I’ve been on many weekend trips and day trips to our local Center Parcs (Elvedon, Thetford Forrest) so I thought I would share with you some of my favourite things to do and a few pictures from our recent family trip. Admittedly I didn’t take many pictures (I know, I’m a bad blogger) as the lighting wasn’t always great but I will share with you as much as I can.
You’re able to check into your villa from 3pm but you can check in earlier and still have access to the swimming facilities. This year we went slightly later so we checked in nearly dead on 3, unloaded the car and ventured out to the swimming pool. The pool itself is called ‘The Subtropical Swimming Paradise’ and has an array of different slides to keep all of the adults and children entertained. One of my favourite attractions is the rapids, which is an outside rapid slide that lasts about 3 minutes; you don’t sit on a rubber hoop instead you get chucked around in the water and always come out with bruises. Another great slide is the ‘Cyclone’ which is a big slide that you ride on a raft with up to 4 people and enter a sheer drop with disco lights and music pumping throughout. If you’re not into crazy, fun slides you can always take a relax in the pool itself or in hot tubs/whirlpools that are dotted around the area.
After a couple of hours riding the slides we ventured back to our little villa and had some pizza. In our villa we had two en suite bathrooms, one with a shower and the second with a jacuzzi bath! Being a huge lover of baths I knew I had to get in and give it a go. I used the ‘Star Light Star Bright’ oil melt from Lush and filled the tub to the top. I’ve never used an oil melt before and it was absolutely amazing. The smell was fantastic, the colours exploded into the water and although the glitter went everywhere it was great fun. However, to my disappointment the bath was more relaxing without the jacuzzi bubbles on…but it was nice to relax in nonetheless.
I had the most fantastic sleep ever and woke slowly on the Saturday to a fried breakfast cooked wonderfully by my mum. I then got dressed and sat on the sofa watching the wildlife and Riverdale. We were very lucky to be placed near the Bay Lake so we had a great view and lots of lovely animals coming to our door such as deers, ducks and geese.
We then went out for a walk which I would always recommend in Center Parcs as its great to see other parts of the village that isn’t where your villa is situated and visited the lovely little shops in the village square. After a quick hot drink in Starbucks (hot chocolate of course) we then played Badminton for 45 minutes! There are a lot of activities you can do but they’re always quite expensive, especially if the whole family wants to take part. We love to do Badminton as we can all play together and its cost effective! We then went swimming and ventured back home for some dinner, games and an early night (it’s crazy how tired relaxing makes you feel).
The Sunday was the day I was most looking forward to because we were going into the Aqua Sana spa! I have visited the spa many times now as part of a trip or just as day packages and it is always as enjoyable as the last trip and never becomes boring. Recently I’ve needed to unwind so I had the best time relaxing. The spa itself is an array of steam rooms with different smells that cater for a range of needs. You waltz from room to room in your dressing gown and swimsuit or can take a quick nap on the water beds. There’s also a restaurant which serves light and healthy lunch options to coincide with your detoxifying day. I had a chicken flatbread and of course the most obnoxious hot chocolate money can buy.
We only paid for 3 hours in the spa this time and I honestly felt like it wasn’t enough time as there is a lot of rooms to experience. I would most definitely recommend booking a full day or at least a half day so you can get the full experience and relax to the biggest extent you possibly can. After another wander round to the shops and a visit to the sweet shop, we went back to the villa and started to relax for the evening.
One great thing about having your own personal log cabin in the woods is that they all come equipped with a fire which you can burn logs on! The logs themselves are quite expensive if you buy them on property but we bought them from Home Bargains for nearly 1/3 of the price, so its definitely worth shopping around before you arrive.
It was our day to leave the villa and I can’t believe how quickly it flew by! You have to check out of your villa by 10am, but like checking in you can continue to use the swimming pool and facilities etc before you leave that day.
I love Center Parcs and sometimes a quick trip away is what you need without all of the hassle of travelling and the airport. Although it was cold (at some points it even snowed) if you come prepared and have enough layers wrapping up to go out into the cold can be fun. I had a great family trip with my parents and my brother and will definitely miss opportunities like this whilst I am living in the States. I’ll link the Center Parcs website here if you’d like to book a trip away – I know I hope to go back soon!