family

We were kindly invited to Center Parcs for a long weekend recently (Fri-Monday evening) and were excited to see what kind of a break it would be, having not been before.

And wow, it certainly didn’t disappoint as we literally ‘lived our best lives’ down in the forest, in a lodge (and bed) of dreams with squirrels and geese as our friends, delicious food at our disposal, sweet sunshine (we were so lucky) and activities the whole family went wild for (hello den building, bike rides and magical walks by the lake).

lake

forest

den building

Center Parcs Sherwood Forest

playing in the playground in Center Parcs

Center Parcs

Den building at Center Parcs

Love the name Oliver gave to the den ‘Team Insolent’! Ha!

Den building

It was literally one of the most simultaneously fun and relaxing family breaks we’ve ever had.

With everything a family could ever want or need for the perfect break in one place, I felt instantly soothed and relaxed as soon as we entered the magical forest (I need to move to a forest pronto-I’m much more patient and calm around trees) and with super restaurants to choose from, an immense roster of activities on offer and a spa that has just had a 3 million make-over, we never wanted to leave. Ever.

Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest

I can now see why so many of my friends adore Center Parcs. The beauty is you can do as much or as little as you fancy and you’ll be the calmest version of yourself thanks to the forest.

Center Parcs in the forest

child enjoys Center Parcs

A swim here, a spa trip there, a bike ride before dinner, squash indoors, fun in the many playgrounds (the restaurants all had play areas too and entertains walked the grounds)…whatever you fancy, one thing’s for sure you’ll return feeling like a brand new human being like we did.

building a den

entertainer

fun in the plaground

squash

The best part was above and beyond, all the quality time we had with one another. Peter and I even managed a few hours alone (shock horror) in the spa as the kids attended a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party where they were looked after by trained staff on site (followed by a show for us with the kids in leading roles, and a chance to scoff the cupcakes they decorated-that’s my kind of childcare) and it was a rare treat to get couple time, particularly at a spa which has never happened before. It’s always me running off for a quick spa treatment but nothing beats time with my bae (who doesn’t know what that means) chilling out and having a laugh.

spa at Center Parcs

Mad Hatters Tea Party

cakes

forest fun

Alexander eats his cake

boys wear hats to the Mad Hatters Tea party

Peter is never usually sold on spas but he agreed to visiting the Aqua Sana Spa after seeing the photos and it was lovely to have a swim and sauna together. My favourite hang-out had to be high up in the Treetop Sauna where you warm up amongst the branches you overlook, the birds tweeting below you.

Spa in Center Parcs

treetop spa

I thought I was in a Disney movie.

I think I probably was.

With hot tubs, experience showers, every single sauna imaginable, an ice room, areas to chill out and sleep in and the longest list of treatments on offer I’ve seen anywhere in the UK as well as beauty and skincare workshops, this is one destination spa you cannot miss.

treatment rooms

beauty area

Dining in the spa at Vitalé Café Bar.

dining at Center Parcs spa

pool in the spa at Center Parcs

center parcs spa-pool with flowers

hot tubs at Center Parcs

seating at the spa at Center Parcs

seating

stunning spa overlooking the forest at Center Parcs

Center Parcs spa

overlooking the central pool at Center Parcs spa

lounging areas at the Center Parcs spa

pool at the spa in Center Parcs

ice room at the spa in Center Parcs

relaxation room at the Center Parcs spa

steam rooms

sauna

relaxation rooms

sauna

Ah-mazing!

I had a luxe mani and pedi with masks, creams and Shellac Vinylux polish on hands and toes that was described as a facial for the hands and feet. Soothing, nourishing and so beautifully polished, the toes are still pristine and the nails lasted for weeks.

manicure

natural mani at the Aqua Sana Spa

I made a vlog of our special time there so check it out.

There are so many special memories I’ve already mentioned and want to list below for posterity.

It was also lovely bumping into to fab YouTuber friends Christian and Amalie of How To Be Dad and Toddler Fun Learning and my lovely hairdresser and friend Nina…

Some more highlights below:

Honest Mum and son at Center Parcs

swings

1.The kids playing on the beach until sunset.

boys sat on the beach

beach fun

sand

2. Taking The Book of Imagination, Center Parcs left in the room for us, which encouraged imaginative play and arts and crafts in to the forest. We rode there and played for hours!

bikes

bike with the book of Imagination at Center Parcs

playing in the forest at Center Parcs

Book of Imagination

activities in the forest

forest arts and crafts

boys playing in the forest

adding to the imagination book

stick

The boys made stick and cone men from items they found on the forest floor and stickers from the book!

mr cone arts and crafts

sticker on sticks to make stick men

the boys play with their stick men

leaves

3. The best roast chicken and sweet potato fries from the Sports Cafe are the best I’ve ever eaten. The food as outstanding everywhere we ate!

feast

roast chicken and sweet potato fries

It was our first time at Bella Italia too and it was bellissimo!

dinner with the family

happy family at Bella Italia

calamari

fish and a jacket potato

salmon with potatoes

Bella Italia even gave Xander sorbet as he can’t have dairy. Nothing was too much trouble!

boy with his sorbet

4. Swimming together and jumping the waves in the pool.

swimming pool

swimming at Center Parcs

5. Feeling so comfortable in happy in our surrounding with wildlife as our friends. Our lodge which could fit 6 overlooked gardens and a pond and was both stylish and practical. The perfect base for us all.

