Head to a winter wonderland
IF YOU'RE looking for a Christmas getaway then look no further than the Center Parcs Holiday Village at Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire – and this festive season there's added sparkle.
The village has been transformed into a winter wonderland and with twinkling lights, glittering decorations and Santa's Woodland Workshop, the forest comes alive with the anticipation of Christmas.
And whether there's a sparkling frost, or crisp covering of snow, you're guaranteed to be staying in the lap of luxury.
Lodges are available that are fully equipped with everything from DVD players to dishwashers, and some even come with a sauna, hot tub or games room.
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You can even stay in a treehouse if your budget stretches that far. We stayed in a Woodland Lodge which was more than adequate to fulfil our family of three's needs.
There are many activities available to choose from and to suit all ages – from archery to zumba classes, there's something for all the family. You can hire a bike, canoe on the lake or enjoy a leisurely stroll around the woods – making the most of the great outdoors has never been such fun.
But there's plenty of fun inside too. Included in the holiday price is unlimited use of the Subtropical Swimming Paradise where there is a toddler pool, wave pool and whirlpool to be enjoyed as well as the wild water rapids, canyon ride and flumes for those feeling a little more adventurous.
You can spend all day in the Subtropical Swimming Paradise as there are refreshments available from The Canopy Cafe and Starbucks inside. It might be cold outside, but there's a warm glow indoors.
And a trip to Center Parcs isn't complete without a visit to the Aqua Sana Spa. I spent an afternoon in the luxurious spa area, which includes a pool and more than 15 different spa experience rooms, which include a Japenese Salt Steam Bath, Greek Herbal Bath and Water Beds, and left me feeling thoroughly relaxed.
It is also worth treating yourself to a treatment at the spa.
I had a luxury manicure and a Decleor Moisture Quench facial which aimed to make me feel renewed and relaxed ... and they sure did. Performed by highly trained therapists and using the best products available, all are available to men and women.
While all the different types of accommodation have fully-equipped kitchens, you may not feel like cooking on your holiday – but with a choice of restaurants which include Cafe Rouge (French), Strada (Italian), Hucks (American Diner) and a Pancake House, as well as Dexters Kitchen, which provides takeaways which can be delivered straight to your accommodation, there's every reason to treat yourself to a meal or two out.
We ate at the Strada restaurant where we were treated to an Italian delight. The food and service were both second to none. Being part of the Winter Wonderland, each restaurant/bar/cafe has festive themed food and drinks on the menu to whet your appetite (the luxury hot chocolates with a flake, whipped cream and marshmallows is a personal favourite!).
Extra sparkle and twinkling lights are provided by the fabulous displays around the village and if that isn't enough to get you into the Christmas spirit then the live reindeer and visit to Santa's Woodland Workshop or festive carriage ride surely will.
Whatever your age, and however active you're feeling, Center Parcs is the perfect getaway all year round.
For more information, or to book a short break over the festive period at Center Parcs, call 08448 267 723 or visit www.centerparcs.co.uk
Short breaks at Center Parcs in 2013 (from January to March) start from £249.