Christmas Break at CenterParcs

I hate nature. Like, hate nature. Born and bred in a busy suburban town, the darkness and quietness of countryside freaks me out. For a while it's been a joke between me and Rich that a trip to CenterParcs would be the worst possible holiday for me. So what did we decide to do before Christmas? Go to CenterParcs, of course. No, I don't know why either. I think it was my idea too, which just makes the whole thing even stranger.
Christmas Trees CenterParcs

Turns out, it was fine! I didn't get lyme disease. I didn't get bitten by a snake. No trees fell on top of me. In fact, I actually enjoyed it. Shocking, I know! To be fair, this is probably down to the fact that we went with Laura and Matt (btw, Matt, I've changed you to "Laura's husband" on that page now. Soz. Don't hate me), and Laura has been to CenterParcs approximately 283 times before. She assured us that Longleat was the best of the locations- and conveniently the closest too- so off we headed for 2 nights in the run up to Christmas.
Christmas Tree in CenterParcs Lodge
Since we arrived 4 days before Christmas, we'd opted to have a real Christmas tree and decorations delivered to our lodge, which really helped with the festive spirit. We also had a wood-burning stove which was a novelty for me! 
Bauble Selfie
We were all pretty tired after our journeys on the first day, so we had some food in the Plaza and chilled out in our lodge admiring the view and watching Home Alone in front of the fire. It was a lovely way to spend the night!
CenterParcs Selfie
We really were in the middle of nowhere! Note my "I love nature" face!
CenterParcs Reindeer
Feed Reindeer CenterParc
Our second day was much more eventful. I'd planned to start it by feeding the reindeer but, when we arrived, they were all booked up. I was disappointed for long though as it turned out you couldn't get close to them at all and had to feed the (tiny) reindeer through a hole in the fence. Instead, I was happy to stand at the edge of the enclosure and just watch them.
CenterParcs Snowy Christmas Trees
Four person selfie
After watching the reindeer, we headed back to the Plaza to watch the pantomime. I'd been really excited about seeing a traditional panto right before Christmas and we'd paid a pretty hefty sum for tickets. Needless to say, we were very disappointed when we were sat in a dingy function room and unfortunately that was just the start of a limp experience. The actors did their best but the play was poorly-written and completely fell flat. In fact, a lot of people left in the interval. It would have been fine if it had been a low-cost way to fill the time but the fact that we paid more for tickets than we would for the (brilliant!) panto at our local theatre was really frustrating. Definitely not something I could recommend!
CenterParcs Longleat Lake
We ended up leaving the pantomime about 10 minutes early as we were booked in for a Twilight Spa Experience at the Aqua Sana spa. This involved use of the varied spa facilities for five hours and a body massage. On arrival at the spa, which is tucked away in a quiet corner of the site (pro tip: hire a bike to get there), we were provided with big fluffy dressing gowns and towels and, after changing, had a light bite to eat in the Vitale Cafe before spending some time in the World of Spa. Within the spa are a whole host of different experiences to sample from Japanese salt steam rooms and Finnish saunas to water beds and reflexology foot baths. Oh, and a heated outdoor pool! 
CenterParcs Longleat Boathouse
This is not the pool. This is the lake. Of course I couldn't take photos inside the sauna.
We only had time for a quick look around before we needed to meet our massage therapists. Mine was called Hannah and she was absolutely lovely, immediately putting me at ease. The majority of the massage was really relaxing with soothing music and gorgeously scented oils. Of course, like every massage therapist I've met, "light pressure" meant something completely different to Hannah- and my back was pretty tender afterwards- but I certainly felt relaxed! The treatment included a scalp massage which was a great finishing touch and afterwards we were free to explore the World of Spa properly. My favourite experience was either the pool (naturally) or the Balinese multi-steam room which had a different fragrance in each part of the room. Unfortunately, 9pm came along way too quickly and it was time to trek back up the hill to our lodge. (Believe me, you'll really want to hire bikes). 
Christmas wrapping ribbon
Once settled back "home", we exchanged our gifts. Laura and Matt had got me a slushie maker and Rich an ice cream machine based on our devotion to the respective treats in Florida last year.
Vivien of Holloway top plus size
As we had to leave our lodge by 10am on our final morning, we were up bright and early to get some breakfast from The Pancake House. As I'm not a huge fan of pancakes, I settled on the Ultimate Chocolate Waffles. Yeah, chocolate for breakfast. Deal with it! 
Ultimate Chocolate Waffle Pancake House
Oh, and a Decorate Your Own Gingerbread Man, of course!
Gingerbread Man
The Pancake House was decorated beautifully for Christmas, with wreaths and garlands from every surface. We were seated in the most festive table of all underneath this gargantuan wreath!
Huge Christmas wreath
After filling up, we had a few hours spare before our next planned activity so we spent some time in the Subtropical Swimming Paradise. Oh, man, it was amazing, but more on that later!
Snowman selfie
We dried off and started our hike back down towards the spa where the sports centre is located as this was the venue for the Jingle Bell Rock n Rollerskate Disco. Visiting a rollerdisco is one of my 101 in 1001 goals, and I bloody love Christmas songs so this seemed perfect! Of course, rollerskating is way harder than it looks!
Plus size rollerdisco
Plus Size Christmas outfit
Despite the difficulties (and pain! Who knew rollerskates would hurt so much?), I bravely battled on... when I wasn't laughing at Rich and Matt, who resembled a bear and a spider respectively.
CenterParcs Rollerdisco
Wobbly on rollerskates
I think this is my favourite photo ever.
Rollerskating CenterParcs
Jingle Bell Rock n Rollerskate Party CenterParcs
It was a huge amount of fun, and I definitely want to try out another rollerdisco in the future! When our hour was up, we trekked back up the hill towards the Plaza (seriously guys, about that bike). Having sampled the swimming paradise, I was desperate to experience it in the dark. 
CenterParcs swimming pool at night
It boasts a huge, super-warm outdoor swimming pool which was beautifully decorated for Christmas and I thought it would be pretty magical to swim in the warm water outside on a cold December night, looking up at the stars. I was absolutely right! 
CenterParcs Longleat Wild Water Rapids
For me, the biggest draw of the swimming centre is the Wild Water Rapids- a cross between a lazy river and a rubber dinghy rapids ride. Instead of being inside a dinghy, you just get dragged around on your own over slides and past waterfalls. It's a huge amount of fun and the currents are so strong that it really works your legs too! I could have stayed there all night but, unfortunately, we had to head back home. Winter Wonderland Longleat CenterParcs
I really did have a wonderful time at CenterParcs and we'll definitely be returning! Still hate nature, though. 

