So, I hope everyone has been enjoying the surprisingly good weather recently. As Carley alluded to in a previous post, we spent a long-ish weekend at the Center Parcs at Whinfell Forest, very near Penrith. She found a pretty decent last minute deal, so we arranged to take a half day on the Friday and off we went.
It only took a couple of hours to get down there, by the time we’d got off the train and jumped in a taxi. We’d booked into one of the lakeside apartments, and the walk to there from check-in gave us a good opportunity to get a good look around the site and the facilities. I was quite keen to get unpacked, though – we had booked in for an evening at the spa!
Now, I’ll be perfectly honest – treatments and spas, and lotions and potions are not really my thing, but by god, it was AMAZING. There were loads of different themed steam rooms (Balinese, Greek herbal, and Indian to name but a few), a sauna, amazing foot spa things, water-beds and a zen garden. I really could go on. It was bliss, and such a good idea to go on the Friday night: it gave us a great opportunity to wind down after a long week and re-charge for the weekend. Finishing off with some white wine spritzers back in the apartment added an air of decadence too!
On Saturday, we decided to take our newly-hired bikes for a spin – however, we were a little unprepared for the fact that Whinfell is *really* hilly! We were both soon out of breath – but it was definitely good to get out in the sunshine and get our bodies moving! We then spent a little time back in our apartment, chilling out and having lunch – before heading off to the swimming pool. If you’ve ever been to a Center Parcs location, you’ll know that the swimming plaza is the hub of the whole place – and this one was no exception! As well as a giant pool with a wave machine each half hour, there were jacuzzi’s, flumes, drop slides, a lazy river and a brilliant outdoor rapids ride which we could not get enough of!
We timed our swim well – heading into the pool just as lots of families were hauling the kids off to dinner – and then went back to the apartment to get ready for our pre-booked table at Bella Italia. Whilst Bella is a fairly tame dinner choice for us both, it was a lovely meal – beer, pizza, pasta and a HUGE ice cream made this night brilliant. Have I mentioned it was also great weather, and we watched a lovely sunset? Could not have been any better.
On Sunday, we had a brilliant breakfast of bacon rolls, orange juice and Starbucks coffee before chilling out separately for a while. Carley went out for another ride, whilst I read the Sunday newspaper and sat on our little porch! We then headed off for another swim, spending some time by the outdoor pool, where we were joined by a duck, who seemed to enjoy the kids paddling pool… We also grabbed a late lunch at Hucks – an American style diner, where Carley had a wonderful strawberry daiquiri – so great to be able to cool off! All too soon, it was time for us to head back and pack up, before grabbing a taxi to the train station and making the short (less than 2 hours!) journey back to Edinburgh.
Center Parcs was great – we both came back relaxed, and Carley came back more than a little sunburnt – and we’d definitely recommend it to anyone. We’re currently trying to persuade some friends to join us on a return visit later this year!Stacey