Our Family Break To Center Parcs Woburn – My Family Ties

I was lucky enough to win a break at the new Center Parcs in Woburn with Heart FM and Center Parcs. What an exciting time it was for myself and Lara, one morning to get a phone call to let us know we could be on the radio in half an hour to possibly win a trip to the new Woburn Center Parcs!

Chalkboard with "Thank you Heart FM and Center Parcs" from My Family Ties at Woburn

We Won!

Happy days. We were primed by the phone with the radio blasting away in the lounge, and when it did ring the poor guy at the end of the line was subjected to our squeals of delight!  Once we got on air and answered two questions, one for me, to answer a kid’s question, it was on Peppa Pig, and one for Lara, an adult question, which was to do with measurement. We were then told we had won a family holiday to the new site with vouchers for activities thrown in too. How perfect!

Once we had got over the excitement of winning, we had the pleasure of planning out great family holiday.  One tip I would give to you if you are planning to visit Center Parcs is to plan your activities before you go if you can, it helps you to organise your trip, and by pre-booking it and also secures your places on your chosen activities that may get filled if you don’t.

Three photos, one of the Center Parcs sign, on of a girl on a pedalo and one of a girl with her legs in the lake looking at some ducklings

Arriving At Center Parcs Woburn

Another top tip is to use the really handy on-line check-in, which you can do to save time queueing needlessly to do so on arrival, really worth doing.

To make getting around the site a little easier you could always download the app they have, which I found really easy to use and very helpful for booking activities, and finding our way around, even booking a table at one of the restaurants.

There are two cash-points at the site and also free Wi-Fi which is handy.  If you can’t take your own bike, there is no need to worry as there are plenty of  bikes to hire for all ages and requirements.

Once you arrive you will be provided with green wristbands, which will be your keys for the rest of the stay, and these were really handy and a great idea. They not only open your accommodation but also any lockers you may need around the site also.  You also have the option to go ‘moneyless’ with the system they use to link up your wristband with your bank card, to save you having to carry around your wallets or purses everywhere.

Don’t forget with plenty of restaurants you can reserve a table in advance to be really organised, and also the ParcMarket Express gives the option of having the groceries delivered to your lodge before you arrive.

Once we had parked the car and taken the bikes off we went to get Siobhan’s trike, we were so excited for her to try it out as she has always struggled with a bike (she has Autism) and the helpful contact at Center Parcs booking department had suggested a trike might be a good option for her.  Pre-booking the bikes is another top tip, it makes it much easier to be able to arrive, and then go straight to the Cycle Centre Shop, where you can pick-up your hired bikes quickly and be on your way. Don’t forget to pick up your free bike locks with your bike too. It has very convenient opening hours between Monday and Friday of 11 am to 8 pm, and on the day you leave you can return the bikes between 8 – 10 am.

It was perfect, not even a shaky start for Siobhan, she was off on her trike confident and mobile, we really couldn’t have wished for a better start to our holiday. If your child has coordination issues due to a condition such as Autism, I would highly recommend trying a trike as it has been a revelation to us.

Two photos of a girl on a red trike and a collection of many bikes at Woburn Center Parcs


The entrance to a lodge accommodation at Woburn Center Parcs
Twin beds in the accommodation at Woburn Center Parcs executive two bedroom lodge
Table and chairs and bbq area in Woburn Center Parcs executive lodge accommodationDouble bedroom in the Woburn Center Parcs executive lodge accommodation

Two bikes, pink and white, outside the executive lodge accommodation in Woburn Center Parcs
The main living area in Woburn Center Parcs executive lodge accommodation
Reflective hanging light shade in the main living area at Woburn Center Parcs
Four photos of Woburn Center Parcs, cutlery tray in Cafe Rouge, girl sitting at the table at Cafe Rouge, girl standing by the lake, two girls looking out of the window in the double bedroom.

The lodge we stayed in was a New Style Executive Lodge with two bedrooms, both with en-suite, modern and open plan in style. With everything we could possibly need for our family break, including a daily maid service from very friendly and efficient staff. The lodges are fully equipped even with hairdryers in each bedroom. Complete with flat screen TVs in each bedroom as well as the lounge area it was well equipped for our excited  girls! The back of the lodge had a convenient BBQ area with a table and chairs, we took full advantage of the great outdoor area and were out on the first night toasting the giant marshmallows which you can buy at the Center Parcs supermarket, the ParcMarket Express.

