Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Woburn forest Center Parcs during the pandemic

 Center Parcs staycation during the pandemic

 

As a family, we decided to take a UK break, as we usually do during early autumn, to Center Parcs at Woburn Forest. 




 

2016 was the year my twins were to turn sixteen. Quite a milestone age, I had booked to go to Center Parcs for the first time with Mum and Dad, to celebrate their birthday, one weekend after the big day. Sadly, Dad died the day after their birthday and you can imagine there is a whole other story linked to the events of that week.  After speaking at length to customer services (at such a tricky time) they did agree to let us reschedule our break to the following September. And that’s the year we began our love for a few days away at Center Parcs.  I had high hopes back then but when we walked into the lodge for the first time, with our little dog on his lead, we were impressed.  

‘Lisa, you never told me this place was like this, it’s amazing,’ I text my friend, who was less expressive than me and replied, ‘oh yeah it’s lovely Lou.’ That was an understated text. 

 

Every year since 2016 we have returned early September and had a wonderful time. 

 




I’m a fan of travel but the UK always has my heart too. In some ways, I’m glad to see the Staycation business doing so well. We have such beautiful countryside and beaches and often you can find great standards of hospitality.  Without the aeroplane travel and stress that goes with it, I think sometimes it can feel more relaxing to stay closer to home.

 

Quite by chance, we didn’t book for 2020. A lot was going on at home and I thought we would ‘park’ the idea for a change and of course, when lockdown happened, we didn’t take any action. As things began to open again, I felt as if I was being called to drive to Cornwall and stay there for a while. This was a very odd feeling, and for some reason, St Ives keeps coming into my reality but I have no connections with St Ives or do I know anything about it or anyone who lives there. That mystery is still to be unravelled. I will go.  I’m thinking, VW camper van for a month next August…2021, the year of so much hope. More pressure on that than the 2019/2020 new years eve whispers of, ‘it’ll be our year.’

 


The swimming pool area and outside steam in the rapids


October is a great time for spotting fungi - where are the fairies?


 

My YouTube channel audience is always interested in my travel journey and for some reason, I thought I would have a look online to see if there was any availability at Center Parcs.  There it was, a reasonably priced, swanky hotel room for two. Jasmine and I were going! My son was busy at work and couldn’t get any time off which was a pity but nonetheless, we would go, work, relax and workout. 

Something at his work changed suddenly and he was able to take a week off. We changed our accommodation to a lodge and got excited. 

 

And here we are now. Sitting at the dining room table, chilling out after a couple of very busy days collecting content for you guys. I know some of you read these posts because you want to hear the stories, and some of you want to know something.  I’m going to guess you might want to know if it’s safe here or not. 

 

Personally, I have never stayed in accommodation which is so spotlessly clean.  Even the toaster has no crumbs. I feel safe.

The social distancing measures are totally in place. We have to scan the QR code at the entrance to every building and wear masks everywhere inside. Except in the swimming pool (where we are due to leave and visit in ten minutes so I will be back with more details). 

The housekeeping services are not being carried out during the stay but instead, new towels are being delivered outside the door and we can leave dirty ones there to swap. 

We are all so used to the hand sanitiser stations now and of course, they are dotted around the place in great quantities. 

 

Swimming is rather different. They are limiting how many people can go in the pool at once. We all have temperature checks on the way in and the showers are out of use. Towels cannot be taken inside the pool area but rather must be left in the lockers, and the minimum stuff is to be taken into the locker area too. We were directed to different areas within the changing rooms to keep everyone apart. It’s excellent! They gave us different colour wristbands to wear which showed a time slot. We were allowed two hours in the pool areas and we could take two visits per break. All pre-bookable via the internet. You HAVE to book everything and the place is completely cashless. 

 

Well done Center Parcs. I’m impressed.  I’m still nervous.  And we have watched the usual TV for the first time in years. We usually stick to YouTube or Netflix and yet there aren’t those channels here, just the depressing news and other anxiety-fuelling shows.  I don’t like them but the news has brought us up to date. Things in the Covid world are not looking good right now but those who are doing what they can, however they can, are doing a brilliant job.


I've never slept so well!


 

During our Spa time, I was shocked that a guest said to a staff member, ‘it’s a pain that we can’t use the saunas isn’t it.’

‘Yes, but I promise you we are following guidelines and doing all we can to make sure we get everything open as soon as we can. The management are almost in tears over it.’

I felt sad.  How sad this situation is. How so many are affected by it.

 

But we have something. Anything right now is better than nothing.  I will be creating a YouTube video soon detailing how I found the trip and the crazy energy shift I have had since then. 



Aqua Sana was a very special experience

Some fun times





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