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

Our Homeschool Field Trip to London

Last weekend we traveled down to London with the children to visit the historical sites and museums.

For almost 6 months, we have been meaning to take the kids to London for a field trip, and last weekend we finally did it!!!

I remember visiting the amazing museums and historical sites as a child with my mum. Maybe it’s jut nostalgia, but I wanted my children to have the same feelings of awe and also feel inspired as I was when I was young.

Homeschool field trip london uk

 

Homeschool Field trip London UK

It took about 4 hours to drive down from the North-West and reach our hotel near Kew Gardens.

Before we tackled the museums, there was something much more important that we needed to address….our stomachs!!!

The first place we visited was Southall  for some GOOD CURRY! We went to Mirch Masala and the food was delicious! After dinner, I visited a lovely Islamic book shop called Al-Jannah bookstore, and purchased a few goodies…but you’ll have to wait for my next favourites Youtube video to see them!

After a good night’s sleep, we set out to central London by car. I have always been intimidated by driving in central London, however my husband makes it look easy! mashAllah. Thank goodness he was with me!

First stop….

The Natural History Museum

Homeschool trip natural history museum london

This was the one place that my children insisted we visit because of their extensive collection of dinosaur fossils. Even as a “grown-up”, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the size of their collection.

Homeschool trip natural history museum london

 

Homeschool trip natural history museum london

The kids particularly enjoyed the robotic T-Rex!

We even found the place where Andy’s famous time-travelling clock should have been!
(You know, from CBeebies TV show “Andy’s Dinosaur adventure”!)
Homeschool Natural history museum london
It’s time to go an a Dinosaur Adventure!

In addition to the dinosaurs, we visited the section about Marine
life. The room with the life-size blue whale was incredible!

Homeschool Natural history museum london

Then we went to the Volcanoes & Earthquake section. This was my eldest son’s favourite part. It is lay out really well, with loads of hands-on learning experiences. There is even one room that you can stand in and experience a simulated earthquake!

My boys were so inspired by this part of the museum, that we are going to incorporate earthquakes and volcanoes into our science this term insha’Allah.

On the drive back to the hotel, we drove through Westminster and saw the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and Buckingham Palace. However, as the kids were tired, instead of stopping to look around, we decided it was best to head back to the hotel.

After another trip to Southall for dinner, we went back to the hotel for a good night’s rest.

The next day we visited the British museum.

The British Museum

Honestly, I could spend a week in this museum!

I go nuts for Ancient history, and this museum is full of exhibits and artifacts from every ancient civilisation you can imagine!
It is my happy place!

Homeschool trip British Museum London

 

Homeschool trip British Museum London

However this time we only had a morning to spend here so we went straight for the ancient Egypt section.

Homeschool trip British Museum London

In our history curriculum, we have spent the last 3 months focusing on Ancient Egypt. It was so nice for the children to see the historical artifacts in real life. The section was very crowded, and seemed really popular with tourists, but we managed to see a lot of fascinating things.

Homeschool trip British Museum London

 

Homeschool trip British Museum London

 

Homeschool trip British Museum London

I love the British museum, and I’m already planning our next visit!

Before leaving, we sat and enjoyed some hot chips, whilst admiring the incredible architecture outside.

Homeschool trip British Museum London

 

Homeschool trip British Museum London

Travelling around central London with kids can be difficult. One of the best things I can advise is plan ahead; plan your nappy bag, plan your route, plan where you will have lunch, pack snacks…plan plan plan! Also, try not to be over ambitious with what you hope to achieve in the day. Personally, I do not expect to visit more than one place a day, and anything extra is a nice bonus!

Homeschool trip natural history Museum London
He looks like I feel after a day out in London with the kids! 😉
(Mauritian Dodo from the Natural History Museum)

Have you ever taken your children on an educational trip around London? 

We are planning to visit London again in the next few months. Where would you recommend we go next time we visit? 

I would love to hear your ideas and advice for travelling with kids.


Please leave your comments down below!

To make sure you don’t miss the next blog post or YouTube video:
Subscribe to Our Muslim Homeschool by Email!
For a daily look into our homeschooling day follow me on InstagramTwitter or Facebook.
In need of your duaas.
Peace and Love xx

 

SEA LIFE Manchester : A Homeschooler’s Review

Last week we decided to take our homeschool for a field trip.
Since my son has shown a budding interest in Ocean Life (sharks especially) we decided to make the day trip to Sea Life Manchester.

Ocean Life Unit Study: SEA LIFE Manchester : A Homeschooler's Review

Sea Life Manchester is found in the Intu Trafford Cente, one of the largest indoor shopping centres in the U.K. This meant finding parking and food was so easy and I got to pick up a few things whilst I was there!
You start off having your photo taken, which you can later purchase, and then there is a show. Then you begin to make your way around.

Each part of the aquarium is numbered, and the kids are given a little booklet, with simple questions to answer about each area. When they have answered the question, they look for the ‘stamping station’ to stamp their book.

It was amazing how my boys got into this! They were so excited to run from area to area answering the questions. Its such a clever idea and meant they they really made the most of all the information available. All the displays were very interactive and perfect for children of Primary school age (4-10).

Some of our highlights were: 

1) Under-water tunnels

These were awesome! The kids enjoyed pointing out the sharks and the turtle swimming above.
Ocean Life Unit Study: SEA LIFE Manchester : A Homeschooler's Review

Ocean Life Unit Study: SEA LIFE Manchester : A Homeschooler's Review


2) Interactive Pool

M got to stroke a crab and a star-fish! Pretty cool!
Ocean Life Unit Study: SEA LIFE Manchester : A Homeschooler's Review


3) Turtle Egg Display

This was A’s favorite bit! Apparently the gender of turtles is determined by the temperature the eggs are kept at. To demonstrate this there was a giant egg that the kids have to touch. After about 30 seconds the screen tells you if you egg is a boy (cold hands) or a girl (warm hands)! Genius!
Ocean Life Unit Study: SEA LIFE Manchester : A Homeschooler's Review

4) Interactive Video Game

At the very end of the aquarium was a game, Wii style, where you appeared on the screen and had to hit the rubbish out of the sea to help the little turtles swim across. It was very energetic and the boys ate well after this!
Ocean Life Unit Study: SEA LIFE Manchester : A Homeschooler's Review

Our favourite animals were the turtle, the sharks (of course), the scary Moray eel, and the enormous spider crab
When we got home M was keen to write about his day-out in his diary…
Ocean Life Unit Study: SEA LIFE Manchester : A Homeschooler's Review
Overall I highly recommend visiting Sea Life Manchester, especially if you have children under the age of ten-years-old. It is so well thought out and the staff were very friendly and helpful. We had so much fun and learnt loads!

In terms of price, I think it is good value for money. We bought it, together with entry into LegoLand (also in the Trafford Centre), and it came to around £45 in total for all of us. 

The only negative point I can think of is it is a small attraction. It will only take you two hours maximum to see everything. However, for mums of young kids this is no bad thing! 
If you are interested in knowing more about SeaLife Manchester click HERE for their website.

Have you been to Sea Life? What did you think? Could you recommend any other places to visit in the North of England? I’d love to hear your recommendations. Please leave me a comment below 🙂



Make sure you don’t miss the next blog post by Subscribing to my mailing list.

For a daily look into our homeschooling day follow me on InstagramTwitter or Facebook.

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Please remember us in your duaas.


Peace and Love.