We did shop in the ParcMarket Express the day that we arrived and as we did so quite early, about 12.30 pm, we had it all delivered just after our check in time to our lodge which was 3 pm.  I would recommend this (top tip) it is so handy to have it all ready and delivered so you can put the kettle on and feed the masses! Either that or as I have said earlier plan to have your groceries at the lodge upon arrival which you can do as you book on-line.

The first night we explored the ‘garden’ area of the lodge which was, to everyone’s delight a huge forest full of plenty of space to explore and relax.  The girls were beyond happy when in the first ten minutes of our exploring night, we saw a deer!  What a wonderful introduction to the site, we were on constant ‘owl watch’ from day one as we noticed on the maintenance vans that there were plenty on site.  We didn’t see any but our neighbours managed to see one on the night before they left.  We saw plenty of wildlife though so we weren’t disappointed, with squirrels and rabbits  all around to spot, especially early in the mornings.

Everything you need is housed very neatly within the accommodation, and for families with children the prospect of an en suite is very exciting.  Certainly for our children they loved the fact they had an en suite and a TV in their rooms.  Their only niggle was that the street light was right outside the window of their bedroom and it shone into the room at night.

Restaurants and Café’s 

You will be spoiled for choice with the variety of places to eat and drink at during your stay at Center Parcs as you have the choice of twelve different places to choose from.  We did a mixture of eating out at the different café’s and restaurants for a couple of lunches and evening meals and the rest of the time we used the BBQ supplied in the lodge and shopped at the ParcMarket Express to make our own meals. There is also the option to order in a takeaway if you prefer, which is really convenient, if no one feels like cooking or dining out. At a glance here is what to expect in the way of where to eat out;

  • Cafe Rouge
  • Dexter’s Kitchen
  • Huck’s
  • Leisure Bowl
  • Rajinda Pradesh
  • Sports Cafe 
  • Starbucks
  • Strada
  • The Canopy Cafe and Bar
  • The Pancake House
  • The Shearing House
  • Vitale Cafe Bar
  • Takeaway service

View of the tropical swimming area at Woburn Center Parcs
Two girls in front of the site map of Woburn Center Parcswo girls near the red telephone box in Woburn Center Parcs

Two girls outside the Parc Market supermarket at Woburn Center Parcs

View of the outside eating area at The Shearings restaurant in Woburn Center Parcs
The outside of The Pancake House in Woburn Center Parcs

We ate out at Cafe Rouge, The Sports Cafe, Starbucks, The Shearing house and Huck’s and found with them all that the service was excellent and the food was all great quality.  It’s always a nice treat to eat out when you are on holiday and we were really spoiled for choice here, it was nice not to worry about cooking for a few meals. Such a different experience to be able to all cycle to dinner or lunch with no traffic but other cyclists and pedestrians.


There are so many things to do at Center Parcs, you really will be surprised and the sheer amount of activities.  It is nice to get the brochures in the post and be able to choose before you go , this made the whole trip even more exciting for the children being able to look at all the things they could do while we were on holiday. You can choose from plenty of Outdoor Activities, Indoor Activities, water sports, exercise and fitness based activities, and for younger visitors there are lots of under 7 year old Kids Clubs.  There is also Ten pin Bowling and Adventure Golf as well as plenty of fun to be had at the Subtropical Swimming Paradise.

We decided before we went that we would choose one bigger activity per day to do and then decide what smaller things we could do together when we got the the site.

We chose the Aerial Tree Trekking on first day, which was very adventurous and exciting for us all! I am a little scared of heights and Siobhan our oldest was very nervous about doing it, we spent about an hour and twenty minutes doing the trek through the trees, with plenty of guidance and support from the excellent staff there. To get through the course you navigate yourself across ropes, over tyres and the fun bit is the section of zip wires!

Siobhan (our 14 year old with Autism) was really scared and it took a while to convince her that she could do it, just to take the first step was really hard.  But I have to say the staff went right around the whole course with her, supporting and encouraging her all the way, which I was so grateful for as it was the boost she needed.  We all felt a sense of achievement once we had completed the whole trek and would really recommend to do it as a family if you get the chance.

