TRAVEL: Sherwood Forest Center Parcs is a big hit for family trip

Alison Bellamy travel review Centerparc Sherwood
Alison Bellamy travel review Centerparc Sherwood
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A FUN weekend trip away to a forest adventure at Center Parcs was the plan.

Pack plenty of energy for the fun and excitement in store, is all I can say.

Now Center Parcs is not normally the kind of place our little family would go.

But having heard from lots of different sorts of people - with and without children - about the wonderful world that is Centre Parcs, the opportunity to experience a weekend there with our two little girls aged six and four, was just the perfect tonic.

We picked the kids up from school in West Yorkshire and drove to Sherwood, near Nottingham. It was a 90 minute journey and not far down the A1.

As we arrived in the dark, we passed easily through the woodland entrance and found our wooden cabin, a three-bedroom woodland lodge, and home for the next three nights.

We were impressed with the spacious detached luxury home. Three good sized bedrooms and a huge kitchen, diner and living room.

But best of all was a huge nature window, where all the local wildlife could be easily spotted at any time of day. We barely put the television on and chose to ban computers and phones for a few days.

Our favourite time was early morning when the local wildlife emerged from their surrounding pine forest and literally came snuffling at the window. We saw a swan, squirrels galore, bats, ducks, moorhens and even a stoat.

The site is set in 400 acres of woodland and we felt very close to nature and very relaxed.

Our girls were hugely excited and have never been so close up to nature for so long. The squirrels were particularly fearless and it was quite amazing to see them so close for so long.

We could happily have pottered around our cabin all day long, but on the Saturday morning, we were off early to pick up our bikes.

The bike store is an experience in itself, with all kinds of styles for all ages, sizes and abilities, including those with special needs or disabilities. We had real fun cycling through the woods and easy to navigate paths, plus all roads are car free, apart from loading and unloading at strict times.

We had booked activities online before arriving and enjoyed time in the glorious tropical indoor swimming pool, complete with slides, a rapide and waterfalls. Ten pin bowling was also fun.

We took a horse ride through the forest and at the end of the trek a well earned snack at the Pancake House. At different times of year there are themed activities and events and always something going on for those who want entertainment. There is also archery, quad biking, climbing and much more.

Me and the husband booked into the luxury Aqua Sana Spa, as the kids went to the elf academy for a three hour stint, to learn to be a good elf. They performed a dance show for parents at the end, which was great fun.

The spa was a perfect chance to relax. It was the decadent and relaxing and I had the best massage and facial from a wonderful therapist. Later we enjoyed an amazing fireworks display.

There is a supermarket and lots of eateries around the Village Square. We possibly had one of the best weekends away ever and decided there and then it was worth saving up for a future trip.