Center Parcs Babymoon
I'd been cajoling (nagging) my husband into organising a babymoon for both of us since the 20 week scan back in February. Really just an excuse for a weekend away somewhere, but sold as the last opportunity for us to enjoy each other's company without the addition of an extremely demanding third party (although I'm hoping that in the future this is where having enthusiastic to help grandparents comes into its own!).
Two weeks ago we headed off to Center Parcs for a weekend getaway in their Longleat village. Upon arrival we quickly checked in to our villa and unloaded the car, Darren volunteered to take the car back to the car park (one of the perks of being pregnant and unable to walk at speed) and dutifully set off leaving me to unpack and organise. Once we’d settled in, we went for a wander to the Plaza; each Center Parcs village is slightly different, but in the Longleat one the Plaza is the main nucleus and houses the swimming pools, various restaurants, shops and the supermarket.
First stop was the sweet shop (where else?!), I indulged my sweet tooth and bought some gorgeous chocolate honeycomb fudge. We wandered through the rest of the Plaza before stopping at Hawtons bar for a drink and then picking up some ‘essentials’ (read: chocolate, crisps and beer) from the food market. We spent the evening happily holed up in the villa watching movies and stuffing our faces with takeaway from Center Parc's own delivery service - Chinese, Indian or Italian?! We had one item from each! As the weather was rubbish we also took the opportunity to light the fire in the villa and I sat back and enjoyed the flames with one of my non-alcoholic cocktails.
I was up bright and early on Saturday morning (one of the perks of not drinking alcohol for nine months) and headed over to Starbucks to grab some breakfast and much needed caffeine for us both. We lazed about the villa until around 11am when we headed over to the Aqua Sana spa.
One of the many treats Darren had planned for me was a Decléor Mum-to-Be treatment, which proved to be a very enjoyable and relaxing hour. While I was being pampered, Darren had retreated to the safety of the sports bar which is very conveniently located next to the spa, top points to the Center Parcs designers! On my way out of the spa I made a sneaky Elemis purchase; I simply adore their Pro-Collagen Marine Cream and couldn't resist this cute set.
Saturday afternoon was spent enjoying the sunshine in the outside pool. Sadly I couldn't partake in the excitement of the wild water rapids at 32 weeks pregnant, but it was equally nice to lounge about in the warm water watching the brave souls jump in and out of the cold plunge pool. I made the most of the spa bath when we got back to the villa and spent an enjoyable hour doing my hair and make-up (making the most of still having the time to care) before we headed back over to Hawtons Bar and Restaurant for dinner. I chose a particularly delicious burger, while Darren opted for the fish pie. Both were washed down nicely with a non-alcoholic cocktail for me and a beer for Darren.
Sunday morning began at a much slower pace than Saturday, once we’d finally dragged ourselves out of bed we meandered over to the Pancake House and indulged in a pleasantly calorific breakfast.
Darren’s plan for the afternoon consisted of football, football and more football, so once again I left him in the comfort of the sports bar and headed over to the spa to get my toenails ‘minxed’. For those that haven’t heard of Minx nails, it’s effectively a sticker that’s cut to size and used on your toenails instead of a polish. The main advantage is that you don’t have to wait for it to dry, but it also allows you to choose metallic patterns that stand out and last for several weeks.
After I was finished being pampered for a second time I joined Darren in the bar to watch Chelsea beat Liverpool in what proved to be a very contentious match. Afterwards we headed back to the villa, stopping at the Grand Café en route for a Sunday carvery. We finished the trip as we had started it, eating, drinking and watching movies in the villa.
I’m a huge Center Parcs fan anyway, but I was interested to see what I thought of visiting while I was pregnant. Previous visits include my 30th birthday celebrations and my hen weekend, both of which involved copious amounts of alcohol and also made good use of the water slides and rapids. None of these were viable options for this trip, but regardless of that I had a very enjoyable time. Darren had deliberately chosen a villa that was close to most of the amenities, so that the amount of walking was kept to a minimum. This wasn't something I’d really considered until we had arrived and I remembered how mountainous the Longleat village is compared to some of the others. At the end of every day I went to bed completely knackered from the brief bits of walking we did, but very content as well. Overall a great babymoon and one that I’d recommend to anyone thinking of a long weekend break in the UK.
On a side note, Center Parcs are opening a new village near Woburn, Bedfordshire in June. This is only an hour outside London and upon opening will be closet village to where we live. Curiosity got the better of us and we put the ‘Come Back Soon’ offer to good use and booked a week’s stay in November with Darren’s family. Baby H will be a few months old by then, so I’m curious to see how that changes the Center Parcs experience again!