Home » A Post Christmas Trip To Center Parcs Whinfell Forest With Tweens

A Post Christmas Trip To Center Parcs Whinfell Forest With Tweens

Last weekend we spent a blissful weekend with friends at Center Parcs, Whinfell Forest. This was our 17th trip as a family. Our first being when Joe was only 12 weeks old.

Last year was the first year we had not visited Center Parcs for 11 years and we missed it. So this year we were thrilled to be visiting for a post-Christmas treat.

This was a bit of a different trip for us as Jack stayed at home due to a football match and college. However Joe was more that happy to fill Jacks shoes with his best friend Fin and his family, very good friends of ours, who we having been visiting Center Parcs with for many years.

I have always been an advocate for finding new places to travel to and explore. However I feel that our Center Parcs trips have evolved and changed with our family, growing with us as the boys have grown. Thus making that time very precious to us. Long gone are the Winter Wonderland trips, the excitement of seeing Santa, his reindeer, pony rides and elves the weekend before Christmas. That pre-Christmas wind down and magic that we had looked forward to for 11 years.

I have such wonderful memories of the boys negotiating the forest on their tiny little bikes, meeting Santa, heavy snow that very first time Jack and I did tree trekking, Joe measuring himself every year willing himself to be tall enough. And the thrill and pure joy the very first time he was tall enough to take part. Center Parcs has become part of the fabric of our family and friends.

The Sports Plaza At Center Parcs Whinfell Forrest www.extraordinarychaos.com

Woodland Floor at Center Parcs www.extraordinarychoas.com

Bike hire at Center Parcs www.extraordianrychaos.com

We have swapped pre-Christmas to post-Christmas, which gives us something to look forwards to in January and offers such great value for money.

A new phase has started for our family. It is time to enjoy Center Parcs in a new and different way.

Our trips have changed as the boys have grown, their interests are different, and they have also outgrown many of the activities they loved as tots. They have grown into bigger, sportier activities, I have to say like everything in life, visiting Center Parcs with older children is so much easier. Making it the perfect choice for a yearly trip as there is always something to engage us all. But also allows us to enjoy much-needed chill time that teens and tweens crave.

And meal times have become more relaxed, we can enjoy 3 courses over a couple of bottles of wine in Cafe Rouge as we chat the evening away. No rushing back with tired tots, or fitting in early sittings so they can get to bed.

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Food in the Sports Cafe at Whinfell Forest www.extrordinarychaos.com

Cafe Rouge At Center Parks Whinfell Forest www.extraordinarychaos.com

Signs of investment at Center Parcs Whinfell Forest www.extraordinarychaos.com

Teenagers and Segway at Centerparcs Whinfell Forrest ww.extraordinarychaos.com

One thing I really noticed on this trip was the clear sign of investment.

I am sure this is a constant thing when you have thousands of people flocking through the gates on a weekly basis. However I noticed things were looking a little tired on our last trip nearly 2 years ago. Nothing major, just little things but the vibe is so different now. You can see signs of improvement all over the park, from the pool area to the restaurants. Center Parcs looks like it has a new lease of life with improvements in the restaurants, such as funky new booths, personalised TV booths in the sports cafe and the tiles and slides being renovated in the pool.

Family Time At Center Parcs www.extraordinarychaos.com

Lake at Center Parks Whinfell Forest www.extraordinarychaos.com

Gift shop at Center Parcs Whinfell Forest www.extraordinarychaos.com

Outside the gift shop in the village center at Whinfell Forest www.extraordinarychaos.com

Post Box at Center Parcs Whinfell Forest www.extraordinarychaos.com

Spa at Center Parcs Whinfell Forest www.extraordinarychoas.com

Center Parcs with tweens is an altogether more chilled experience.

The lazy mornings snuggled by the fire catching up with the news and a cup of coffee as the boys enjoyed a lie-inn. Their favourite pastime at the moment! Lazy breakfasts, long bike rides and family walks finished off with a gingerbread latte in Starbucks.

But when they are up and ready for action there is plenty to keep them occupied. We packed so much in during our trip and tried out so many new activities. I can’t wait to share them all.

Another of the bonuses of having older children is that the boys were happy to head off to the sports plaza for an afternoon of lads and dads activity, whilst us mums hit the spa for lunch and a massage and a couple of hours of relaxation. That never happened with toddlers, there was never time. So yes our Center Parcs experience has totally changed, I would say for the better. But we also have our wonderful memories from years of our magical trips.

