Center Parcs Longleat Forest
Travel Blogs from Warminster
... us brekkie and wave us off. Aunty Weezy took us to Gatwick where all went well until the nice security lady unzipped Lenny's bag to find his unauthorised nerf gun. Supervisor...long wait...being stared at by passersby...
So we are about to board!
... gin was cheaper to drink; men and women lost their hair (including eyebrows) due to wearing make-up that was lead-based, so they fashioned mouse skin into eyebrow shapes (and wore wigs) - water in the spas/springs contains 43 minerals and has to be cooled to 33 degrees from 49 degrees (it was hot to touch) - Bath fairly busy traffic-wise as there is no bypass, so all traffic must come through - Jane ...
... arriving at The Old House at Home in Burton (not actually on Castle Combe), had a drive around the area and went to Castle Combe... - a very quaint, idyllic village (hopefully the photos will show that!) Dinner back at "The Old House"...Mum had pork tenderloins, veges and mash; I had a rump steak with triple cooked chips (sounded better than they tasted). Cost = ...
... Wales. After a few photos and a coffee we headed over the Severn Bridge back to England. The afternoon was long but the sun shone We headed down another long hill down to Wells and met up with Steve's family .From there we set off for the last 10mile push along the levels to Glastonbury . James : I have very little to say on this particular blog other than I admire the high esteem in which Elaine holds her husband........see ...
... of Sighs. We were late getting back to the car, but still managed to get there in time to buy another hour parking pass with the plan of hitting the White Horse pub for lunch before maybe peeking back in to Blackwell's for a second before leaving town.
What we didn't plan for was the evil power emanating from Blackwell's Books that sucked us in effortlessly. One does not simply "peek into" Blackwell's any more than customers at a buffet turn down seconds. We got sucked ...
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Historical Traveler Reviews Center Parcs Longleat Forest Warminster
Center Parcs ia a fabulous place - beautiful forest, excellent facilities. However the basic 'Comfort Villa' experience was horrible. These are portacabins stuck in the woods - they are dated, cramped, tatty, not remotely comfortable and in our case, dirty (fag burn in sheets!). We will never go back, although the more expensive villas looked lovely (from the outside). If you're gonna go, pay for the top standard or don't bother. We quit our 3 day break after a day, we just couldn't sit in that depressing hovel any longer.
Our 3 kids loved it - they swam, rode their bikes, played tenpin bowling etc. Everything is very expensive but there are lovely walks and views for free. The restaurants are nothing special - standard TGi Friday type food. Again, there were lots of corporate guests around, hogging the facilities which we found irritating.
The staff were sweet - they tried hard to improve our experience and we thank them for listening to our concerns. But I would never recommend this place to a friend.
Not cheap but good family fun !
Have just returned form a weekend break staying in a 2 bedroom "comfort" (basic) villa.
We haven't visited for the last 3 years but decided the children (aged 9 and 7) would now get a lot more out of a visit than on previous visits.
Online booking and pre-registration was easy. Paid extra £18.50 to have a villa near the Plaza (pool complex) so we could easily walk there.
On arrival we were dealt with quickly, given keys and handed a map with the villa location marked.
Our villa was very clean and well equipped for a weekend. (If you really need a DVD player then you will have to upgrade or take your own!) Everything worked and the pre-ordered grocery pack was there waiting for us so no need to rush to the parc market for essentials.
We only ate out a few times but:
HUGOS (Friday evening) : childrens portions were small
service from the greeter/main waiter was a bit OTT
quite pricey for the quantity and quality of the food although tasty
they do smaller portions of the main menu items aiming at children but seemed a bit off when we actually ordered from the childrens menu
CRISPINS takeaway (Sat lunctime):
service was VERY slow - only one person serving on the busiest lunchtime
burgers were poor - hard and tasteless (I'm informed the nuggets were OK)
HUCLEBERRYS (Sun evening after a long time in the pool):
excellent service - friendly and efficient
child friendly service, menu and play area
good size portions for kids
reasonably priced (for Center Parcs) and good quality
A mini supermarket - well stocked and only slightly dearer that outside (we never have room in the car for groceries anyway).
