Saturday, 9 May 2009

Centre Parcs is not for me

We had a break at Centre Parcs in Sherwood Forest this last week, Mon - Thurs. Not one of our better holidays!
The 1hr 45mins journey took 3 hours because from here in Whitchurch, it's best (according to TomTom!) to go across country, so we hit all the towns and traffic lights etc and it was slow going in drizzling rain.

When we arrived, the chalet was quite a distance from the centre where all the facilities are, so we had miles to walk to and fro and there wasn't a shuttle service provided. The maps weren't very clear and the sign posts contradicted the maps so we got lost a couple of times which added to the miles we walked! The second day we decided to hire bikes to get around, which sounded like a good idea at the time, but which was definitely not. I haven't been on a push bike for over 15 yrs and it took a couple of attempts to get going on the basic, no gears, bike. I managed to keep going in a straight line, but when it came to weaving in and out of the people who insisted on walking across the whole of the road all the time, it was difficult. I usually got off and walked the bike through them, but at one attempt to get my leg over, my trousers caught on the saddle and me and the bike toppled over! I ended up with a puncture wound on the palm of my hand which bleed for ages, and two bruises on my legs, one of which was the size of a tea plate! and I wasn't even moving! After that I walked every where and I've got the blisters to show for it ..... but I've come home 6lbs lighter because I was too exhausted to eat most of the time!

Most of the activities we wanted to do were on the Wednesday, which meant we couldn't do most of them. We finally opted for the Swedish massage, 2 hrs in the gym, the high ropes, clay pigeon shooting and the owl experience.
The back, shoulder and neck massage on Tues was absolute heaven! It's the first time we've had one, and it was just so relaxing after being in the gym for two hours! I'll have to have another one some time it was so good.
The clay pigeon shooting on Wed was fun. It was an off site activity so we were picked up and driven to the range. We had an introductory talk about safety etc and then had a go at shooting the Bakelite discs. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was quite good at it! Although the kick back from the shotgun was a bit of a surprise lol. We all managed to hit some on the single disc 'pull' then had to try and hit two in the air. If we didn't manage we had to walk home! My legs could hardly manage the walk to the car so I was determined I wasn't going to miss and finally managed to hit the two on the 5th attempt lol.
After we got back and had a bite to eat, we went on to the Owl Encounter. We had 2 hrs of flying and feeding the owls and really enjoyed it. Cindy got to fly the Eagle owl, but it was a bit vicious and after eating the chick would try ripping the gloves to get at her fingers!!! He had to be kept on a training lead as if he was loose he'd try to eat the other owls, especially the gorgeous Pygmy owl!! Janine in the picture below is flying the black barn owl, which is extremely rare and is in fact an albino version on our usual barn owl.
We had two evening meals at the restaurants. One was a 3 course dinner with live jazz music which would've been great if it wasn't for the children who where running around, screaming and having temper tantrums in the middle of the floor! How the waitress's managed to stay in control of their plates, drinks etc I don't know. This was typical of the whole break, every where was full of little children screaming and having tantrums! I can't understand why people let their children behave like that! Mine never did because they weren't allowed to get away with it.
The second meal was a carvery by the lake and that, thankfully was a much quieter affair and very welcome lol. Cindy was most amused at the strange garlic bread she had :)Janine was the only one to have a go at the high ropes, as both Cindy and I are not good on heights lol She did amazingly well and managed to do the 'leap of faith' with out any problems. It is a 25ft high pole, with a SMALL platform on the top. You have to climb up, get on to the platform, stand up, and jump off into the air to catch the trapeze swing that is hanging away in front of you! Janine managed to catch it and was very pleased with herself lol

This is Janine just starting off, on the easy bit, the poles behind her with ladders at the bottom, were ones she had to climb after doing this climb up on to the wires. She had to stand on the wires, let go and clap her hands behind her back and under her legs :0!

We would've liked to have done more activities, but as I said they all clashed with each other, but atleast the weather, although windy, was good to us and we didn't have any rain except through the Wednesday night. The shops were expensive with little choice. The cabins were ok but I wasn't impressed with the cleanliness, it smelt funny when we first walked in and the kettle had a thick cobweb in the spout and a big spider in the kettle itself! How could the cleaner have missed that? The sky light in the bathroom wouldn't shut and it was very drafty with the winds that we had and the bathroom door rattled every night keeping Cindy awake. You'd be surprised what you can find to stuff in doors when your desperate!

All in all, we enjoyed the activities, but the site was too big, too expensive and not too clean, and we won't be doing it again but for active families, (who can ride bikes lol) I can see that it would be a great holiday.



  1. What a shame it didn't live up to its supposed good reputation. Looks like the girls had fun, love the pic of the garlic bread LOL

  2. Such a shame it didn't live up to its reputation. Some of my family have been to the one near Penrith & they had nothing but praise for it. Hope you've recovered by now Lynn (((((((((hugs))))))))).


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