Field Trips

Is Center Parcs Halal? – A Muslim Family Review

Does center parcs serve halal food? Are the swimming pools segregated? Is it worth the money?

There are just a few of the questions I received on my Instagram and Facebook accounts after sharing some photos of our holiday there. In this blog-post, I’ll be sharing my honest review of Center Parcs, based on our stays in the Longleat and Whinfell forests, from a Muslim family perspective.

Center parcs Muslim halal holiday

We spent three-four nights in the Longleat and Whinfell villages and overall we loved our time there. In fact, after only returning from Centre parcs a few days ago, we’re already planning when we can go back!

Center Parcs is a great holiday destination for families who want to “escape” from a city or suburban life, and spend some time in a quiet, green, natural space, without sacrificing any comfort at all!

In Centre Parcs you can take part in a huge range of outdoor and indoor activities, spend time in their indoor pools, go shopping, have a coffee or a meal out, or relax in you own private sauna back at your lodge. The resorts are luxurious, full of fun things do for all ages, and all interests.

Center parcs Muslim halal holiday

I’m not going to go into all the differences between the resorts and accommodation. If you want more information, visit the Centre Parcs Website.

Instead, I want to talk to you about our personal experience there, the positives and the negatives, all from a Muslim family’s perspective.

Is it halal?

First, lets deal with the most commonly asked question from my Muslim followers….is the food at Center Parcs halal? Unfortunately, the restaurants at Whinfell and Longleat did NOT offer halal options.

However it appears that some of the resorts can offer halal meals if you book ahead. A friend of mine visited Woburn Forest, Bedfordshire and was able to pre-order halal food when booking at Cafe Rouge, Las Iguanas, Huck grill and Rajendra Pradeep curry house. MashAllah!

So it’s worth definitely worth checking ahead, before you decide which resort to stay at, to see if they can offer halal meals in their restaurants. You can contact them directly HERE.

However the restaurants do offer vegetarian meals. My favourite restaurant on site is “Las Iguanas”, which serve eclectic South American cuisine. They have loads of vegetarian dishes, so everyone will find something they like insha’Allah.

Since we eat halal, and healthy food, we preferred eat most of our meals in our lodge itself. The kitchen was modern, clean and very well-equipped.

Why we love Center Parcs

  • There are so many activities to do there, that you will not have time to do everything you want! The choice is incredible! There are indoor and outdoor activities to suit every age, ability and interest. Even if its winter, and raining, and cold, there is still loads to do and enjoy.
  • The lodges are very comfortable, clean and well equipped. There are a variety of different accommodation to choose from, depending on your budget and the size of your group. Recently, we chose a lodge with its own infra-red sauna and daily house-keeping which was wonderful! In some of the resorts they even have luxury tree-houses!
  • There is a supermarket onsite, which stocks almost everything you could need if you want to cook at home or have forgotten to pack something. It is slightly more expensive than supermarkets outside the complex.
  • The swimming pools are warm and clean. The changing rooms provide family cubicles so that all the family can change together. You do not need to pay for the lockers. You can bring your own swimming towels from home, and avoid paying the fee for beach towel hire at the pool. There are loads of slides to enjoy, a wave machine, and lovely areas for toddlers to splash about in.
  • I wore a burkini with a coverup into the swimming pools, with no issue from lifeguards or other staff. If you choose not to swim, you can sit comfortably next to the pool, or in the poolside cafe, whilst someone else takes the kids into the pools.
  • There is a large and luxurious spa, with a huge range of treatments available. Before or after your treatment you can enjoy complimentary use of the sauna , steams rooms and swimming pools in the spa complex.
  • The staff at check in, in the various centres, those leading the activities, and even the cleaners, were courteous and professional throughout.
  • As we visited Whinfell forest around Christmas time, we were able to enjoy a free fireworks display around the lake (which was amazing!) and visit their winter wonderland for free.
Center parcs Muslim halal holiday
Center parcs Muslim halal holiday

