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 hadn’t visited Center Parcs for 11 years and we missed it. So this year we were thrilled to be visiting for a post-Christmas treat.
Family Trips To Center Parcs Have Changed
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.
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.
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.
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.
20 thoughts on “A Post Christmas Trip To Center Parcs Whinfell Forest With Tweens”
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!
WE always have such a great time Helen, we missed Jack but we still had an amazing time xx
17th trip!!! Wow! We’ve never been to whinfell but have been to longmead cp a couple of times and loved it. X
Whinfell is different as it used to be Oasis but I really love the whole layout there x
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
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
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!
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
It sounds like Centre Parcs has a dear place in your heart & your families – lovely to read this.
Ah thanks Jade you know what? It really has I just love it so much we all do x
Lovely to revisit this as part of #MondayEscapes. A bit of woodland cosiness would be good on a grey winters day like today!
Oh it totally would I would have loved being there today x
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
It is so lovely and its just wonderful getting that time to chill with no distractions, just family time x
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!!
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
17, I’m impressed! We have yet to visit but your multiple visits make it all seem very tempting
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
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.
We love the pool Lisa and its such an amazing place to spend post New Year x