We decided to book a mid-week break at Center Parcs Woburn Forest to celebrate our 10th year wedding anniversary and my husband’s 40th birthday.
Center Parcs has been on my wish list for a while so I was super excited when we got an affordable rate although it meant taking the kids out of school.
Woburn Forest is set in beautiful rural Bedfordshire. Although it’s just an hour away from London, when you step into this magnificent 365-acre forest you could be a million miles away from the big city.
With picturesque landscapes and stunning views across the lake. From the moment you arrive you’re surrounded by a haven of peace and tranquility.
Once we had booked our stay we got a ‘village arrival pack‘ in the post. This pack included a leaflet on ‘what’s on during your stay’, a map to help you get around and some tips and inspiration.
As this was our first time visiting it was recommended we create a Center Parcs account online and complete our registration. Completing your guest and vehicle details online makes checking in much faster once you arrive.
TOP TIP: BOOK ACTIVITIES IN ADVANCE
They strongly recommend you book activities and restaurants before you arrive so you don’t miss out. You can log into your Center Parcs account online and pre-book activities, make restaurant and Aqua Sana Spa reservations.
I do like the idea of booking activities in advance as it means you can plan your break better. Some activities are particularly popular so booking ahead of time means you can get the time slots that suit you and you avoid having to queue at the booking desk.
You can also pre-order a grocery pack and it will be waiting in your lodge when you arrive!
We set off around 12pm and the drive down took about an hour which was great so we didn’t have kids moaning.
The check-in process was fairly quick, we gave our booking reference and details of everyone on the booking. We were directed to the car park and given a car pass, 3 wristbands (used to access your accommodation, secure your locker across the village and for cashless payments at selected locations) and a site map.
Access to your accommodation is available from 3pm, but you can also book the early arrival option to have access from 2pm (additional cost of around £30). However, guests are welcome to arrive as early as 10am to explore the village and facilities.
Once we parked the car we decided to explore the village and facilities. We started out in ‘The Waterfront’ and the kids played on the beach.
Next we ventured around ‘The Plaza’ which houses various indoor sports, Cafés, Aqua Sana Spa, ParcMarket and shops.
Once it was 3pm we headed back to the car park to drive up to our lodge. Most people had the same idea so there was a queue of cars waiting to drive up to their lodges so we had to wait about 15 minutes.
You basically drive to your lodge to unload your belongings and then return your car to the car park.
The wristbands were really handy and can be used to access your accommodation, secure your locker across the village and for cashless payments at selected locations.
You can use your wristband to make cashless payments. You need to register your wristband at any payment kiosk with up to £300 to spend during your break. They can be used to pay for refreshments and activities at Aqua Sana Spa, Vitalé Café Bar, The Canopy Café and Bar, the Pool Information Desk and at Starbucks in the Subtropical Swimming Paradise.
Duration: 11th – 15th March 2019
Cost: £459 (not including activities)
Accommodation: Executive 3 Bed Lodge, No 105 Pine Area
Our lodge was in an excellent location, less than 5 minutes away from the car park and around 15-20 minutes walk to most facilities. The living area, kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms were a good size and well equipped.
Our lodge was warm and cosy and we also had a log burner.
The kitchen was well equipped and we saved a lot of money by me preparing most of our meals.
The beds were really comfortable and we all enjoyed a good night’s sleep!
We were literally spoilt with having 3 ensuite bathrooms. I particularly loved the hydro bath and enjoyed having a soak after a busy day filled with activities.
After a busy day exploring the village, being able to relax in our very own sauna was a touch of luxury.
RESTAURANTS AND SHOPPING
There are a wide range of restaurants, Cafés and bars including The Pancake House, Huck’s American Bar and Grill, Rajinda Pradeep, Star Bucks, Café Rouge, Sports Café and Las Iguanasas well as boutique shops to discover.
Situated in The Plaza, the ParcMarket is a fully stocked supermarket providing all the essential grocery and household items you’ll need on your break. There’s free delivery to your lodge if you spend more than £40. There’s also a ParcMarket Express situated in the Village Square.
WHAT WE DID AT CENTER PARCS
There are up to 200 indoor and outdoor activities to choose from, so there’s plenty of activities for every age to enjoy. The activities are in various parts of the village and the best way around is by cycling. You can use your own bikes or there’s a cycle centre where you can hire bikes. We decided to get around the village on foot!
Subtropical Swimming Paradise
The kids were super excited to visit the subtropical swimming paradise. It features family friendly heated pools, slides, water rides, adventure play areas and more. It is heated to 29.5C all year round and decked in lush, green tropical plants and trees, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into paradise. With unlimited entry included in the cost of your break there’s plenty to keep you entertained, including a family wave pool, thrilling and unrivalled rides, water play areas, Wild Water Rapids and whirlpools.
David and Josiah are thrill seekers so they tried out the Tropical Cyclone – a raft ride with gravity-defying drop and Twister – an enclosed bodyslide flume. There were height and weight restrictions so Annaliese couldn’t take part anyway.
Annaliese enjoyed the flumes, water cannons and water jets in the children’s water play area.
I spent most of my time in the wave pool and the Lazy river.
Ten Pin Bowling
It rained most days during our stay so we booked a 60 minutes bowling session which cost £24.50.
Rowing Boat Hire
One of our favourite places was the Waterfront. We hired a rowing boat for 30 minutes (£12.50). The kids were excited as they had never been on a rowing boat. It was lovely to experience the great outdoors, we enjoyed the row around the lake with the beautiful views of the forest.
For us this getaway was all about embracing the great outdoors and spending some quality time together enjoying the picturesque surroundings.
On the day of our anniversary/birthday we decided to have dinner at nearby TGI Friday’s Milton Keynes Stadium. David loves their gluten-free menu.
Overall we had a fun-filled break, we got to spend quality time together. I had planned to visit the spa, but didn’t have time. There’s so much to do, the staff were warm and friendly and we would definitely come back again.
Here’s a video of our break…