Center Parcs lodge

bedroom at Center Parcs

double bed at Center Parcs

lounge at Center Parcs

Lodge at Center Parcs

lounge overlooks open countryside at Center Parcs

Center Parcs lodge

bedroom at Center Parcs

bed with towels on them

boy holds up his hands

squirrel

5. Magical evening walk

I took the kids on a late walk near our lodge, inventing stories as we went. It was so special, I kept thinking how much we’d all treasure it!

forest

forest

6. The kids thanking us over and over again for an amazing holiday. So thank you Center Parcs for inviting us and making our holiday with you so special!

happy boy

boy

Have you guys been? You must if not, it’s not just for families either, we made friends with a party of single friends in the swimming pool and whilst it’s perfect for families, there’s so much to do for everyone!

 

Our stay was complimentary in return for this review but all words and opinions are my own and honest.

 

Like what you've read? Then why not follow Vicki on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram

Never Miss A Post!

Subscribe to Honest Mum's mailing list:


63 Responses

  1. Rebecca

    This looks great! We’ve never been either but am thinking about it now! <3 #brilliantblogposts
    Rebecca recently posted…THE BEST ways to help deal with your kids on a hangoverMy Profile

    Reply
  2. Ruth Davies

    Sounds great and loved the stories on Instagram. I will take note from them of what to pack and make sure I’m all active wear central when we visit in January. it’s a long way off but we took advantage of the early bird deal for the new year and have an immense 4 night break planned for Florence’s birthday celebrations at Elveden Forest and the price was a snip! Can’t wait to try out the pool and everything else on offer in Center Parcs, if only we were going this summer as well! 🙂 x

    Reply
  3. Jenny-apply to face blog

    What great pics.We love it there and are booked in for the end of the summer term.The children are talking about it most days already. I’ve commenced dieting for the swimming costume situation a month ago but not much is shifting.Might have to stay in the spa and leave hubby with kids x #brilliantblogposts

    Reply
  4. Chloe

    What a fab fun filled weekend away. I want to visit just for the spa #BrilliantBlogPosts
    Chloe recently posted…Review of Tyrrell’s Poshcorn Sweet & Salty PopcornMy Profile

    Reply
  5. Finn

    Looks great. Is there plenty of space to escape the other people there when you want or need to? This would be a big thing for me, not a fan of crowds! #BrilliantBlogPosts

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      It wasn’t very crowded and tonnes of space, forest-it’s huge and we never felt crowded. You can order food in to your lodge and don’t have to do much in the centre. We spent a lot of time just the four of us x

      Reply
  6. Jo @ Jo's Kitchen Larder

    What a wonderful weekend! Perfect family getaway spot! We have never been before but only heard good reviews from friends who have and you have just confirmed it’s a place to go! Beautiful photographs as always! x

    Reply
  7. Mainy

    I love centre parcs and have been to the longleat one and it was amazing. I had the electric bike and it was just the best thing ever! The spa at yours look really worth going to, beautiful! Wonderful pictures too.
    Mainy
    #brillblogposts
    Mainy recently posted…Vegan Chocolate Cake – Recipe and GiveawayMy Profile

    Reply
  8. Lisa Pomerantz

    Wow! What a great place to go! Your shots are amazing and your boys, adorable! Looks so fun. Thanks for sharing. #brillblogpost

    Reply
  9. Jessica

    Amazing! All those pictures look stunning. Never been into one but after reading your post I sure want to go this summer and not come back home. ha ha.

    Reply
  10. five little doves

    Ooh we love Centerparcs, I’ve never been to this one before though! Gorgeous photos, it’s made me want to go back now! #brilliantblogpost
    five little doves recently posted…For Meggy, on your fourth birthdayMy Profile

    Reply
  11. Mel

    You look so happy and relaxed in these photos, ma Belle. I’ve never been to Center Parks, but I’ve only ever heard positive things about the forest holidays. I had no idea they had spas, and the photos you took of the recently refurbished one had my jaw dropping. There’s nothing like a good spa day. I love the fact you were given a ‘book of imagination’ to encourage creativity in the forest. That’s priceless!
    Mel recently posted…Merci Maman Personalised Gifts (& a Giveaway)My Profile

    Reply
  12. Oldhouseintheshires

    Centre parts are fab! We go most years to the one in Holland and have built really lovely memories as a family. Lovely post and pictures! #brillblogposts

    Reply
  13. mummy here and there

    There sounds like tons of things to do for kids, I love the setting it is beautiful X #brilliantblogposts
    mummy here and there recently posted…Autistic adulting sucks!My Profile

    Reply
  14. Mummy Setra

    Pictures look amazing! I have never been, but it’s totally different to what I imagined it to be! Will definitely keep it in mind for future.

