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.
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.
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.
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 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,