I briefly touched on this in my previous update, but there are so many things worth talking about that it deserved a separate post.
People would always say great things about Center Parcs, how it is such a relaxing place and that there are so many fun activities to try out. I have wanted to go for a while, but I have always been the kind of person who would prefer to go abroad rather than stay in the UK. This year, however, my boyfriend and I decided to give it a try, as the later in the year it got, the cost to holiday abroad was becoming more expensive. Saying that, Center Parcs isn’t the cheapest place to spend a break but considering what you are paying for and the amount of things you can do, it is worth the money.
We booked a few months in advance to go to Elveden Forest, which is located in Sussex, and it isn’t too far a journey from London. We chose to go only for 4 nights as opposed to a full 7 days, but it was the perfect mini break away. We stayed in a Two Bedroom Executive Lodge even though it was just for the two of us, but we wanted to ensure we had lots of space to prevent feeling cramped. Our lodge had en-suite bedrooms, one was equipped with a shower and the other with a bath, along with a decently sized living area, kitchen facilities which included a dishwasher which was super handy and a cute, little garden area with a table and chairs.
The great thing about these lodges are that they are so central to the wildlife, and every morning we would have ducks, squirrels and even deer come onto our patio which was just incredible to see. I know you can easily go down to your local park if you wanted to see some ducklings, but there was something so calming and comforting about having them right at your door. The animals weren’t scared of you either, and I’m sure if we had just opened our patio doors they would have come wandering inside.
The main reason we chose to go to Center Parcs, instead of just spending a few days in a B&B, was the endless activities they had on offer. There was so much you could do whether that be swimming and going on the rapids, or going completely out of your comfort zone with quad-biking! I tried so many different things that I wouldn’t be able to do at home in London, and I loved every second of it.
One of my favourite activities has to be the Aerial Adventure, which consisted of climbing through the trees on an obstacle course with an amazing zip wire over the lake at the end of it. I was absolutely terrified because you were quite high up and you felt every single movement, but it was an incredible experience and I’m so chuffed with myself that I was able to complete it!
Another one of my favourites was the Field Archery and the instructor (Dan) who was helping us made it a great experience too! You were given a bow to shoot arrows at targets, and you were in competition with other participants. I found it to be a very relaxing and enjoyable experience, with it feeling less like a competition and more like casual fun.
On the other hand, if you wanted an activity that you could do at your own pace, you may prefer something like Table Tennis or Badminton. These types of activities were a great time filler between more of the intense sports, or even if you wanted to end your day with something more chilled out. There were so many different activities to suit everybody, and I think that’s what makes Center Parcs such a popular holiday choice.
We have already booked to go again next year, but this time with two of our best friends. I am super excited for our next visit because, as there are more of us going, we were able to book a Three Bedroom Lodge with a hot tub and sauna as it worked out to be a reasonable cost. It’s not so much the accommodation that costs a lot, its having to book and pay for the activities to coincide with your trip as these aren’t included (apart from the Subtropical Swimming Paradise). It’s definitely worth the money though and you can book your activities from 6 months in advance which means you can easily plan your stay and you haven’t got to worry too much about booking things when you arrive.
Moving onto my absolute favourite thing about my whole trip: cycling. Before going on this holiday I had never really been cycling before, as I wasn’t very confident at riding a bike. As the forest is so huge, it would take way too long to get around everywhere by foot, which means cycling is the only way forward. We hired bikes prior to arriving and I am so glad we did because it has quickly become one of my favourite things to do. We cycled everywhere, and whenever we had a spare moment we would always be on our bikes. I’m gutted that I haven’t got one of my own at home, but I am planning on buying one soon with my boyfriend as it’s going to soon become one of our favourite hobbies.
Just being in such a beautiful location, surrounded by nature and picturesque environments, was so relaxing for us both and we have taken a lot of positivity from this trip that has stayed with us even weeks later. I cannot wait to return next year and experience it all again with some of my best friends, and if it’s anything like this trip, it’s going to be one to remember.