Monday 22 May 2017

#LifeLately - our family mini break at Center Parcs Sherwood Forest

If you read my ultimate guide to staying at Center Parcs, you'll know how we are big fans as a family of this UK mini break destination. This past week, we visited Sherwood Forest for a midweek break, Monday to Friday, and packed a lot in whilst also doing very little on some days too. And of course, I packed a huge amount to take away (I can't help it!) - so much so, next time I might have to hire a mini bus!

That's the secret to the Center Parcs break; you can be as busy as you like, trying new experiences, or as laid back as you want, just going with the flow and enjoying your lodge and the slower pace of life.

On Monday, we arrived at lunch time, had a good look around then checked into our lodge before picking up our bikes. On Tuesday, we booked Ethan on a pony trek which he loved, then we explored the beach and playgrounds. We even squeezed in some time at the Subtropical Swimming Paradise. That evening, we went bowling together as a family for the first time which, again, Ethan loved, and he actually beat us both on the first game! We then went to Hucks for dinner, as I love their hot buffalo chicken wings.

Wednesday we took as a lazy day, as it did not stop raining. Our friendly neighbourhood ducks didn't mind it at all though. We did take Ethan to Little Outlaws, an archery session, which he really enjoyed, at the Jardin du Sport. On Thursday, we all went to Baby Owls in the morning and met three beautiful owls called Alan, Stella and Carl. It was great to see them up close and we all had the chance to hold and stroke them. In the afternoon, we played a game of Adventure Golf (Ethan treated it more like a game of hockey) and then treated ourselves to some ice creams. We had planned on going on the beach again on Friday, but after checking out of our lodge, returning our bikes and enjoying a late breakfast at the Pancake House, the rain was still coming down so the beach was the last place we wanted to go.

Here's some highlights from our latest Center Parcs holiday - follow me on Instagram to see more - and following the photos, I have shared details of how much our holiday cost and some recommendations:


As a guide, our May midweek break, staying Monday to Friday (five days, four nights) cost £399 for the booking for three of us in a two bed lodge, plus an additional booking fee to choose our specific lodge (this can be up to £45 depending on the area you choose). We took £50 worth of food with us and probably then spent around £10-15 on a few extras in the ParcMarket. For the activities listed here, including £3 deposit per person at Hucks restaurant, this came to £103, booked in advance, plus £87 for two adult bikes and one trailer. On top of the £25 worth of vouchers we had to use and the £15 deposit, we spent an extra £30 at Hucks and the Pancake House, our two omelettes / pancakes and drinks for all three of us came to £24. One day, we spent £7 in Starbucks and £8 in the Treat shop on ice cream, and on the day we arrived we popped into Dexter's for burgers and quickly spent £25 just like that.

You can spend as much or as little as you like when you're away - this time we decided to have a few extra treats but by no means do you have to eat out and to be honest, next time we go, we will avoid most of the restaurants in favour of cooking for ourselves for the whole break. Hucks wasn't great, particularly considering the price, and overall I think the food was expensive for what we had, but for others, this is all part of the experience of being on holiday and it was nice to take a break from cooking.

All in all, we had a great week away. The lodge felt like a home away from home, we loved the nature all around us and Ethan enjoyed lots of new experiences. It's unfortunate that the weather wasn't a bit better for us, but we still got to do a fair bit regardless. We like Sherwood Forest (see my video from our last visit above) and the outdoor village feel, but our next break will probably see us return to Whinfell as it is perhaps our favourite location.


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