In December we took a little mid-week break to Center Parcs Woburn Forest to get into the festive spirit and enjoy their Winter Wonderland.
We had a wonderful week, getting away from the hustle and bustle, along with the all the day-to-day chores at home. We went for the 3 bedroom Executive lodge which meant that we had daily housekeeping which saved me having to do it along with some added luxuries, there was a sauna outside but we didn’t actually get round to using it! Each bedroom had its on flat screen TV, en suite and one of the bedroom had a hydrobath which the kids absolutely loved the bubbles! I love that everything you could possibly need is already there making it a great home from home- not having to kart the high chair and cot anywhere with us is always a bonus to me.
We booked the children on a few activities towards the end of the week as when we have visited previously we have rammed the week full of things to do but this time wanted to take it at a bit of a slower pace as this time we also had Charlie so tried to incorporate all three in activities together so he didn’t miss out too much.
The main event of the mini break was taking the children to see Father Christmas in his special Winter Wonderland. I am always impressed with the extent that Center Parcs go to, in making the grotto area so special. On arrival there is singing reindeer surrounded by snow covered trees, which leads the way to the grotto where an elf comes to meet you and shows the children some tricks.
When you enter there are fun activities for the children to do whilst they wait a maximum of 15 minutes before they are led through to see Father Christmas. He spent so much time with each of the children asking them what they wanted and letting us take a zillion photos, they also took a family photo with him that we got to keep at the end.
Each of the children were also given a toy that they got to play with when we got back to our lodge. The outer area of the grotto is a winter walk through a wooded area full of mini grottos, elves houses and interactive activities, and of course some real reindeer. Overall this one definitely one of the best Father Christmas experiences I have taken the kids to.
Then on the last afternoon Harry and Grace went to Elf academy for three hours, Charlie napped for most of this and me and John were at a loss of what to do, we never have peace and quiet so was very strange! The Elf Academy is a definite recommendation, the kids absolutely LOVED it, and it was good value for money. For £37 it consisted of 3 hours childcare which included singing, dancing, cake decorating, Christmas decoration decorating and then at the end they put on a show for the parents (which was so so cute!). Then Santa arrived and called each child up to given a certificate of Elf Graduation, giving us more perfect photo opportunities with father Christmas. They also got to keep their Elf Costumes.
During each stay Center Parcs also put on a Fireworks displays over the lake which is always special and the children (and Grown ups) loved. We then ate at Hucks american Diner afterwards, which has a large soft play section which was suitable for all the children, so once they had eaten their dinner they could go and burn some more energy off and we could eat our meals in peace!
In fact every aspect of Center Parcs is so family orientated making everything really child friendly that it really makes visiting so easy and stress free. Every restaurant, coffee shop and bar has full children’s menus, activities, coin machines and soft plays. The shop stocks everything you need (yes it’s a little more expensive than your local Tesco) and they have the cutest children’s trolleys that the kids loved racing around with. There were many Christmas decorations and lights all over the site that the children loved to look at and a number of parks to visit. So plenty to do without having to spend a lot on top of your stay.
The biggest bonus is always the water park as again this is completely free and is just fab! It is full of pools, slides, paddle areas with water tables, has a lazy river and for those who want a little more fun there is wild rapids that take you outside and some really big water rides. Harry loved the rapids but unfortunately was a little too small for all the bigger water rides and slides so we didn’t get chance to get onto those, although he had lots of fun on the smaller slides and pirate ship.
Overall I would always recommend Center Parcs to any one but especially to any family as it just thinks of everything. My only advice would be to hold of reserving your bikes until you get there, as we had previously visited the Sherwood Forest side and used the bikes all the time as the site is so much bigger. I paid for the bikes and trailer this time and never sat on them as the site is much smaller and everything was so accessible on foot there was no need to use them at Woburn. But overall a lovely family trip where we made some wonderful Christmas memories.