Points to consider before booking

  • Although access to the indoor swimming pools is free, all other activities come at an extra charge. The prices of the activities are more than you would expect to pay outside the resort.
  • There is no prayer room anywhere onsite. This means during the winter, you really have to plan your activities carefully around the prayer times.
  • The restaurants do not serve halal options. They are however very clear about which are vegetarian. I loved the vegetarian options they offered in Las Iguanas! Cafe Rouge does a lovely breakfast too.
  • There is alcohol served on site. We only came across people drinking when we went to the bowling alley, and had to walk through the bar to get there. Not ideal!
  • The swimming pools are not segregated.
  • Some of the accommodation is a long walk from the main activity centres. If you chose a lodge further out, you may need to bring your own bikes or hire them there. Cars are not allowed to drive onsite, except on check-in and check-out days.
  • There is music playing in the shopping areas, but not in the sports and activities centres.
Center parcs Muslim halal holiday
Center parcs Muslim halal holiday

Center Parcs is a mid-range to luxury family holiday. In my opinion, it is worth the cost! We came back from our most recent holiday at Whinfell Forest saying that, “This was the best holiday we’ve EVER had!”

I hope this brief blog-post has helped you to decide whether you want to visit Center Parcs one day.

If you have anymore questions, please leave them for me in the comments.

Peace and Love,

Living history curriculum islamic

A Week (or two) in Our Homeschool | 18th-29th September 2017

Blackbird egg nature journal

I think the theme of the last few weeks should be how to homeschool when nothing goes to plan!

We were just starting to get into a rhythm and a good homeschool routine, when flu hit and then an un-planned road trip really challenged our schedule.

Monday 18th September

I was sick today! With a terrible fever and flu, we kept it really simple today with maths on the computer, reading practice and some Quran.

The kids were still unwell too, so they finished off an activity from their Toucan Box and made this awesome Dinosaur egg with plaster of Paris. We love our monthly Toucan box. You can read a review I wrote about it HERE.

Dinosaur egg craft

After dosing up on paracetamol and ibuprofen, I felt human again so we read aloud from A Child’s History of the World, learning about King Alfred.

Honestly, I had never heard of Alfred and his treaty with the Vikings before….it was really interesting!

A child's history of the world

Tuesday 19th September

Since we missed circle time yesterday, I made it a priority today. We revisited a painting by Hokusai and the children gave a lovey narration of it. We sang some French nursery rhymes from Comptines a chanter  and finished off the Shakespeare play “Two Gentlemen of Verona” from the book Beautiful stories from Shakespeare for children

The boys struggled a little ( a lot) following the plot of the play. I am thinking of encorporating peg dolls or some props to help them to narrate the plays. It is not the language that they find hard, but the complex story lines! We’ll find a way insha’Allah.

After reading about the Battle of Hastings from Our Island Story we stopped school for the day and tried to get better!

Year 2 Ambleside online

Wednesday 20th September

After two days being stuck indoors, I was itching to get out!

After a little morning school, we went to a nearby park and get some fresh air. I had been reading in Home Education Volume 1 by Charlotte Mason about the importance she placed on breathing in “outdoor” air compared to “indoor” air, and so I felt inspired to follow her advice!

Muslim homeschool

Thursday 21st September

By now the kids were well enough to go to their home-ed classes and were able to go swimming and to their Seerah class.

Those long drives to classes were my saving grace! We look our iPad and listened Understood Betsy on Audible on the way there and back. If you remember in my last blog post, I said the boys were not enjoying that book AT ALL! Well they seem to really like the Audiobook. Alhumdulillah!

I was so impressed with how responsive they were to the audiobook, that I used up all my free credits with Audible to get almost all the books we will be using this year with the Ambleside online curriculum.

If you haven’t tried Audible before, they are a publisher and distributor of the world’s largest selection of digital audiobooks and spoken word content. There is a 30-Day FREE TRIAL available at the moment if you’d like to try it with your family.

 

In the evening, we sang French songs with our cookies and milk!

Homeschool french songs
Cookies and French songs!

Friday 22nd September

Although I was still not feeling well, there was no way we were missing out on nature study! I love it too much!

We spent the morning sketching a blackbird into our Nature notebooks with the help of some fantastic YouTube videos by John Muir Laws

nature journal watercolour blackbird

We headed off the our nearby park for our usual nature walk, but within minutes of reaching there, the heavens opened! It was raining so hard we had to run back to the car and eat our picnic there! Whilst we were eating we listened to an excellent CD, A Guide to British Garden Birds., until the rain stopped.

british garden bird song cd  nature study acorns

Once back home, we painted our blackbirds using water colours, and the children spent the remainder of the day with their grandparents.

