Why we will be returning to Center Parcs – my Top Tips


Until February 2018 half term, we were Center Parcs virgins. I had heard such great things about the place, but we had never followed through with our attempts to go ourselves. But February 2018 changed all that and on Friday 23rd, we went off to Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest for a four day break.

Top Tips for Arrival

  • Before you go, download the app.  Here you can access your details, lodge number and book any restaurants, activities and keep record of your family schedule.
  • Prior to your arrival, you can check in online, stating all your parties names and car registrations which saves time when greeted by the staff in the check in huts.
  • You can access your accommodation from 3pm (unless you pay in advance £40 to access it an hour earlier – we didn’t see the point).  You can still get on to the site prior to this time and either park in the main car park or next to your lodge.  We parked next to our lodge as we wanted to unpack quickly and then move our car to the car park for the remainder of the weekend (Center Parcs are vehicle free zones during the break)
  • There is a supermarket on site, but we did decide to take our own food.


New Executive Lodge 3 bedroom 3 bathroom outside view at centre parks

There is several types of lodge you can choose from but we went for the 3 bedroom 3 bathroom New Executive Lodge.  This was for four adults (we went with my parents) and our three children.  This was PERFECT for our sized family and was extremely spacious, especially having three en-suites.  As well as three bedrooms, there was an open plan kitchen/lounge diner and a patio area with a sauna.  We were in for a treat!  Our lodge was placed in the PINE area of the site which is relatively new so there wasn’t many trees around as they had only been planted.  We were quite happy though and this didn’t bother us at all.

Dining and lounge area of our lodge

Forest feature wall in the lodge at Center Parcs

In the kitchen there was a microwave, kettle, toaster, coffee machine and dishwasher.  There was a hob and oven too which we used to cook a three course meal on the second night which was great! Center Parcs provide you with a small  kitchen pack containing a dish cloth, dishwasher tablets and washing up liquid which was a nice touch.  In the bathrooms, there was also complimentary soap and shampoo and conditioner.

kitchen area of our new executive lodge at centre parks sherwood forest

complimentary soap and shampoo and conditioner in the bathroom at Center Parcs

The bedrooms were lovely and spacious being two twins and one king size.  We easily fitted Baby K’s cot in our room with plenty of room to spare.  All areas were spotlessly clean and we felt at home straight away!

Restaurants at Center Parcs

Whilst there we dined at

  • Hucks American Diner
  • Pancake House
  • The Foresters Inn
  • Sports Cafe

Overall we were pleasantly impressed with all of our dining experiences at Center Parcs, Sherwood.  Hucks is an American restaurant that we just love anyway.  It has a reasonable sized soft play area for the children within the restaurant as well as a computer area.  They had a children’s buffet which is great and the kids can have unlimited main meals such as pizza, pasta, veg and chips to name a few as well as desserts.  The cocktails in here were fun and we had excellent service!

Our meal at Hucks, Center Parcs Sherwood forest

Actually, every restaurant we dined in had a soft play area, even in the sports cafe!  Every place was so well equipped with colouring available for the children and children’s menus.  It really was nice for the children to be able to go and have a safe place for them to play too, especially for Baby K who was desperate to have a crawl around.

One tip I do suggest it to pre-book via the app as the restaurants can get booked up pretty quickly!  You do have to pay a £5 per person deposit which comes off your final bill.


Wowzas, well where do I start!  There was so much to do!!  Having not been before, I wasn’t sure what to expect as initially I thought many of the activities were on the pricier side.  I didn’t want to book too many activities as we also wanted to relax and explore at our own pace.  Of course, you can come to Center Parcs and not do any at all and still have lots of fun.


  • Subtropical Paradise Swimming Pool
  • Walks and wildlife spotting
  • Soft plays within restaurants/sports bar
  • Beach
  • Outdoor play areas

We found that the kids LOVED going swimming and the outdoor play areas the most I have to say. The kids were free to do as they pleased and were not tied to a time or schedule.

W and B on a swing together at centre parks sherwood forest

Subtropical Paradise at Center Parcs Sherwood forest

In terms of swimming, we found going in the morning to be super busy so if you go, I’d suggest going after lunchtime around 3pm where we found it to be half as quiet.  There is so much going on – several slides, outdoor pool, plunge pool, several whirl pools, a pirate play area, baby pool as well as a Starbucks, cafe and private cabanas you can hire out (3 hours £50-75).

All there children in the baby pool at Center Parcs Sherwood forest

B coming down the steep slide at Subtropical Paradise


We chose the following:

  • Mini Jet skis (for B and W)
  • Indoor Climbing Wall (B)
  • Mini Trek Activity (W)
  • Bowling (Family)
  • Aqua Sana Spa (Couple)

Overall, I found all activities at Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest to be good value however the Jet skis experience was cut short lasting only 7 minutes!  However, we kindly asked the instructor to add on a further 5 minutes which he happily did!

mini jet skis at Sherwood Forest Center Parcs

B in the indoor climbing wall at centre parks

W on the mini treking activity

W and her grandad bowling at center parcs

Baby K and his grandma in the lodge

I could write so much more but overall we had a super break and will definitely be returning!  Has anyone else been on a Center Parcs holiday?


