One of the things I love about Center Parcs, and one of the reasons we keep going back, is the opportunity to have a really adventurous type of holiday in the comfort and safety of an enclosed village style resort. While not cheap, the activities are well organised and lots of fun, making it an ideal place to try something new with your family and friends. For example I don’t think I would ever have tried Cable Ski if I hadn’t seen it at Center Parcs (if you haven’t read my Cable Ski at Center Parcs post you should, it’s one of my favourite bucket list experiences of all time).
Over the years I have ticked several of my bucket list items off when on holiday at Center Parcs, and I plan to do at least one more when we go later this year. I’ve been asked a number of times since my Center Parcs Elveden Hints and Tips post to tell you more about the Quad Bike and Segway experiences I tried; it seems lots of you are interested in having a go, and I would definitely recommend both. I’ll start with the Segways here and you can read about the Quad Bikes here.
LincsGeek and I have always loved Segways. What a great way to pootle about large places – the staff (sorry, “imagineers”) use them at Disney’s Epcot, and that is just perfect. We first had a go thanks to a birthday present experience voucher at Thoresby Hall way back in 2011 (read about it here), and had a great time weaving through the grounds of this grand stately home. Since then we have wanted to have another go, and as with the Cable Ski we’d seen other people racing around the perimeter fence on them at Elveden Forest during previous short breaks, and so decided to book it.
Me and LincsGeek playing on the X2 Segways, with LincsGeek’s mum cycling behind.
The Segway Experience is based at the Outdoor Activity Centre which is close to the entrance and carpark and has (as you would expect) plenty of cycle parking, toilets and changing rooms, and somewhere to sit while you wait. Once you have signed your life away, which seems to be the norm these days for any kind of activity, you get yourself kitted out in required safety gear – a helmet (cycle helmet type), knee and elbow pads (which may or may not match, I don’t think that matters) and of course a high vis vest. The group size is up to five people, and each person gets their own Segway to play with.
After some instructions and a quick demonstration you go around a circular path within the fence surrounding the Outdoor Activity Centre to get used to the machine. Having been on a Segway before LincsGeek and I got used to them quickly, it really doesn’t take much time as they are so simple to use – learn forward on the handlebars to go forward, stand upright to stop, lean back to reverse. The more you lean the faster you go, so it is completely in your hands. Once the instructor was happy the four of us (we were with another couple) had got the hang of things, he lead us out of a gap in the low down fence, along the paths between the really nice villas, and eventually into the woodland areas of Center Parcs proper.
We followed the perimeter fence around the edge of the village, and pootled along as fast as we wanted, enjoying the varied terrain of the forest floor. We bounced along, through puddles, over tree roots, up and down banks and over ruts. LincsGeek and I raced each other although I swear his Segway was faster than mine… I put it down to him being a bit heavier than be but I have nothing to base that on it just sounds logical, I think!
The four of us in the group were getting on really well with the machines, laughing and joking as we rode the Segways around. The instructor even commented we’d got a lot further along the path than most groups get, which shows they work at the pace of the group rather than following a set speed, a very good thing. We also had time to play on a large mound that was quite close to our villa, going up and down the very steep bank (must have been five to six foot high).
Up and down a steep mound – leaning forward to go down the bank was interesting.
Soon our time slot was up and we had to head back to the Outdoor Activity Centre and return our Segways so the next group could go out. It had been a really fun 45 minutes, dare I say a lot better than our first experience of this mode of transport a few years ago at Thoresby Hall. The Segways themselves were brilliant, but the experience was made all the better thanks to the instructor being relaxed and allowing us to have a giggle as we rode along.
Left enough of a gap between myself and LincsGeek so I didn’t get splashed!
The Segways are great for anyone I reckon – if you can stand up then you can ride one successfully. Center Parcs put a minimum age of 12 years on the activity and there are weight restrictions to check, too. An outdoors activity that’s great for (just about) the whole family, and perfect if you’re there as a couple or group of friends as it’s an activity you can do together. We enjoyed it so much we have booked to do it again this summer, and will be introducing some other family members to it.
The Segway Experience at Center Parcs Elveden is 45 minutes long in total and currently costs £30 per person (cost for May 2015: note Center Parcs activity pricing sometimes alters depending on the season and time of day).