On the second day we chose the Family Climbing Experience, so we all got roped up and got in our harness’s and gave it a go.  Again it was really bonding to do this all together as a family and give each other lots of encouragement.  I think it was me who needed the most as I was so scared of falling! Even though I was perfectly safe.  The staff again were very patient and supportive, and catered for all abilities, which is reassuring if you are a bit of a novice and unsure of your abilities.

Four photos of the climbing wall and two girls climbing on it at Woburn Center Parcs

We had a lovely time trying our hands at Pottery Painting Studio, with so many pieces to choose from it was fun just deciding. Lara, our youngest chose a word to paint ‘Family’ and Siobhan, our teen chose a cute little cat to paint, no surprises there as she just loves cats.  It went so quickly and the girls really loved this activity, they wanted to do it all over again as soon as they had finished.  Once they had painted the piece we left it overnight at the studio where they glazed and fired them and when we collected them the following afternoon we were all thrilled with the results.  A lovely way to unleash your creative side and we all enjoyed doing this together.

Three photos of the Pottery area at Woburn Center Parcs, and an opening fern in a hand close up
Glazed and fired pottery of a cat and the word "Family" at Woburn Center Parcs

Water-sports was something we were all keen to do, so we took a very leisurely trip around the lake on the Pedalo Craft Hire , following the ducks and ducklings! It was lovely and relaxing and the kids loved the fact that we were at the back doing all the work!  We also hired two Double Canoe’s and all did a bit of work navigating around the lake, I had a few close calls nearly colliding with a pedalo, but it was a fun hour and the kids really loved the experience too.

Canoes on their sides on the sand at Woburn Center Parcs
View of the lake and pedalos/canoes in Woburn Center Parcs

We did lots of the other activities that don’t necessarily need to be booked ahead, such as badminton, squash, roller skating, swimming, and teddy bear making.  All easy to book and a lot of fun, the Subtropical Swimming Paradise was a big hit with the kids, who wanted to go daily.  We even went down the Tornado, if you like the thrills and spills of going down a huge scary slide all together on a dingy , enough room for four, you will love this.  We braved it once but it was three against one not to try it again as us girls were a bit scared for a second time!

There are so many different activities to try out not forgetting the Aqua Sana for a pampering treatment from the experienced staff at the Spa, I didn’t manage to fit any treatments in this time but it is on the list for next time.  I did buy some Decleor products before I left though, and found the therapist’s very knowledgeable and helpful.

Two girls looking out on a wooden walkway at Woburn Center Parcs


To conclude If you are weighing up to go to  Center Parcs or not, I say go.  It is a great family break with plenty for you all to do, with the benefit of a car less site leaving plenty of road space for you to cycle around the site to your hearts content.  You needn’t worry about being without the essentials in your lodge as they are fully equipped with everything you could possibly need, all the mod cons.  They are a home away from home.

There are convenient bike stands outside each lodge to lock your bikes up on, and you will find these all over the site which is so handy. With free Wi-Fi and a handy app to navigate you around the site you have no need to worry about getting lost.

You can plan your whole stay before you get there on-line, which is really useful to get organised and also to budget your stay.  If you haven’t booked an activity which you really want to do, don’t worry, the booking staff are very helpful and will always try their hardest to find a time to book you in, or suggest an alternative.

I like the versatility of the fact you can opt to cook yourselves or eat out at the site.  Also the sheer range of options to eat out in will suit every palette.

Not only do you have the places to eat and the ParcMarket Express, but also there are plenty of shops to satisfy all tastes and ages.

  • The Refresh Newsagent.
  • Aqua Sana Boutique – Beauty Products.
  • Just Kids – Toys and Games.
  • Treats Sweets.
  • Time For Shade – Sunglasses and Jewellery.
  • The Store Room – Gifts and Homewares.
  • Aquatique – Swimwear.
  • Spirit – Stylish Clothing.
  • Sportique – Sportswear.
As you can see the choices are plenty and if you have forgotten anything you are bound to find it in one of these stores.
Are there any downsides to the site? 

We found that if on a budget (given the price of a break at Center Parcs), you need to plan carefully and budget ahead to make the most of your stay, otherwise you could end up disappointed if you were unable to take part in some of the activities due to a dwindling budget.

