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This Half Term we decided to book a family holiday to Center Parcs and this time we picked Woburn Forest as we hadn’t visited this location before. We particularly liked the fact that it takes just over one hour to drive there from Ealing and as our little one tends to suffer with travel sickness, so this really suited us.

So let me walk you through what we got up to this October Half Term and also share with you my top tips for a successful break!

Accommodation

We stayed in an Woodland Lodge and found it was worth spending that bit extra on the accommodation this time. Not only do you get the added bonus of a daily maid service, but generally the decor and furniture was much more modern and fresh. I really loved some of the extras such as a coffee machine and there was even a refrigerated wine cooler! Ok, so Centre Parcs are not cheapest holiday, but you get what you pay for. For me when I go away, I want to stay somewhere that is as good as or nicer than my own home.

Our lodge had a large open plan living and kitchen area, two bedrooms both with en-suite bathrooms. You also have Wi-Fi included, flat screen TV’s in the lounge and both bedrooms, an outside patio area with seating, plus your bed linen and towels are included. We didn’t get to use it, but there is also an open fire place which I’m sure would be so cosy on a Winter’s evening. Over all I was very impressed with the accommodation the rooms were spotless and extras were provided such as toiletries, washing up liquid, dishwasher tablets, hairdryer and pods for the coffee machine.

Activities 

There are so many activities to choose from during your stay. There is something for everyone and we found for our five year old there was plenty to keep her occupied. We tend not to book too much as we want to enjoy all that the park has to offer without rushing around. As went stayed around Halloween there was lots of activities based around this theme.

Our Daughter did pumpkin hunting and also attended a spooky princesses and wizards party which she enjoyed a lot. I noticed that the staff really made an effort and dressed up in costumes, which also added to the Halloween atmosphere!

We also did pony riding, which is a real treat and pottery painting which I absolutely loved, as you can see from the photo I was totally lost in concentration.

 

What You Can Do For Free?

Yes, there are things to do that are totally free! You can bring your own bikes and then cycle around the forest’s numerous paths. Once everyone has parked their cars it is really safe to cycle and very relaxing too. Or you could get on your scooter and have a whiz around.

Of course the Subtropical Swimming Paradise is included in the price of your stay. You will find that the lockers work with your electronic wrist bands and there are buoyancy aids available free of charge for children. Our little one particularly liked the wave machine and the lazy river.

You could also enjoy a walk or jog in the forest, there are lots of paths and there are also two lovely adventure playgrounds.

There is always soft play, if you can handle the chaos! Available in The Sports Bar and in various restaurants.

We were lucky enough to be there the week before Bonfire night, so got to experience a wonderful free fireworks display down by the lake. It was a great atmosphere with entertainers and open air food stalls too.

Eating & Drinking

We like to eat out in the evenings and there are plenty of restaurants to choose from. Most of them have children’s play areas, which for us is a real bonus. We can sit and relax while our daughter gets to burn off some energy.

This time we tried Strada, Cafe Rouge, Hucks (Hucks has the biggest and best play area) and Las Iguanas. We found the staff to be really friendly and helpful and so geared towards children. There were always colouring activities to keep her busy!

There are other options for lunch and more informal dinning, such as Starbucks, The Sports Cafe and The Pancake House.

The Ealing Mummy’s Top Tips When Staying At Centre Parcs

  • Make sure you book all your activities well in advance of your holiday, especially at peak times they will get booked up and you don’t want to be disappointed!
  • Try to take your basic food essentials such as: bread, milk, cereals, cooking oil, tea bags. It will save on time and money going to the on site shop.
  • Don’t forget your wellies, waterproofs and umbrellas. Some lodges are a fair old walk to the Village Centre or Sub Tropical Swimming Pool.
  • You will need to bring towels for use at the swimming pool, as you are not meant to use your accommodation towels for this purpose. You can however hire towels too for a price.
  • I would also advice making any restaurant bookings in advance too, because there are limited tables available early evening when everyone with children wants to eat.
  • Think about arriving before the official check in time for your lodge (which is 3pm), you can park your car and use all the facilities it make your holiday that bit longer!

Will We Be Going Back?

Yes! most definitely! The thing with Center Parcs is it has so many benefits and what ever the British weather throws at you there is always plenty to keep us occupied. There is so much to do and the activities fit a variety of age ranges, so I can see us going back for many years to come!

The other thing I love is that they really do make an effort to make the forest look magical for Christmas. While we were there I saw staff putting up numerous lights, features, Christmas trees (with artificial snow) and even a wooden grotto. I think a Christmas stay could be on my bucket list!

Disclaimer

All comments and opinions are my own and are an honest reflection of our recent stay at Center Parcs. This review is completely independent and I have not been paid by Center Parcs or given anything for free.

