Month: July 2017

Center Parcs, Whinfell

We love Center Parcs and we thought a sunny long  weekend at Whinfell Forest would be the perfect start to the summer holidays.

We invited my parents along too so there were 6 of us staying in a woodland lodge with 3 bedrooms.

We opted for a long weekend and stayed from Friday to Monday as David was limited for holidays. We have previously done a four night break from Monday to Friday. We find that the time flies either way, which I guess means we always enjoy yourselves while we’re there and we try to make the most of our stay.

Anyone that has been to Center Parcs will immediately recognise the chalk board in the picture. I love this little touch and we usually find a nice welcome message when we arrive. We always draw and write on ours throughout the stay with happy messages.

Arrival

You can access your lodge from 3:30pm (or 2pm if you pay extra).

I love the driveway into Center Parcs. Once you enter the narrow winding road, there are wooden animal sculptures to spot and if you go during the Christmas period, there are lovely Christmas lights and decorations.

Once you have parked the car there is a walkway up to the village, which takes about ten minutes with small legs. There is a bike hire centre alongside the car park and you can pre-book these or collect them on arrival. We chose to bring our own bikes for the girls, but if they were a bit older, we’d probably all hire bikes for our stay.

We arrived around lunch time and headed to Starbucks for lunch then we went to the swimming pool complex.

We swam and played and had a drink before making our way to our lodge. Daddy walked to the car park and fetched the car while we made our way to the lodge on foot. It was not too busy and he actually made it there before us.

We brought some bolognese with us from home so we had an easy meal in on the first night with a bottle of wine. There is a takeaway and a well stocked supermarket on site as well as several restaurants so you have plenty of options.

Swimming Pool

The Subtropical Swimming Paradise is great fun for the kids. The changing rooms are cleverly designed for families so you can have a good sized changing room and there is plenty of room for everyone to get ready.

Our kids loved the pools, in particular the waves and the slides. I think the waves come on every half hour and the Tarzan alert gives you plenty of time to get a good spot or get out of the way if you want to avoid them. There is an outdoor pool and a plunge pool for the brave.

There is a splash area for younger ones which includes two slides. Our two year old loved both of these and we positioned ourselves one at the top and one at the bottom to make sure she was ok. It was handy to have extra hands (grandparents) in the pool to play with both our children.

Lodge/Chalet

The kids loved exploring our surroundings and it was not long before they were running about in the forest going on an adventure.

They had a great time playing around outside the chalet. They were running about playing hide and seek, searching for bears and a gruffalo.

It was fun to join in and also nice to sit outside with a glass of wine while watching them play. Our eldest was using the binoculars to spot birds.

Abigail also enjoyed riding her bike and she managed to get around well most of the time. There are few cars about on site and there are sensible speed limits that people obey so we can relax in a way we couldn’t do at home.

Aqua Sana Spa

Bringing the grandparents along meant that we could have a session in the Aqua Sana spa. It was brilliant – lovely and clean, very relaxing and we really enjoyed our three hours of chill out time.

There were various different heat experiences including warm relaxing rooms and hot steam and saunas. There were different themes for each room and an explanation outside each.

We ate out at Bella Pasta, which was really nice. The staff said it had been busy early on and you’d need to book for an early sitting, but we went after our spa session, just the two of us, so it was nice and quiet. The staff were friendly and the food was delicious. It was a nice warm evening and it was lovely to walk around the site back to our chalet, holding hands, which is a luxury for us as we’re normally running after a child each or pushing the buggy.

Pedalo on the Lake

We hired a pedalo one day,  which was a fun session with the girls. We ended up doing most of the pedalling while the girls told us where we needed to go.

The lake is central to the site next to the swimming complex and there are some small waterfalls around the edge so it is a pretty site.

There is a Lakeside restaurant which serves nice roast dinners and hearty food for good appetites.

Roller Skating

We booked roller skating one afternoon, which was great fun for our six year old. She needed a lot of help, but she did improve through the session and just about managed to skate independently by the end. I had booked skates for her and me, but realistically, I should have just booked them for her as it was easier to help her when not on skates.

My two year old also had a go and enjoyed skating while holding onto her Daddy and Grandad’s hands.

It was a fabulous weekend and I would definitely recommend Center Parcs to anyone that fancies a relaxing break with the kids. I love the fact that you can park up and leave the car for the entire stay and the freedom for the kids is perfect.