(Sketch book: HERE)

nature study blackbird

 

Saturday 23rd

The boys worked on the next chapter in their Islamic Studies books. My 7 year-old read about Life after Death using the Safar Year 3 book, and my 5 year-old learnt about how to use the toilet and keep clean using the Year 1 books.

Safar Islamic Studies Year 1

Sunday 24th – Tuesday 26th

My in-laws are visiting at the moment, so we decided to make the most of our flexible schedule and take them to Alton towers. This kids enjoyed spending time with their grnadparents and they loved going on all the rides!

cbeebies land alton towers homeschol trip

cbeebies land alton towers homeschol trip
Justin’s House was her favourite!

With it being a weekday, there were no queues! I have never been to a theme park where you didn’t have to queue up for anything! It was brilliant for the young kids.

My daughter got to meet Postman Mat (which she is still talking about), and the boys got to go on some faster roller-coasters. They’re now planning how they can build their own roller coaster at home out of Lego! Whilst there,we stayed in a hotel within the resort for a few days and came back Tuesday afternoon.

It is worth noting that Alton Towers, and all Merlin attractions, do offer a home-educator discount, but you will have to prove you home school with a letter from the LEA.

Wednesday 27th September

After getting back from out trip, I decided to spend the remainder to the week catching up on what we missed last week. Initally the morning was spent doing the usual daily workl; Quran, Maths and Reading. My 7 year-old son started The Bears on Hemlock Mountain which he seems to be enjoying.

During circle time we learnt about Prophet Idris (Enoch)(AS) from the book Lives of the Prophets by Leila Azzam.

Then the boys remembered that their Seerah teacher had asked them to make a list of 5 good things they wanted to do/acheive this new Islamic year. Their lists included things like learn to swim, read more Quran, be better to my mum! My 5 year-old son wanted to type his list up on the computer and here he is mashAllah!

Islamic new year resolutions
Islamic new year resolutions

Thursday 28th September

Today we went seemed to spend most of the day in the car! After a little “morning school”, travelling to the boys’ swimming class and Seerah class took up a large part of the day.

We used this time once again to listen to audiobooks, listening to Parables from Nature using Audible

It was lovely to have some sunny weather today though. However, as all you mums know, sunny weather means catching up on laundry! After being sick, and going away for the weekend, and the endless rain we’ve been having, there was a lot of washing to do! By the end of the day I had 4 or 5 loads of clean laundry to fold/iron and put away(…eugh), but seeing that empty laundry basket was satisfying.

what homeschooling really looks like!
This is what homeschooling really looks like!

Friday 29th September

Fridays are our favourite day! We spent the morning walking in nearby woodland. We spotted a squirrel with a sweet chesnut in his mouth. When we followed him we found the tree and hundreds of sweet shestnuts on the floor! The boys decided to collect as many as they could carry to take home for the squirrels in our garden!

nature walk homeschool

nature walk homeschool
I don’t know what they’re looking at!

nature walk homeschool
Sweet Chestnuts EVERYWHERE!

In the afternoon, the boys planted some of the sweet chestnuts in the garden and left loads out for the squirrels.

They added a green/blue blackbird egg to their nature notebooks and had a class at home with their French tutor. The rest of the day was spent helping to cook dinner. They made chicken curry and rice mashAllah!

Blackbird egg nature journal
Adding to their nature notebook later that afternoon

 

 

So it has been a “higgledy-piggledy” week. We are one week behind in schedule set out by  Ambleside online, so instead of beginning week 5 we will beginning week 4.

I’m not really concerned at all if I’m honest! Instead of taking 36 weeks to compete the year, we will take 37.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our week.

What do you do when your children get sick?
Do you prioritise any subjects and try to get something done?
Or do you just take that time off?
Please let me know in the comment below.

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth

Day in the Life: Homeschooling and Trip to the Farm

Hi Everyone!

Come along with us on a typical homeschooling day.

Muslim Homeschool Day in the Life

If’ you’re new here, we are a Muslim homeschooling family from the UK.

The kids are 6 ,4, and 2 years old. I hope you enjoy seeing what home education looks like in our home.

I pray you find encouragement and support in this little video of ours!

WATCH THIS VIDEO!

Thanks for watching!

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Thanks again for watching!

In need of your duaas,

Peace and Love.