If you spend more than a certain amount they will deliver to your villa to save your legs/muscles.
We intentionally spent most of our time either exploring the "parc" on foot or on the land train or in the pool complex.
We all had a great time in the water - especially when the waves were on in the main pool ( very impressed to see 4 or more lifeguards watching carefully from different vantage points) , bobbing around the lazy river,wooshing down the water slides and relaxing in the extra warm water in the fresh air outside.
The tropical pool complex seemed clean to us and the changing rooms were as clean as they were likely to be with the volume of people passing through constantly. I saw cleaning staff present on each visit.
If you intend to walk or cycle between the top area (Plaza and Village Square) and the sports centre or the far side of the parc then prepared for some hill climbs (the Sports centre is in the middle in a valley).
Plenty of wildlife - not very wild - obviously used to the constant presence of humans. We had various birds including Moorhens, Squirrels, large rabbits on the villa patio eating the bread we put out - in daylight. A large deer was wandering the car park early on Monday morning as well.
- Landscaped and warm pool complex with wave machine, dedicated childrens paddling pools and slides, outdoor hot pool, whirlpools, rapids and big slides, plus plenty of seating. Youcan spend hours in there - our girls didn't want to get out.
- Natural environment. Even with the number of villa and guests on site the size and layout of the parc, number of trees ands ponds really give the feel of staying in a forset.
- Being able to choose location of villas.
- Not a cheap weekend. Our cost before meals out and treats was around £490 with grocery pack, towels, villa choice etc.
- Apart from the pool complex every other activity costs extra but the information pack you receive does have all the timings and prices so it's up to you.
- You need to be reasonably fit and able if you are going to walk or cycle around. There are 2 "land trains" but they get very full if the weather is bad and there were only 2 carriages on each one when we were there.
Avoid Longleat at all costs
If you are thinking of visiting a Center Parcs don't pick this one
My wife and I stayed in a VIP executive Villa and were looking forward to the same having previously enjoyed visits to Whinfell Forest (which is so vastly superior to the point of being almost incomparable)
We originally drove straight past the accomodation as we were expecting a Villa (as per Whinfell forest) rather than a portacabin. You will understand immediately why this Center Parcs does not publish pictures of its accomodation in the brochures. The portacabin was so depressing that we asked to be moved straight away but were told that that park was full. Towels and toilets were dirty, mould was growing in the bathrooms and the whole accomodation smelt damp and unpleasant and the decor was refurbished rubbish and certainly not executive.
The swimming complex was absolutely filthy and put us of from swimming in the same. The Spa was a building site (apparently it was running months over schedule) with rubble and dust in the treatment rooms and spa experience area. They obviously had a problem with the drainage as the drains were overflowing right outside the entrance to the spa.
Unfortunately these were not the only problems. The Parc is so large that it has a land train to help you get around! Seriously is took us 40 minutes of quick walking to walk back from the Sports Area to our accomodation above the Plaza. Not too bad the first time but after a while the severe hills and the steps start to get to you. I would have hated to have tried to get around with kids as it would have been a nightmare. There was also a very high number of cars driving about which surpised us somewhat (it is supposed to be car free) so obviously some guests simply thought enough was enough and fetched their cars from the car park to transport them about.
The restaurants were however quite good. They were expensive (but all the Center Parcs restaurants are) but I would eat at them again. The Rajinda Pradesh was excellent with the Lamp Chops Akkra style highly recommended and weighed in at just under £70.00 for 3 starters, 2 mains, one side and a couple of big kingfishers each. The La Sapaniere was also excellent with a good ambience (live pianist) and for 4 people with no starters, 4 mains, 4 deserts and drinks including Champagne cocktails was around £220.00.
If you went to Longleat as your first parc I don't think you would ever go back. Sure the food was nice but the accomodation was terrible to the point that a complaint letter is winging its way to Center Parcs as we speak and the distance between the area's of the parc is just too far. Avoid at all costs.
Wasn't too sure but had a good time
We booked a 4 night break at the last minute so didn't recieve any literature regarding the resort and package.
