A fantastic place for all the family
My sister and I visited Oasis whinfell forest recently for the purpose of a relaxing weekend. Check in was hassle free and all the staff from arrival to departure were really friendly. Driving to our apartment was a little bit tricky as we got lost but once we figured out the map that we'd been given we were ok !! The Executive apartment that we stayed in was fantastic - well equipped, clean, nicely decorated & overlooking the lake with rabbits and ducks roaming freely outside our window ( not normally our kind of thing but it was cute to see ). There are many different places to eat on site, the prices all seem a little steep at first but the quality of the food when it's served make the extra few pounds worth it. We ate at nearly all the restraunts and couldn't fault any of them for quality.
The On - site Aqua Sana (health spa) was fantastic and the treatments that we had pre booked were amazing, although we were disappointed find that other treatments, only available to book on arrival, were not available. I would highly recommend the Lime and Ginger salt scrub as I have had exfoliation treatments elsewhere before and this is far better then all others (and at only £35.00 it's well worth the money!!!).
Nice break in the woods!
Myself, my wife and our 2 year old daughter enjoyed a Mon - Fri midweek break at Centre Parcs recently.
We found our 4 bedroom "Comfort" Villa to be nice and spacious (especially with only three of us!"). The 4 bedrooms were laid out as one double and three twins. The double was nothing more than two twin beds pushed together with double bedding but was fine. There is an entrance vestibule featuring a toilet and cloaks area, a large open plan main living area and fully equipped kitchen and 8 seat dining table. There are another two toilets one with a bath and one with a shower. Large glass doors lead into a small patio area with brick barbeque (for use with disposable barbeques). There is an open fire in the lounge that is very pleasant when used with the artificial logs that are sold in the "Parc Market".
The location of "Three Oaks" area is perfect as it's a very short walk to both the car park and the village centre. We hired bikes during our visit but beware the area is quite hilly so make sure you get one with gears (I didn't!)
The Village Centre is very impressive with a selection of restaurants including Italian, Chinese, Indian and "Chez Pierre" cafe. There are also a couple of bars and a fast food rerstauruant located within the centre and a Lakeside Bar on the opposite side of the lake. There are also a number of shops selling toys, sweets and mementos. An ATM and digital photo printing service is also available.
The swimming pool complex really is excellent for all ages with a wide range of pools, slides, flumes both big and small and an outdoor area. We were most impressed by this. Pedalos and mini yachts are available on the lake close by.
Prices in the "Parc Market" were pretty favourable as was the selection although the disposable barbeques were available in Morrisons - Penrith at 2 for £3. Parc Market wanted £7 for 1 (slightly bigger but by no means worth it). You can buy the logs for use in your open fire here too at approx £8 for and I can recommend this as it does add to the ambience once night falls.
It was bucketing down with rain a couple of times during our stay but in a funny sort of way this actually enhanced the experience being in the middle of a forest!
Don't expect 5 star luxury in the Villas but they are clean and well enough appointed for you to enjoy a break with a difference. The staff are also very good.
Shabby Accomodation, Run Down Restaurants
Our chalet, which was adapted for disabled use, was in dire need of refurbishment. The main bathroom was badly maintained (disabled seat broken) and smelt of sewerage. Inside was very dark despite sunny days. Sofas and beds were very uncomfortable. Kitchen amenities were lacking in that the half-sized fridge provided is far too small for 6 adults and 2 children (chalet is supposed to sleep up to 8 adults) and the oven would not get up to temperature.
On site shop is well stocked but unnecessarily over-priced. Some of the bars and restaurants are dirty and out-dated, particularly the Lakeside Inn pub which serves terrible food.
The lake is far too small for all the craft that are hired out, the sailing area in particular is pathetically tiny.
However, the staff were all very pleasant and the tropical pool & sports complex were clean and well maintained (although pool was VERY busy everyday until around 5pm).
Kids will love it - your wallet might not!!
We booked a 'comfort' lodge for a mid week break, for 2 adults and 1 child. We all had a great time and it is definitely a brilliant place for keeping children occupied.
We had pre-booked several activities before arrival. I would recommend you do this to avoid disappointment. It also helps plan out your day. My only complaint is that they had the cheek to charge £2 to pre-book! I was not impressed after having phoned an '0870' number an held in a queue for almost 10 mins - I'm sure that cost at least another £2!
The lodge was a good size with 2 bedrooms, open plan kitchen, dining/living area and a small patio whre you could have a BBQ. It was basic but comfortable. Given the price we paid for the stay I was a little disappointed in it. The overall appearance is a bit 'tired' and I think that many of the chalets could do with a bit of 'sprucing up'. I was also a little miffed that they provide you with the absolute minimum in day to day necessites eg 1 toilet roll, 1 dish towel! You must remember to bring your own things as they will charge you extra for everything.
The swimming pool is the only 'free' activity on the complex and was one of the best I've ever been to . Although busy at times, there was plenty to do both for adults and children. The family dryer in the changing room was also popular
Sports complex offers a huge range of activities to suit all tastes. But don't bother with the crazy golf - it was probably the worst course I've ever seen! In dire need of a lick of paint and a tidy up - not worth the money.
We only ate out once - at the Lakeside Inn. Food was much better than we thought. We also attended a couple of the shows. To be honest I wouldn't rush back to these. Basically a young group of singers/dancers churning out cover versions. It was OK but not worth the money. The last night we went to Rock Around the Clock. Food wasn't great but the kids loved the interactive show.
Overall, we had a great time and despite the cost we would go back again. Because you live in the forest and travel everywhere on foot or by bike you tend to forget the outside world for the time you are there, so although hectic with all the activities we did, it was also strangely refreshing!
Some improvements still needed
We stayed here in July 2004 in a comfort lodge/chalet. As other people have commented about more recent stays, we found the accommodation to be tired and shabby. The worst aspect was a large blood stain on one of the mattresses. It is disappointing to read that some of the accommodation is still tired and shabby 2 years later. In general we found the food outlets to be average and not good value for money. The Italian restaurant above the pool was a bit better.
On a more positive note both my daughters enjoyed the sport activities they did. My younger daughter who is now nearly 14, tried fencing and has now joined a club and is starting her 2nd season in competitions. My older daughter tried archery there and is soon going to join a club. Pity they are both such expensive sports! So I would say that Oasis is good for offering opportunities to try new things but that your accommodation can be a hit or a miss unless you go for the most expensive option