I promise this is the last of my vacation spamming but we had such a brilliant time at Whinfell Forest Center Parcs I had to split it up in three parts. Part 3 is our final full day at Whinfell Forest but we saved the best for last as you always should do. It was finally time to take our pony carriage ride adorned with bells and wreaths to see Santa and his amazing Winter Wonderland.
The tots were so excited that morning to see Santa that the rain couldn’t stop them from journeying through the woods to get on our pony carriage ride. I couldn’t think of a better way to be taken to the jolly man himself and his amazing workshop. The ponies were beautiful and the carriage ride was such a treat for the tots. They were both a little apprehensive at first but we were lucky enough to share it with another couple that had a boy and girl the exact same ages as Buba and Missy Moo and soon the kids were chatting back and forward about what they wanted for Christmas.
The carriage ride was longer than I thought which was good and worth the money. It was decorated with beautiful wreaths and bells making the whole experience feel so festive. We even had a little race with the pony behind us and won! The kids were all squealing with delight.
As we entered the Enchanted Forest it was like stepping into the North Pole itself. The trees were lined with snow. The kids eyes were twinkling at every corner we turned. The main post office was their favorite especially when we told them this is where all Santa’s letter come to for Santa to read. Buba was especially in awe of the big owl dancing around inside. It was a great little village they set up with huts from Dasher and Dancers house to the Easter bunny having a jolly good time in a house full of treats.Inside Santa’s workshop Buba was a little skeptical about so much going on all at once. Things were jumping out, laughing, singing and gadgets were twisting all around on every wall. His face below says it all, he was utterly perplexed what was going on. Missy Moo clung to her Daddy the entire time as she could hear Santa’s hohoho’s from behind the door.
It was a big difference this year seeing Santa then last year. Last year Missy Moo happily sat on his lap and Buba wouldn’t go near him. This year we had role reversal and Buba sat proudly with the jolly man by himself while Missy Moo wouldn’t go near him. Maybe next year we can finally bribe them both enough to join Santa.
We were greeted outside Santa’s grotto with a group of squeaky red squirrels. The Whinfell Forest is widely known for it’s red squirrels. It was amazing how close they came to everyone and went about their daily lives without even flinching as the hundreds of little feet and strollers roamed passed them. It was only when I realized there was peanuts thrown out everywhere to feed them that I slightly panicked with Buba’s allergies and stirred clear of them after that. But it was great to get a few close up of such a beautiful animal. Sadly, I learned it was the American grey squirrel that bullies them and causing them to be on the protected list. So it was a big joke among Mr P and my mother-in-law that maybe I shouldn’t admit to anyone in Center Parcs I was American too. They think they are so funny. lol
The tots ripped open their Santa gifts and were so grateful for the presents. Even Buba who is more a cars man than a snuggly toy man was thrilled for his “woof, woof”. I love that both my children are so appreciative of the things they are given. They have such big hearts.
After Santa’s grotto, we strolled around the forest a while letting the kids explore and do what they wanted before lunch and naps. Missy Moo was loving her new found freedom to climb everything. She seemed to really grow up over that weekend somehow before our very eyes. It’s funny how a little freedom can do that.
The rain started falling harder than normal so we retreated to the soft play area in the afternoon before dinner. The kids were thrilled to play with other little ones their age. I was really impressed with how big the play area was for the littlest ones and that they had another soft play area for older ones too. We kicked back while Granny ran around with the tots. They have such a strong bond with their Granny and it’s beautiful to watch them love her so much and vice versa.
It was our last night and we couldn’t wait for a nice dinner and to watch the fireworks on the lake. We ate at Bella Italia which was so yummy. I loved their decor on the walls of various old photos and they even had a mini soft play area next to our table for the kids to run while after they finished eating and the adults to have a little sneaky drink before we went to watch the fireworks.
Lucky for us the rain stopped and we all snuggled up next to the lake to watch with excitement the amazing display of fireworks light up the night sky.
It truly was a magical weekend, I can’t wait to go more as the kids get older as there really is so much to do with every age. If you missed part one and part two check out our adventures on day one and two. There is something to do for everyone even the littlest babas. We ended with Santa and fireworks which was the best end to our winter vacation. We have heard so many great things about Center Parcs other locations as well so we are hoping to test a few out in the future. Until then, here is a little summary video of our entire weekend.
Linking up with #CountryKids at CoombeMill