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).
Love the name Oliver gave to the den ‘Team Insolent’! Ha!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dining in the spa at Vitalé Café Bar.
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.
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.
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!
The boys made stick and cone men from items they found on the forest floor and stickers from the book!
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!
It was our first time at Bella Italia too and it was bellissimo!
Bella Italia even gave Xander sorbet as he can’t have dairy. Nothing was too much trouble!
4. Swimming together and jumping the waves in the pool.
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.
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!
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!
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.
Buy my bestselling book in paperback or audio
My debut book is my guide to surviving and thriving at work and at home and offers insight into how to create a digital business or return to work with confidence.
Mumboss: The Honest Mum's Guide to Surviving and Thriving at Work and at Home (UK 2nd Edition)