The last time I visited Centre Parcs, I was ten years old with blonde hair and my most prized possession was my microscooter. As I'm sure you can imagine, a lot has changed since then. That's why when N first invited me for a weekend getaway there with her lovely family, I was initially a little skeptical. What would it be like going as a scooterless 24 year old? Still as freewheeling?
I left work on Friday and boarded a train to Newark Northgate. Once there, I was picked up and quickly we were hurtling in the car through Robin Hood country, gleaming beautifully in the sun. We arrived into the lush greenness of Centre Parcs and at our 8 person 'villa'. I instantly couldn't believe how grand it was, essentially a Scandinavian-style pine mansion. Inside, the decor was dreamy and suitably woods-themed. Outside was our own personal hot tub and sauna/ steam room, framed by the river which swirled behind.
The weekend was a blur of laughter. We all ate lots of food at the many restaurants congregated in the centre (Bella Italia, Cafe Rouge, etc), in the pouring rain of Saturday morning we clambered through the trees on an obstacle course, we zip-wired, we ate more food, we drank wine in the hot tub, we swam through the rapids, we played badminton, we drank coffee, we went bowling, we drank more wine, we read our books, and we genuinely relaxed. It was the most well-rested I'd felt in a while, despite the copious amounts of booze we consumed. Our days were the perfect blend of chilled and active.
My favourite part of was the cycling. It's been so long since I've been on a bike, and venturing around on two wheels was SO MUCH fun. As a non-driver, I liked having independence on the roads, too. It's got me thinking about getting myself a bicycle for city living.
A drawback of Centre Parcs would be that there's not much nightlife to speak of there, which doesn't come of that much of a surprise considering it's a massive family holiday destination. Despite this, I still think it's a perfect place for twentysomethings to have a staycation -- somewhere to rent a big, lovely house, to drink and eat with your nearest and dearest, and to cycle away the commuting blues. I'm already missing the tranquility.