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9 comments:

  1. I went to Centre Parks when I was a kid and absolutely loved it. I now want to go back! Xx

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  2. I am so jealous it sounds like you had a pretty fab time (bar the panto) Hope you had a lovely Christmas sweet!
    Coleoftheball xx

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  3. This place looks amazing!! Those wild rapids look amazing as well thank God they're heated :P

    hellomissjordan.com xx

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  4. Sounds like an incredible trip! Would love to stay at Center Parcs one day (love the woods!) and shame you couldn't feed the reindeer! :P

    PromptsbyDee xoxo

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  5. I've just booked to go to the Longleat Centre Parks in May! Glad you enjoyed your time there :)

    http://francescaandrews.com

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  6. Aw I'm glad you had fun. Longleat is so close to me, and we always think about centre parcs (because I LOVE get aways like that) but we've never managed it yet. Love the photos, and that tartan skirt is amazing xx

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  7. I'm glad I read this post as my fiance and I were talking this morning about how neither of us had been to Center Parcs- it looks like a lot of fun! We'll have to look into it :)

    Cakey Dreamer

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  8. I used to go to CenterParcs quite a lot when I was younger and I loved it - would love to go back! I remember those rapids and I LOVED them!!

    Megan xo
    Thumbelina Lillie | UK Beauty & Fashion Blog

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  9. I love centreparcs, especially the one at lonleat. I spent a few holidays there with family. I love the wild water rapids! Sounds like I really need to go again soon though as I don't remember the pancake place and I've never seen the reindeer there. Oh and we always hired bikes when we went. It's definitely the best way to do it! So much walking! Glad to see you have a lovely time there :) x www.aimeeraindropwrites.co.uk x

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