Which Center Parcs: Sherwood, Woburn or Whinfell?

   You might remember that we came back from Center Parcs a week or so ago. This time we decided to travel a bit further afield and headed to Woburn Center Parcs instead of Sherwood Forest or Whinfell which is where we normally go as these are the closest, most northernly Center Parcs. Woburn really is a Center Parcs aimed at the Londoner but if we include that in “Northern” because it’s north of London then that gives me three Center Parcs to choose from.

I thought as we’ve got the three I would write a “which Center Parcs for Northerners” post. Which is what this is right here!

So, which Center Parcs to visit? Let’s go.

Which Center Parcs has the best pool for children? WOBURN.

Yeah, it’s totally Woburn Forest for the win here. Not only is the Center newer and therefore has the top facilities, but there is a large baby/toddler pool with slides, an awesome kids pool with slides, the wave pool is not too deep, even though it’s the main pool and the whole place is easily viewable for parents. It was just better. The only complaint was the kids have to be over 1.22m to go on ALL the bigger rides. Which was a let down for Toby, they would have been better having two at 1.22m and 1 at say 90cm. Still, it was a winner for me.

Which Center Parcs has the best play areas? SHERWOOD.

I was surprised by the size of the play areas at Woburn as I expected loads. There weren’t loads, well, there was but they were actually rather small in comparison to Sherwood. Sherwood has two big outdoor play areas that we always really enjoy and the Hucks play area at Sherwood is fab, as is the Forester’s Inn and just generally they are better. I didn’t see any play area in Rajinda, Las Iganuas and we didn’t go into Strada but overall my kids preferred Sherwood ply areas.

Which Center Parcs is best for Activities? A TIE.

Yeah, it’s a tie. The biggest issue I had with Woburn activities was that all pool based ones were early morning, which is crap. If you compare the facilities though to Sherwood or Whinfell, it wins hands down. It really does. It’s got fancy and new, they have well used and ever-so-slightly more tired. Whinfell is especially tired.

Which Center Parcs is best for customer service? WOBURN

Customer service at Woburn was amazing. It truly was. I can honestly say in second place for us in Whinfell, it surpasses Sherwood who, to be totally blunt, always seem to have something not right. The restaurants, pool and bar staff are phenomenal in all of the complexes but as for guest services I do think an overall was Woburn. When one of the staff members heard it was Reuben’s birthday they bought us a free brownie whilst we ate food and they couldn’t tell him Happy Birthday enough. It was great. Sherwood always lets us down because we invariably have issues with the hot tub or sauna and they are slower than slow to rectify it.

Which Center Parcs is best for accommodation? WOBURN (unless you want a treehouse and then SHERWOOD!)

My only complaint with Woburn is that they didn’t have treehouses, everything else was magnificent. The accommodation was beautiful, the maid service was amazing and the facilities worked which is more than I can say for Sherwood. That being said, if you want the ultimate luxury of a treehouse (and we’ve never been in one because I’m not inclined to pay with such young kids who want to be out in the pool 90% of the day, but I would with teens or as adults) then you have to go the Sherwood. From what I have heard, the treehouses there are astounding and truly worth the splurge. Having stayed in ultra basis accommodation in both Sherwood and Whinfell, Sherwood beats it by a landslide. Newer, better… just better.

Which Center Parcs for the spa? WOBURN

It’s the newness of it. There are so many spa areas at Woburn that it can’t really be compared to the others it just is bigger and better. There is only one draw back: it’s busier. Because it’s so big and it’s open to the public (as are the others) it’s seems to have lots of London day-goers and some of the facilities were first come first serve and it was super hard to get to them. Book in the afternoon.

Which Center Parcs for Cyclists? SHERWOOD or WHINFELL

We’re not cyclists. I’ll let you know that now; we take scooters for the kids and we do NOT hire bike but I do think that Sherwood and Whinfell has more options for cyclists than Woburn. Woburn seemed more for people to have a walk and enjoy the facilities.

Which Center Parcs for restaurants? ALL OF THEM.

If you like Mexican, go to Woburn, if you like pub grub, Whinfell or Sherwood. They all had their perks but the food is the same at all three. It really doesn’t have much difference at all.

Which Center Parcs in bad weather? WHINFELL

Yes!! Whinfell hands down, it’s under a dome and it’s all inside really. I love that, if you are going in a winter month then it doesn’t ever seem too crowded anywhere because it’s all under cover.

Which Center Parcs for Christmas? I can’t decide.

The bonus of Whinfell is that it’s all indoors and the god awful cold is kept at bay… the downside to that is if it is really bad weather you might not get home. Bonus to Sherwood is that it sure looks pretty outside and I prefer the Santa village layout but I think it’s six of one and half a dozen of the other.


Ha, yes, I know that it appears I’m saying Woburn hands down BUT I have a big issue with Woburn: it’s so far away for us Northerners. The best thing for me about Center Parcs is that I’m a max of 2 hours away from home at either Whinfell or Sherwood so to travel to them is big easy and quick, I’m not worried about getting back before the traffic, I don’t need to leave early to avoid the drive, I love that we can stay until after dinner, pop the kids in Pjs and head home… at Woburn it’s is a 3 hour drive, which becomes 4 hours when you factor in the M1 traffic. It put a bit of a downer on things knowing that I was going to have to leave early to trek back. So I’m not sure if we wouldn’t cut our losses and just go to one of the others in the future…

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