Interested in Disney?  Read my latest post here.

One Messy Mama


  1. April 16, 2018 / 10:45 am

    Center Parcs has always been somewhere I have ummed and ahhed about. School holiday prices are insane as are weekends but I think if you want a UK break in term time then it’s a good option.

    • April 16, 2018 / 10:46 am

      We found sharing a lodge with my parents a great way to make the break better value 🙂

  2. April 16, 2018 / 10:46 am

    We used to go the the sherwoof forest one lots as Children as my Aunty worked there so we used to get some passes – I loved it but was always too scared to go Down the big blue slide! Would love to go back with my two

    • April 16, 2018 / 10:49 am

      Ah thats great your Aunty was able to get you passes!!! Haha my son loved it 🙂

  3. April 16, 2018 / 12:44 pm

    We couldn’t get the app to work when we went to Whinfell a couple of years ago, perhaps they have fixed the bugs by now. I like the look of the activities you chose. My kids had us in the pool for 5 hours straight and my skin was like a wrinkled prune at the end of that! They loved it.

    • April 16, 2018 / 1:24 pm

      Oh gosh my skin would do the same!! The pool is the highlight I think!

  4. April 16, 2018 / 8:24 pm

    Oh we had the best time at Centre Parcs for my mum’s 50th a couple of years ago. My daughter went horseriding for the very first time and she loved it.

    • April 16, 2018 / 8:35 pm

      My daughter was desperate to have a go at the horse riding but we lost track of time!

  5. April 16, 2018 / 10:13 pm

    We love centre parcs. We haven’t been for a couple of years and can’t wait to back this year now the girls are a bit older. It’s great for families!

  6. April 17, 2018 / 6:34 pm

    We love centerparcs too but just wish it wasnt so expensive through the school holidays! So much fun though, my kids love it!

    • April 17, 2018 / 8:55 pm

      yes it can be!! That’s lovely your kids loved it!

  7. April 17, 2018 / 7:45 pm

    We go to center parts every year at Christmas- it really is lovely then with all the lights etc- really magical! #triumphanttales

    • April 17, 2018 / 8:54 pm

      Ah i bet it is I’ve heard such good things about CP at Xmas.

  8. April 18, 2018 / 8:25 am

    I’ve heard so many great things on center parks but never been myself. These are fab tips and I’ll be sure to remember them if I do ever go x

  9. April 19, 2018 / 10:35 pm

    I love Centre Parcs. Been to Sherwood Forest a few time and also to the one in the Lakes. Unfortunately last time we went, our lodge was filthy but those who we travelled with didn’t want to complain so put up with it. Having said that it hasn’t put me off going again! The lodge you stayed in looks lovely and a sauna too – lush! Before kids I used to like tearing it up on the bikes but now it’s more pushing buggies around. The price is really steep though – it’s been cheaper for us to go to Spain this year. Although if you share then it does cut down the cost quite a bit! #AnythingGoes

  10. April 20, 2018 / 2:56 pm

    Centre Parks is somewhere we have never been. I have seen lots of blogs showing how lovely it is and would love to go one day. It looks like you had a a lovely time.

  11. April 21, 2018 / 9:13 am

    This looks like an awesome getaway! #GlobalBlogging

  12. April 22, 2018 / 6:20 pm

    This looks like an amazing place to visit. What a gorgeous family! Thanks for linking up to #globalblogging!

  13. April 23, 2018 / 6:14 pm

    I’ve never been to Centre Parcs but have always fancied it. This convinces me even more. Pleased you enjoyed yourselves! Thanks for joining in with #TriumphantTales, hope to see you back again tomorrow.

  14. May 1, 2018 / 1:12 pm

    We love Center Parcs and have been to Sherwood many times. I love the look of the New Executive Lodges, they look so much nicer than the older Executive ones. It’s such a fab place to take kids, and we find that my daughter gets so much more from it year after year. Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

    • May 1, 2018 / 5:17 pm

      Its such a fab place isn’t it!! Thats great your daughter loves it there too!

  15. May 3, 2018 / 7:34 pm

    We went there with my 18 month old and had a good time but I think it’s prcey for what it is. We paid for some activities and shouldn’t have bothered in hindsight. I’d go back again though but definitely not at school holidays! #SharingtheBlogLove

    • May 4, 2018 / 10:05 pm

      yes it can be pricey. I think if you can share a lodge and go term time then the cost can be lower!

  16. Caroline
    May 5, 2018 / 8:30 pm

    Fab post and so glad you enjoyed it!
    We’ve been going as a family for the last three years, including once at Christmas and it really is my happy place! Our little boy is also fast getting the CP bug and asks to go! 🙂
    I’ve written a few posts my self on our visits, as I just love it so much.


  17. May 8, 2018 / 11:32 am

    I’ve been eyeing up Centre Parks for years, it looks right up our street, but we’ve not managed to get there yet. The new lodges look great, and all the activities look great – the mini jetskis!! I am a bit put off now though that we’d have to do school holidays, but I guess that’s just life with school age kids! Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  18. May 8, 2018 / 8:56 pm

    We love Centre Parcs and have been a few times. It’s great for families and there is just so much to do. We’re heading there in December and I can’t wait. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

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