Now roll on next year, we booked next years trip the day we arrived home. Here’s to new and exciting adventures and spa afternoons. Safe in the knowledge that Center Parcs only ever gets better.

If you would like to see some of our adventures check out my Center Parcs stories collection over on my  instagram page.

Village by night at Center Parks www.extraordinarychaos.com

Whinfell Forest village center by night www.extrordinarychaos.com


Author of Extraordinary Chaos a family lifestyle and travel blog from a 40+ mum of teenage boys, sharing our family travels, recipes, reviews and country living. Also the co editor of Cruising With Kids Family Cruise Blog

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  1. 5th February 2018 / 9:57 pm

    Ah I love that it has grown with the kids (bit sad about the thought that my eldest may opt to stay at home soon though!). I haven’t been to Center Parcs for ages, and that spa is the best I’ve ever visited, without a doubt. You’ve got me wanting to book again soon!

    • SarahJChristie
      15th February 2018 / 9:11 pm

      WE always have such a great time Helen, we missed Jack but we still had an amazing time xx

  2. 6th February 2018 / 8:00 am

    17th trip!!! Wow! We’ve never been to whinfell but have been to longmead cp a couple of times and loved it. X

    • SarahJChristie
      15th February 2018 / 9:12 pm

      Whinfell is different as it used to be Oasis but I really love the whole layout there x

  3. 6th February 2018 / 11:17 am

    Nodding along to SO much of this post Sarah, though we have only done 14 trips !!! Katie was 6 months old when we first discovered CP, and then we returned another 2 times in the space of 6 months. We were hooked of course. Sounds like you had a really chilled time, and hurrah for getting some girlie time in the spa. We too always used to go to Winter Wonderland, even visiting one Christmas, but the last 3 times we have also gone in January. CP rocks whatever age you are x

    • SarahJChristie
      15th February 2018 / 9:18 pm

      You are so right it is great whenever, the spa was amazing Ruth my friend and I have decided this has to be a tradition moving forwards x

  4. 7th February 2018 / 1:05 pm

    I love the idea of the park meeting your needs as the family grew and evolved. And that they’re constantly improving and updating the place, which is reassuring. I still haven’t been to Center Parcs, though. I really must change that!

    • SarahJChristie
      15th February 2018 / 9:20 pm

      Nell its so perfect for a chilled out week in the forest with home comforts and the atmosphere there is so great we love it x

  5. 8th February 2018 / 7:32 pm

    It sounds like Centre Parcs has a dear place in your heart & your families – lovely to read this.

    • SarahJChristie
      15th February 2018 / 9:21 pm

      Ah thanks Jade you know what? It really has I just love it so much we all do x

  6. 19th February 2018 / 2:30 pm

    Lovely to revisit this as part of #MondayEscapes. A bit of woodland cosiness would be good on a grey winters day like today!

    • SarahJChristie
      19th February 2018 / 9:26 pm

      Oh it totally would I would have loved being there today x

  7. 19th February 2018 / 4:43 pm

    This looks like such a lovely place to visit! A lazy morning by the fire with coffee is pretty much the ideal for me! 🙂 #mondayescapes

    • SarahJChristie
      19th February 2018 / 9:32 pm

      It is so lovely and its just wonderful getting that time to chill with no distractions, just family time x

  8. 19th February 2018 / 6:23 pm

    I was really looking forward to reading this post after seeing you’d been to Center Parcs . We’ve never been to one and hearing that you go back year after year grabbed my attention. It certainly sounds like you’ve had some great times there. I’m loving that you’re finding new ways to enjoy it every time. Especially the relaxing bit!!

    • SarahJChristie
      19th February 2018 / 9:40 pm

      Ah Claire you would love it, and you know how I like new places yet week keep going back year after year, its a great place to go with friends and family and enjoy a little chill time x

    • SarahJChristie
      19th February 2018 / 9:49 pm

      Its such a great place to chill. WE love our yearly trips, sometimes twice yearly, we always go with friends and just love it x

  9. 22nd February 2018 / 10:41 am

    I think a post Christmas break is perfect for extending the festive season festivities. We were away the week of NY and it was so lovely to prolong the return to work and normality! Great to hear about the investment at Center Parcs. I do love their pool and lazy river, I don’t think you can beat Center Parcs for a convenient, stress free and fun family break.

    • SarahJChristie
      24th February 2018 / 8:45 pm

      We love the pool Lisa and its such an amazing place to spend post New Year x

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