We booked a week long break in a four bedroom Executive Lodge at Center Parcs Whinfell Forest (Cumbria, UK) for my parent’s 50th Wedding Anniversary in August… we were a party of 8, ranging in age from 9-76! The summer had been beautiful so far so we were hoping for more of the same for our week away, but unfortunately it was not to be! Thankfully there are plenty of activities to keep everyone occupied at Center Parcs even if the weather is bad…
The check-in at Whinfell Forest was fast and efficient and we were in our lodge in no time… it was spacious, clean and tidy and had everything we needed (including a sauna, which was a bonus!). We chose our rooms – all of which had lovely views into the forest – and unpacked, before returning the car to the car park and heading out to explore… and Whinfell Forest is a lovely site to wander around, watching the wildlife and enjoying the beautiful scenery.
Center Parcs Whinfell Forest is a spacious resort and even though there were clearly lots of people on-site it never felt crowded. The lake around which the site is set offers lots of watersports, including tuition, and the massive pool complex is great fun, with slides, jacuzzis and even cabañas for hire! There are also plenty of places to eat and drink and the takeaway service is a great option if you don’t fancy going out (or if everyone fancies eating something different which we often did!).
We had already booked some activities before we arrived – largely the ones we really wanted to do (tree trekking, kayaking, pottery painting, etc), as we knew it would be busy in the middle of the school holidays. But, actually, we managed to book a number of other things when we were there without too much trouble, which was great as the weather meant we did more activities than we might have done if it had been warm and sunny!
Having been to Center Parcs before, we knew how pricey things were on site so had taken a fair amount of food/drink with us. But we still planned to eat out at least once a day and during the week managed to check out The Pancake House (yummy pancakes and waffles), Cafe Rouge (French-style food), Starbucks, The Lakeside Inn (typical pub food) and the Sports Bar (bar snacks and meals). We enjoyed the food and drink everywhere we went but overall I think the meal at cafe Rouge was our favourite meal of the week, even though the service there was pretty slow! And if you have any special dietary requirements or allergies, Center Parcs has options available, all of which are clearly marked and, in some places, we were even given a separate menu!
One of the reasons we love Center Parcs so much is that, because the accommodation is all spread out throughout the forest, you can sit and watch the wildlife from the comfort of your sofa… we sat watching red squirrels, deer, pheasants, nuthatches, tree creepers, coal tits as well as many other birds right outside our lodge!
There was plenty to keep us all entertained for a week at Whinfell Forest, although I don’t think I would want to stay any longer than that… The only downside was that the weather was pretty poor all week – grey and wet – but in the UK that’s a chance you take, even in summer!!
The only other unfortunate thing about the trip (aside from the weather) was that my Mum had a fall on the first day and injured her foot and leg. The staff both in the swimming complex and at the medical centre were fantastic and couldn’t do enough to help… they even gave my parents a gift of a bottle of prosecco and two glasses when they found out it was their anniversary. In fact, all the staff we came into contact with during our break were so helpful. The fantastic staff are definitely one of the other things that I love about Center Parcs – in all my visits I have never encountered a member of staff who didn’t provide great customer service!
So, all too soon it was Monday again and our break was over… so we packed up our cars and headed home, having made some great memories.
Look out for my next post all about the activities we did at Center Parcs Whinfell Forest, coming soon….