Was there ever a cocoon as cosy as Center Parcs? I’ve yet to find one.
Driving into the log lined avenues, checking through seamlessly and discovering our home from home is one of the most satisfying of times.
I’ve been to each of the different locations of Center Parcs, with my girls, with the fam, in blazing sunshine and even….snow!
That blasted Beast from the East decided to rear it’s head again and cover our much awaited weekend away in white snowflakes right out of a Christmas card, despite arriving in blazing sunshine.
Did it ruin our trip? Not a chance!
My partner in crime for the weekend was bezzie mate, Andrea and we had our kids in tow. A girls getaway, with the added bonus of having our babies with us.
Never do my kids bond so strongly or behave so darned well as on a Center Parcs break – well there’s just too many things to do to get bored!
We chose the location nearest to our homes, a mere fifteen mins away – you may think that a little cray cray but we think it’s genius! We picked the kids straight up from school and were ensconced in no time, then on the Monday when it was chucking out time, we popped the kids into school then rushed back to luxuriate in the spa all day. See? Always method in the madness!
The Friday night we had earmarked for super chill, just getting acquainted with our lodge and letting the kids play in the games room while we cracked open the Prosecco and had a right good catch up.
Our lodge slept eight so there was plenty of room and the rest for the six of us, and we set about making ourselves at home, with our favourite scented candle, filling the fridges (yes, both!) and sinking in to the expansive supersoft sofas.
With the fast pace of life, our children don’t get to see as much of each other as they used to, or they would like, so this was an ideal time for them to enjoy each other’s company and do lots of fun stuff.
We had promised them baking and slime making, as we had such a well equipped environment and we did that on the Saturday morning.
With the snow coming down in frentic style, It was really tempting to have a lazy day and eat our body weight in goodies, because honestly, time just slips by without you noticing but we had lots booked in for the afternoon which dragged us outside and into action.
A gorgeous albeit short walk took us into the Venue – an indoor fun house of sports, leisure and fun. Our lodge was perfectly situated just a stone’s throw away from everything! We had table tennis booked, clearly on the same wavelength as many other families as every table was taken but in true British style, no one went over their time or made you feel rushed. That’s what I love most about Center Parcs – there’s no nonsensical behaviour. People have all paid handsomely for a break away and a good time with their nearest and dearest and good clean family fun for all being top of the agenda.
Table tennis done, badminton and tennis surrounding us, we headed off to our date with ten pin bowling. I’d love to say I won but I was pipped to the post by the lovely Siena.
Even things I wouldn’t usually be fussed on like bowling is so much more fun there, you just get immersed in the action and the enthusiasm of your party takes over.
We had truly worked up and appetite by then and a thirst, so it was off for cocktails and a mahossive meal at Hucks, the resident American diner on site.
Our lovely server looked after us well. The kids had the benefit of one of the numerous play areas while dinner was prepped and that left Andrea and I plenty of time to chat, our favourite pastime.
There is a kids buffet area in Hucks and the kids had claimed it on arrival but in the end we opted for half portions of the adults menu for all as the buffet was pretty standard child friendly options and we wanted something a bit more rounded for them.
Our meal was delicious. Luckily my mate and I have super similar tastes so we chose a dish each and shared so we could try out both. Top marks Hucks, we loved it and so did the children.
Tired out, fed fabulously and with the snow refusing to stop, we headed back to base, we couldn’t wait! Cosy Saturday nights with the kids watching Saturday Night Takeaway – it does not get any better than that!
Sunday was a much busier affair, we were up and out sharp for the Street Kart slot we had booked in. The snow had come down heavily overnight but the mini track wasn’t affected although the temperature was of Siberian proportions!
The children had fun, we got our pictures, bit of a win-win and when the fun was done, we nipped straight round the corner to a cosy Starbucks for lashings of hot chocolate and muffins, well, we had all earned it!
The rest of the day was earmarked for Center Parcs’ famous subtropical paradise, which never disappoints. The kids were so hyped for this and with good reason.
Between the rapids, the kids adventure splashparks, the Typhoon and Tropical Cyclone rides and wave pool – there’s never a dry moment! The older children were off like a shot, exploring and enjoying the freedom that the security of the Center Parcs environment brings. Dominic was well catered for too with so much entertainment in the younger kids area and a couple of rounds in the rapids with me.
We stayed in there for hours, still, it’s never long enough for the little prunes but we were all getting hungry & my stomach was crying out for a huge Sunday roast but unfortunately Cafe Rouge stopped doing them at 3pm – worth noting to avoid disappointment – and to my knowledge nowhere else on site did, so we decided to go in a totally different direction and feed the kids at Dexters Kitchen and order from the extensive dine in menu for ourselves, to be delivered in time for us to devour in our pjs later.
It was an inspired choice actually – the Chicken burger with Halloumi being a big favourite among our gang. The service in Dexters was admittedly slow considering the small number of customers in situ, but with prosecco on the menu we got over it.
We couldn’t wait to get back to the lodge after our busy day and were so thankful of our feast when it arrived. With some nibbles for the kids, we opted for one Thai red chicken curry to share – what’s not to love? – and sticky chilli beef on the side. It came sharply on the allocated time slot and was piping hot and delicious – we will definitely opt for that next time we stay at Center Parcs! (The sooner the better!)
We got everything sorted for a really early start next day to get the kids to school and enjoyed a few tipples along the way. The children were so gutted to be leaving and to say goodbye to our amazing lodge, but Andrea and I had the extra bonus of coming back for a day at the spa – we were so excited!
As our final day dawned, the skies were blue, sun splitting the trees – typically changeable British weather! No complaints from us though and off we went for a day of girlie pampering sans kids – woohoo!
I couldn’t take pics in the spa for obvious reasons but trust me when I say Center Parcs has one of the best spas I’ve ever been to – and I’ve tried SO many!
Multi room, multi-sensory experiences abound, an outdoor heated infinity pool,15 different spa experiences (Woburn Forest has over 25), from wet, to dry, to herbal or meditative, you’ll find everything you need to leave feeling relaxed and revitalised.
What an absolutely stunning long weekend we had, fifteen mins from our homes but could have been a world away, Well it is in a world of it’s own after all. See you soon, Center Parcs!