    Reply
  15. Cassandra Mayers

    Me and my family are looking into holidays for September. My Daughter is only 2 and a half though. Do you think she would enjoy it here?. You totally sold the Spa part for me haha 😉

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Oh definitely, soft plays in every restaurant, lots to do and there were tons of toddlers and babies there x

      Reply
  16. Clare

    Beautiful pictures darling and you look like you had an amazing time. Only been once on a hen do – but enjoyed it! Wjo wouldn’t want the spa 🙂 Big love

    Cx

    Reply
  17. Lucy At Home

    We love centre parcs! There really is so much to do there and, like you say, you can do as much or as little as you want. Our kids loved the bike trailer so much that we’ve bought our own now – cycling is such a lovely way to travel, and it’s fab that there are no cars at centre parcs so it’s safe for everyone to cycle around. #brillblogposts
    Lucy At Home recently posted…CBeebies Peter Rabbit Buns: A Step-By-Step GuideMy Profile

    Reply
  18. Laurie Girl & Tonic

    I used to work at Center Parcs when I was a teenager and so we’d spend weekends and days off there with our family & friends – it is such a brilliant safe place + the choice of activities, so much fun to be had! Looks like you had an amazing time #BrilliantBlogPosts

    Reply
  19. Maid in Dartmoor

    I still haven’t made it to a Centre Parks Yet. It looks fab, it’s definitely on my todo list! Great pictures ☺ #Brilliantblogposts

    Reply
  20. Michelle

    There is something about Center Parcs that relaxes you. I loved our trip last week to Woburn Forest and plan to go back. We didn’t try the spa, but after seeing your pictures it’s a must for next time #brillblogposts

    Reply
  21. Joana at Mind The Mummy

    This looks absolutely dreamy!! I am googling them right now and checking! I had no idea they had so much on offer. I truly thought it was just a few cabins and a couple of park walks peppered with some kid friendly trails. How wrong was I??? That spa looks state of the art. I HAVE to figure out a way of getting there this summer still. Fingers crossed for the weather! #brilliantblogposts

    Reply
  22. Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie

    Super duper jealous! Looks amazing. I’ve always wanted to go to Center Parcs, but somehow it’s never quite happened…moving it much further up the Must Visit list now!! That spa in particular…oh yes please!!! (And obviously all the family fun too, that looks good too…but the spa…) 😉 Eb x
    Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie recently posted…One Pot Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Rice and BeansMy Profile

    Reply
  23. Rebecca Smith

    I’ve never been but this looks so so tempting! We’ve actually had the new Woburn Forest CenterParcs built right on my doorstep so I guess I have no excuse to not using the Spa at the very least!
    Rebecca Smith recently posted…Rana’s Artisan Bread: New Italian Mix Review & GiveawayMy Profile

    Reply
  24. Sarah

    Gorgeous photos! I’ve never actually been to Center Parcs, but I have always wanted to! I would never want to leave, it looks like the perfect place to escape the real world for a while xx

    Reply
  25. Mama Grace

    We are actually thinking about Centre Parcs for a Christmas, to bring our two families together. Nice to know and see the kids enjoyed it. #BrillBlogPosts
    Mama Grace recently posted…Medela Nipple ShieldMy Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      It is so wonderful and everyone was telling us about all the special events and fireworks they do at Christmas. We loved it x

      Reply
  26. Catherine, Not Dressed As Lamb

    Vicki I hear so many good things about Center Parcs – my niece and her family always go and her boys love it too!! Must think about looking into it one year…! So glad you had a great time, photos are gorgeous as always

    Thanks for hosting the linky 🙂

    Catherine x
    Catherine, Not Dressed As Lamb recently posted…13 Unmissable Reads – The Best of the Blogosphere (May 2017)My Profile

    Reply
  27. Susie/So Happy In Town

    You obviously had a really magical family time together, surrounded by nature – I love trees too, they are so calming! I’d love to take the kids to Centre Parcs. We went before children for my mum’s 60th as my brothers’ both had young kids and it was fun exploring and using all the facilities on our own. That spa looks divine – take me there now! So glad you created such special family memories and your photos are beautiful as always x
    Susie/So Happy In Town recently posted…It’s Quiz Time For All Mr S.H.I.T.s Out ThereMy Profile

    Reply
  28. Pen

    Oooh, I love Centre Parcs. I have been to Woburn on a couple of occasions and it has been brilliant both times. Last time Cygnet did a balance bike lesson, a football lesson, theatre entertainment and we spent hours in the swimming pool. I took my parents with me and was lucky enough to have Grandpa to look after Cygnet for a couple of hours whilst Grandma and I spent half a day in the spa. Heaven. Pen x
    Pen recently posted…Is there a hierarchy of single mothers?My Profile

    Reply
  29. Katie

    We love Center Parcs and this has made me super excited for our visit planned later in the year!!!
    Katie recently posted…Lets Flip Out Giveaway!My Profile

    Reply
  30. Jacqui Paterson (@JaxFortyNorth)

    There’s SO MUCH to do there – my girls wouldn’t want to come home, and neither would I, judging by the look of that spa! xx
    Jacqui Paterson (@JaxFortyNorth) recently posted…A WEEKEND IN CHAMPAGNE // the magic behind the bubblesMy Profile

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge