It’s possible to have two completely different kinds of family breaks at Center Parcs, during the same visit.
The first is noisy, busy, exhausting and rewarding.
The second is private, soothing and relaxing.
As a parent the first kind of holiday is the time you spend with your kids.
Whizzing from your accommodation to activity centres on a hired mountain bike, bell ringing every other minute to warn walkers or slower cyclists of your approach, braking to avoid squirrels.
The Subtropical Swimming Paradise, while not featuring much actual swimming, is vast and highly effective for keeping youngsters entertained, while surreptitiously tiring them out.
Rapids catapult you into complete strangers, take you over the edge of steep drops and plunge you into a twisting river-like channel.
Water slides, a wave machine, a baby friendly pool and a toddler centric pirate cove complete the facility at Sherwood Forest.
Along with all manner of outdoor ventures, both sedate and high octane, there’s family staple 10 pin bowling, play parks and indoor sports.
If you don’t feel like cooking, Center Parcs’ village has a number of restaurants, including the brilliant Rajinda Pradesh, an Indian eaterie of genuine quality.
Once the younger members of the group are fed, watered and spent, the second holiday begins.
This is the holiday that sees you open a bottle of wine, crack out the playing cards or a good book and sit down to enjoy the forest tranquillity.
The beauty of the lounge areas in the lodges is that all you can see are trees and woodland creatures.
There are games lodges that come complete with a pool table, and board games if competitiveness takes over.
With an on-site childcare provision, where your kids are given creative and fun bakery sessions, ample soft play areas or simply a cosy place to nap, parents can sneak away to the Aqua Sana Spa for some real relaxation.
More steam rooms with different names and functions than you think possible, water beds, an outdoor pool and pampering treatments soon take your mind off the strenuous nature of parenting on holiday.
And the beauty of it all is that there’s no guilt attached to the second kind of holiday, because the kids will have such a good time doing everything the first entails.
For further information on stays at Center Parcs, call 01623 82740 or visit: www.centerparcs.co.uk/