We arrived around 5 pm and unloaded into our 'comfort villa' which is bit of an oxymoron as it wasn't comfortable and there is no way on earth it resembled a villa - more like 'basic chalet thing'. At this point I was not feeling good about the price we had paid to stay in this place. The 'villa' was adequate but not comfortable in any way. It had a kitchnette equipped with fridge (freezer compartment at top), oven and hob and cupboards with cooking and eating utensils.
Lounge area with tv and little hifi and a dining table and chairs. Bathroom with shower although our shower holder was broken which I unfortunately found out when trying to take a shower and got water sprayed everywhere soaking the whole bathroom - a notice that it was broken would have been nice. As was the towel rack.
Also an extra loo at the entrance of the property. The bedrooms were basic, bed, pillow, thin duvet and a cupboard/wardrobe either side of bed. Not too comfortable but not completely rock hard - made for a long night but I was able to get some sleep so can't complain too much.
Once we'd offloaded we drove the car back to the car park and it was walking and cycling from then on.
We had brought our own bikes as well as a cycle trailer for the little ones but there is a shop to hire if you haven't brought your own. We rented a small bike for our 4 year old just to ride on whilst we were in our 'villa' which was £8 something for the week which I thought was reasonable. I have to say the cycle center gave excellent service. We took our own bikes along and they tightened seats and adjusted handlebars and tightened brakes all free of charge which was wonderful, excellent customer service.
As we had arrived quite late we first of all went swimming at the lagoon which the kids enjoyed. I didn't think too much of it as the changing rooms were really dirty and uncomfortable and I do have a bit of a thing with dirty changing rooms if you are swimming. The family changing rooms you could barely swing a cat in let alone get a family into - I believe they are going to improve this - let's hope so.
After we had been swimming we went to a restaurant to eat as I hadn't had time to go shopping and it was getting late. We ate at the Italian restuarant - Luciano's (? - something like that). I was not impressed with the food nor the prices. It seemed rather overpriced for pasta, perhaps if it was a fancy restuarant then I could agree with what they were charging but what they served up was not only not very nice but also small portions with no extra's like garlic bread or salad - so very poor value for money.
The next day we cycled down to the sports center - be aware that there is about 1/2 mile of ramps to cycle up and down to get to and from the lake and sports centre. There is the option of steps but either way, I hope you are feeling fit. There is also a land train (a couple of trailers with seats pulled by a jeep, which you can use if you aren't up to walking and cycling. We booked up some classes for the kids which cost an extra £200 on top of what we had already paid for the holiday! So be aware if you want to do anything other then roam around the forest or swim then it will cost! This is where some extra information would have been handy.
There is no information about what activities are offered and how much they cost - or even that you will be charged for extra activities on their website.
I had looked for this information prior to booking but couldnt' find it - it would help if they added this information to those booking via the internet - or at least have a pdf file that you can download once you've booked with the information on.
We went boating on the lake, did the crazy golf, badminton, zipwire, high ropes, lads and dads football, basketball, jewellry making and a tumble tots type thing, oh and paintball (either all or at least one member of the family)
One word of caution, make sure you leave a good half an hour between activities as travelling between some of the places takes a while, especially if you are cycling up the ramps pulling a trailer or have younger children without gears trying to get up them. For the time out club children need to be picked up by a parent and they have to have a password - so coordinate beforehand. We got caught out on this one. My 11 year old took a class there and I had to drop her and run to my own class so didn't have time to tell the password to hubby. As it was he took a nap and sent our oldest daughter to collect her sister. She didn't know the password (which was her name - I'm sure she could have guessed it) and they wouldn't let our 11 year old go with her as she was under 16 anyway. So my daughter was left waiting for 1 and a half hours till I finished my class and went and collected her. So beware - any classes taken at the time out club need to have parents collect - I personally thought this a bit over the top for an 11 year old, particularly as they were able to go to other things like the high ropes and zipwires unattended and leave unattended.
Anyway I can see I am going on a bit too much. All in all we had a good holiday. We really enjoyed cycling everywhere and it was really good for the children to have a safe environment where they could use their bikes and not worry about the danger of being on the road and they loved it. It was good for them to do the extra activities - things they wouldn't normally get to do.
