The first time I went to Center Parcs on holiday was with some friends in 2009. We were staying as a group of adults and had an absolute blast, cycling, drinking and eating without a car – a spot of badmninton, bit of squash and even rollerblading! I never holidayed there as a child, we always went overseas and I don’t think my parents were into the great outdoors as a holiday, as we lived slap bang in the middle of the countryside.
Earlier this month, we went again to Center Parcs in Sherwood Forest with Chiplet and our family friends who were over from Ireland. We were so ready for this break, after the manic start to the year and although finances were a little tight, we knew we had to go for our own sanity and relaxation.
We were booked into a standard comfort lodge. Not deeply attractive or modern, but functional and clean and spacious enough for 4 adults and 3 littles. We were in the Elm area which was a good location – not too far from the main village. All the lodges look back onto woodland and its just very peaceful. We did hanker a little after a Treehouse…
.. but then we saw the prices… eeek!
We took the bikes so we could cycle around, but Chiplet was not really a fan of the helmet. We thought he was being a typical toddler, but, we ended up with a little trip out to the medical centre due to an ear infection and gooky eye, so I think he was feeling a bit rubbish. Leaving to go to the medical centre, I felt like we were cheating for leaving the forest, but we were soon back amongst the trees.with some eye drops in hand.
Really, whilst there we didn’t ‘do’ very much at all, just rested and napped and ate. We actually sat and watched TV which we never do and each of the adult couples took a turn at babysitting so the others could go out. We decided to use our date night to go to the Tropical Swimming Paradise for a go on the slides (baby-free) and then to Dexter’s Kitchen for a burger and milkshake. Our friends did Strada for dinner and drinks.
On the Monday night, we went to Hucks Diner, which is thesort of establishment I have never been in – giant softplay area, colour in menus and general loudness – the kids flipping loved it! It was definitely a different holiday to the one in 2009 – we couldn’t just head out and have a drink or ride the big slide, but we got some great family time, with no other distractions.
I actually think that Center Parcs can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be – but perhaps that is the voice of a mother whose little one can’t ask to do all the activities yet.
The outdoor play areas are totally free and Chiplet loved them and the forest near our lodge. Since we have got home, we just wants to put on his shoes and go outside all the time, which is fantastic.
We will definitely be back though, possibly in a couple of years when he can really enjoy the slides with Daddy 🙂
You can find special offers for early booking and low seasons on the Center Parcs website.
I was not compensated for writing this review and all views are my own.