I know lots of people have been and many have written blog posts but if you’re looking for a Center Parcs Sherwood Forest review, hopefully our experience, as novice Center Parc (ers) will help. As a family of four, with two girls aged 8 and 10, we’d never visited before so it was all new, although I knew quite a few people who had been before. I wasn’t paid or given anything for free in exchange for a feature on the blog, we bought the holiday just like any other holiday goer.
Center Parcs Sherwood Forest Review:
We visited during the February Half Term, Mon-Fri and stayed in a 2-bedroom contemporary apartment, mainly because that was all that was available when I booked! The 5 day basic trip cost £979 and included accommodation and access to the Swimming complex. It’s definitely not a cheap trip if you’re going in the school holidays. The week after, our apartment cost just £349 which is pretty hard to see, but we have little choice unless we take the girls out of school.
Arrival: This was pretty hectic even though we arrived at lunchtime. Access into our apartment wasn’t available until 3pm but we could go in the pool from 2pm. However, as it’s changeover day, the car parks were heaving and it took almost 45 minutes to find a space. I must admit I was feeling pretty dejected at this point, thinking the whole parc was going to be overwhelming and busy for the whole week.
After parking we found somewhere to eat, but this took ages, and so we ran out of time to swim. Instead we just headed to the accommodation when it was ready.
Accommodation: Ours was lovely. Clean, nicely decorated and well stocked. It’s compact but has everything you need, including two toilets/bathrooms, tv and dvd, plus tv in the bedroom. We were situated near some water, and the girls loved that ducks, swans and squirrels were trained to the noise of the patio door being opened. As soon as the handle moved and squeaked they came running to the window. Great fun!
Swimming: This has to be one of Center Parcs biggest draws. The swimming paradise is huge. A big wave pool, a large toddler area, several flumes, outdoor pool area, several hot tubs and lots of food outlets and eateries. There’s even a Starbucks in there. For us, the fact that it was so busy was hard to deal with all the time. But we did go every day. It’s very challenging too, with plenty to do for the older children and adults.
I was thrilled to try out an amazing new swimming costume from Miraclesuit. It’s constructed to shape the body beautifully, as the fabric, Miratex has 3 times as much spandex as the average swimming fabric and provides triple the holding power. I’ve tried out the Calinete in red, and I loved it. It’s not everyday you spend all afternoon long in a swimsuit surrounded by hundreds of other people, but the Miraclesuit was comfortable and gave me loads of confidence. They’re available through Patricia Eve and even though this style isn’t available now, there are lots of new styles and the Sanibel is a pretty close match.
Extras: We did book some extra activities, particularly as the girls were keen to be active. There was a badminton game, wall climbing, a family Roller Disco and the bike Treasure Trail (in the rain). There was so much more we could have done if we had the time and the money. Miss E has already looked to see if we can go back later this year so she can do more of the outdoor Treetop adventures.
Food: We’d taken plenty of food with us and filled the cupboards and fridge, but we still ate out a few times, and visited the supermarket too. All that activity and fresh air makes you hungry! Restaurants are lovely, but expensive and it’s probably not the cheapest way to do it. In the summer I guess you can do a barbeque and enjoy outdoor eating much more. The Foresters Inn did a great meal on our first night, and good snacks and hot chocolate on the bike ride. We even introduced the girls to something a little more exotic than usual at Cafe Rouge, and of course had our sugar fix at The Pancake House!
We left feeling tired but happy. It really is a great experience and now we’ve done it we can be more prepared next time. Better outdoor gear, lights for our bikes and a better selection of food.
Activities are extremely well organised, facitlities are clean and well maintained and opportunities are varied.
Half Term and school holidays are incredibly busy though, and very expensive for the length of stay. We ended up spending a good few hundred pounds more too, on bike hire, extra activities and eating out. BUT, it’s a great experience for the whole family and offers great bonding opportunities and lots of fun. You just have to pack it in, and expect to have aching legs and tired limbs!
Would we go back? Absolutely!
Thanks to Patricia Eve for the swimwear, the comments and opinons are genuine and honest.