 

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If there is one activity that my Daughter is always asking to do it is trampolining! We have a trampoline in our garden and it gets a lot of use, but she seems to enjoy this activity even more when we visit a trampoline park. There is a new venue to try out and it is only a short journey from Ealing. So we put on our jumping socks this Half Term and decided to go and try Flip Out.

Situated at Staples Corner Retail Park there is plenty of free parking right outside the venue. I would recommend booking online as this way you can ensure you are booked for the most convienent time for you, plus it is at this point you can sign the waiver form online which saves you time at the venue. However you can just turn up on the day, but do bear in mind that sessions start on the hour.

The park has a variety of different sessions to suit age range and ability. For example they offer sessions for children under the age of 5 called Mini Flippers, this is where toddlers and parents can bounce together learning new skills and gaining confidence on the trampolines. For older children they offer a class called Little Ninjas. Then for anyone over the age of 15 there is Flip Fit a great way to burn calories. On the day we attended it was a standard free jumping session, which is priced at £12.50 per person.

We loved Flip Out because it had some different features to some of the other trampoline parks we have been to. Of course there were absolutely loads of different trampolines to bounce on, plus bars to balance on with soft foam to fall in. For older children/adults there is the stunt box area and wall runners.

We also couldn’t get enough of the laser maze challenge, which is included in the price and you really do feel like you are staring in Mission Impossible dodging the laser beams! After all this adventure we enjoyed a drink and snack in the cafe. It is also worth pointing out there is free Wifi, baby changing facilities and the lockers are also complimentary.

While we were there we also looked at the party rooms. They have two rooms one has an underwater theme and the other one is woodland themed, so could be a great option for a birthday party next year.

We really enjoyed our morning at Flip Out and are looking forward to our next visit very soon!

You can follow Flip Out on social media to stay up to date with their latest offers
Facebook @flipoutbrentcross
Twitter @flipoutbrebtcross
Instagram @flipoutbrentcross

Disclaimer
We received free entry to Flip Out in return for a review. Everything you read is an honest reflection of our visit and all opinions are my own.

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What do you do on a rainy day? Go to a soft play venue of course! I’m sure many parents out there are all too familiar with hours spent watching their little ones climb, tumble and go up and down slides for hours on end! So here is my handy guide to all my favourite venues near to Ealing.

Topsy Turvy World – Brentcross

Topsy Turvy World, has been our go to favourite soft play venue for a while now. The reason being that it is not too big and over whelming like some venues can be. Also as it is within the Brentcross Shopping Centre you can park all day for free! So we often make a day of it. Maybe visit the soft play in the morning and then do some shopping in Brentcross and then it’s on to have lunch in one of the many restaurants.

Topsy Turvy World has different zones for a variety of age groups. Ranging from a specially designated area for babies/toddlers, to a play zone for pre-schoolers and then the big play frame for children up to 12 years.

 

Bramleys Big Adventure – Ladbroke Grove

Bramleys Big Adventure is located just under the Westway Flyover and is a short drive from Ealing. Parking is easy as you can use the pay and display car park at the Westway Sports Centre.

There is a separate babies and under 5’s play area, plus all the usual play frames, slides and ball pools.

Eddie Catz – Putney 

Eddie Catz on Putney High Street is another place we would recommend. It has a designated area for under 3’s and a larger play frame for children up to the age of 8 years.

It has a slightly different variation in the fact that they offer access to interactive games (which are included in the price) from air hockey to table football. They also have a dressing up and reading zone.

For parents there are free newspapers, magazine and Wifi available. Parking is not available on site, so you would need to park in the local shopping centre which is near by.

Heathrow Play Gym – Feltham

Heathrow Play Gym is not your usual soft play venue, as it is actually a fully functioning gymnastics club, which when not in use it runs as a play gym. It is suitable for toddlers up to the age of 7 years. Just bear in mind that each play session starts and ends on the hour, so if you turn up half way through a session you might be asked to wait. Also at busy times it is advisable to get there early as there is a limit to how many children they can have in the play gym at one time. There is also free parking on site.

We like it as it is somewhere a bit different and has many features that you won’t find in other venues such as trampolines, balance bars and a sensory area which is designed for interactive learning and relaxation. Plus our Daughter loves to watch the planes fly over in the car park, the aircraft are just landing and taking off so you won’t get a better view anywhere else!

Snakes and Ladders – Brentford

Snakes And Ladders is the nearest to Ealing, so is always on my back up list for a rainy day. It has plenty of free parking at the Wyevale Garden Centre and then it is about a 10 minute walk up to the venue.

We love the imaginary play zone, where you child can pretend to work in a shop, hospital or drive a bus. There is a designated under 5 play zone and also a recently opened outdoor area if the weather is good enough. My Daughter loves the wooden pirate ship and sand area.

 

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