It has become something of a family tradition that, in order to assuage the January blues and provide us with the sort of fresh-air based medicine that only a stay in the forest can bring, we venture to Center Parcs. This year took us to Woburn Forest. Located a mere forty minute train ride away from St Pancras Station in Bedfordshire sits the newest and easiest to reach (from London anyway) iteration of Center Parcs.
I’ve been visiting various Center Parcs around the country with my parents since I was tiny and I have to go out on a limb from the get-go and say that Woburn is my absolute favourite. From the beautiful design of the wooden lodges that fit in so seamlessly with their surroundings, to the out-of-this-world spa (more on that later) and the sheer newness of it all; Woburn is just the perfect getaway!
We chose to stay in a three bedroom executive lodge with a sauna. The executive lodges at Woburn are adorable little wooden cabins, with modern interiors in muted tones that mirror those of the surrounding forrest. Each of the bedrooms in the lodge are en suite (with the master bedroom having the added benefit of a hydrobath), there is a fully equipped kitchen and one of my favourite touches: a log burner. Woburn Forest is pleasantly compact compared to other Center Parcs sites, however it does have some rather large hills, so I would recommend choosing the location of your lodge before you arrive.
Other types of accommodation at Woburn include hotel rooms for smaller parties, more budget friendly two, three and four bedroom woodland lodges, four bedroom exclusive lodges (which have the added benefit of a steam room and hot tub) and luxurious newly built treehouses.
Center Parcs is the home of family fun and this is, of course, reflected in the activities on offer. But don’t be fooled, children are not the only ones catered to here.
For my mum and I, a trip to any Center Parcs isn’t complete without a visit to the spa, and the Aqua Sana Spa at Woburn is easily the best that I have ever been to. With over twenty five different rooms, including unique offerings such as an ice room, sensory experience rooms, heated water bed relaxation rooms and an incredible outdoor heated spa pool, you could easily while away hours here without even having a treatment! My mum treated us to the Harmony Dual Treatment, which included a mini facial and a back, neck and shoulder massage and was simply blissful!
Elliot chose our next activity: target archery. Before heading along, I was a tad dubious, but ended up having a thoroughly enjoyable (if not very talented) time! Once placed into a group of ten adults, the activity consisted of practice shoots and competition rounds.
The final activity is pretty much a given on a Center Parcs holiday, but make sure to hire or bring a bike! Cycling around the beautiful forest is not only great fun, but also makes travelling about the site much easier!
There are a whole host of dining options available at Woburn Forest. For one, we always ensure that we pop into The Pancake House for a magnificent and sickly sweet stack of American style pancakes. But for the majority of our meals, we cosy up in the lodge and eat dinner in. Groceries can be purchased from the on site Park Market, but there is no problem with bringing any supplies from home!
The Park Market sells disposable BBQs and each of the lodges have a stand for these on their outside patios. We braved the cool air and managed a rather spectacular feast one day for lunch. On our final night we stayed in, played some games and relaxed with a Chinese take away from Dining In, the take away service at all Center Parcs locations.
Woburn Forest makes the ideal weekend getaway spot for busy Londoners in search of fresh air and relaxation!
Love, Sophia x
Weekend breaks start at £359 based on two people sharing a double hotel room