We are Center Parcs Family bloggers and have just returned from the most amazing break at Whinfell forest in Cumbria. It was everything we expected it to be and more. Center Parcs provided us with a complimentary short break in a new style woodland lodge, a grocery pack on arrival, a meal at the restaurant of our choice, an activity of our choice, complimentary bike hire for the duration of our stay and a separate spa break for two. How amazing is that! Center Parcs set monthly challenges for bloggers to enter where you can win the chance to be a wildcard blogger yourself. Visit the Center Parcs family bloggers club page to keep up to date with details of their monthly challenges and for all the information you need on how to win your very own break for your family.
We absolutely loved our accommodation. It fit the needs of our family and more perfectly. We were very excited when we first entered our lodge and made a video tour to show you around.
Isn't the lodge wonderful! It really had everything we needed and had hints of luxury (super comfortable beds made up for arrival, dishwasher, wine cooler, cafetiere....) to make your stay extra special.
Here are our top tips for staying in a New Style Woodland lodge:-
*No need to worry about carrying keys around - your wristband will open and lock your door. You are given 3 wristbands on arrival and extra bands can be purchased from guest services for £2.
*There is enough tea, coffee, washing up liquid and dishwasher tablets in your kitchen to last you your first day or so. You can pre-order a grocery pack which will be waiting for you in lodge and contains all the essentials you need (such as bread and milk), locally sourced breakfast essentials, drinks, snacks and more,
*The lodges feature a fantastic BBQ area below the decking. Make sure you pack a few disposable BBQ's as they are so much easier to light and clean away.
*The lodge's bathrooms are stocked with plenty of fluffy white towels and enough shower gel, soap and shampoo to last your stay so that's a few less things to pack!
*There is a corner sofa around a flatscreen TV. We took some of our own DVD's and enjoyed a family DVD night one night. You can order takeaways and even cold beers direct to your lodge (leaflet and ordering details in welcome pack)
*The best time to spot wildlife for us was mid-morning. We managed to spot three red squirrels, a pheasant, a bunny and a woodpecker outside our lodge. If you aren't having much luck then head to the ranger's lodge and animal feeding stations - there is a notice board for guests to write what animals they have spotted, where and when that may help you. The ranger informed us if we stopped by the lodge at about 9:30pm (which was a bit late for us) then there was a high chance we would spot some baby owls.
*There is an in-room safe to lock your valuables, always make sure you lock your patio doors and windows when you leave your accommodation.
Our lodge at Whinfell really helped to make our stay special. We also thoroughly enjoyed some of the activities on offer. They were the perfect opportunity to spend some proper time together and learn a thing or two as well. Highlights of our stay included:-
*A baby owl experience where we had the chance to hold, stroke, meet and learn all about some charismatic baby owls.
*A fantastic meal at Hucks American diner. Our children chose to dine from the 'All you can eat kids buffet' and could dig in straight away while the grown ups enjoyed a cocktail and contemplated the menu. We decided on sirloin steak and fajitas and both were well cooked and plentiful - the service really stood out and was discreetly attentive - perfect!
*Our children loved the huge adventure playground
*We enjoyed a morning in the subtropical swimming paradise where we hired our own private poolside cabana complete with fantastic views, flat screen tv, magazines, comfortable loungers, a stocked and chilled drinks cabinet, inflatables for the children to take into the pool, our own safe and an in-cabana dining option. Hiring a cabana really was the height of luxury (we loved having our own private staircase).
*On our last day we booked our children into the woodland warrier adventure in Time Out Club. This was a 3 hour fully supervised session (£22 per child) for 3-7 year olds. I was pleased that all three of my children would be together so it is ideal for siblings and I was reassured by staff and felt confident enough to leave my children in their capable hands. While they enjoyed making head dresses, mini archery, making outdoor art, learning woodland warrier songs, eating party food and making a wooden pendant we enjoyed some much needed chill out time. This would be the perfect opportunity for mum and dad to escape to the Aqua Sana Spa (full review of spa here - you will not be disappointed). When we picked our children up at the end of their session they were full of energy and stories and had really enjoyed themselves. In fact they said it was the best part of Center Parcs!
As you can gather, we absolutely loved our short break and would like to thank the lovely people at Center Parcs for their hospitality and all of their help. I believe that actions speak louder than words, so please take a look at this video which really sums up our break.