Center Parcs Woburn Forest

by - Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I think I've never mentioned that before, but my Hubby works in Center Parcs Woburn Forest :) As an employee he is eligible for a free day pass to visit any of the parks! 

A while ago we made a plan to both have the weekend off and initially we planned to go to the seaside, but then Hubby got a chance for a day pass for the Woburn Forest, so we decided to go.

(Beware - it ended up being a very lengthy post ;))

Unfortunately we woke up to horrible rain. Still, we decided that it would be a shame to miss the opportunity to go, thinking that we might just do the indoor activities if the weather didn't improve. Luckily the weather didn't ruin it for us - there were moments of really heavy rain that we spent indoors, but there were many sunny spells too.

When we arrived, we had a bit of a dilemma - should we get on the bikes or walk around? After all Hubby convinced me it would be easier to get around on tho wheels, so I got on the bike first time in years ;)

The great thing about their bike centre is that they have trailers available for the youngest - Adam travelled like a little prince! (well, he kinda looked after our bags too ;)) It's great for a rainy day - actually getting bikes with the trailer did make getting around much easier.

First Hubby take me for a brief tour around the forest - we cycled around, giving me a chance to have a look at the settings. From the bike centre we made our way down to the lake - rather deserted due to the weather, although there were a few brave people kayaking ;)

As it started raining again, we made our way to The Plaza, where indoor activity centre is located. It's a bit smaller than I would probably expect it to be, but there are quite a few activities available: badminton, wall climbing, table tennis, roller skating, bowling, fitness classes, pottery painting, pool tables and games room, plus Sports Bar and few shops. Unfortunately we weren't able to do any of these - as we came on the employee pass we could only do the activities if there was any slot available, as the paying guests obviously take priority. No wonder it was all fully booked on a day like that!

[outside of The Plaza]

[badminton courts]

[indoor climbing wall]

[pottery painting]

After warming up with large mug of hot chocolate we went for a ride again - obviously Hubby had to go and meet some of his workmates ;) On our way we passed by the tree top adventure - it looked awesome, with lots of people giving it a go despite the rain. This could be so much fun, especially as they have zip wire to end with!

After this brief tour we headed for the Subtropical Swimming Paradise - the only attraction we could use without restrictions, as it is inclusive for all the guests too.

You can see exactly how bad the weather was, just moments later we had this unbelievable downpour!

As we got caught by the rain on the way, we hid in The Store Room - the loveliest shop ever! Honestly, I could spend all my time and money in there!

Once the sun came out we decided to have a short walk around the place before getting in:

And then finally we made it inside the Swimming paradise ;)

It's really designed for families, with buggy park right outside the changing rooms. As for he changing rooms you can choose between a single or a family one - fantastic option, with changing tables inside and enough room for the family to sort everyone out in peace.

Unfortunately we didn't take any pictures - once we were done changing Adam and sorting out the locker, we actually forgot to take the camera from the bag! Then Hubby said he saw some "no photography" notice, but anyway we couldn't really be bothered to go back (for the record: the Center Parcs website states that photography of your own lot is allowed, but no pictures in the changing rooms - maybe that's the one Hubby saw). It's a bit of shame, as it was Adam's first time in the swimming pool, but we'll have other opportunities to go swimming :) 

Just to give an idea, here's the map of the Swimming Paradise in Woburn:

First we thought we'd spend most of our time in the toddler pool, but as Adam is not quite walking yet, it didn't make any sense - it's very shallow, great for a splash for more independent kids. We went off to the Wave Pool, which is 1.5m at the deepest end, making it pretty much the only place suitable for a little bit of swimming. We would have loved to take a ride on their new Tornado or Typhoon (family rides, where you sit on a tube and go into a tunnel), but as we had Adam with us we just took turns at the Twister (bodyslide). We finished off at the Lazy River - proper river experience with a mild current. There were large tubes available to sit on to enjoy going with the flow, but as Adam had his own swimming seat I just held on to him - I tried the tube too, but I found being directly in the water more pleasant.

