We’ve just returned from a weekend away at Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest. It’s not the first time we’ve been to Center Parks, we’ve been a handful of times before, but it is the first time we’ve been in winter. I had thought that a weekend break in the winter would be a little quieter but it was actually the busiest I’ve ever seen it.
I should probably start by saying that Center Parcs isn’t cheap. It’s expensive to book and it’s expensive when you’re there – as a friend of mine said “a nice little middle-class weekend for you”. That said, if you can accept that it’s going to be expensive (and the sooner you do that the better) then it’s a great break, particularly if you have young children.
One of the big draws for us is that we can get there in an hour. We can be in our accommodation and in holiday mode in just 60 minutes, it’s a massive draw. Anyone that’s ever taken young children abroad before will know that this sounds like bliss. There’s no waiting around, no multiple methods of transport, no cattle class flight to deal with.
Whenever we go away my wife and I like to have something that feels like a home away from home. We like the accommodation to feel like we can relax there when the kids are tired and Center Parcs definitely ticks that box. I always opt for the executive lodges as they have good amenities and are really well decorated. The lodges are really private despite being surrounded by others and there’s always wildlife roaming around outside (those ducks and squirrels know how to get food!). The kids always like exploring new accommodation whatever it is but the fact that they’re all on the same level is pretty handy if your kids aren’t yet used to stairs.
There’s loads of stuff to do at Center Parcs but the thing I like the best is getting around by bike. Where possible we take our own bikes but our bike rack is hitting the limits at 3 bikes so a quick trip to the cycle rental centre was in order. Cycling around in the forest is great and because of the limited car access it’s pretty safe for the kids too. If you are planning on taking a trip to Center Parcs at any point I’d definitely recommend taking a bike or hiring one while you’re there.
Things To See & Do
It’s great for the kids to get active and I always try and book a few things for them to do while we’re at Center Parcs. I try not to have us being a slave to timings though so we all get a chance to relax. This time Ben fancied the archery, driving range, roller skating and a trip to see Santa and as ever we took the opportunity to get a lot of swimming in.
On previous visits we’ve gone for the the treetop trek, quad biking, laser shooting and a lot more. The activities are always well put together and aside from the additional expense they really help to make it a memorable break.
If you have young kids that are up for an activity packed break and you’re willing to get involved, get on your bike and seek a bit of adventure then you’re going to have a great time and be pretty well looked after throughout. Give it a try, you just might like it.