18 of Dublin’s best cheap eats
18 of Dublin’s best cheap eats

Ali Dunworth

Myleene Klass: The trauma of miscarriage ‘never goes away’
Myleene Klass: The trauma of miscarriage ‘never goes away’

Sarah Finnan

We all woke up this morning and played Adele’s new song, right? Here’s what we know about the upcoming album
We all woke up this morning and played Adele’s new song, right? Here’s what we...

Megan Burns

Are you a new startup or an SME looking to scale up? These 3 industry leaders could make all the difference to your bottom line
Are you a new startup or an SME looking to scale up? These 3 industry...

Shayna Sappington

The Writing Shed: Author Catherine Talbot on her creative space, writing routine and everything in between.
The Writing Shed: Author Catherine Talbot on her creative space, writing routine and everything in...

Sophie Grenham

5 key layering pieces to stay chic and cosy for outdoor dining
5 key layering pieces to stay chic and cosy for outdoor dining

Louise Slyth

Prince William says what we’re all thinking about space tourism: Stop it
Prince William says what we’re all thinking about space tourism: Stop it

Megan Burns

‘Is it a missed miscarriage then?’ I ask the ultrasound technician, all business as I push the reality, the grief away”
‘Is it a missed miscarriage then?’ I ask the ultrasound technician, all business as I...

Niamh O'Leary

Expert Advice: How to pick the perfect neutral paint colour for your home
Expert Advice: How to pick the perfect neutral paint colour for your home

Amanda Kavanagh

Teaching your kids about sustainability: A handy how-to
Teaching your kids about sustainability: A handy how-to

Shayna Sappington

Image / Editorial
Sponsored

What to love about Center Parcs… if you’re a mum

Sponsored By

by Lizzie Gore-Grimes
01st Dec 2019
Sponsored By
blank

Planning a getaway with the family? Look no further than Center Parcs in Co Longford, the ultimate adventure staycation for the whole family. Here’s our mum-approved guide to what’s on offer.


Affiliated with the much-loved Center Parcs resorts in the UK, Ireland’s first offering is set amid 400 acres of woodland in Longford.

Boasting 466 lodges and 30 apartments, the resort accommodates up to 2,736 guests.

While a little smaller than its UK cousin, the Longford Forest is packed with all the same main attractions, namely the 3,500m2 Subtropical Swimming Paradise (heated to 29.5°C all year round); watersports lake, impressive aerial adventure, Aqua Sana spa, and over 100 leisure activities to choose from.

The Subtropical Swimming Paradise and Wild Water Rapids are a firm favourite at Center Parcs. Photo: Center Parcs

Happy kids, happy parent
I don’t believe that family holidays should be all about the kids but let’s face it if they are lit up with delight it really does help lift the collective mood. As purpose-built kid-friendly fun goes it definitely doesn’t get much better than this. Quite apart from the remarkable list of activities on offer – from Bollywood dancing to boating – and the Nirvana that is the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, there are little pockets of delight for kids everywhere in Center Parcs. With attractive playgrounds dotted around the resort and soft-play areas and play zones in almost all the eateries, kids are definitely made to feel like first-class citizens here, and the feeling of fun is pretty infectious.

Katherine, 9, braves the aerial tree trekking at Center Parcs in Longford. Photo: Lizzie Gore-Grimes

Read: The dad’s guide to Center Parcs

Read: The boy’s guide to Center Parcs

Read: The girl’s guide to Center Parcs

No squabbling over screens
It’s such a relief to spend a few days together as a family and not have one single argument over screens. From the moment we arrived to the minute we drove out the gate the kids were busy and distracted… but not by devices for once! Between the multiple water rides, wave pool, lazy river and the rapids of the Subtropical Swimming Paradise (which let’s face it, they want to spend most of their time in), to exploring the resort on their bikes, and experiencing a couple of special activities – the kids were having so much fun phones were well and truly forgotten. Bliss.

The best way to get around the resort is to jump on a bike and enjoy a family cycle. Photo: Center Parcs

Outdoor fun for all
One of the bits I enjoyed best about our visit was the simple novelty of the five of us cycling around together. Center Parcs offers bikes for hire for every ability: trikes, two-wheels, children’s bikes, cycles with baby carriers. Cycling home one evening after dinner, weaving all over the road, between the sky-high trees, it felt like such a refreshing break from the city rush. Another early evening we were still in the Subtropical Swimming Paradise as dusk was falling, we swam out into the outdoor heated pool just as a chilly light drizzle began to fall. Bobbing about in the warm water under the stars, with steam rising around us, really felt pretty magical and not at all like the middle of Ireland.

There are plenty of outdoor and indoor activities for all ages at the Center Parcs resort in Longford. Photo: Center Parcs

To self-cater or not to self-cater
The lodge kitchens are impressively kitted out with all manner of culinary mod-cons so you can pack the car with the few days’ worth of groceries and do it all yourself or dip in and out of the resort’s myriad restaurants, cafés and home delivery dining in service. The onsite Parc Market is also well stocked so you can top up any time you need. We enjoyed a mix of picnic lunches at the lodge, one night out, and a barbecue on the last night. Each lodge is equipped with a barbecue set up out back and the Parc Market sells super-sized disposable ones to make life easy… plus giant marshmallows for the all essential s’mores.

Activities for all
With over 100 activities to choose from there really is something for everyone here – including parents. If you enjoy the outdoors, I highly recommend the Aerial Adventure which takes you on an elevated tree-top climb ending in an adrenaline-rush zipline over the lake. The Laser Combat is great fun to do with the kids – even better if you gang up against each other! Kayaking around the lake is lovely – nice and peaceful – we’re going to brave the more demanding stand-up paddleboarding next time.

Indoors, the lads loved playing pool and ping-pong, while Alanna painted her cupcake jewellery box in the pottery studio.

For more information and to book your epic family getaway, see centerparcs.ie.

Main photo: Lizzie Gore-Grimes, IMAGE editor-in-chief, and daughter Alanna, 8, enjoy kayaking on the lake 

Also Read

blank
EDITORIAL
This spatchcock chicken recipe will make your weekend

This is a great way to get a juicy roast chicken, bursting with flavour.     Bord Bia’s Spatchcock Chicken...

By Meg Walker

blank
premium EDITORIAL
Business Club members get your complimentary tickets to The IMAGE Business Summit 2021

Don’t miss this year’s IMAGE Business Summit, with an expert line-up, skills masterclasses, keynote addresses and more.Back by popular demand,...

By Shayna Sappington

blank
EDITORIAL
‘Totally allowed but totally shouldn’t: Welcome to the Great Irish Pandemic Paradox’

In a time when cool heads are needed – it’s more than the current heatwave that’s melting minds, writes Amanda...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
Trinity Tales: ‘Front Square was her garden, and the city was her playground’

Annie Gatling, now Colleran, knew Trinity College was for her when she saw Front Gate from the top storey of...

By Amanda Cassidy

houseplants
EDITORIAL
5 houseplants we guarantee you can keep alive

For those who buy houseplants with the best of intentions and end up killing them, here’s a selection you’ll be...

By Hannah Hillyer

blank
EDITORIAL
This is what happens when you hypersexualise young girls growing up

Who is demanding the fetishization of young girls anyway?”When I was working in my early twenties, and even my late...

By Amanda Cassidy

Keith-_-Tara_130_Web Shantanu Starick painting kitchen cabinets
EDITORIAL
How to limit drips and brush strokes while painting kitchen cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets can be transformative and can be achieved relatively low-cost, but you need the right equipment, and a lot of...

By Amanda Kavanagh