A golden weekend | Featuring Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest

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

Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest

Our little sitting room at Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest.

Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest

My boy in his natural habitat!

Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest

One of the bedrooms in our lodge.

Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest

All lined up and ready for the great outdoors.

Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest

So much wildlife to see.

Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest

Especially sitting in the lodges, looking out…

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!

Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest

Takeway on the first night! Thai, Chinese and Pizza.

Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest

And after that we literally ate ourselves around the world! Italian, American, Indian…

Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest

Celebration supper out at Huck’s Diner at Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest

Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest

Cocktail time!

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Scenes from such a fun night. Many thanks to Heather, our lovely waitress!

Cheers!

Greedy goblin. I did *try* to eat all of it, naturally.

Our happy family — on a rare night out without the littles!

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

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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.

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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.

Caro Davies

Caro Davies art directed fashion and interiors before leaving the world of design to pursue a career in social media. She can now be found chasing the light — and two small twin boys.

Find me on: Twitter | Facebook

16 Comments

  1. 3rd January 2017 / 9:40 am

    We’ve been to Centre Parcs in Holland and it was brilliant for the children. Like your sister, I was heavily pregnant at the time but it was such a relaxing break. The children were brilliantly catered for and the woodlands were beautiful. We saw rabbits, deer, ducks, … We even went fishing. I always say it is a great break with pre-schoolers as long as you know it is a child-centered holiday.

    • 9th January 2017 / 1:31 pm

      I thought it was amazing — I’d no idea what to expect to be honest!! It would be fantastic to go to a Center Parcs abroad!! I’m not sure I agree about it being totally child centred though, my mum and dad loved it and would be happy to go on their own. I think it spans the generations and has something to offer everyone :) And, for us, having the babysitting service was fantastic! :) It was so lovely to be able to go out and not have to worry about being on-duty for an evening :) xx

  2. My Two Mums
    3rd January 2017 / 11:05 am

    How lovely! We LOVE Center Parcs. We went a few years ago and fell in love. We hope to go back soon.

    • 9th January 2017 / 1:24 pm

      It was so fantastic — I can totally see why families get hooked on going! I can’t wait until the next time! :)

  3. 3rd January 2017 / 8:16 pm

    That’s a very valiant effort at that burger!! The owls look incredible, what a lovely way to celebrate your Mum and Dad and congratulations to them on 50 years!

    • 9th January 2017 / 1:23 pm

      Thanks Carie ;) I tried my level best with that burger!!! :) The owls were definitely the highlight — it was SO good!!! Such a fantastic place for a family celebration — will pass on your congratulations! xx

  4. 4th January 2017 / 12:43 pm

    Aaah 50 years- how special?! I really want to ‘do’ Centre Parcs properly, as I’ve been to the Sherwood Forest one for the day with my Mum to use the spa but otherwise am a Centre Parcs virgin! It always looks so much fun and well equipped for the whole family, and I know so many of the mums at school who always seem to be going when it’s the holidays! x

    • 9th January 2017 / 12:10 pm

      I know!! 50 whole years — it’s amazing!! And yep – it was my first time too. I was so impressed — there was SO much to choose from to do. I’ve spoken to people who’ve said it’s expensive but — to be honest — if you’re packing in three or four activities over a weekend AND eating out every mealtime, even if you were staying at home, it would still be expensive!! I think it was great value if I consider how many things we did and how many times we ate out. It was a treat weekend, that’s for sure! :)

  5. 5th January 2017 / 10:06 am

    Wow 50 years is incredible.

    We love Centre Parcs, it is always a great place for families of generations. We haven’t been for 3 years but thinking of going back this year.

    Looks like you made many memories for a lifetime xx

    • 9th January 2017 / 12:07 pm

      I know, right? Half a century!! That’s pretty good going! Center Parcs was the perfect place for the celebration too — so much to do. That owl experience was AMAZING!!! xx

  6. 5th January 2017 / 10:21 pm

    Love it sounds like you all had an amazing time! I have never done a centre parcs really would love too though x

    • 9th January 2017 / 12:05 pm

      It was SO good!! Definitely the perfect place for a family weekend away :)

  7. 9th January 2017 / 9:57 am

    It looks like you all had an absolutely brilliant time. I so want to go now, you have persuaded me!! You packed so much in and the food looks amazing! x

    • 9th January 2017 / 11:56 am

      Honestly — it was absolutely BRILLIANT! I didn’t really know what to expect — I’d heard various things from various people — and it totally exceeded all expectations. It can be fairly expensive to eat out constantly and do loads of activities but no more so than if you were eating out or filling a weekend with activities anywhere else!! I think — for everything that you can do in one place — it’s amazing!! Would definitely go back! :)

  8. 17th January 2017 / 9:52 am

    Love your video and your fab pictures, we had such a great week there….I want to go back!!

    • 23rd January 2017 / 11:22 am

      Aah it’s the fabbest place for a weekend getaway isn’t it? Having never been before, I wasn’t really sure what to expect but it I loved it!! Can’t wait to go back :)

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