to leave the pool.
We enjoyed a relaxing swim in the deeper end of the pool which was always the quietest place to be. We absolutely loved the rapids and went on these time and time again! They were so much fun and staff were really good at controlling the flow of people so that you only went down with your own group. The water was a little chilly at times (it is the outdoor pool area) but you soon forget about that as you are propelled around the rapids at high speeds, laughing the whole way!
You can book so many other activities and there really is something for everyone. From falconry to tree top zip-wires, boating and climbing, you’d never get bored or run out of inspiration whether you stay for a few days or a full week. We revisited Aqua Sana spa on our last evening and it was the perfect relaxing end to our short break. I’ll be sure to put together a full feature soon on the spa itself and you can also read our previous post here.
Staff at Centerparcs helped make our whole trip safe and enjoyable from the moment we arrived. You really felt that they were taking your safety seriously and nothing was ever too much trouble. We heard so many people singing their praises and it really does make all the difference when you know that they are on hand to help with any queries. The fact that they were all happy, smiling and keen to make your stay the best it could possibly be goes a long way.
You can still book a table and eat out at one of the amazing Centerparcs restaurants but we opted to come back to our lodge at about 7pm each evening and order in. Centerparcs now have a fantastic new fleet of moped deliveries and you can order your entire meal to arrive at your specified time. We enjoyed meals from Hucks Diner and Bella Italia and both arrived bang on time and were hot, fresh and delicious! Hopefully they will keep this delivery aspect running long beyond COVID times as it was so nice coming back to a hot meal of your choice. It is also worth mentioning that the delivery drivers are so friendly and always make time for a quick chat and ensure that you have everything you need.
We returned home from our stay at Centerparcs Longleat forest and haven’t stopped raving about it to friends and family. So much so that we are actually already planning our booking for next year! I feel as though this could definitely be the start of an annual family tradition for us and somewhere we’ll love coming back to time and time again. If you are thinking about visiting Centerparcs I would highly recommend that you take the plunge. We couldn’t have hoped for a more exciting experience in these very unusual times. Visit www.centerparcs.co.uk for full information and to book your own break.