Sunday, 7 April 2019

Centerparcs Whinfell Forest



Before this visit I had never really thought about going to Centerparcs. Whilst studying at university in Cumbria, I had heard many people mention going to Centerparcs at Penrith. In my third year of university one of my friends who worked at Centerparcs managed to wangle us some free passes to the pools. It was a lovely day and we always said we would come back. Nearly three years later my friends and I from university finally booked it.

I wasn't sure how much it was going to cost, but I had heard it was pretty expensive. There are set times that you can book to go either Monday-Monday, Monday-Friday or Friday-Monday. We opted for the Friday to Monday slot as it fitted in best with all of us. For a 6 bedded two storey lodge it was £589. For us paying on an individual basis we thought it was good value for money. It worked out just over £30 each per night. However, I am fully aware that for a family they could go somewhere more luxurious for the same price. It definitely depends on the type of holiday which you are looking for.

From sunny Bolton to Penrith with no stops it took an hour and 40 mins to get there. We weren't able to check into our lodge until 2pm. You are able to make full use of the facilities from 10am on the day you arrive. We decided we would book to go into the spa on the first afternoon. The spa was £33 per person and we spent about 4 hours in there. It was lovely and a perfect way to catch up. Considering it was early March we got lucky with the weather and we were able to take advantage of the outdoor pools. Although, if they weather wasn't as good there are also different indoor pools which were great and very relaxing. Within the spa they have a range of saunas and steam rooms which has different scents and themes to them. I think we were lucky with the timing of when we went to the spa as there were only a handful of people there, and it made it a much more relaxed experience. 

After finishing up in the spa we headed back to our cars. Centerparcs have a strict policy that you can only drive your car from the car park to your lodge after 4pm. Once at our lodge you can unpack your car and leave you car outside your lodge until I think 10pm. You have to take your car back to the car park, you cannot leave it outside your lodge. I think this is mainly due to safety as the roads are quite windy and thin. We decided to take our cars straight back to the car park rather than having to do it later when it was dark.

When you arrive you get a wrist band which is the key to your lodge and also has it uses throughout the activities and facilities. You can also pay for things on your wristband which if you were there for longer it could be a great option. We had been to the local Morrisons before checking in and bought food and drink for the entire weekend to keep the costs down. On the first night it was great as we just chilled and drank some wine and had a thorough catch up.

When had quite a full on day planned on the Saturday. It started out with having sausage and bacon butties. 


We had pre-booked our activities all in advance which I would highly recommend doing. We booked the lodge quite a while ago and each month we booked an activity to do to break up the cost. We decided to be all adventurous and book to do a tree top challenge. Well all I can say is that if you ever need to confirm your fear of heights, this will either make or break you. I come ultimately say this soul-destroyingly broke me completely. I had a breakdown when I got to the top of the first tree as the wind was blowing and I felt as though the tree was going to snap in two. Once I managed to just about stop crying the first obstacle was to step out into swinging tyres. I managed with a big queue following me to make it to the end. I hated every minute except the zip wires. Overall, I will never be doing anything like this again, and would much rather of spent the time in the spa.




After my hell of a time on the treetop challenge, I decided I literally needed a glass of wine. We didn't have anything else booked in until the evening so we decided to go for a walk around the grounds and into the village. Within the village there is a supermarket and four or five gift shops. There are also some restaurants and this is where the swimming pools are. 

In the evening we had booked to have a meal at Bella Italia which was lovely as always. We had then booked for a 2 hour session of bowling. This was great fun and we thoroughly had a fabulous time. The only thing which I said would be nice for groups like mine would be if there was a bar, as there is nowhere to really go except back to your lodge. I totally understand the reasoning for this as it is very family orientated, but I think it would nice to have a more adult only area. We went back to our lodge for some drinks and played some games. 

In the morning we had booked to go to the Pancake House which is overlooking the lake where you can hire pedlos and boats. The menu is great and offers a wide range of both pancakes and waffles. As you can see I had this delightful strawberries and cream waffle which set me up for the day and it tasted delicious.




We had planned to spend all of this day in the swimming pools and that is exactly what we did. As guests of Centerparcs you have unlimited free use of the swimming pool area. It is much bigger than you expect. It had an indoor area which is very child friendly as it is much shallower. There are also three different adult slides which you can use. We made the most use of the outdoor area as there are two heated outdoor pools which were incredibly relaxing. There is also a large jacuzzi area and a small lazy river. We spent a good three hours within the pool areas.


Due to family and work commitments everyone decided to not stay the last night. We left late on the Sunday afternoon and I had thoroughly had a great time. There is an extensive list of activities available so if I was to go back I definitely wouldn't be worried that there is nothing else to do. Like I said at the start of the post, it is not particularly cheap especially after you start to add on the cost of activities. However, it was a lovely weekend and as we broke the cost up over several months we didn't have a massive payout to pay as soon as we arrived. There are a few different Centerparcs locations dotted around the UK which I would love to visit. I think I will definitely be booking another weekend away as soon as I can fit one it.

Lucy
xoxo
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