By the way: as it was Adam's first time in the water deeper than his bathtub, we wanted him to feel secure (and us too), so we got him the swimming seat like this:

I can't recommend this enough! I think it's great for the first time in the swimming pool. It made US feel more secure, knowing that even if we let go of Adam he will just happily float.

It certainly was a long and exciting day - in the end Adam started resting his head on his tube, letting us know he was tired. He should be, as during the day he decided to be too moody to take his nap at the usual time! We got changed, I went to dry my hair and once back in the changing room I found little Mr sleeping in daddy's arms, bless him.

To finish off we went for the lunch to the Pancake House. It's lovely - great service, yummy food, and extremely family friendly. We were sat in really comfy booth, with Adam's highchair provided immediately. He also got the "pancake design" sheet and crayons, which he was dropping on the floor or chewing more than he was actually drawing with them, but he certainly had fun ;)

For slightly bigger kids there is a nice small play area in the corner. For people with younger babies and toddlers they provide a microwave for warming up baby food or milk. There's also a selection of Hipp jars available.

And the food is just awesome! Hubby went savoury with the tuna melt omelette, while I decided on sweet banoffee pancake stack.

So, with everyone fed, tired but happy, we returned our bikes and got on our way home.

To be perfectly honest, I was a bit surprised that The Plaza with indoor activities and the Subtropical Swimming Paradise were a bit smaller than I expected. It was also a shame that we couldn't do any of the indoor activities, but at least we enjoyed the swimming. Hey, what more can you expect when you go somewhere for free ;) Would I go there again? Yes, it was a great day out! Although next time we're planning to go to one of the other Center Parcs villages. Would I go as a paying guest? Well, it does get quite expensive when you add all the extra activities on top of the accommodation price. We would have an employee discount though, so we might give it a go one weekend ;) (I think a weekend is just enough).

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  1. Looks like a good day out even in wet weather. There's a Center Parcs near us but I've never been.

  2. I've never been to Centre Parks but there seems to be plenty to do to keep you busy especially if the weather isn't so good.

  3. Looks like you had a great time, never been personally, though we don't have kids.

  4. We visited Center Parcs for the first time this year and had a blast. My boys are older and they loved the pool at Whinfell.

  5. I have never been to Centre Parcs but would love to go. My nearest is Longleat. Thanks for the review, it's made me want to go more now.

  6. I am so glad you had fun, it looks fab, we would love to go. I get a real sense of it from your fab photos x

  7. Fantastic post - (you could have made 3 or 4 from this it's so thorough!) Perfect timing for us as we are considering visiting next year and were going to book! Thank you :)

  8. Oooooh great post!! I am going here in November with 5 friends for a girly weekend! Looks amazing and we can't wait! xx

  9. Wow what a day out! I've never been to a center parcs but it's somewhere I'd like to take my family in the future

  10. I've been to CP a few times as a child and remember my time spent there rather fondly, in fact, apart from a bit of wet weather ourselves, I don't think I could of found a fault of my time spent there. I've sadly not had the funds to take my own son on a CP holiday, but I hope one day to change this especially with the new village you visited!

    Thank you for such a detailed post, I had to scroll past that pancake post as quickly as I could, but I ended up scrolling back up to it anyway, just to make sure it was pancakes I suppose! I only wish I had pancakes, or pancake ingredients in my home right now ready to be eaten for breakfast! xx

  11. I have never been to one. Good that you can go because your husband works there. Shame about the rain. It does seem very family orientated - and for a variety of ages.

  12. I have always wanted to visit centre parks as there is so much to do for all ages (and I want to sneak off to the spa)

  13. Pleased you didn't let the rain prevent you from enjoying yourself. I have to say that shop, the store room has some beautiful bits in it! x

  14. We love centerpacs but have only been to the Longleat one. This looks great, especially the swimming pool. Makes me want to plan another visit!!

  15. Looks like a lovely, family friendly resort. Glad the rain didn't stop the fun!

  16. how great that you get to enjoy them all on a day pass! I love love Center Parcs! x

  17. Looks gorgeous. We're going later in the year so it's lovely to see what it looks like.

  18. Sounds as though you had a great time despite the rainy weather - lovely review


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