Review: Center Parcs

July 1, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Posted in Daily Life, Family Holidays, Reviews | 2 Comments
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It’s chilly, drizzly and the sun isn’t showing any signs of coming out to play.  But really, we couldn’t care less, because we’re having an absolute ball.

A little under a month ago we spent four magical days at Center Parcs in Sherwood Forest – this is like Disney on your doorstep, but just with all the gaspy special bits and none of the oversized characters wandering around waving.

We arrived on the Monday and after a quick bite to eat went and collected our bikes so we could explore and find our lodge.  There’s so much to tell you – I’ll try and break it down into bite sized chunks so you can pick out the bits that sound most interesting.

Here goes….

Our lodge

We had a new style executive lodge which comfortably slept four adults and three children in a three bed.  It was gorgeous, all mod cons and get this, a sauna on the back patio!

Stepping outside was just breathtaking; you walk out onto a carpet of moss and into the forest, with a stream trickling by.  Rabbits hop by, squirrels scurry around and ducks with their young loiter for food.  I expected Bambi to make an appearance, it was just gorgeous.

Eating Out

On the first night we had the best meal of the stay at Strada.  It was just perfect, fresh prawns, lovely pasta, great chicken dishes – and my highlight, a bellini to finish.  The kids ate big wholesome meals and were happy with their colouring activity sets and balloons.  I’d highly recommend eating here.  Remember to book meals in advance as the restaurants get busy.

We also ate at Hucks and Forresters but Strada was by far the best.  Hucks is great because it has a soft play centre in the restaurant so we had a peaceful adults meal!  Forresters was nice but lacked a little atmosphere, probably just not our kind of joint, it was very country club but we had a fab bike ride to get there.

My sister in law took all of the children to the Pancake House for breakfast one morning.  And the little ones couldn’t believe their luck when the make your own pancakes came with gummy sweets.  You can imagine what the rest of the morning was like after the sugar rush.  All good fun though.


We pre-booked bikes and they were great.  The staff were also most helpful when our 6 year old nephew lost his lock key (he put it down, on the floor during crazy golf because it was itching his wrist…).

To save money take your own bikes if you can.


We could have stayed for a month and not done everything.

We loved the indoor pool, you could spend a day in the dome because it has food and a coffee place.  We split for the day with the older kids going on the rapids and us taking bear on the mini pirate ship with slide and waterfall – all the time in the water really built up his confidence.

We went bowling and teddy bear making, both huge hits with the kids.  Mini golf was the best activity for all the family, everyone had a real giggle.  We also did the treasure hunt on bikes and the kids were delighted with their pin badge prizes but the adults were a little bemused by the dominating competitive streak of some of parents – I certainly didn’t expect to see grown men calling ahead to their wives to tell the other half of the family where the next clue was and to ‘go go go’! I sense there was a lack of priority in some families!

Bear also went to a craft session called make a memory which was great value at around £7 or £8.  He cast his hand in some rubbery stuff, did hand and foot prints, decorated a box and made a basket to take it all home in.  He also did toddler dance which was fun and gave him a chance to mix with other toddlers and run around like a loon.

The Spa

Where do I start, this is just incredible.  If you can leave the children with other adults in the group or they can do an activity for a few hours, use the spa, use the spa!  It has about a dozen different sauna and steam rooms, each with different cleansing and healing properties – some very humid, others a dry heat, from Greek to Turkish to I don’t know, but it was heaven.  There’s a pool, water beds and chill out areas too.  You can have treatments too, relaxing or beautifying.  I opted for a full body massage and wish I’d had a manicure and pedicure too.  I left feeling like I might fall asleep on my feet.  You. Must. Go.


The staff at Center Parcs are fantastic.  Nothing is too much trouble.  It made our stay extra relaxing and we didn’t worry about a thing.

Center Parcs isn’t a bargain break but it is absolutely worth every penny.  I’d go back in a flash, we didn’t want to leave and bear had such fun that he was asleep before we even got out of the park when we came to go home.

Husband and I agreed that this is a place where amazing memories are made.  We stood and watched the bear, his mouth hanging wide open in sheer disbelief at the amount of fun on offer.  What more can a parent ask for?!



Our trip to Center Parcs was funded.  I stick to the bloggers with integrity code to share honest and open reviews.






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  1. I’d love to visit there one day x

    • We had such an amazing time, it’s completely magical!

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