Back in October we celebrated my mum and dad’s golden wedding anniversary.
FIFTY YEARS!!! Such a huge milestone!
They had decided ages ago that they wanted to take us all away for the weekend. We wanted somewhere that would appeal to all ages and — as my heavily pregnant sister wasn’t able to fly — we looked for places fairly close to home. After a bit of research, we decided to book three nights away at Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest.
There were nine of us in total (if you didn’t include the bump) — six adults and three little ones — and we stayed in two lodges, which were literally next door to each other.
The accommodation was lovely; the kind of perfectly formed little house that I would have just wanted to move into, in my twenties. Ours had a well appointed kitchen, a bathroom and cloakroom, two bedrooms and a lovely open plan living area.
But the best thing about it was, the HUGE picture window that flanked one side, which enabled you to look out into the gorgeous woodland setting.
Lodge 196 at Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest
Talk about feeling at one with nature. It was absolutely glorious.
We had the most perfect bird’s eye view — if you’ll pardon the pun — of rabbits, water-fowl, squirrels and we were lucky enough to even spot a little stoat.
As the lodges were fully self catering, we’d taken food with us but also took advantage of the great eateries on site. We had a takeaway delivered to the lodge on the first night and ate out on a couple of occasions too.
Pancakes for brunch one day, Italian for lunch on another plus a celebratory evening meal at Huck’s American Bar and Grill. Best thing is, Center Parcs have an on-site babysitting service and you can go out for a meal, safe in the knowledge that your little one is safely tucked up in bed and being well looked after.
Eating in — and dining out!
The food and cocktails at Huck’s were fabulous and we were royally looked after by our lovely waitress, Heather. It was a great place to go for a celebratory meal.
In fact — for a family spanning in age from 3 to 73 — we couldn’t really have picked a better location overall; Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest has so much to offer.
From gentle walks and spa treatments to a Segway experience for the big boys, we filled our time with so many lovely activities.
I’m not quite sure what I was expecting to be honest. I had (wrongly) assumed that everything revolved around the indoor swimming areas. But there was so much more to it than that. Loads to do indoors — and outdoors too — certainly more than just swimming or cycling!
So many activities = happy faces!
We played crazy golf; an experience that was made all the better for the little ones with a smoke machine in an enchanted castle.
We also spent a happy couple of hours playing on a man-made beach that had a fantastic play area for the kids. All of the photos from my October Siblings post were taken there in fact.
We spent lots of time in the Subtropical swimming paradise which the twins absolutely loved. It gave them an opportunity to use the amazing swimming vests we took to Sardinia with us, as there were lots of gentle little slides and shallow pools for them to splash around in.
The big boys (my boy and brother-in-law) had fun on the more hectic flumes and rides — there was a bit of a queue for these — whilst my parents and I chilled out in the spa-pools.
My mum, sister and I also went to the fabulous Aqua Sana spa for a little pampering session; you really appreciate a massage when you’ve been doing so much cycling and walking.
But the very best thing we did, without question, was the Encounter with Owls experience. I can’t actually put into words just how brilliant and worthwhile this was. For an experience for the whole family, spanning generations, it was perfect.
Encounter with Owls at Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest
And whilst we were there, we were lucky enough to get an up-close and personal meet and greet with a very special resident.
His name was Cookie — and he’s a Kookaburra. If you roll your Rs at him, he starts to laugh… I have never EVER seen or heard anything like it!! Watch my little movie for a little glimpse of him and that extraordinary laugh!! He was an absolute superstar!
Many thanks to Andy, Alice and Dualtagh for a brilliant afternoon — we’ll never forget it.
We had such a memorable weekend at Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest.
It’s the perfect place for families to get away from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind. It offers so many exciting and different activities to try. Or you can simply kick back, relax and get a little closer to nature.
It had something to offer every member of our family and we wished that we’d booked to stay for a full week, rather than four days. It was awesome.
But hey. If my words and pictures haven’t quite persuaded you, have a look at my little film (if only to see Cookie and hear his crazy laugh!)!
Thank you so much to my mum and dad for treating to us all to an amazing weekend — and thanks also to the lovely team at Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest for helping to make our time there even more memorable.
This post is in collaboration with Center Parcs but all thoughts, words and images — as ever — are entirely my own.