A few weeks ago I spent a long weekend with my bestest friends in the middle of Whinfell Forest, Center Parcs. It was a much needed break and long awaited girly holiday! I've not been to Center Parcs since I was little but my hazy memories of our family holidays there are very good ones. I was ridiculously excited and hoped it would live up to my expectations. It was great just to spend some quality time with the girls I love in the most beautiful environment. Today I'm sharing some photos from our trip and as an extra bonus, there's a short video 'vlog style' at the end of the post!
Once we'd packed the car to the bursting, we set off up the motorway, very excited. We pre-booked and planned our activities so we had a schedule for the weekend. I'd recommend doing this so you can pick times that will work for you and aren't disappointed if something is fully booked. We had plenty of free time around the activities, for swimming, walking, eating and sunbathing (yes we picked the hottest weekend of the year so far - how we managed to get so lucky I don't know, but it was glorious!) Nothing felt rushed or limiting but at the same time I didn't feel bored at any point. Our very first activity (aqua zumba) was cancelled at the last minute because the instructor was off ill so that was disappointing but we didn't let it dull the holiday, we spent the whole morning in the Subtropical Swimming Paradise on the rapids and water slides.
Our woodland lodge for 4 was really lovely. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fully functioning kitchen and an outdoor patio area with space for a bbq (Saturday night was BBQ night). I couldn't have been happier with our accommodation. We landed lucky with a lodge very close to the main village, even more important when one of your party is 6 months pregnant! So everything was within walking distance and bikes were not needed but cycling round Center Parcs is very popular, I'd recommend bringing your own bike if you have one.
We went out of peak season so prices were cheaper and there were fewer kids around but it was still pretty busy although not overcrowded. These photos don't cover half of what we got up to, I wish I'd taken more but we were too busy enjoying ourselves. I really wasn't ready to go home on Monday I could have happily stayed another 4 days and I'm already thinking about when I can fit in another trip!
What I noticed was the little interference from Center Parcs. You're pretty much left to your own devices and sometimes left guessing about check out times or what's 'normal' practice for Center Parcs (there are a few sign posts here and there) but I'm glad the place wasn't over controlled. It made the trip feel like more like a self-sufficient adventure than a regulated holiday-park-in-a-bubble.