A midweek break at Center Parcs Elveden Forest with toddlers

We’ve been on two holidays since our family grew to four – both to Center Parcs Elveden Forest. I booked the first holiday last September as a surprise for Gary’s big birthday. And we loved it there so much, we booked again for a few weeks ago.

The thought of going abroad with two small children practically brings me out in hives. I get so stressy about organising things like holidays. I worry about not forgetting anything, but not taking too much; being covered for every eventuality, without spending a fortune on excess luggage, etc, that I think while the girls are tiny, we are likely to stay in the UK.

I can’t wait to explore the world and introduce the girls to new cultures. But I’m happy to wait until the nappies, four outfits per day and the many tins of formula are out of the way. Then we can all relax a little more and I won’t spontaneously combust before I get on the ‘plane. There are lots of people love travelling with little ones, but I think they are more laid back than me.

I visited Center Parcs many times when I was a child and simply loved it. I’ve got really fond memories of happy, family times there and I wanted to recreate some of these for our little family.

There are a few other UK family holiday locations that I would love to try out too. Have a read of Kelly Allen Writer’s review of Bluestone in Wales, for example.

And neither trip has disappointed. The first time was a special treat and we stayed in an exclusive lodge, which was super luxurious. It had a hot tub, games room, daily maid service and allocated parking. It was lovely, but more than anything we loved Center Parcs as a whole. So I was interested to see what the new three bedroom woodland lodge we booked would be like.

The lodge

Our lodge was really lovely. Clean, modern and comfortable, with the trademark beautiful views of the forest. There are a few bits which are handy to take with little ones, but overall, it was well equipped.

Front of three bedroom new woodland lodge Center Parcs Elveden Forest

lounge in 3 bed new woodland lodge Center Parcs Elveden Forest

outdoor space new woodland lodge Center Parcs Elveden Forest

3 bed new woodland lodge Center Parcs Elveden Forest

3 bedroom woodland lodge Center Parcs Elveden Forest

3 bed new woodland lodge at Center Parcs Elveden Forest

Remember cot sheets, dishwasher tablets, washing up liquid, extra toilet roll and bin liners. There is a travel cot and a highchair already in the lodge. And the guest services were happy to provide an extra of each for us. There was space in both the twin rooms for a travel cot too. The girls slept really well (probably partly due to being exhausted from all the exercise).

There are nice little touches in Center Parcs lodges, like the blackboard wall which kept Lottie entertained for ages. And the outdoor furniture and space for a BBQ in nice weather. I’d love to go in summer.

Toddler writing on blackboard wall at Center Parcs Elveden Forest

The wildlife in the forest are pretty unbothered by people and Frankie and Lottie were delighted to be visited by ducks, squirrels, geese, deer, and even a little weasel each day.

toddler looking out of the window at Center Parcs Elveden Forestsquirrel on the table at Center Parcs Elveden Forest


The first time we went to Center Parcs Elveden Forest, we booked a few activities for the children. They did enjoy them, but they certainly weren’t what made our break memorable. So this time, we didn’t book anything. There were lots of reasons for this. Firstly, the girls adore the swimming pool, which can easily entertain them for a morning, and is included in the price. Secondly, they just adore being free to run around and explore. The lack of cars means kids can pretty much run free, and our girls are in their element doing just that. As soon as Lottie got out of the car, she knew where she was and was so excited.

two year old girl running with arms out at Center Parcs Elveden Forest

one year old walking in Center Parcs Elveden Forest

If I’m honest, until the children are a bit bigger, I probably wouldn’t book much again. It made for a much more laid back break to come and go as we pleased and enjoy nice walks, whatever the weather. We swam every day, spent time relaxing in the lodge while the girls napped, went for wanders in the forest and the beach and had the most lovely time.

two year old swimming with dad smling at Center Parcs Elveden Forest

14 months old girl sitting on sofa, reading with father

two year old girl watching ipad on the sofa at Center Parcs Elveden Forest

toddler walking with daddy at Center Parcs Elveden Forest

two year old girl standing on a path at Center Parcs Elveden Forest

Eating out or in

One thing I would like to see improved at Center Parcs Elveden Forest is food offerings for people with allergies. We ate out at Bella Italia one night and there was only one meal that Frankie could eat being dairy and soya free, which she didn’t particularly enjoy. Having said that, we were happy to eat at home and sometimes it’s easier than trying to entertain toddlers in a restaurant. Gary and I ordered from the take away menu one night. We had an Indian, which was so nice, I’d definitely recommend using that option if you’re there with little ones.

Two sisters eating dinner next to each other at Center Parcs Elveden Forest

mother with two daughters sitting at table at bella italia Center Parcs Elveden Forest

two year old girl eating pudding atBella Italia Center Parcs Elveden Forest

Overall, I could not recommend Center Parcs highly enough for holidays with little ones. It’s like a little bubble amidst a busy life where you can relax, laugh, enjoy and make special memories. My last piece of advice though is that if you are taking little legs with you, make sure you have wheels or carriers for them. We tooka single buggy and a carrier and Lottie did use the buggy after she’d done a lot of walking.

two year old sitting on dad's shoulders at Center Parcs Elveden Forest

Dad and two daughters on rainy walk at Center Parcs Elveden Forest



  1. Lauren Groom
    June 19, 2019 / 10:07 am

    Hi thank you for doing this blog really helped as a first time centre parcs goer. Would I be able to ask what lodge you stayed in if you remember. We have been allocated a pine lodge right on the outskirts of the map and i am curious as to what is on the other side. Thanks Lauren x

    • heelsandhooves
      August 27, 2019 / 10:02 pm

      I’m so sorry Lauren, I’ve only just seen your comment, for some reason, I didn’t get a notification. I hope you had a lovely time at CP? I think we were in Pine too, and it wasn’t too far at all, but I’m not 100 per cent sure. Was the location OK in the end? x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.