It has become a tradition with my family to make a regular holiday to Center Parcs. I have grown up with the place, remembering one of my first visits to Longleat Forest when I was a youngster – I’m pretty sure I’ve been to Elveden Forest when I was a baby, but I can hardly remember that! It is one of my favourite places to visit and honestly, I will be taking this tradition with me (yes, I have converted my boyfriend into enjoying Center Parcs too!)
In 2014, Center Parcs expanded their ‘portfolio’ of holiday villages by building a new one in the heart of Bedfordshire, now known as Woburn Forest. I was lucky enough to visit in it’s opening year (twice, I might add!) and to see how well it has expanded and grown is amazing. Despite the expensive nature of Center Parcs, you can’t deny that you get quality.
I was incredibly excited when my parents told me we were going for a weekend break for my brother’s 30th. I can only hope my 30th ends up being just as awesome! I get those excitement butterflies in the stomach once I see the signs for Center Parcs, like with any holiday destination I travel to.
I chose the location of our lodge – yep, I’m the girl that plans where we stay – and it was absolutely ideal! It was the perfect distance from The Plaza and Village Square. Plus having a lodge on the edge of a row was also ideal as you have the privacy away from having neighbours either side of you. Perfect for my family! We stayed in a three bedroom Executive lodge. There is a range of lodges to choose from including Woodland Lodges to Exclusive Lodges. You can enter your lodge at any time from 3pm, and you do have the option to enter your lodge early by adding it to your booking.
Honestly, the best thing about Center Parcs is the freedom you have to do what you want, when you want. You can choose the activities you want to do, there is no time limit on when you need to book (ideally, book as early as you can as many activities get booked up quickly!) We ended up playing Table Tennis & Bowling on the Saturday and Badminton on the Sunday.
The weather was a real mixture, WE HAD SNOW! Seriously, me and my family have always wanted to visit Center Parcs when it snows, and the weather didn’t disappoint. Of course, with it being January, rain was also on the cards too – which meant every Indoor activity including the Subtropical Swimming Paradise was very busy! Sadly, we did not get a chance to explore the swimming and the Rapids but I have done them before. Besides, I was happy to have one hell of a chilled weekend away from the stresses of real life.
When it comes to food, again it is up to you. You can eat out at the range of restaurants own resort, bring in your own food or buy from the ParcMarket which is Center Parcs’ supermarket! Be warned, it is VERY pricey compared to your average supermarket. TOP TIP: There is a Tesco in Flitwick which is approx. 5 min drive from Woburn Forest so you can always stock up before you arrive.
There is also the choice of getting a takeaway from the Center Parcs Dining In service. You will be spoilt for choice as there is so much to choose from, Chinese, Indian, Pizzas, Fajitas and more! In the end, me and my family ate out at the restaurants for two nights (Strada – Friday night and Huck’s – Saturday night) My parents went to Las Iguanas on the Friday night which is a new restaurant for Woburn. On the Sunday night, since the weather was VERY cold from the snow and rain, we decided to have a night in and ordered ourselves a Dining In Takeaway. I had the Fajitas and they were delicious!
Some people will say that Center Parcs is so expensive, and yes, it can be pricey but it is SO worth it in my honest opinion. You make the holiday as active or as relaxing as you want. There is plenty to do and you won’t be short for choice on where to eat. If you are in need of a staycation then Center Parcs fits the bill perfectly. I had such a fab time and can’t wait to make a return visit soon – hopefully won’t leave it for 2 years but we’ll see!
That’s all for now!