Get creative and let imaginations run wild at Center Parcs Woburn Forest
I have long been an advocate of Center Parcs, I enjoyed many family holidays there as a child and since having my own babies have rediscovered its brilliance.
This year’s visit was to explore Woburn Forest, the newest of it’s five locations across the UK, that opened back in 2014.
The 600+ lodges definitely have a newer and improved design, again very sympathetic to the local environment, but looking more contemporary on the exterior with a striking timber design. Inside you’d be hard pushed to differentiate too much as they maintain the high quality furnishings and feature the uniform open plan layout that promotes family time together.
It has long been said that the best way to explore Center Parcs is by bike and with a 12 month old, three year old and four year old we splurged on a bike with bike seat, another with a trailer and one with a tailgate – just to keep it interesting! The freedom and enjoyment had by all ages during our peddles through the woods were infectious – making up games and stories gave a real sense of exploration to what could have just been a ‘bike ride’ and we became a novel adventure each time we left the lodge to go anywhere.
I think there’s a misconception that Center Parcs is pricey and you have to spend a lot of money there – but this isn’t quite true. Yes – there’s plenty of add ons should you wish to purchase, but for little ones there’s so much to hand that you can really enjoy quality time together getting creative within the landscape of nature.
Guests can pick up a copy of ‘Imagination’, a stunning CP book that is brimming with creative ideas for little ones – from spotting fauna, star gazing and making woodland arts and crafts. It also makes a great keepsake of your time together as a family. We used it as a guide to explore Woburn together, picking up ‘ingredients’ to make our woodland wands, chasing the items on the scavenger hunt list and den building.
Aside from our jaunts on the bikes, my little ones loved the sprawling play areas, building sandcastles on the sandy beach and simply just staring out and watching the birds and squirrels cheekily pinching our food. As a parent, I enjoyed the break from the daily grind and taking pleasure in these simple things with my children – quite often it is these moments in life that make for the best memories.
Center Parcs has always centred heavily on the swimming, and Woburn is exactly the same. I loved walking in to find as many family change units as single ones, each one spotless and equipped with handy nappy bin and baby changers making life so much simpler at such a potentially chaotic moment in time! All the lockers are coin free and electronically locked using your digital lodge wristband for added ease.
The pool area itself is great – a tropical lagoon at a nice heat to keep little ones warm and comfortable. For babies and toddlers, there are two large areas comprised of slides, splash pads and pirate ships while as a family we really enjoyed the main pool and lazy river.
Not wanting to miss out on some of Center Parc’s other attractions, the library of add-on activities leaves you spoilt for choice. My pre-schoolers couldn’t wait to get hands on creative and messy in the chocolate workshop with the enthusiastic and bubbly staff, and after that managed to coax their grandparents into the Pottery Barn to get even more artistic.
Meanwhile I decided to use this time to enjoy the spa. The Woburn Aqua Sana Spa is the largest of the Center Parcs family with multiple experience rooms including steam rooms, saunas, foot spas and an opulent outdoor infinity pool surrounded by stunning pine surroundings. Topped off with a massage I was in sheer heaven taking relaxation to rarely experienced levels of tranquillity.
All the lodges provide full kitchen and facilities, however if you want to break away from cooking, there’s plenty of onsite choice with familiar eateries including Café Rouge and Strada. However, my top pick is Rajinda Pradesh, a contemporary Indian restaurant that serves up flavoursome meaty curries accompanied with a mean chilli cocktail!
Need to Know
Prices start at £559 for a four night mid-week break staying in a three bedroom Woodland Lodge (sleeping up to 6 adults). Accommodation can be booked online atwww.centerparcs.co.ukor by calling 03448 267723.