Happy landings at Elveden
PUBLISHED: 10:50 11 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:19 20 February 2013
John Seery and family see the funny side of things at Suffolk's Center Parcs
Happy landings at Elveden
John Seery and family see the funny side of things at Suffolks Center Parcs
When Center Parcs promote their holiday villages its usually with images of a happy family cycling, sailing, swimming or zip-wiring in or around one of their forest enclaves.
There would be no place for a sequence involving a teenager crashing his bicycle into a ditch and bruising his leg in the process. Yet that will be one snapshot of a recent visit to Elveden Forst I will always cherish.
A second or two after what must have looked like a dramatic accident our son dissolved into uncontrollable laughter, clambered to his feet and pushed his undamaged bike the few feet to our lodge. The expressions of people passing by, while initially looking alarmed, turned to bemusement. A current brochure for the holiday company proclaims where memories are made but perhaps someone could re-enact this scene with the pay off line, Center Parcs always leaves you smiling.
Anyway I digress, and thats something easy to do at Elveden. Yes, you can mind your own business and limit yourself to relaxing in your villa or lodge with a good book but this place offers a mind-boggling array of activities to try.
During our midweek stay at this Brecklands destination last summer we fitted in golf, swimming, cycling, snooker, tennis, table tennis, badminton, wall climbing, canoeing and zip-wiring. You can exercise until you drop here, but the pace is more slow, slow, quick, quick, slow. The latter might best describe one of the more recent additions to Elveden, the zip wire. Careful telling of instructions and checking of equipment, gradual elevation to the top of a treetop tower then the exhilaration of flying through the air to a safe landing.
Similarly you can take it easy or live life in the fast lane in the pool. Its variety of shoots and rapids never lose their appeal.
When you do retire from the action the new style Woodland Lodges are perfect retreats. They have been thoughtfully redesigned with oak-style flooring and a khaki and orange colour scheme, furthermore there are new furnishings, features and appliances. And it seems you can take the home out of the forest but you cant take the forest out of the home . . . one wall in our accomodation was dominated by a giant, duo-toned photograph of woodland.
Outside, among the real flora and fauna, ducks, squirrels and rabbits came up to our patio, while on one occasion, we and some neighbours stood transfixed while a deer slipped across the road and into trees next to our lodges.
You can get also good nights sleep here. Once the quite pleasant tinkling of cycle bells ceases early evening, everywhere is quiet and peaceful and theres little activity next morning until the Plaza opens at 10am.
Of course, there is retail therapy here too. Weve noted that the Parcmarket, the Center Parcs take on a supermarket, keeps on improving and, despite the captive audience, the prices are not over-expensive. Meanwhile the choice of restaurants and cafes grows by the year. We tried Bella Italia and while not quite as good as the previous Italian franchise here the food and service were both first class. The place was packed too so best to book in advance.
Our favourite was Rajinda Pradesh, offering delicious contemporary Indian cuisine and perhaps something of an unsung restuarant on the list of eating out choices.
Pampering is very much encouraged and after all that running or cycling about many will think they have earned a treatment at the Aqua Sana spa.
While I found I could unwind on the nearby nine-hole golf course my wife lay back and basked in a Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial. I may have suggested thats something they would do to the A14 but she ignored my stupidity and emerged some two hours later looking revitalised.
Apparently it increases skin smoothness, targetting blemishes, uneven skin tone, superficial scarring and fine lines. The result . . . younger looking skin and an hearty endorsement from my wife.
In fact, whether you are chuckling in a ditch or purring with inner pleasure after a facial, Center Parcs is just the place to keep you young in mind and spirit.
A mid-week or weekend break in a 3 bedroom woodland lodge (suitable for up to 6 people) starts at 229. For more information or to make a booking, please call: 08448 266 266 or visit www.centerparcs.co.uk