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tried & tested

When there are so many places to choose from it's hard to know where to visit! In good or bad weather, with very young children or older teens, activity venues or quiet walks, every venue will offer something different with a variety of facilites available. We will add our thoughts on places that we have Tried & Tested so that you are well-informed before you make your decision to leave the house!

To arrange a Tried and Tested blog at your attraction or facility please contact us here:

Autumn Break At Woburn Center Parcs


After booking our break in Center Parcs Woburn Forest I did wonder if it would actually feel like a holiday considering it is just a short 30 minutes from our home but with two young children in tow in was a brilliant choice, the journey went by in a flash and all of a sudden we were pulling up outside.

As we drove in, the pine trees were towering over us blocking all view of the outside world. We were now entering the Center Parcs experience! Still in our car we were directed to a drive up booth where we checked in and given our room keys in the form of a completely sealed rubber bracelet which was a sensor that we could use to open our door and use swimming lockers, we were reminded that we couldn't access our rooms until 4pm and to use the car park just in front which is just a few minutes walking distance to the shopping areas and pool.

I had thought ahead as I knew we would arrive early so had pre booked a 2 hour swimming slot for 2pm, we were staying Monday to Friday so were allowed to book 4 swimming sessions for our stay. It was half 12 now so decided to have a bite to eat, many of the restaurants reserve a number of tables for walk ins (unsure if this is what they do during peak times) so we were quickly seated in Cafe Rouge which was very tasty and the service was good.

At 2pm we walked to the pool, they have a large buggy area inside (left at your own risk). The changing rooms are large and there are plenty of lockers and showers. As we walked into the subtropical pool area we were greeted by a warmth, we felt like we were in another country surrounded by tropical trees and plants. We had a little walk around before taking a dip in the wave pool, this is great fun and even my 2 year old enjoyed bouncing around in the waves in the deep end with daddy, not me haha  I took my youngest, 11 months to the edge and sat with the waves crashing around our legs. There are a number of pools and rides to explore and must say it was definitely the highlight of the holiday for us.

At 4pm we walked up to our apartment. It was spacious and clean with two double rooms, en-suite, open plan living area and small patio area outside with a bbq rack suitable to hold up a disposable bbq. Every apartment is supplied with a cot and mattress as-well as a high chair so you just need to bring linen for the cot. The kitchen is well equipped and have plenty of pots, pans and utensils and a dishwasher, they even leave 3 tablets, sachet of washing up liquid, oven mitts, tea towel, cloth and sponge which is really handy. Once the car was unloaded as per site rules we parked the car back in the main car park as no cars are allowed on site, collected our bikes and trailer and  went for an explore. It was a breath of fresh air (literally) no car fumes, just the smell of the pine trees.

Prior to our holiday we had pre booked some restaurants for meals out but we also brought along some cooking essentials with us, we used the on site shop which was well priced and had a good variety, they also have mini trolleys so this doubled up as a fun activity for my toddler haha probably not so fun for the other shoppers hastily moving out of her way as she whizzed around filling it up. There were plenty of activities to do on site that you could either pre book or book when you were there if there was availability, when booking I filtered to activities suitable for my 2 year old and there wasn't many but once we were there we realised there were a number of activities she would have enjoyed participating in such as baking and teddy making. If you have older children there are tonnes of indoor and outdoor activities. Even without these we had so much fun, we explored the woodland for bugs, birds, pheasants and squirrels and we were not disappointed as we saw plenty.

On Friday we had packed up the car again and returned it to the car park, the children got a final ride in the trailer before that was also returned at 10am. You can remain on site for the remainder of the day if you wish to. As you exit the site there is a 'bin' specifically for your wristbands, just wind down the window and plop, all done. We were again very thankful for the 30 minute drive back home. We loved our Center Parcs trip to Woburn and will definitely be returning. 

Top Tips:

- Pre-book as many activities as soon as they are released in order to get the mot preferred time slots

- Take some DVDs or board games encase of a rainy day

- Cycling/Walking routes available here 

- Don't filter by age when searching activities to do onsite 

- To save money pack condiments or do what we did and do a click and collect on the way.

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