Thursday, 02 July 2015
Holiday review: Center Parcs Woburn Forest
Gurgle's Nifa McLaughlin reviews Center Parcs' new Woburn Forest village as a family-friendly holiday
An action-packed weekend away with three children whilst being heavily pregnant with baby number four... were we mad? We headed to Woburn Center Parcs with the promise of activities to suit all the members of our (growing) family.
The huge blackboard was a highlight for the kids (aged nine, seven and two), which meant they played 'teachers' while we unpacked and got organised. Riding their bikes on roads with no cars was the next delight - once you've unloaded your car on arrival, all cars must be parked in car parks away from where you live. You can easily hire bikes with or without bike seats for little ones or trailers for babies.
The best bit for us was the sub-tropical swimming zone, with its slides, pirate ship, wave machine and, crucially for my son, a toddler pool with mini slides, water fountains and kids' swim jackets. There were cots at the side of the pool for parents with babies, snack bars within the pool area and family changing rooms to use. And if (like us), you discover your nine-year-old has grown out of her swimsuit once you arrive at the pool, there was a swimsuit shop just outside!
That evening we ate out with all the children in Café Rouge and I was delighted to find a play area for children inside the restaurant – in that agonising wait between ordering food and it arriving, our toddler was totally occupied. I noticed lots of cafes had play areas in them, which is brilliant when you have small children who haven't learnt the art of patience yet.
The next morning my nine-year-old did a cupcake class and our seven-year-old took part in a chocolate workshop, which involved a chocolate fountain, dancing, singing, aprons and loads of chocolate. It was suitable for ages 3-7 and lasted 2.5 hours - perfect for parents wanting to head off for some sport or to relax in the spa, both of which are right next to the crèche and children's activities.
It's worth noting that weekend breaks are Friday until Monday, so make the most of this before you have school age children who need to be back at school on a Monday. We all loved our weekend away; the children still talk about the swimming pool, learning to decorate cupcakes and whizzing down steep hills on their bikes. On the way home we asked our children what they thought of their weekend away and they all said: "can we do it next weekend too..."