Center Parcs proves to be great place to take a baby

Centre Parcs Sherwood Forest lake.
Centre Parcs Sherwood Forest lake.

Center Parcs has always been a firm family favourite – but what age do your kids need to be before you can find them something suitable to do there?

On the evidence of having taken a five-month-old there recently, I’d have to say pretty much all ages are catered for.

A trip to Nottinghamshire’s Sherwood Forest village was relaxing for the adults, and part of that was in some of the activities to keep the little ones entertained.

Living with a small baby can be an exhausting business and sometimes the idea of taking them away with you, even on a UK holiday, can seem more like trouble than a well-earned rest.

High-maintenance little bundles of joy that they are, one could be forgiven for waiting until there are a bit older to take them away.

But I would say go for it. And if you choose your location wisely, who knows? You might even enjoy it!

The Activity Barn is an excellent little crèche facility where the staff really give the feeling that they care about the children and about making sure they are happy and entertained.

We left little Alex in the care of this lovely nursery for an hour or so and he had a whale of a time playing with the mountain of toys and interacting with the other children.

And while he was in there, mum and dad took the chance to visit the wonderful Aqua Sana spa for a bit of pampering.

It’s surely the spa that attracts many visitors to Center Parcs - and it’s easy to see why.

With many different steam rooms, saunas and relaxing areas to visit plus the invigorating outdoor pool, you eventually emerge feeling brand new. And emerging into the lovely forest environment only enhances this feeling.

Another selling point for the young family at Center Parcs is that you do not necessarily have to eat out every night, which with a baby in tow, is not always what people want to do.

There are other options you may prefer. One of these is too cook for yourself in the well-equipped kitchen areas that come with all levels of accommodation. You can bring things with you to eat or visit the convenient Parc Market, which will usually have everything that you are looking for.

Most villas also have the facility to enjoy an open fire using special firewood from the Parc Market.

This really adds to the atmosphere and gives a seasonal feel as you spend an evening in your cabin in the woods.

But what you can also do, and most probably will do, is to indulge in the great array of takeaway options available on-site, which deliver to your villa.

You can even ask for a babysitter to be arranged for you, giving you that chance to have a night in a restaurant as a couple.

We chose to eat at Italian restaurant Strada and we were not disappointed.

Of course, activities are also a huge part of what brings people to Center Parcs and alongside the more adventurous offerings such as quadbike riding, canoeing, archery and abseiling I can also report there are some that are more suitable for little children.

One of these is Baby Imprint, in which babies (with some encouragement, it must be said) press their hands or feet into clay and this is made into a lovely keepsake for parents to take home and hang on the wall.

And you can’t really talk about Center Parcs without mentioning bikes. These are the way that virtually everyone gets around here. The fact that there is no car traffic and the distances can be a little far to walk sometimes are no doubt influential in this.

And I’m delighted to say that babies do not even need to miss out on this.

Available to hire with your bikes are the funky baby trailers, which mean you can all ride along together – even if you have to do all the pedalling!