There is nothing better than getting away with family or friends and really feeling like you are away from it all. Where you feel like you can relax and unwind, have fun, have adult conversation and a glass of wine in the evening, but also be somewhere where you know that your children are also going to love every single minute of. To me Center Parcs optimises that kind of break. Having been a couple of times previously with our best friends and also me once going on a girly weekend there as well, we were incredibly excited to head to Woburn Forest a couple of weekends ago. Woburn is Center Parc’s newest offering and I hadn’t been to this one, having previously been to the Elvden and Sherwood Forest locations. We decided to take my sister and her boyfriend Jamie along with us too, we absolutely love spending time with them and they are such an amazing Auntie and Uncle to the children, but we have never been away on a weekend together, so we thought that this would be the perfect opportunity. We piled into the car one very cold Friday afternoon and set off on the 40 or so minute journey to Woburn.
Woburn Forest is very similar to the other Center Parcs properties, which I find strangely comforting. For a first timer, it is soon easy to navigate around, with most of the locations having most things pretty central and in one place, but for someone who has been to at least one of the locations, it is really easy to feel right at home and find them all familiar. The first thing I noticed about Woburn that it was a little smaller, but I found this to be a good thing, especially with young children. Everything felt so new and we soon set about having an explore. Our lodge was immaculate and perfect in size (check out my video to see a little tour!) and we arrived to a wonderful welcome pack which included all the essentials, like logs for the first, butter, fruit, biscuits, sausages, bacon, cereal, bread and wine. I definitely recommend doing this as it meant that we didn’t have to think about buying these things just for a weekend. We settled in and unpacked, went to hire our bikes and then headed off for an early evening meal at Strada. (Woburn has a variety of restaurants including Strada, The Pancake House, Hucks Bar and Grill and Rajinder Pradish)
Here is our weekend in photos…
Every time we have been to Center Parcs, whatever their age, the girls have loved the chalk board.
I love that Center Parcs has restaurants you know and enjoy. We had a lovely first evening meal at Strada. Here are my two smiley boys. 😉
Sleepy eyed little people the next morning- I don’t know why because it isn’t even that great a photo but this one just makes me smile.
We got up early on Saturday morning excited for a morning of activities we had booked before we arrived. First up, myself, my sister and our baby boy were going to Baby Sensory, while Jon and Mads were going to do indoor rock climbing. LL decided she would come along and watch us at baby sensory.
We were so impressed with the creche facilities, they were lovely and so clean and modern, with so many toys for them to play with.
Mads absolutely loved the indoor climbing session and was fearless climbing up all the different level walls. I wish I had a go myself!
Woburn Forest is slightly different to the other locations in that there are two main areas- The Plaza which has the majority of the sports and kids facilities, plus a few shops and restaurants, and the Village Square which is where the Subtropical Swimming Paradise is, as well as some more shops and restaurants. The Subtropical Swimming Paradise is set in an amazing glass fronted building which looks out on to the forest.
This boy was in his element splashing about, I think he is going to be a water baby like his sisters. There is so much to do in the swimming area, with Mads loving the outdoor rapids, the adults loving the thrill slides, and with LL and our baby boy loving the little kids splash area. There is something for the whole family.
After spending a good few hours in the pool we got out and got ready for dinner. We had dinner that evening in Ravinder Pradish, an Indian restaurant and it was absolutely delicious. We then went bowling which is the girls absolute favourite thing to do, especially LL’s whose smile is so wide every go she takes. We then put three tired children to bed and spent the evening snuggled up in front of the fire.
The next morning we woke bright and early to head to another mornings worth of activities. The girls were heading off to the Chocolate Chef’s Academy for a couple of hours, a session without parents where they would learn how to make some chocolatey creations, while our baby boy headed to the creche for an hour. I must admit I was a little nervous about this, as we rarely leave him in places like this, but it was fantastic- the staff came out to chat to us and we had to fill out a big form all about his likes and dislikes, snacks he could have, and what time his nap was (a bit OTT for an hour but perfect and so reassuring if your child was staying longer).
The four of us headed off to have a go at the ‘Segways Experience‘. It was so much fun, having never been on a segway before, I was pretty terrible but it was really good fun and our instructor was incredibly nice and friendly.
After an hour of fun in the freezing cold, we picked up our baby boy and warmed up with a hot chocolate in Starbucks. It was then time to head back to see the girls in their Chocolate show. We all had to sit and watch them and it was the cutest thing, they had made up a dance (check out our video to see Jon pulling some great moves in the parent participation part!)
After our sessions we went for a delicious lunch at The Pancake House, which pretty much has to be our family’s idea of heaven as pancakes is one of our going away traditions, they serve a variety of both savoury and sweet pancakes. We then took the opportunity of the beautiful location and the setting sun to have a little photo shoot. These are some of my favourite photos we have taken in a while and I love that we had my sister on hand instead of the tripod we normally use!
After a really long walk and a run about for a couple of hours, we headed back to our lodge where it was time for one last naughty treat. We bought giant marshmallows from one of the on site shops and we proceeded to light a little bbq and roast them in the cold. The girls thought it was so much fun.
That evening I got the ultimate treat as Jon and Jamie took the kids back swimming, while my sister and I went to the Aqua Sana Spa. I have been to the spas at both Elveden and Sherwood Forest and they are lovely, but the one at Woburn was bigger and newer and was probably one of the best spas I have ever been to. We had the most wonderfully relaxed evening. It was only the second ever time I had left our baby boy at bedtime, but because he was so tired out from swimming he went straight to sleep!
The next morning on Monday we got up bright and early ready to head home to get Mads back in time for school. All in all we had the most amazing time at Center Parcs Woburn Forest. It is such a beautiful place, all the Center Parcs goodness that you know and love, in a newer, sleeker package. It was so great to spend quality time with family- we have said we will definitely go away with my sister again as it was just so nice to spend time with them, plus we got help with the children. It’s a win win situation!
Here is a little video I made of our time at Center Parcs…
NB: We were invited to stay at Center Parcs Woburn Forest for the weekend. All words and opinions are entirely my own. Thanks to Center Parcs for such a wonderful stay. To see more of our travel adventures click here and to find out more about how we work with brands click here.4