Al fresco, which is Italian for ‘in the cool air’ is particularly prominent in Mediterranean countries where the weather is decidedly warmer, allowing for large family gatherings in the outdoors. Unsurprisingly this dining trend has made its way over to Britain, along with a penchant for their cuisine, and is now a summer staple for many. Whether it’s a late-evening barbecue or dinner outside, it’s a great way to spend time with family while enjoying the long summer evenings.
If you’re visiting Center Parcs this summer, you can take advantage of the many restaurants and cafés that offer al fresco dining. Besides, if you can’t stay up late eating and socialising while you’re on holiday – when can you?
The Grand Café, Longleat Forest
Visit our contemporary gastropub and enjoy a great all-day food experience in the great outdoors. Set in the Village Square, you and your family can relax and dine al fresco on our large terrace while the little ones enjoy the outdoor play area nearby. For a true taste of a great British summer, afternoon tea is served daily from 3pm to 6pm. Or to add a bit of sparkle to your break, why not try the summer Bellini from our Summer Specials menu? A beautiful blend of passionfruit and Prosecco, it’s the perfect way to enjoy our forest setting.
The Lakeside Inn, Whinfell Forest
As the name suggests, The Lakeside Inn is the perfect place at Whinfell Forest to soak up the views of the magnificent lake. Serving light and main meals through breakfast, lunch and dinner – as well as an impressive drinks menu – you can enjoy the outdoor seating and watch as the world goes by. Why not take advantage of the sunspot as your little ones enjoy a watersports activity in the lake, or sit back and relax while they tackle our indoor soft play area?
Foresters’ Inn, Elveden and Sherwood Forest
Sit back and soak up the summer in the welcoming and contemporary setting. Foresters’ Inn at Elveden Forest and Sherwood Forest offers freshly produced classics from breakfast through to dinner, as well as a fantastic children’s menu – perfect for the smallest of critics! The outside dining terrace is the perfect spot during the summer months; choose from the vast menu and dine al fresco, or enjoy a cool glass of wine while the little ones take on the indoor soft play area. Foresters’ Inn at Sherwood Forest, right, is close to The Nature Centre, making it the perfect place to dine before or after an activity.
The Shearing House, Woburn Forest
Take in the view of our lake and surrounding forest as you dine on the outdoor terrace at The Shearing House. New to Center Parcs, The Shearing House at Woburn Forest offers a varied food and drinks menu, complete with locally sourced ingredients. The contemporary British bar and restaurant is open from breakfast through to a late dinner; indulge in the delectable Afternoon Tea menu or simply enjoy a refreshing drink in the sunshine.
In your Lodge
Did you know that every Lodge at each Center Parcs Village comes equipped with a brick-built barbecue? Dining on the patio until the sun goes down is a family favourite here at Center Parcs, and as our Village supermarket, ParcMarket offers essentials such as coal trays, butchers’ meat packs and salads, all you need to do is work up an appetite. And with more than 200 indoor and outdoor activities available, we doubt that will be a problem! To ensure your family barbecue doesn’t go up in smoke, make sure you read Group Executive Chef James Haywood’s top tips. Or, if you’re in need of some inspiration, his selection of barbecue recipes are sure to get your mouth watering.