This pace scared me rigid. The setting is beautiful, and there are many great things to do for families and people interested in outdoor pursuits. However, it consists of row after or row of identical chalets populated by row after row of all but identical families.
I only stayed one night, for a business meeting - I think the usual stay is a week, so I may not be giving the place a fair review, but I had previously considered bringing my family here and I won't now. Due to my employer being a total skinflint, we stayed in the most basic chalets. They were fine for crashing overnight, but I wouldn't feel comfortable there all week. The decor was showing sever signs of age, and it was not fantastically clean. Service was friendly and charming, if not necessarily skilled.
The dome at the centre of the village is where all the night-time action is. There are a small selection of shops and restaurants, which put me in mind of a very *very* pale imitation of Las Vegas, but it's quite endearing in an English, Cumbrian sort of way. The food was edible, but no gourmet experience. I won't mention the drink.
Cars are not alllowed on site, except for delegated loadind and unloading times once a week, so it is safe for kids to roam about, and any kid would love this place - so much room to explore and play and hook up with new friends. Given that accommodation here is pretty expensive (you could easily get a week abroad for far less) I was surprised to find that activities are not included - you have to pay for bike hire, water sports etc etc. Could be an expensive week for parents of persistent children.
So, I was there for a business meeting, followed by a cheeky drink or 17. We had to be out by 10am on the friday, and this is the bit that scared me. Arising bright and early at 9.45, I walked, hungover down to the car park to pick up my car, past half a mile of identical chalets spewing out identical families packing identical cars with identical kit in deathly silence. Cars filed past as if choreographed. Coaches drew up spilling out trios of identically dressed cleaners. It was like aliens had landed and I was filled by an overhwelming desire to yell obsecnities, or streak, or do anything to break the order.
The place is driven by rules - no cars, walk here, don't walk there, do this, don't do that. So if you don't like being told what to do, give it a miss.
- Also Known As:
- Center Parcs Whinfell Forest Hotel Penrith
- Center Parcs Whinfell Forest Penrith, Cumbria