Trip to Sherwood Forest Center Parcs - Nottinghamshire

I love Center Parcs. I've been going since I was a child but I've only ever been once before as an adult so I was keen to make some new memories there with my boyfriend (who has never been before!) for his Birthday. We had the best time in the world and really didn't want to leave!

I compared the prices at all of the resorts. The accommodation which suited us were all between £300-£600. Which is quite expensive for a few nights (in England) but it's beautiful there. With it being just me and my boyfriend we needed a 1 bedroom lodge. I was really keen to go to the Cumbria resort but the distance was a lot further and the price was more. I went for the 1 Bedroom Executive 2 Story Lodge in Sherwood Forest in Nottingham.

I didn't like the look of the "hotel" Apartment style rooms. I don't see the point in going to Center Parcs to go to a hotel. It totally defeats the object of going to Center Parcs for me plus the price at some resorts was just as much as a lodge - crazy. I know you spend a lot of time out of your accommodation but for me this is the only way to do it; lodge style with lots of red wine with nature at your patio doors. 

We stayed for the weekend, so we arrived on the Friday around 11am and left on the Monday (after a session of Archery of course). You can access your accommodation at 15:00pm so I booked us an activity on the Friday. You can also visit the pool before you can access the lodge from 14:00pm.

Our Lodge, Willow (956)

Here is our villa...

Our living area

View from our upstairs bedroom

Our little kitchen

The view from our patio area

What's Included in the 1 Bedroom Executive 2 Story Lodge in Sherwood Forest?

• Double bed                        • Open plan living and dining              • TV in the bedroom      
• Multi channel TV              • Bed linen and towels                         • DVD / CD player
• En-suite bathroom             • Wi-Fi                                                 • Hydrobath
• Central heating                  • Bathroom toiletry pack                      • Hairdryer
• Fully equipped kitchen     • Cot (cot linen not provided)              • Conventional cooker
• Safe                                     • Dishwasher                                        • Iron and ironing board
• Microwave                         • Daily maid service                             • Fridge
• Private patio                       • Coffee maker                                     • Outdoor furniture
• Chalkboard                         • Brick-built BBQ stand                       • Two-storey

Outdoor Activities

When we first arrived I booked us a session on some kayaks on the lake. We went for the single kayaks so we had some freedom and could play around and have races. It was brilliant fun! What's really good is the fact the staff just let you get on with it, inc fetching your equipment and launching your own kayak - perfect. We had a 30 minutes session but there was no real timer to get you off the lake.

On the second day we went out on the pedalos. We really wanted to try out the new electric boats but they were fully booked till mid afternoon so we gave those a miss but they did look really cool! It's really nice to enjoy some relaxing time on the lake when the sun is shining. Plus you get to see wildlife from a different perspective; watching great greebs diving and being up close to swans swimming.

Quad biking track

Being in Robin Hood County it was only natural we gave archery a blast. We now want to get a bow! It was brilliant! I recommend choosing a time slot which isn't mid-day (it was stupidly busy, with 3 people to a booth. Far too over crowded and my boyfriend hardly had any time to fire any arrows). We had another go the next morning and it was a million times better! The instructors are really helpful and teach you along the way. Anthony our instructor even let us try out some different weight bows to get a feel for the different bows and how they fired.

Not bad for my first attempt!

Indoor Activities
Caving Adventure
Well! Have you ever done caving? If not, give this a go. It is an artificial cave structure, weaving, dipping and sometimes pushing you to climb inside tunnels and spaces. It was excellent. I did (real) caving as a kid in Wales and remember it being pretty nerve-racking and this refreshed my memory. It is good to test out how you are with small, tight, claustrophobic spaces.

We were in a small group of 5 (6 inc the instructor) and the spaces sometimes really were quite small. Plus, you have to work; pulling yourself along the tunnels (essentially like little slugs). Great experience and it really does test you.

Fancy having a go? Find out more about Hangfast Adventure Engineering here

Paths and Trails

Subtropical Swimming Paradise
How fun was this! We were the only 'adults' to do it out of a big group of around 10 children but still got stuck in. We got to play games; had team races and learnt how to maneuver underwater using the seadoo sea scooter. The staff were brilliant and although they had to tell us about all the safety precautions they still made it fun! It really does test you too and you have to hold your breath a lot, amazing!

*Photos coming soon...* (who knew it would take 7 - 10 working days to get camera film processed now-a-days)

The Village Square
Look how lovely it is! So clean, all the staff were super friendly and it was a pleasure to visit every day.

By the way, the drinks were around £4.50 each.

First stop was Cafe Rouge for a quick beer

We enjoyed some beer & cider at Strada before our Aqua Jetting - great balcony views of the village!
Gorgeous little shop on site called The Store Room

Lots of Emma Bridgewater goodies!


Essential Tips from me

Book in Advance
Book your activities in advance. I luckily booked us a few things as I didn't want to run the risk of disappointment of everything being sold out. You can do this online easily. Find your Booking Ref number and log in online with your arrival date to find the extensive list of things to do! You can also do this for the restaurants and spa. I discovered you can easily do this whilst you're in your villa too (free wifi) or at any of the booking points in the village/jardin de sports.

Switch on "Patience Mode"
You'll need it sometimes. You have to queue most of the time when you enter the park (checking in). You can speed up this process by checking in online (See here) and I highly recommend it because our check in was so smooth, it literally took 2 minutes. You have to queue for the rubber ring tube slide within the Subtropical swimming center and the other slides but they are worth it.

Take yo Bike(s)
It's a bigggg place so taking (or hiring) bikes might be worth considering. Some lodges are a long way from the main village so get a bike to get around quicker. We didn't take our bikes because our villa was really close to the village square and we didn't mind taking in our surroundings every day by walking.

Camera (and charger/batteries!)
Lots of lovely things to see and memories to remember.

Underwater camera (single use/disposable)
We went aqua jetting and swimming quite a lot so it was really fun to use underwater. The staff were excellent during the aqua jetting session and even took photos of us with my own camera.

Swimming goggles
Essential if you're Aqua Jetting and tumbling down those rapids! They do provide you goggles if you're aqua jetting - they have a massive box full!

Towel (for swimming)
The lodge has towels but you cannot use these at the Sub Tropical Swimming Pool. It costs £2 to hire one for the day so you're better off taking your own towel.

If you're swimming you want to get that nasty chlorine out of your hair. They provide small bottles in the villas but if you're like me and have long hair and plan to swim a lot take your own.

Eat In
Why not save a few pennies and make the most of your cozy villa by staying in with a nice bottle of red and cooking your own food?

Some more brilliant tips here from Four for the Road, See below for some which I followed: 

A big saucepan (if you're cooking in)
Cooking In Essentials (oil, butter, spices and herbs, sugar)
Tea & Coffee (very essential for me being an avid tea drinker!)
Food & Drink (the Parc Market provide everything you need but to save money, take your own)

Thanks guys!

Where is it?
Sherwood Forest, Rufford, Newark, Nottinghamshire, NG22 9DN

Sherwood Forest Village Map
View larger detailed Sherwood Forest map here

If you're stupidly keen like me you can Google street view the hell out of the resort - View Google Street View here

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