During the third closure at Whinfell Forest, colleagues found themselves tidying old drawers and cupboards, jobs they wouldn’t normally have the time to complete when the village is operational. Joe Thompson, Duty Village Manager, came across old printed photographs that dated back to the early Oasis days in the late 90s when the village first opened. Joe experienced a wave of nostalgia looking back at how the village has grown and the number of changes we have made and has shared these fun memories with fellow colleagues who have been working at Whinfell Forest for over 20 years.
Having been inspired by the ‘how it started, how it’s going’ trend, Joe came up with a unique concept to showcase the old snaps. He has called it ‘Dear Photograph’ where he visited the location and carefully held the photograph in the same place, taking a trip down memory lane.
“It was really cool to look back and see how far the village has developed over the years, Sports Plaza and Lakeside inn opened my eyes! It’s hard to believe that next year is the 25th anniversary since we opened. I’m confident that we could do the same thing in 10 year’s time and get a similar effect!” – Joe Thompson.
Whinfell Forest opened in 1997 as Oasis, with a bare Village Centre or what was originally called the Butterfly Centre. There were no shops like we have today, no Treats to buy your favourite fudge or chocolate. We had a Burger King, Pizza to Go and even a cinema which also offered church services! Huck’s American Bar and Grill have had many variations, the Great American Disaster, Hard Rock Café and Rock Legends. What is now Guest Services, once hosted a gift shop called Natural Elements and on the back is where the Medical Centre use to be. Sports Café wasn’t always two levels and opened up onto the walkway, having an equipment collection desk where Starbucks currently is.
Since Center Parcs took over in the early 2000’s we have added our own touch and now have our strong branded restaurants including The Pancake House, hundreds of activities for all ages to enjoy and improved our accommodation portfolio having recently built four stunning Treehouses!
It’s fair to say that Whinfell Forest has experienced lots of changes and improvements and brought back happy memories to colleagues who have been on this journey.
We know some of our guests have also been on this journey with us and have been visiting since the Oasis days. We would love to hear your stories and memories of your visits, please share your images with us and tag us using the hashtag #mycp.