The ingredients for a successful weekend break with kids, I've discovered, are a comfortable lodge with a hot tub (my boys would still be in it today if it was an option), a wide range of organised activities for both kids and parents, overseen by well-trained, enthusiastic staff, a swimming pool with a flume, and stacks to do nearby. And, of course, the bank manager mustn’t frown (too much)…
'We spent a day cycling alongside cows and wild horses in the most beautiful setting – not an everyday experience for my London- born and -bred sons.'
Oakdene Forest Park offers activities of the kind you’ll find at Center Parcs but at a more affordable level. The boys and I tried fencing, archery and body zorbing (which involves clambering inside a massive balloon-like contraption in a field), but other options included crossbow, football, kayaking in the pool, quick cricket, Water-walkerz, evening activities and sea scooters (powered submersibles).
An added bonus is Oakdene's amazing location on the edge of Hampshire's New Forest. We spent a day cycling alongside cows and wild horses in the most beautiful setting – not an everyday experience for my London- born and -bred sons.
We were busy throughout our break, interspersed with spells in the hot tub. For those planning a longer stay, the New Forest and surrounding area have masses on offer, including a Go Ape! treetop adventure site, Beaulieu and the National Motor Museum, cycling and walking routes, dry-slope skiing and lovely beaches in Bournemouth and Poole.
Read more about Oakdene Forest Park.