For value for money I would give it a 6 out of 10 but perhaps that's because we went mid August when it was bound to be expensive. I think if they could improve the comfortableness of the 'comfort villa's' and improve the quality or value for money of their dining places then it would meet my standards. Somewhere where I wouldn't mind going again for a weekend break perhaps if the price was a little more competitive.
I've never had a holiday in the UK before this year so don't have a lot to compare with but we did go away for a week at Whitsun and had a brand new cottage, real luxury in Cornwall and that was about 25% less then we paid for the accomodation here.
Loved it again - But pricey
This is the third time we have visited this Center Parc and once again we had a great time. We had originally booked an executive apartment but were immediately disappointed. Whilst clean and adequate it wasnt a patch on the executive villas and we asked to move. To the sites credit we were moved straight away and from that point on had a blast. We went bowling, did archery, rode our bikes for miles and attended the fondue evening at the pancake house.
IT IS EXPENSIVE! If you're on a budget, bring your own food and cook in the adequate kitchen with each villa.
And lock your bike, my wifes was taken but we found it later the same day.
Center Parcs accommodation is mostly in 'Villas'. You will not find any images of these on their web site, apart from a brief description as 'single storey accommodation'. They seem to be shy of showing people what they are getting. See my photos. The building at first looks like a portacabin, or even a electrical utility building. Calling them 'Villas' is a con. Chalet or even bungalow would be a fairer description. Inside however, it is very nice. Spacious, with fixture and fittings of a good standard. Its also very clean, and quite light inside. This was an 'executive villa' and cost 785 pounds for a 3 night weekend. With 3 bedrooms its quite a good base for a family.
I found center parcs at Longleat quite crowded, but we did go at one of the busiest days of the year, Mothers day. The pool is very good, and entrance is free. It can get crowded though. The site could easily contain up to 4000 people. There is lots to do, and this is probably an ideal holiday park for families with young children who can safely ride their cycles from one attraction to another.
To fill up with food before arrival, there is a large supermarket in Warminster. There are also 4 small restaurants in Warminster, as an alternative to the on site eateries at center parcs.
Walking in a winter wonderland
Just returned from a midweek (5 day)break and want to go back already! We booked a pinewood apartment (penthouse, 2 storey with private sauna on balcony)and it was exactly 27 steps to the Plaza (my husband counted!). The bed was comfy enough - and although there were a few things (non essential for us luckily)missing from the inventory when we arrived - after reporting them on arrival, they were replaced within hours.
In the small kitchen area there is a microwave with convection oven built in....but not very big - so ended up cooking pork chops in the frying pan! I would suggest bringing your own wok if you like stir-fries and not to buy or bring anything that can;'t be cooked on the hob, in a toaster or in a reasonably small microwave/convection oven.
The maid service was good and everyday our washing up was done (no dishwasher, though, I'm sorry to say!, bed made and a general tidyup around the place. Towel changes were twice in the 5 day period.
The Parc market is fairly reasonable with a good choice including organic foods. For those that want more choice, though, there are Asda and Sainsbury's supermarkets only a short drive away.
The spa was lovely - although there was only one session for women only and two maintenance men were in the spa during this allocated time. Although the jardin de sport, aqua sana and Indian restaurant was around a 10-15min walk away, it was well worth it as the weather was crisp, cold and sunny...and delightful to see all the flora and fauna in this environment on the way! We also did the walk in minus conditions one evening.....but the land train that circles the village got us home quickly on the return. The land train is free and runs every 20mins or so from bus stops all around the village - starting early morning and continuing until around midnight (I believe - we caught it at gone 11pm).
Although this is a very family orientated holiday, there is still enough to keep most adults amused and entertained either with or without their brood. Thankfully, the spa is a adults (and older teenager) only sanctuary!
We ate in Huckleberry's and the food and service were both commendable. Our server, Emile, was friendly, attentive and helpful - without us ever feeling that he was hurrying us up - if only all service in restaurants was like that!
