So today’s post is fresh from the rapids at Center Parcs and comes with a hint of sun kissed skin and full of happy memories.
This week I ticked something off my bucket list and stayed with my boyfriend and his family (there were 11 of us in total) for five days at the Center Parcs situated in Robin Hood’s region of Sherwood Forest.
If you follow me on twitter, you might have seen some of my updates (when I found a scrap of signal) on the wild life and beautiful scenery, but in this bumper blog post I am letting you in on all the fun we managed to slot into our marvellous mid week break.
Despite only driving 15 miles down the road from my boyfriend’s parents house, it felt like we had said goodbye to the real world and found our own woodland haven, especially as we were so, SO lucky with the weather and blessed with dizzy heights of 30 degrees.
On arriving at 10am we had a good five hours before we could head to our secluded villas, and so there was only one thing for it, to head to the subtropical paradise dome (anyone who has been to Center Parcs will probably rave about this) and hit the rapids.
With a swimming style suited to everyone’s needs from young to old we spent hours and hours in the pool with the only concern being just how wrinkly my fingers were going! (My regular readers will have spotted that in my about me section this is one of my world’s most dislikes!).
The rapids commence outside in the glorious sunshine and propel you as you meander under bridges and past relaxing water jets before hitting the slides on the way back into the dome (SO MUCH FUN!).
Some of us were feeling brave (or mad) and immersed ourselves in the plunge pool outside which was just 16-19 degrees, a vast difference from the tropical dome. Admittedly, I made a very feeble attempt and only braved the cold once, call me a scardy cat, but I dare you to try it first!
Inside the famous dome itself are kiddies slides, Jacuzzis, The Grand Cascade (a raft ride) and a huge pool which every so often saw swimmers roar with laughter as they were bounced up and down by the wave machine.
For all you hard core swimmers and fitness fanatics there is a lane pool/activity pool where you can really work out without feeling a sweat including a session of Aqua Zumba.
What’s more, the Canopy Bar next to the pool does the most amazing pizza baguettes, chips and milkshakes, I may or may not now be hooked on a blend of Oreo and Jelly Tots, mmm.
After a mammoth swimming session which was all included in our price to stay at Center Parcs, we hit our modern, lovely and open plan villas and I couldn’t believe just how much wild life came into the back garden (aka the forest). You might have seen mentions of Rio on social media, our hedgehog who ventured into our house… what an absolute cutie he was!
Although we chose to make the most of the self catered facilities, which included a space for bbqs, there are so many places on site to dine out. I know some of our gang enjoyed burgers at Hucks. Plus if you don’t have all your food shopping with you, there is a ParcMarket, although be wary as some things can be a little pricey!
Center Parcs boasts more than 200 activities* and we took full advantage of the water sports on the lake in the form of pedalos, katakanus and paddle boards, an activity which was so refreshing in the rare, yet scorching English sunshine. Right by the water’s edge is a man-made beach with the softest sand and multiple play parks, but it would be a crime not to mention Center Parc’s sugary institution, The Pancake House which has outdoor dining with a perfect view over the lake.
Although the lake is home to multiple activities it is also shared by fish and hungry ducks, geese and other birds. One evening, we bought a loaf of bread from the parc market and had to stand on a picnic bench to take refuge as we fed the snappy geese and ducks which surrounded us. If you’re looking for a wild life themed adrenaline activity, I would suggest this as one of them haha!
With Wimbledon in full swing, I am not going to lie we did fancy ourselves as Andy Murrays and dabbled in a spot of tennis and were further inspired by the racket sport that we played badminton the same evening at the Jardin Des Sports. This is located near to the Village Square where you will find all the shops, restaurants and bars. You can also play table tennis, go roller skating, and play pool to name just a few!
I think at one point I described the holiday as ‘not a relaxing trip, but a ‘you’re going to get bruised and battered’, but enjoy it holiday’, because we took part in so many sports and loved it! We hit the driving range twice and smacked as many balls as possible as far as we could up at the Country Club.
In addition to our daily session in the pool, it was amazing just to go on walks around the resort and lap up the picturesque scenery. Come rain or shine, (yes we did get wet in down pours of thundery showers despite being blessed with a perfect week of sunshine), the woods, lakes and wildlife made for a blissful and tranquil break in the depths of Sherwood Forest.
We couldn’t believe it when it was time to say goodbye on the Friday, or perhaps it was a more of a ‘see ya later’ as I am already thinking about booking our next trip to Center Parcs, especially as there are SO many more activities I want to try!
*The subtropical paradise dome as mentioned is included in the price of your stay at Center Parcs. While I think some activities could have been a little cheaper (full prices are on their website), I think you can definitely make the most of your visit while you’re there, with so much space and lovely walks explore too.
Which resorts have you been to? What was your favourite activity? Let me know in the comment box below or tweet me.