Last week my boyfriend and I stayed at Center Parcs for 5 days in Elveden Forest. It was my first time there as well as my first woodland lodge break, and I have to say it was probably the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I just wanted to share what we got up to and how the overall experience was, I will also state pricing of everything in case anyone else is planning to go!
We had a midweek break that was from Monday to Friday and we stayed in a two-bedroom lodge that was completely new and refurbished (that was just luck!). For the midweek stay we paid a total of £350 for just the lodge. I know that the prices can go up to £800 depending on the season, so it’s worth signing up to the newsletters to know when it’s the best and cheapest time to go. We also picked a week that didn’t collide with any school holidays so it was a lot quieter.
Now, before checking in, we made a trip to the local supermarket to stock up with food. I recommend doing a meal plan before your trip just to know what you’re buying and so that your food doesn’t go to waste! The reason we stopped at the local supermarket and not at the Center Parcs one was obviously because of the crazy and ridiculous pricing (£3 for 1 kinder egg???? I don’t think so hun) it also makes it a lot easier as you can’t just drive your car normally around the forest, you should only drive it when you have things to load and unload during your time of arrival and leave. In my opinion, it’s also not really a break if you keep having to revisit your car every day. So basically, just plan ahead with all of your food, you’ll thank me for it.
Getting around the forest is pretty easy, but depending on where you are I’d recommend hiring or bringing your own bike. We were all the way out from the village so we rented out bikes (£31 per person for the week) that made the experience much more fun and enjoyable, it also meant we could get to our activities quicker. Obviously if your villa is right next to the village don’t really bother, unless you want to cycle around the forest for fun, which to be quite honest, I definitely recommend.
On the Monday when we arrived, we didn’t really do much apart from hiring our bikes as we got there pretty late, but on Tuesday we spent most of the day at the swimming pool which is basically a small waterpark, so if you’re a kid at heart you’ll definitely love it. The swimming pool is the only attraction that is free so we tried to make the most of it. Unfortunately all of the outdoor activities were shut because of the heavy snow that we had while we were there, but we didn’t really mind. In the evening we played some badminton (£7.50 for a 45 minute session) and went back to the lodge to cook something for dinner. It’s worth mentioning we saved a lot of money just making breakfast, lunch and dinner at the lodge on most days rather than eating out every day.
It’s safe to say that Sam and I are not morning-type people so we definitely had a few lay-ins. On Wednesday we went to have brunch at the Pancake House in the village, which doesn’t require you to book like most restaurants there do. I also noticed they had a vegan and free-from menu there which is definitely a bonus. Our bill for 2 main meals and drinks came to around £25 which is obviously a bit pricy, but we definitely wanted to have a nice breakfast out one of the days. Wednesday was the day it snowed very heavily so we decided to leave the bikes back at the lodge and walk, we took the opportunity to explore the forest and take some pictures which you probably saw on my Instagram stories. Later that day, we booked a spontaneous Spa Session (£70 for two people for three hours) if you’re over 16 I definitely recommend it, it was an amazing and the most relaxing experience, you can also book treatments on top. Cycling back we picked up a takeaway pizza (good thing my boyfriend is a pro at riding a bike because we had to carry it back ourselves as they weren’t delivering because of the snow), a big pizza costed us £13 so it was really pricy for what it actually was, you’d be better off buying one on your supermarket haul beforehand.
Get the look:
Thursday was our last full day and since we were running out of indoor activities we decided to go bowling! (£21 for a 45 minute session) it was great fun, after we decided to spend some time at the arcade and it’s obviously up to you how you want to spend your money there. In the evening we booked a place at Bella Italia (£5 per person, which is later deducted from your bill) and had a lovely leaving meal as we do on every holiday.
Friday was check out day and even though we have to be out of the accommodation by 10am, it doesn’t mean we’re not able to use all of the facilities. We decided to spend the day at the pool again before heading home.
Overall it was an amazing break away and I’d recommend it to absolutely anyone. Please bear in mind that I’ve also not mentioned a lot of other activities that they have, as it’s all about picking and choosing what you like best!
Thanks for reading,
Gosia Joanna x