We left at just after 9am this morning and had a fairly easy journey. We stopped at Trowell services (J25-J26 M1) where we had drinks and cakes. We arrived at Center Parcs at 11:45. We were very quickly through arrivals where we collected our keys. Then we were off to the car park, this is not as well arranged as Elveden Forest. The car park was full and we spent 15 minutes driving round and round the narrow rows looking for people leaving and avoiding all the other cars doing the same. We eventually found a space and unloaded the bikes. We rode into the village and secured the bikes in one of the many bike parks and walked into the village square.
The first thing that struck was how cramped the village felt compared to Elveden. We eventually found Huckleberry’s, (I thought it was supposed to be refurbished and re-opened as Huck’s Diner in June,) and were shown to a table. Huckleberry’s at Sherwood is about half the size of Hucks at Elveden. After waiting for about 10 minutes, someone finally came to ask us if we were ready to order – ready to order, I was nearly ready to leave. Jo and I had ‘Hogging it’, a bun with roast pork, apple sauce, onions and chips. It was fine, the kids had chicken nuggets and chips. After our table had been cleared, we were left the bill. Again, I spent the next 5 minutes or so tring to catch our waitresses eye to pay. Eventually one of the other waitresses while passing asked if she could deal with it for me. First impressions were not starting out well.
After we had eaten we collected the bikes and went exploring until it was time to get into the villa at 3pm. I left Jo and the kids at the villa, while I rode back to the car park to collect the car. This was a much better approach than previous years when I had to walk back to the car. We were able to unload the car very quickly, which meant when I got back to the car park, it wasn’t as difficult to find somewhere to park; other people were still unloading at their villas.
The villa was fine, the standard layout for a comfort plus villa, with the usual features. We were quickly unpacked and settled in. I was able to wander around for a while with my camera.
About 5.45 we headed off to the village to get something to eat. As we had always done at Elveden, we headed for Huckleberry’s, but when we got there, the first available table was at 8pm in 2 hours time. We left there and headed off to the Pancake House; in the Forest News paper left in our villa, it invited us to ‘join us on Saturday, Wednesday and Monday between 6pm and 8:30pm for a traditional Fish and Chip evening Available as eat in or take away!’ Imagine how impressed we were to arrive there at 6:15pm and find the place locked and in darkness with no sign of staff. I guess either the times or days printed were wrong, either that or its lucky dip if they open. Walking back to the village, we passed another family going the opposite direction, as they were passing we overheard their daughter saying that it wasn’t as well laid out as Elveden Forest. Jo and I burst out laughting; just what we had been saying earlier.
We popped into the ParcMarket to get some essentials like breakfast cerials and milk. The ParcMarket is a well stocked little supermarket, I know I keep comparing to Elveden, but it didn’t seem as big. We packed up with the intention of heading to the Foresters Inn at the Country Club, but we ended up ordering pizzas at the new ‘Dining In’, this allows you to order Chinese, Indian or Italian food, although to be honest, Italian is just pizzas. While we were waiting for the pizzas, Jo popped into Huckleberry’s to book a table for tomorrow night. You can’t actually book a table in person, you have to use their booking system. There was a booking point in Dining In, so Jo started to book this before she found that we had to pay a Â£1 per person reservation fee. We decided this was a taking the pi$$, so we would make sure we got there when they opened tommorrow night. The pizza didn’t take too long to cook and then we struggled to get the pizzas on Jo’s bike rack without squashing them too much, but managed to get them back to the villa in edible state.
The beds in the villas are Sealy Forest Dreams beds that Center Parcs commissioned Sealy to design for them and are very comfortable.
Looking at the Sherwood Village Plan Your Break guide, it appears that the Fish Night at the Pancake House is on Tuesday and Friday. I think they need to correct the information that they leave in the villas to actually reflect what is available; it will save a lot of people getting frustrated.