Center Parcs - Our family holiday at Whinfell Forest

Sadly, last year my Uncle Gordon passed away after suffering from cancer. Unfortunately, he and his wife were due to fly out on holiday with my parents for a holiday which had been planned many months previously. This year, my Aunt Catherine organized to take the whole family on holiday to Center Parcs in Whinfell Forest, Cumbria as it was his wish for everyone to be reunited and have fun as a family. So, on 24th August this year, we all met up and had one of the best holidays ever. The group consisted of my Aunt Catherine, my Mum, Dad, David (my brother), my partner Chris, daughter Lyndsey and myself.

The seven of us arrived at Whinfell Forest and this is a review of our holiday:

Center Parcs Accommodation

Our wooden lodge was in the middle of the forest, surrounded by woodland. There were 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and a large open plan living space incorporating a lounge, dining room and kitchen. The views from the patio doors were amazing and outside was a built in barbeque, garden table and chairs.

Chris and Lyndsey outside our woodland lodge.
Chris and Lyndsey outside our woodland lodge.
The view from our lodge.
The view from our lodge.
Mum, Dad and Aunt Catherine chilling in the garden.
Mum, Dad and Aunt Catherine chilling in the garden.

Wildlife

During our one week stay, we had many visitors to the lodge including ducks from a nearby pond, pheasants, robins, red squirrels, moorhens, foxes, hedgehogs, rabbits, toads and a glimpse of a badger. It was truly amazing to watch the abundance of wildlife on our doorstep. The pheasants were even eating out of my brothers hand at one stage.

A cheeky red squirrel eating nuts from the table.
A cheeky red squirrel eating nuts from the table.
The rabbits were regular visitors.
The rabbits were regular visitors.
Rare toadstools growing wild.
Rare toadstools growing wild.
A female pheasant pecking at the bird food we put out.
A female pheasant pecking at the bird food we put out.
The colourful male pheasant.
The colourful male pheasant.

Outdoor pursuits and activities

There were so many things to do in Whinfell Forest, we didn't try them all out but this was just some of the activities on offer:

canoeing, wind surfing, football, tennis courts, cycling, bowling, abseiling, climbing, woodland walks, adventure/assault courses, outdoor swimming, horse riding, archery, mini golf, quad bikes, paintball, tree trekking, zip wire. There were also guided walks by the forest rangers, wildlife photography courses, bird box building workshops and falconry displays. There was a large hire centre where you could hire everything from skateboards and bikes to mobility scooters.

Throughout the forest there are many playgrounds and toddler play areas for the smaller children.

Indoor activities

One of the best indoor activities was the sub tropical swimming pool with its palm trees, water slides and realistic wave machine which actually made you feel like you were swimming in the sea.

There were many activities to choose from indoors if the British weather is not at its best. We only had two days where it rained or was cold, and this gave us all a chance to explore the rest of the holiday village. Again, they had thought of everything and catered for everyone. Here are some of the pursuits on offer:

  • pottery studio where you can paint your own pottery.
  • ten pin bowling
  • amusement arcade
  • fitness suite
  • health spa
  • indoor football, tennis, skateboarding, rollerskating, cycling, table tennis, squash, tennis, netball, volleyball, climbing.
  • jewellery making
  • fashion makeovers
  • cheerleading
  • craft classes
  • photography lessons


Lyndsey's little assortment of hand painted pottery. Guess what her favourite activity was?
Lyndsey's little assortment of hand painted pottery. Guess what her favourite activity was?
Lyndsey learned to roller skate.
Lyndsey learned to roller skate.
Chris and Lyndsey enjoying a game of pool.
Chris and Lyndsey enjoying a game of pool.
My brother David in the bar watching footie.
My brother David in the bar watching footie.

Eating out

Although the lodge had a fully equipped kitchen and outdoor barbeque, we preferred to eat out most of the time. There is a large selection of bars, cafes, restaurants, steak house, burger bar and two Starbuck's eateries. There was a sports cafe which showed live sporting events including football which suited my dad, brother and partner!

My dad eagerly awaiting the live football.
My dad eagerly awaiting the live football.

Shopping

Inside the village, there are many shops for that all important retail therapy. Again there is something for everyone, including a supermarket, gift shop, toy shop, hairdresser, candy store, and spa shop.

There are craft tables for the kids, face painting, temporary body art, and hair braiding throughout the mall.

A view of the village from across the lake.
A view of the village from across the lake.

I would certainly recommend Center Parcs for a fun-filled family holiday with something to do for everyone. I am already looking forward to planning a return visit next year.

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Comments 8 comments

Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

Wow, it sounds like there was so much to offer in what I imagine is not a very large area. It is great that you found this place; if it wasn't so far, I'd consider taking my family there. Voted up and useful.


jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 5 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom Author

Hi Phil, thanks for your comment and the vote up. It was a fantastic place. It is on the edge of the Lake District and is set in approx 400 acres of woodland. I can't wait to go back.


Melovy profile image

Melovy 5 years ago from UK

I’ve often heard of Centre Parcs and wondered about going so it’s interesting to read your hub and find out more. This sounds like it would suit my family well, and might be a great break. Interesting.


jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 5 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom Author

@ Melovy - It's a fantastic place and I'm sure your family would love it with the wide variety of activities on offer. I just loved waking up every morning and seeing all the wildlife. It certainly is worth considering. Thanks for your comment.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Hello Jacqui, it sounds like a wonderful family holiday, it looks as though you are all having a great time in the photos and how lovely to see so much wildlife.

I hope I might get there one day.

thanks for sharing.


CASE1WORKER profile image

CASE1WORKER 5 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

Nice hub, voted up, we are going to Sherwood Forest just after christmas- not far to travel! We have been to centre parcs in France, Germany and Holland and have enjoyed every holiday there. The swimming pools are always great and the accommodation is always of a reasonable standard with varying levels of comfort and price. Yes, I can recommend it too and looking forward to January


jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 5 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom Author

@ Movie Master - Thanks so much for your comment. We really did have a fabulous time, and looking forward to going back next year. It doesn't matter what the weather is doing because of the huge choice of indoor activities.

@ Case1worker - Gosh, I didn't realise that there was a Center Parcs in Germany. We went to Whinfell as it meant it was less travelling for the rest of my family in Scotland. January is a lovely time of year to go, and it would be so cozy to burn logs on the fire. Center Parcs are opening at a new site in Bedford in 2013. I hope you have a fantastic holiday in January - what a great start to the New Year.


howtomodify profile image

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