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Centre Parcs Review: Woburn Forest, UK

The latest  addition to the family friendly Centre Parcs family is Woburn Forest, 50 minutes by train from St. Pancras.  Was it all it’s cracked up to be?  Let’s ask Cat..

Centre Parcs - WF - Cat & Grace

Who went (ages of kids)

Four parents plus Alys (3), Grace (18mths), and Seth (12mths)

Where did you go?

Centre Parcs, Woburn Forest

When did you go?

Early October 2014 

How was the weather?

Classic british autumn weather – a few rainy days plus some sunshine

Centre Parcs - Woburn Forest

How did you book the trip?  

We booked via the Centre Parcs website which is pretty easy to use.  

What did the price include  – breakfast, airport transfers etc

We paid £630 for a 4-night Monday-Friday midweek break in a three bedroom “new style executive lodge”. The price included the lodge plus access to the pool complex.  We paid another £100 on top to hire four bikes for the grown ups plus a bike seat and a two-seater bike trolley for the kids. 

Centre Parcs - WF - Lodge

There are lots of extras you can add on like choosing the exact location of your villa, which would definitely be worth doing if you wanted to be in a specific location or wanted two lodges next door to each other. 

How did you get there?

No flight – we drove there in two hours! This was the big selling point of Centre Parks for us, the new village at Woburn is very close to London and we liked the idea of being able to get up at a civilised hour, chuck everything we needed in the car and get there in time for lunch. No airport hassle required.

How far was the hotel from the airport?  How did you get to hotel?

Centre Parks is car-free, but on arrival day they let you drive up to your villa to drop off all the groceries, bags etc.  after that you walk or cycle everywhere

What did you think of your accommodation?

The lodge was lovely – brand new and everything was very clean and stylish.  We went for the executive lodge (2x double rooms, 1x twin) over the woodland lodges (1x double, 2x twin) so that each set of parents got a double bed.  All of the bedrooms were en-suite, and there was also a cleaner every day which was a nice surprise!  

How was your room?  What baby/kid amenities had been provided?

The rooms were great – Woburn Forest is brand new so everything was immaculate.  The beds were comfy and the bathrooms were very nice.  One travel cot and one high chair were provided, and everything was kid friendly.  

How were the facilities?

There are tons of different activities to do at Centre Parks but as our kids were so little we mainly used the pool complex.  The pool is brilliant for kids – there is a toddler splash pool which is shallow enough for kids to crawl/sit/toddle in and has mini slides, there is a sloping pool which turns into a wave pool twice an hour, a lazy river with rubber rings to float in, and an indoor water playground. The whole thing is under a bubble roof with tropical plants and is heated so little ones don’t get cold.  For bigger kids there are outdoor rapids and super-fast water slides. A major upside of the pool is that it tires little ones out so much that they have a mega-nap in the afternoon! If you fancy it you can rent cabanas at the pool…..we didn’t bother to do this but if you wanted to spend the whole day there it would be a great idea.  

Kim and I also managed to persuade our other halves to look after the kids on their own for an afternoon so that we could go to the spa.  I would very highly recommend a cheeky visit, it is stunning and very relaxing. As well as numerous saunas, steam rooms etc there is a gorgeous outdoor infinity pool.  

Was there kids club and did you use it?

There is childcare available but we didn’t use it.  There are a few free playgrounds dotted round the forest which we cycled to for a play, and some of the bars and restaurants have free soft play areas which is very handy to keep children entertained while waiting for their lunch to arrive.   

Was there a beach?  How was it?

There is a small beach by the lake, but as it was pretty chilly we didn’t do any paddling.   

Did you do any trips/excursions?  

I would definitely recommend hiring bikes, it is wonderful to be able to cycle around with no cars to get in the way and the kids absolutely loved being in the bike trailer together.  Plus it’s quite a big site but you can get anywhere in five minutes on a bike.  

Centre Parcs - WF - Bikes

How was the food?  Any recommendations?

There are lots of restaurants on site but we mainly cooked at home once the kids were in bed.  The kitchen had all the basics plus there’s a barbecue outside each lodge.  We took most of our food with us but there is a supermarket onsite which has all the basics plus lots of treats, Gastropub-style meals, nice wine etc.  Grace’s favourite part of Centre Parcs – the mini shopping trolley!

Centre Parcs - WF - Shopping Trolley

There is also a takeaway service that will deliver food straight to the lodge which is a great option if you don’t fancy 

How was the staff?

The staff were great, very helpful and used to kids, especially the guys in the cycle centre.  The cleaners even set up the bunny below…

Centre Parcs - WF - Dear Zoo

How was the trip overall?  What tips would you give to someone booking this holiday?

We really enjoyed our trip to Centre Parcs.  If you’re going with younger children you really don’t need to do much more than hire bikes and go to the pool.  I’d definitely take some DVDs or films on your iPad for rainy afternoons (this is a great british holiday, it will rain at some point!), and make sure you negotiate a visit to the spa!

Centre Parcs - WF - Forest

Would you go back?

Definitely. We really enjoyed it, and it will be nice to go back when Grace is older so we can do more of the activities.  The Woburn Forest site is brand new so all the facilities are brilliant, especially the pool.  The real winner for us was that it was only a couple of hours drive from home which made it totally stress free.  

 

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