Sunday, 15 January 2017

Honeymoon at Center Parcs Sherwood forest

Living in the East Midlands means we are reasonably close to Center Parcs at Sherwood forest and have been a few times about 6 - 7 years ago when my husband and I first got together, but have not been for a long time and we did really enjoy it. Being December we wanted to be sure we would be in easy travelling distance if the bad weather did come our way. We like to be at home for Christmas and decided a short 3 night break between Christmas and new year would suit us perfectly and be a nice little break away.


The entrance to Center Parcs is easy to find with a big sign and check in is made easy through a series of drive through style window which you can pull up to to check in and collect your map and keys. This makes the process really easy and run smoothly, as well as making finding your way in really easy. You can arrive from 10am and explore the facilities and use them as you wish with you being able to go into the accommodation at 3pm. It is nice being able to arrive earlier even though you cannot have the accommodation straight away as you can still go for a walk around and familiarise yourself with the surroundings and the places you might want to eat or explore while you are away.

The accommodation we stayed in was the 1 bedroom executive studio style accommodation. it has an open plan feel with a kitchen and dining area in the open space with the sofa and TV. Big patio doors span the back of the villa leading onto a patio with a brick BBQ stand and table with two chairs. The bedroom has a wall that covers the majority but a doorway sized opening is left open without a door to give it an open plan feel but still give you an element of privacy that you are used to. The accommodation has an open fire, you can only use the logs you can buy from the shop in the park but they are reasonably priced and ensures the safety of the logs you are burning as well as making sure the villas are still safe while having the open fires. The fire has a mesh screen and doesn't give off any smoke into the villa, we didn't get a lot of heat thrown out from the fire but the central heating kept us warm with the radiators and the fire provided the cosy glow we cannot have at home.

The villas look out into the forest they are surrounded by and the wildlife come right outside and even right up to the glass doors if they are shut, they are wary of humans but overall aren't too scared of you if you are outside. You may have seen my little clip of the mole hill on Instagram (@entirelysarah) I sat by the mole hill for quite a while and a curious squirrel kept coming over to look at me from a distance but kept its guard up, seeming not too bothered I was there, but aware of my presence. The wildlife is so lovely to watch while you have breakfast or if yours just back at the villa for a few hours in the afternoon. The same wildlife was all around the woodland park and was lovely to be surrounded by so much wildlife that I don't get to see in the village I live in, so it meant I got so much use out of my camera while we are away. 

The woodlands are beautiful, there is a lake as you can see above, and lots of woodland paths to go down. Here is the sunset over the lake with the sanded area to mimic the beach in the foreground of the picture the building on the right hand side is called the Pancake house and serves amazing sweet an savoury pancakes and waffles as you will see below. 

The food at Centre Parcs was amazing, we ate at the Pancake house, Dexters kitchen, Dining in, the swimming pool cafe area and we used the Starbucks in the complex as well. Our favourite place to eat was the Pancake house, the pancake above was the small chocolate pancake that my husband ordered and he thought it was amazing, it would be too sickly for me but he is a chocolate lover. My choice was the caramel crunch waffle which is pictured below and that was equally as amazing tasting. Dexters kitchen and the pool side eating area in the subtropical swimming pool are the same menus as far as we could tell, Think fast food chain, but more restaurant. My husband had burger from there which he said was really nice, and I had the chicken strips and chips as well as trying the pizza slices on another occasion. All the food was lovely and as we expected, as well as really good sized portions for the money. 

Dining in is the onsite take away, you can either collect it when its cooked or you can have it delivered for a small fee to your villa, either ordering by phone or in the takeaway. We ate here on two of the nights and had the Chinese options off the menu. but it did have pizza and Indian choices on there too. The food was lovely and we really enjoyed being able to have the take away which we ate in front of the TV watching a film with the fire lit in the corner of the room. The Starbucks on the complex is a little elevated in price but not extortionate and we did enjoy a couple of drinks in there, one in particular when we had been watching the fireworks over the lake and wanted to have a warm while we looked back through the photos. The food we had while we was away was all lovely and we would go back to any of them when we stay at Centre Parcs in the future. 
We spent a lot of time in the swimming pool while we were away, the weather was definitely hat, scarf and gloves weather but the subtropical swimming pool is heated both indoor and out and is a lovely place to be. Inside you have a main pool which has a really shallow end for babies and a deeper end for normal swimming, it also has a wave machine that goes off every so often adding to the fun. there are water slides inside some for just children and some adults can use too. There is one particular one where you go down a long tube on a inflatable raft which we really enjoyed going on. It also takes a picture at the bottom as you come out which we did get because it was a nice picture, but I wont be sharing a photo of me in a bikini! The outdoor pool is heated and feels a lot warmer than the indoor pool. being outside in the pool in a bikini was warmer than being full dressed and wrapped up warm outside. The water rapids are so much fun, we hurled ourselves down them sliding down front first to begin with, then some are feet first only. The fast moving water pulls your down the rapids at a quick pace and is fun to experience as you splash into the different pools along the way. I am not a strong swimmer, in fact, I would class myself in the group of people who can barely swim and I think they are great, definitely a highlight of the park. 

While we were away we didn't end up booking any extra activities while we were away but one thing we did do was go to see the fire work show that was on one evening. I did some googling and managed to change a few settings on my camera to get a better set up for firework photos and managed to get some really nice pictures, as you can see in these couple I have took. The atmosphere around the site was lovely with the hints of Christmas still present and new year looming it was really heartwarming to be around. Every staff member we encountered was kind, helpful and friendly and willing to help as much as they could. We had guest services come out to a small leak we noticed on a pipe and they came quickly, without fuss and were really friendly. They didn't feel intrusive being in the villa while we were in and were all pleasant and kind. 

I absolutely loved my stay at Center Parcs, it is a perfect holiday destination for a woodland break and even in the freezing cold depth of December the wildlife and they beautiful scenery was absolutely perfect. We cannot wait to return and holiday there again, and I am still working out holiday dates that we can put in between us at work to see if we can fit another trip in this year and when we might be able to do so. 

Have you ever been to a Center parcs location, how did you find it? 


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