In my heart, Center Parcs will always sit in a warm and fuzzy place.
When I was a little girl, it was my home from home.
As well as sharing some beautiful pictures of me as a kid in Center Parcs (which largely feature my dad doing various activities with me), I want to tell you why I keep going back with my family…
My memory of Center Parcs
I’ve been to Center Parcs a lot. Some of my first early memories are of being on the back of my dad’s bike or riding my first bike around various forests.
We used to go on holiday to Center Parcs until I was about 6 with family friends. There were 9 of us in total (4 adults and 5 kids) and we shared a lodge.
Most of my memories involve the play parks, cycling round the park, exploring around our lodge and the amazing subtropical swimming pool that we practically lived in. I love that my most treasured memories of these holidays are the free things. The moments that I spent with my family having fun.
As a girl, I was part mermaid.
My sisters and I fully embraced the spirit of Aqua Marina when in the pool. Or maybe a dolphin on occasion to mix things up.
So going to Center Parcs as a kid was just incredible. Less of the boring laps and more rolly pollys, rapids, lazy rivers and slides. My mum would set up camp on a lounger with a book (living the dream) and we’d whirlwind around the pool in a splashy fashion.
Although there is plenty to do in Center Parcs, we ventured out a few times into the wider world.
When in Holland, we went to Efteling which is a fairy tale theme park and we also visited Paris and the Eiffel Tower when visiting a French Center Parcs…
My memories are lacking somewhat of these events as most of my fond memories are of the inside of Center Parcs.
Although of all the things to remember, I remember being mesmerised by the talking bins in Eftleing!
Exploring around our lodge
Exploring was a big part of going to Center Parcs for me.
Whether that was on bikes riding to the Plaza, or venturing into the forest with my sisters to explore, we made the most of being in such a magical, safe place.
On one holiday, we bought a dingy to row around a central island that we had outside our lodge as well as a fishing rod…
On another break, we had a big hill at the back of our lodge which we ran up and down. On that holiday, we found a note from a mysterious person which asked us to reply. We excitedly wrote lots of replies to the mystery writer and had quite in depth conversation with them.
We then found out that it was one of my sisters that had written the letters as a joke, pretending to be a holiday pen-pal.
We also spent a fair amount of time in the play parks around the village. With zip wires, slides, bridges and spring toys (you know.. the ones that boing forward and backward), they were great parks to play in.
To this day, zipwires still remind me of Center Parcs and I always remember going on one when I was about 5. My mum held on tight all the way down thinking that I’d fall off if left to my own devices. Not quite as fun when your mum is holding on I can assure you.
My best memories are the free ones. The ones spent with my family, exploring and making our own fun.
A trip to Center Parcs would not be complete without a visit to the Pancake House and I have very fond memories of going there!
As a kid (and let’s face it.. as an adult…), what’s better than a restaurant that only has pancakes and waffles on its menu?
It’s sometimes not a good idea to re-visit places that you remember with fondness as it can shatter the magic and sparkle, tarnishing your memory like a broken mirror.
To go back again and again with my own daughter is both exciting and a bit daunting – would it live up to my memories, or were they rose-tinted?
But I can safely say that Center Parcs hasn’t lost any of it’s magic and wonder that I experienced as a child.
In fact, I appreciate it even more than I did as a child.
It also helps that they now have a pretty amazing spa that you just can’t appreciate as a child.