Center Parcs villages are famous for their woodland breaks, subtropical swimming paradise, serene lodges and car-free (mainly) roads. It has five villages in the UK and we reviewed Longleat Village’s Woodland Lodge entry tier accommodation in 2015. We returned to test out the Executive Lodge and was interested to see if a different Lodge would make a significant difference to our experience. The Lodge itself had a few more luxuries – all bedrooms were en-suite, the main bathroom had a hydrobath, some even have a sauna and a daily cleaning service is included.
The significant factor was the location as the executive lodges are situated closer to the central facilities and as we go to the pool daily when we’re there, it was wonderful to be just a 5-10 minute walk away. The shuttle service is filled to and sometimes beyond capacity on cold winter evenings, but the distance from the pool to the executive lodges offer the opportunity for a brisk walk rather than a long wait. We also appreciated being home after a late swim in ten minutes rather than 45 minutes to an hour. We highly recommend a lodge close to the dome if you love swimming.
The executive lodges we stayed in were also close to the Village Square – home to our favourite restaurant and the hub of children’s nature activities, including an impressive wooden adventure playground. Although the Jardin des Sports and the lake were downhill from us, the distances were definitely doable. We soon realised that from a more central location we explored a much larger area and we cycled and walked for enjoyment rather than just as a means for commuting.
We also lit a fire for the first time as we had more time to spend at our Lodge. Cutting down on the 2+ hours of commuting to the pool and village square to 5-10 minutes walks meant we returned to the lodge regularly for a coffee and a break. Cass took up rollerblading, scootering and was finally brave enough to remove the training wheels from her bicycle. We had time for stargazing and some beautiful clear skies, roasted marshmallows and watched the squirrels, ducks and deer that still came close to the patio doors every morning.
We initially thought that staying further from the central amenities was more isolated and we’d see more wildlife and have less foot traffic. We were wrong. We’ve seen deer and squirrels next to the lodge on each visit and on our last stay we chose a Lodge that was not on a commuter route but the closest to the dome we’ve ever been and we had less passing traffic than ever before. Upgrading to an executive lodge is definitely worth every penny. Also they have a hydrobath – with bubbles and underwater light – how cool is that.
We didn’t always make use of the daily cleaning service as we chose privacy over cleanliness when they came round whilst we were in, but for us the service did include washing up the breakfast dishes we’d left in the sink before hitting the pool, making the beds hotel style, restocking soap, dishwasher tablets and coffee pods for the machine and folding towels on top of a general clean and tidy. It was pleasant to return to a lodge that was neat and tidy and Cass enjoyed leaving messages that were replied to on the blackboard.
Center Parcs is a family-friendly haven. It’s often our first choice for our first short break of the year because handling birds of prey, stroking rabbits and skunks, swimming for hours and returning to a neatly made bed, warm whirlpool bath, hot dinner and glass of wine by the fire is the perfect remedy for any January blues. We rent our dream life for a few days and then we never want to leave. Highly recommended.
Book with Center Parcs
Price: £299 – £1249 for a 3/4 night stay for 2 and 3 bedroom lodges
Executive extras included in the price: En-suite bathrooms, hydrobath, daily cleaning service and coffee machine.
Season: Open year round
Accommodation: 2,3 and 4 bedroom Executive Lodges available
Location: Longleat Center Parcs
Booking: Secure online booking
Check-in: 3pm but on-site facilities available from 10 am
Check-out: 10am, but on-site facilities available until 10pm
Timed restrictions: Vehicle use is restricted to change over times and remain in the car park for the duration of your stay.
Age range: Excellent family venue
Dogs welcome in specific Dog-friendly Woodland lodges.
Parking: Free parking in the car park – some of the luxury lodges have their own parking
Access: Highly accessible venue, read their detailed accessibility info here.
Map: PDF map can be found here.
Nearby: Longleat Safari & Adventure Park
About Center Parcs UK and Brookfield Property Partners
Center Parcs UK has an established reputation for providing top quality family-friendly short breaks. The first UK-based village was established in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire over 25 years ago. There are 5 villages in the UK, each set in about 400 acres of woodland with a Subtropical Swimming Paradise, Spa, Restaurants and Activities that accompany self-catering accommodation. Read more here. Center Parcs was acquired by Brookfield Property Partners, “a global commercial property company that owns, operates and invests in best-in-class office, retail, multifamily, industrial, hotel and triple net lease assets.” Brookfield Property Partners is environmentally conscious and their sustainability policy and 2015 Corporate Responsibility Report is available here.
This travel review is based on two short-break stays in an executive lodge at Centerparcs Longleat Forest in January 2016 and 2017. This article was first published on 26 February 2016 and last updated on 9 February 2018.