Also from the point of view of Mr MFT he felt that there could be extra activities for men such as shooting, fishing and paint balling that he felt he would have liked to have taken part in if given the chance.  There are lots of things to do without spending a great deal, so even if your budget won’t stretch to a great deal, you will find there are a lot of activities you can all do as a family that are either free (Subtropical Swimming Paradise) or that won’t break the bank.

Two girls cycling through the forest in Woburn Center Parcs, one on a bike and one on a trike

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My name in red 'Caroline"
I am linking this post up with the Binky Linky, Country Kids. and The Mad Mid-Week Blog Hop
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  1. August 29, 2014 / 4:47 pm

    Well done on winning your break! It looks fantastic x #binkylinky

  2. August 30, 2014 / 8:48 am

    oh wow, what a great prize 🙂 I love Center Parcs and you've written a brilliant review. I didn't know they did scooters though, perhaps that's a Woburn thing? We had a few issues with the bikes (I have an autistic daughter too) It looks like you had a fantastic time 🙂

    • August 30, 2014 / 10:34 am

      Many thanks Anne, It's not so much of a scooter but more of a trike. We thought it may be a bit big and clunky for Siobhan but it was so great! The first time she has been able to be on the go on wheels ever, so we are really keen to buy her one. Thanks for the lovely comments 🙂 x

  3. August 30, 2014 / 9:55 am

    What an amazing prize and thorough review. I have just got my lad a 3 wheel scooter actually (it's not autism, apparently, but sensory). Glad you had a great time.

  4. August 30, 2014 / 10:11 am

    What a fantastic prize and thorough review. I have just got my lad (sensory issues) a 3 wheeler scooter so am hoping this helps as he struggles with balance.

    • August 30, 2014 / 10:39 am

      Thanks so much, it was a really great break, and really for me the best bit of it was the fact that Siobhan was able to come along with us and be on her wheels too, just a little different transport, a trike as opposed to a bike. I think we will certainly be getting her one as she just loved it. It is so hard though to find the right ones to buy when your child has sensory issues as there are so many considerations. Thanks for reading and for your lovely comments. 🙂

  5. August 30, 2014 / 2:00 pm

    Well done you! What a great prize!! That looks such a fun place to visit! Looks like you had a great time. So much to see and do!! Fab photos!

  6. August 30, 2014 / 9:12 pm

    How fab to win such an amazing prize – well done. A great review for Center Parcs and the photos show what a great time you all had. Thanks for linking up and sharing your holiday with Country Kids.

  7. September 1, 2014 / 7:51 am

    Wow what a fab prize to win! Congratulations and I can see you really did enjoy the trip =) #countrykids

  8. September 9, 2014 / 5:07 pm

    Looks like you guys had a wonderful time! Center Parcs is certainly somewhere the kids want to go!! Maybe one day though! Thanks for linking up with #MMWBH x

  9. September 11, 2014 / 10:43 am

    Wow-so much to do! It looks like you have all had a great time. We love Center Parcs, but as you say, budgeting and planning ahead for those activities is a must. Thank you for linking up to #BinkyLinky

  10. January 2, 2015 / 10:41 pm

    Lucky you! I love Centre Parcs – never been to this one though! Thanks for the review!


    • January 11, 2015 / 5:13 pm

      Thanks so much Ashleigh it was a fabulous break 🙂

  11. August 5, 2015 / 8:18 pm

    had to read this as we're off there soon, woohoo!

  12. Anonymous
    August 13, 2015 / 11:02 am

    I have great memories of a visit to Center Parcs as a child myself, so it would be great to go again now – the Woburn one looks fab, especially the climbing wall! – Jodie Cook

  13. lynn r
    February 13, 2016 / 3:07 pm

    Good memories of Center Parcs when the kids were little. Even more activities now by the sound of things.

  14. March 4, 2016 / 5:52 pm

    Wow so much to do and see here thinking of booking the centre parks break for July this year -only thing putting me off is the price I can get a holiday abroad with guaranteed sunshine for similar price
    Your review is so comrehensive thankyou

  15. March 27, 2016 / 5:53 am

    This post is very useful for us. Because we have a lot o tips and tricks from this post. Thank you for this amazing post share.

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