We knew that we wanted to go away over Easter, but we hadn't got much further than that when it came to actual plans. I wasn't sure whether we should stay in the UK or go abroad, and we have to think about what sort of holidays are practical with four aged five and under. In the end we booked a few nights away at a Centre Parcs site in Holland and two days after booking, we were in the car on the way there.
We got the ferry from Dover to Calais in the afternoon and then drove up to De Huttenheugte Centre Parcs in the Netherlands. I hadn't really done much research and we haven't visited a UK Centre Parcs but I was confident we would have fun regardless. It worked out really cheap even with the added travelling costs and it meant taking the children somewhere new.
There was so much to do for small children and we spent our days feeding the ducks, playing in the parks, visiting the animals in the small petting area and enjoying the amazing pools. I have never been anywhere with pools quite like it. Inside a giant dome is a selection of swimming areas including two kids play areas, a wave pool, a deeper diving pool and restaraunts, sun beds, a sauna and more. We don't get to go swimming often with the children as with four so young there are often restrictions, but they were really relaxed and with the kids pools we didn't have to worry about baby seats so much. There were plenty of float jackets in each area for the children to wear and we took our own seat for Cora. I loved watching their confidence grow in the water and it was definitely a highlight of our holiday.
The restaraunts were set inside another dome which had a river flowing through it with turtles and giant fish as well as trees with parrots and a walkway up high looking down on it all. There was such a wonderful atmosphere and so much for the kids to explore that it was never hard keeping them entertained whilst we waited for food or drinks.
On the Sunday the temperatures suddenly soared into the twenties and we hired a 'family bike' for a couple of hours to cycle around the lake. This seemed like a brilliant idea for all of two minutes before we realised that 6 people plus a giant bike is pretty heavy and only two of us could actually reach the pedals. The boys loved being driven round though and it was such a beautiful day that we took a little picnic along with us. There were so many different bikes and carts available to hire.
Right next to the site is an amusement park called Plopsa. We bought passes for it and had a lovely day there. There were indoor and outdoor rides, shows and playgrounds as well as eating areas. The boys loved the rollercoaster, the huge indoor slides and the climbing mountain outside (which Finn scaled in a rather monkey like fashion). There was a huge outdoor driving area for kids and they spent ages driving around, stopping at every red light, going the 'wrong' way round every roundabout and playing at being firemen and policemen. There was so much for all three boys to do and Ed and I had a lot of fun on the climbing mountain too (although neither of us actually made it up to the slide)
We had such a lovely time exploring somewhere new, listening to the different languages (we only heard one other English person - they were mostly Dutch and German) and admiring the beauty of the forest and lake. It is definitely somewhere we would visit again and I think we will try a different European Centre Parcs too after having such a great experience.