Action packed forest vacation

AFTER a weekend at Center Parcs I was ready for a holiday, writes sports editor Graham Smyth.

Along with my family and some friends, I packed as many activities as I possibly could into the trip, as the Sherwood Forest venue proved to be the ideal location for a domestic group holiday.

There were six adults and two small kids in our party, and as is the way of life, the youngsters dictated most of our agenda.

Staying in an ‘executive games lodge’, it would have been tempting to remain indoors in the warmth, with our feet up, or ensconced in the games room battling it out on the pool table.

But you can’t take the kids to Center Parcs without completely tiring yourself out.

The biggest draw, for us, was the swimming pool.

Center Parcs’ Sub Tropical Swimming Paradise is surely their main attraction, with free entry for park guests, an abundance of water slides (varying from the medium pace sloping slides to lightning quick drops and inflatable raft rides) and some very child friendly features.

The four-year-old and toddler in our group had a whale of a time in the children’s play pool, and the giant fountain spray in the middle of the main pool was a hit too.

Very little swimming actually took place, but it’s not really an exercise pool.

The exercise comes firstly from getting around the park.

With lodges a good 25 minute walk from some of the venues and activities, bikes are essential at Center Parcs.

We did feel on the very edge of the grounds, and with two small children were thankful of two-wheeled transport, the kids tucked into a trailer.

The weather was kind enough to let us take advantage of the tennis courts, after a spell in the outdoor play areas.

And with 10-pin bowling, golf and all manner of outdoor pursuits in the offing, us adults were all keen to grab a few hours of respite and relaxation in the on-site Aqua Sana Spa.

My heavily pregnant wife in particular was delighted to discover a treatment she could enjoy, despite the advanced stages of the pregnancy.

Eating out for an entire weekend would have been a costly exercise, so we self catered most of the time, but did enjoy a very fine meal at the Rajinda Pradesh restaurant.

The only drawback of the whole weekend was the restrictions in our ability to take the cars back to the accomodation to load up at our leisure on the Sunday, but that was a minor matter and soon forgotten as a spectacular fireworks display put the exclamation mark on a brilliant stay.