The only negative occurences were when three (able bodied to the eye)visitors chained their bikes up outside a venue (rather than in the bike park) - obviously far too busy to use the same designated parking facilities as everyone else - and a small girl hurt herself on one of them. Unfortunately, there didn't seem to be any staff willing or able to call out over the tannoy system for someone to remove them. The other was when corporate day visitors to the conference centre arrived and created a cigarette smoke fog outside the side entrance to the plaza (inside is no smoking)which residents then have to walk through. Also, they completely booked out one restaurant for lunch - could they not have been served in the conference center - away from paying resident guests?
Anyhow, we loved it! Also encorporated a trip to nearby Cheddar Gorge on the way down and Glastonbury on the way back - (anyone visiting Glastonbury should visit S'Amuser and do the purfume journey....completely free and loads of fun!)
My partner and I stayed at Longleat CP November 2004, and despite the fact it was out of season we still had to pay £350 for the weekend and all we got was a little apartment!Although the apartment was nicely furnished(with a lovely bathroom) it was quite a distance from the Plaza and the Jardin de sports. It was awful weather(which wasnt anyones fault obviously)but it meant that we got drenched cycling anywhere. The pool is truly wonderful, for kids and adults alike, we spent all day in the pool as there wasnt much else to do due to the weather. The retaurant we ate in(an italian one I think) was overpriced and dissapointing. We were unable to try the Indian as it is over the other side of the complex and we were unwilling to cycle over in the dark in the poaring rain!We went out for a drink one night, but it was a bit dull to be honest. We tried the spa, which was lovely but rather expensive.
All in all it is a VERY active holiday and is also very much weather dependant.Great for families and even for couples and groups looking for a busy weekend, but for those wanting a relaxing break I suggest booking into a luxury hotel for a few nights for the same price.
Fantastic UK short break!
I stayed at Centre Parcs Longleat Forest earlier this year. I was very lucky as the weather was amazing, so I could spend the whole week outdoors - there is certainly a lot of outdoor activities.
This was my first Centre Parcs break, and it definitely won't be my last. I was very impressed. I stayed in an executive villa, and the standard of accomodation was great. Comfy beds, spacious rooms, and a great little patio backing onto water - beautiful! The best part about the villas is that even though you are surrounded by other villas, the way they are arranged makes you feel like you are the only people staying there - you can't see any other people or villas around you.
The facilities at Longeat Forest were great. The subtropical swimming paradise was a little smaller than I had imagined, but it was still a lot of good fun - particularly the outdoor part that featured some brilliant rapids. The area where the swimming paradise is located is called The Plaza and also houses some shops and restaurants. The restaurants are of a good standard and there is something to suit all budgets. The best restaurant I tried was the Indian - Rajinda Pradesh, delicious food but the service was a little rude and we were nearly turned away when we hadn't made a booking even though the place was clearly empty!
Along with food and swimming, there is a nice Spa that was having an extension built while I was there. The spa experiences were good though I would recommend taking advantage of any special offers because it is quite expensive.
There's plenty of things to keep you active. We hired bikes for the week and getting around the place was a lot of fun, though there are a lot of steep hills to contend with. There's a great watersports lake with windsurfing, canoeing and the like, and a couple of crazy golf courses.
The Jardin Des Sports houses badminton, squash, table tennis, pool, snooker, tennis courts and a putting green. However, when I was there it was incredibly hot as it's not air conditioned, so playing any sporting activity was quite uncomfortable.
All in all though, a visit to Longleat Forest is well worth it! I came back feeling refreshed, active, and raring to go back for more!
Great fun for a weekend!
Center Parcs is excellent to go for a weekend. I think staying for a week might be too long but ive only ever stayed for the weekend. Having stayed at the Center Parc in Longleat, Wiltshire many times, i can safely say ive never had bad memories of the place. As a teenager I hugely enjoy the vast swimming complex, with the exciting rapids being the standout ride. Anyone with an interest with sports (i love them) will find themselves in heaven in the Jardin de sports, a complex which features many tennis courts, indoor badminton, squash and soft tennis courts and also snooker and table tennis tables. Almost every need is catered for. There is also a vast lake where you can practise sailing among over things.
The numerous restaurants are all varied and the ones i have been to have been excellent.
The villas do their job; no thrills but comfortable enough.
All in all a faboulous active weekend in the country! (never thought i'd say that!)