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Suffolk's Best Breaks 2011: Center Parcs, Elveden

PUBLISHED: 15:35 20 January 2011 | UPDATED: 20:31 20 February 2013

Suffolk's Best Breaks 2011: Center Parcs, Elveden

Suffolk's Best Breaks 2011: Center Parcs, Elveden

Sandra Roberts finds that children are never too old to enjoy a weekend at Center Parcs

Sandra Roberts finds that children are never too old to enjoy a weekend at Center Parcs




As many parents know, it becomes ever more difficult to entice your children on holiday as they get older. Offer them a lovely week in the sun and they politely decline. But theres a solution. Ask them if they fancy a weekend at Center Parcs and watch the hands shoot up!
We had some lovely breaks at Elveden Forest when the kids were small so perhaps their enthusiasm should have come as no surprise but, as we packed up the car on a Friday afternoon, I couldnt help but wonder if Center Parcs and all its delights could possibly live up to the more sophisticated expectations of big kids aged 16 and 21 (the 18-year-old gutted at having to work instead).
And without beating about the bush the answer of course turned out to be a resounding YES. And that is the brilliance of Center Parcs it works on so many different levels depending on the age of your group. Because wed always visited with small children we spent most of our time on a well trodden path from swimming pool to adventure playground via the sweet shop. But with an older family a whole new world of opportunity opens up.
The Sub Tropical Swimming Paradise remains the jewel in the crown of the Center Parcs experience and the four of us thoroughly enjoyed revisiting the rapids, the flumes and the giant slides. But we just went once the whole weekend. And having no small children to dry off in the changing rooms afterwards was bliss.
With an older family in tow we were able to sample the parts of Center Parcs that young families just cant reach. We spent a fabulous afternoon in the Aqua Sana, where there are 15 different types of spa experience on offer, along with an endless supply of fluffy robes and towels and not a screaming infant or fretful toddler in sight (or sound). This is a grown-up environment, a world away from the hurly burly and noise of the swimming pool and we all welcomed a rare chance to chill out and relax.
We also spent time out on the lake. Not on pedalos as you do when you have small kids but enjoying a family kayaking lesson. This was terrific fun and under the supervision and guidance of instructor Matt we learnt basic paddling techniques, how to capsize safely and then enjoyed several hard fought races and games of water polo, adults versus children. No need to ask who won!
With pride at stake we headed to the bowling alley (no need for the guide rails anymore) only to be roundly beaten again!
With a huge variety of sports and activities available, its easy to occupy yourself 14 hours a day, but that would be at the expense of relaxing in the very comfortable villas. Cleverly designed and well-equipped, they could best have been described as functional when Elveden first opened. Not any more. It was a real pleasure to spend time in our three bedroom Woodland Lodge, which featured an up to the minute high gloss kitchen, bedrooms that wouldnt have looked out of place in a high class hotel (the master bedroom came complete with flat screen TV) and a living room with plenty of well upholstered seats for ultra-comfortable lounging.
Our superb organic grocery box provided our first evening meal and one breakfast but the rest of the time we ate out. On Saturday evening in Forresters Inn at the Country Club, where we enjoyed a very reasonable gastro-pub style supper and on Sunday evening before we left, a deliciously juicy burger and chips on a terrific two-for-one deal in the Sports Caf. But the pice de rsistance had to be the eat-all-you-like Jazz Brunch at Hucks. Featuring every breakfast item you can think of plus dozens that would probably never occur to you, including a fabulous chocolate fountain, it was terrifically difficult to know where to begin...or end!
When we reluctantly handed back our bikes and checked out on Sunday evening, we had been at Center Parcs for little more 48 hours but had packed so much in we felt like wed been away for days. It had been 10 years since our last visit to Elveden Forest. We definitely wont leave it that long again!




Sandra Roberts visited Elveden Forest and stayed in a 3 bedroom New Style Woodland Lodge (which sleeps up to 6 people). A short break in this style of accommodation starts from 249, for further information or to book, call: 08448 266 266 or visit
www.centerparcs.co.uk

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