Once or twice a year K’s family treat us to a relaxing stay at Center Parcs, a picturesque holiday village set in the forest. There’s five parks throughout the UK and last weekend we took a trip to Woburn Forest, which opened its doors to the public last year. We usually stay at Longleat Forest in Wiltshire but Woburn is more accessible for K’s grandparents and we were eager to discover what this new village had to offer!
Nestled in a 365 acre forest, Woburn is only an hour from London and boasts some of the most luxurious lodges and villas of all the Center Parcs villages. We stayed in one of the four bedroom villas complete with log fire and outdoor BBQ area.
The park is made up of three ‘hubs’: The Plaza, Village Square and The Waterfront, as well as various restaurants and activities dotted around the park, including aerial tree trekking, horse riding, archery and so much more. The Plaza houses cafes, shops, restaurants, a sports hall where you can go rock climbing, play badminton and even go roller blading, plus a kids craft centre with a pottery painting workshop. As you can imagine there’s no time for boredom at Center Parcs!
What makes a stay at Woburn Forest so relaxing is that you walk or cycle everywhere (or go by segway if you fancy it!). It’s such a peaceful break and when you’re stuck in an office most of the time like me it’s so nice to get outside and be active. If sport or adrenaline fuelled activities are not for you then there’s always the pedalos on the lake or a coffee in Starbucks!
For us, a trip to Center Parcs is always one filled with food! There’s Strada for pizza, Cafe Rouge for breakfast and The Pancake House for… pancakes. There’s enough restaurants to regain those calories you’ve burnt during the day and even a takeaway service if you want to stay in. All the lodges have a kitchen area, and a BBQ is a must with giant marshmallows bought from the Parc Market!
One of my favourite things about visiting Center Parcs is treating ourselves to a spa day at Aqua Sana. The one at Woburn is the largest of all the village spas and is made up of six spa suites to spend your time in: Fire & Ice, Blossom, Herbal, Mineral, Sensory and Salt. Each suite is filled with steam rooms, a sauna, relaxation lounges, rain walks, inhalation rooms, shower experiences, the list goes on… There’s also an indoor pool, outdoor infinity pool with jets, foot baths with three different settings and oils and waterbeds (which turned out to be one of my favourite features of the spa!). It’s so vast that even when busy it still feels intimate.
We booked a Twilight Spa which included 5hrs of spa time, a glass of prosecco and a platter for two in the spa’s Vitale Cafe Bar. You can also book weekend spa breaks and treat yourself to treatments, and to top it all off the price is so affordable! You can book a spa day without staying in the village so I definitely recommend booking one.
Woburn Forest also has one of the largest Subtropical Swimming Paradise centres, which is basically a water park set inside a big glass dome with tropical trees and flowers. There are kids’ areas, a wave pool and four water flumes for adults – one being particularly terrifying! The outdoor rapids are also a lot of fun and there’s a lazy river for the feint hearted.
The Subtropical Swimming Paradise is in the Village Square which also has a bowling alley, restaurants, another Starbucks and some great shops. I could have spent a fortune in their gift shop which was filled with Cath Kitson and Emma Bridgewater products!
On our last day we decided to play adventure golf which was set in a fairy-type woodland complete with hobbit house and toadstools. Center Parcs is such a great holiday for both young and old as we have proven by visiting time and time again! There’s something for everyone and K’s niece had a big smile on her face all weekend, especially when she had her face painted – I’ve left the cutest picture until last!
Have you visited Center Parcs before? Let me know in the comment box below!