TRAVEL REVIEW: Parc life is fun, rain or shine

Canoeing in Center Parcs Sherwood Forest'John Clerkin holiday review
Canoeing in Center Parcs Sherwood Forest'John Clerkin holiday review

It’s raining....again. After a couple of years of washed out weekends and sodden summers we’re getting used to it.

But this holiday it really didn’t matter. Who worries about rain when you’re swimming in a heated outdoor pool less than an hour after leaving home?

Who worries about a bit of wet weather when you’ve a whole weekend of activities planned for the kids which can go ahead regardless?

We had made a few trips to Center Parcs’ Sherwood Forest venue over the years, drawn early on by the attraction of a short journey with toddlers and the promise of safe surroundings and a warm pool.

We had wondered if we would outgrow the place only to discover that there really is something for everyone here.

The rainy first evening didn’t put us off heading to the pool where my wife and I enjoyed relaxing in the water, only a little disappointed that we couldn’t see the stars the way we had on previous occasions.

Our children however were intent on trying out some of the waterslides they had been too small to go on last visit.

During the course of a showery weekend we packed in loads of activities indoors and out which meant there were no complaints of ‘when is it going to stop raining.’

My son and I had a go at canoeing on the large, picturesque lake. It was great fun from the start as putting on and later taking off our wetsuits proved a lot more difficult than we imagined.

As with all the activities the staff were friendly and made the experience a good one whatever the level of ability. My daughter headed for the high ropes and zip slide watched by her slightly anxious mum who chilled out later with a trip to the parc’s spa.

The children’s play areas dotted around the site were really popular with our two children with different apparatus to suit all ages and abilities.

One of the real charms of Center Parcs is the fact you go everywhere on foot or by bike. It was a bit of a wobbly start for my wife and I who hadn’t cycled for years but it soon came back and we wondered why we’d ever stopped cycling.

This proved to be one of our favourite activities, cycling through the woods and taking in the air which really did feel so much fresher than home.

Our holiday house was clean and comfortable with everything we could possibly need for a self-catering holiday. There is a well-stocked supermarket on the site but with so many restaurants just a short work away we found we ate out every evening.

Our favourite was the Italian restaurant Bella Italia with it’s friendly service and great range of dishes.

And the restaurants are geared up for families so kids get to eat fast, often with their own buffet to choose from, something we really appreciated when our two were younger.

We left feeling revived and refreshed – and knowing we could just throw everything in the car and be home within the hour even made leaving easier.

A break in Center Parcs isn’t the cheapest but it is a holiday to suit every member of the family whatever the weather throws at you.

It’s easy to see how after 25 years it has become something of a British institution, come rain or shine.

- Short breaks at Sherwood Forest begin from £359.

- Visit

- Phone: 08448 267723