Thursday, 10 September 2015

WEEKEND BREAK | Center Parcs

Woburn Forest, Bedfordshire

Over the weekend I went and stayed at Center Parcs with my number one, love you long time BFF, Monique and her family - who lovingly paid for the trip as well!  I had never been to a Center Parcs before so I was really excited and had no idea what to expect, it was so much fun and am desperate to book a trip there with Josh and my younger sisters!!  The first thing we did was go to the Subtropical swimming paradise (pictured above) and it was the most fun I've ever had at a water park - the rapids and flumes exceeded any possible expectations, they really weren't what I was expecting!  The rapids are outside, I don't know if you can just about see in the photo, and the water is heated so it's not too bad, you get really thrown about and it's so much fun, just make sure you wear sturdy swimwear.. One of the flumes called Tornado almost killed me when I plummeted to my death, backwards! You go down on this huge blow up thing either as a 4, 3 or a 2 and I experienced all 3.  The first time, we went down as a 4 with Monique's sister and her friend, I was going backwards and was completely unaware of what was going to happen until I saw Monique's face completely drop infront of me, and before I knew it I was vertically falling backwards into this kind of huge area where you pretty much just flew all over the place - it's open til 9 o clock at night so everything is all lit up and looks way cooler!  It was such a scary and thrilling experience, every time after that, I refused to go down backwards, it was terrifying!!  You can click on the map below to enlarge it and get a better look at everything you can do (and you can see the huge flume I was talking about!).

Image found on Center Parcs website

There is so much to do there, but it's quite expensive to do some of the activities.  We played badminton which I was horrendous at for the first 30 minutes because I hadn't played it for years - excuses - but it was exciting.  I regret not going in the spa because I love to relax and just do nothing, especially when it involved being pampered, but at my gym there is a spa which is no extra cost and is brilliant so atleast I still have that..  We stayed in a gorgeous lodge that fits up to 6 people, with 3 bedrooms, a bathroom and an open plan lounge-dining room-kitchen.  I saw some amazing villas which you can stay in which I would love to but I looked online and they cost almost £3,000 just for the weekend!!

The scenery was gorgeous!  I had dibbs on the window bed in mine and Monique's room so in the mornings I got to see the lovely trees and greenery outside.  The first two days were quite gloomy but the third was beautiful with blue skies and so many little ducks on the lake!  We went on a pedaloe boat so we got to relax and take it all in.  I also think that if I ever go in the summer, I would definitely hire a bike because there are so many bike paths to explore within the trees.  

Another excellent - but again, expensive - aspect of the break was of course, the food.  There are a load of restaurants on site as well as a place you can order take away food from.  One night we went to this American diner called Huck's where I had this amazing cajun spiced chicken burger after having a ginormous share platter with everyone for staters which had the likes of bruschetta, king prawns and nachos on!  We also went to the Pancake House which was delicious!!! I had blueberry pancakes but unfortunately, I felt really poorly so couldn't eat much of it.  Everyone else had a savoury pancake or omlette before having a sweet one for dessert and it all looked fabulous - another reason why I need to go back ASAP.  
The shopping was brutal - I spent a lot of money on gifts for people, and especially in the sweet shop!  They do the best honeycomb caramel ice cream, and there is a pick n mix which has peaches!! My FAVOURITE!!! So you basically need to save up money for activities, depending on what it is you want to do, for the shops and for food!  
A few tips I would give you if you were/are planning on visiting a Center Parcs resort are:

  1. The kitchen is really good with a lot of supplies and electronics so stock up on food you can use to make good meals to save loads of money on eating out!
  2. Swimming is free and amazing so don't fret if you are finding all the other activities too expensive - you can also take your own bikes for free so you can go for bike rides, or even hikes and jogs.
  3. Don't read the menus at the restaurants when you're hungry because you will order/want too much and not be able to eat it all *hint hint* pancake stacks.
  4. And finally, just take comfy, wearable clothes, especially trainers and a hoody! I've never been so comfy in my life in my gym leggings, a baggy top and my Nikes.

The whole time I was there I just kept saying how much my sisters would love it, especially the water park!  It's really great for the whole family as well as dogs so I think next spring I'm going to be going with Josh, my younger sisters Jorja and Jasmine, my older sister Becky and her fiance Tom, and maybe even my dog Poppy and their dog Jake, how exciting!!  But I definitely want to go this winter, we usually go to Butlins but it's kind of wasted because you can't go on the beach and make full use of everything, whereas I feel like you definitely can at Center Parcs - plus I want to see their faces on that flume!!

Thanks for reading!

*All photos are my own unless stated otherwise
*I was not paid or sponsored to write this post