Our trip away to Center Parcs Woburn Forest was jammed packed with fun despite the weather being a tad unpredictable at times. As a family this was our first trip to Center Parcs and something I had been keen to try out for a few years and the timing seemed perfect now Tristan was old enough to get involved in some of the activities.
We only live locally in North Bedfordshire so Woburn seemed like the ideal choice for us. It’s the smallest of the parcs, is only a few years old and it takes under 30 minuets to get door to door. We booked into a 3 bed executive lodged which accommodated four adults and two children happily. The open plan living with small children was ideal and the dishwasher and maid service made things that bit easier. All rooms had a TV and all three rooms had an en-suit (two walk in showers and one hydrobath). We had an outside BBQ that we didn’t use and also a sauna. We took along our Amazon firestick as the TV is a bit limited and if like us your children are small then you probably will spend a fair amount of time in the lodge in the evenings. WiFi in the lodge and around the parc was really great and I never had any issues connecting any devices. Remember extra dishwasher tablets as they leave you three and also remember cot bedding as this won’t be provided.
We decided to book a lodge which was in the outer area (395 Oak) as from looking at the map it meant we would be at the end so would only have a neighbour one side, but it still looked close enough to the water front. We hired two bikes between us all which was handy for nipping back and forth, but generally we walked. Woburn has some big hills so bear it in mind if you do plan on lots of bike riding with small children. One of the bikes we did rent out was an electric bike, you still peddled, but it gave you an extra turbo boost for hills and was so much fun to ride. Our walk to the swimming pool was a bit longer but easily manageable with a five year old.
Eating out v’s eating in
I think it goes without saying that eating out can get expensive with a family of four. We ate out once whilst we were there at the Pancake house for lunch, it was good, but it wasn’t cheap. Center Parcs does have an option to order in and you can book deliver slots from 3pm and they have a large selection of food, but again it is much more expensive. For us we prefered to spend what we had saved on activities so we cooked in the evenings and made packed lunches. I did a click and collect food shop from Tesco on my way to Center Parcs and picked up odd bits from the supermarket in the parc. The supermarket isn’t cheap, but fine for a few odd bits. There is nothing stopping you from leaving the parc and going to a local supermarket and picking up extra food and alcohol.
Activities for children
They have some great activities for children and Miss J especially loved the Mad Hatters Tea Party, this was for three hours and we were able to leave her there and go for a swim. Miss J and Mr T also enjoyed a Teddy Bears picnic and Miss J fulfilled her dream of riding a pony and hasn’t stopped talking about it since, They run a crèche so you can also put the children in and head off to the spa to relax.
Activities for adults
Besides bike riding the only other activity we did was the kayaking, we could have done much more, but we had so much fun with the children we didn’t feel the need to disappear off. Next time I will make sure I spend some time at the Spa though.
My favourite thing about the whole of Center Parcs has to be the pool, it really is great and it’s so easy to spend three hours in there with no idea of the weather outside. The children loved all the swimming and were thoroughly exhausted at the end of the day. I’m glad we did go with my parents so we could take turns watching the children and enjoy the outside rapids and water slides. Miss J was a big fan of the children slides and Mr T loved the wave machine. We found afternoons were quieter by the pool and would go after Mr T had his nap. The changing area is full of large family changing rooms and the lockers can be locked with your electric wristband which also opens your lodge.
On one of our days we got stuck in with horrible rain and spent the morning watching wildlife, We had plenty of squirrels, ducks, pheasants and even a dear to keep us entertained. The animals are all very friendly and used to children. I recommend taking some bird feed out with you and letting the children get involved.
Will we go back?
We will definitely be heading back again and would ike to explore the other parcs too in the future. It really is the perfect family break and a great way of getting outside and appreciating all that England has to offer.