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Is Center Parcs any good? Which is the best to stay at?

Posted 5th Jan 2009
We are thinking about going to center parcs in the next 2 months or so - we have never been before. Is it good or like Butlins? Are some of the parcs better then others ( we would be coming from London). What are the apartments like - we would need at least a 3 bed - would you go for just what you need or a bigger one ( i.e are they tiny?) I have seen some large lodges on the site. Does anyone have any good advice about staying there? Really want to have a good experience or uisband won't take us all there again and I know some people go year after year so there must be something good about them. Thanks very much.
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In talking to a variety of people, opinions seem very mixed with the high price of the holiday plus the fact that everything else costs money once you get there putting many people off.

Personally I like it simply because you're tucked into the forest and have all the facilities you want a short walk or cycle away. No cars are allowed to be used within the park (bar on entry/exit or those with disabled passengers) which is a great aspect, most people use bikes to get around. It's particularly good if you have a dog as you have the forest actually right on your doorstep which our spaniel loved getting out into as well as squirrels and hedgehogs visiting regularly.

As a family of six plus a dog, we got on fine with the three bedroom villa although it does depend on the age of your children. The lodges have a practical layout which meant despite not looking that big on paper they were actually surprisingly practical and comfortable. I've only stayed at Sherwood forest and Longleat, annoyingly the ex-Oasis one that's closest doesn't allow dogs. Of those two I preferred Sherwoord Forest as it's more level, Longleat is very up and down which makes it difficult to get anywhere as it's usually steep cycle up and down. As you're coming from London though I appreciate Sherwood Forest is much further away.

Center Parcs is fab, in fact we're going next week. We live near the Sherwood Forest one but have also travelled to Elveden and in my experience there's not much point going too far afield as, once you get inside the park, they are all pretty much the same, Sherwood is only 40 minutes away from us but it feels as if we're in a different world.

They are pretty spacious so you shouldn't need any more rooms than necessary and I wouldn't even bother going for the luxury ones unless you can REALLY afford it. Don't get me wrong, they're fab as the MIL paid for us all to stop in one a few years ago, with Sauna and hot-tub but there's absolutely nothing wrong with the basic ones, I wouldn't even pay extra for the comfort-plus.

You can't have a more chilled out, relaxing holiday and I'm sure that once you've been you'll be hooked too!!
heard a lot of good reports :-)

apparently better to take a big party of people to get it cheap :-)
I haven't been to Center Parcs for a while and am thinking of going back again soon. Center parks is very different to Butlins; a lot quiter and more relaxing. All of my best holidays have been there. I have been to Center Parcs at Elveden loads of times (at least 8 I think) and have enjoyed it every time. I have also been to Center Parcs at Longleat forest once which was equally as enjoyable.

For me and my family (and most other people), we spent most of our time at the pool. You should try to get accomodation near to the pool if possible. The main pool and shopping/restaurant area has changed slightly due to the ]fire but is still very nice.

I'm not sure if the layout has changed much now but we liked to stay in or around villa 106 (Elveden) due to it being close to the centre and having great views of the lake.
I love it!!!!!!

if I had my way I'd go several times a year.

Yes the activities are fairly expensive BUT your in the midle of a forrest and the swiming is free. Ankle muncher has a ball and loves all the wild life kicking about

I agree with the accomodation plenty of room in them. Last year we went and there was 6 adults and 2 kids. We stayed in a 4 bed exec and not once did it feel cramped. The year before we had a 3 bed comfort (me , OH and AM and my Mum) again more than enough room. Only thing I would say is the sofa in the exec was comfier. and the dishwash was handy for that many people.

The onsite shop is not bad price wise and we had a squiril that came for breakfast both times. one of them even knocked on the patio door every morning!!!!!

oh we went to Windfell by the way

(bizzarly was looking at another trip when I saw this posted)
I have been to Elveden six times now. I tend to go with my boyfriend for a midweek break each year.

Like others have said, it is pricey and nearly everything costs extra. The only free activity is the pool so if you want to do lots of different things, it soon adds up.

Typically for me and my boyfriend it tends to cost around £250 - £350 for accomodation for us both (we usually go off-peak), about another £100 - £200 each on activities and about another £100 each on food, so it soon adds up.

We arent going back this year because we fancy doing something different but we are going to book a Spa Day with the Aqua Sana which includes a free day pass into Center Parcs so we can spend the day there.

In all, it is a really nice place to go but can cost alot more than you would expect.
We take food with us :oops:
I have only been there on spa breaks and i love it but far too busy and expensive for us to go as a family holiday.
Been to Elveden and Sherwood and think i prefer Elveden.

We take food with us :oops:

So did we, did a shop at Tesco before we went but kept getting tempted to eat out as we couldnt be bothered to cook half the time.

We now tend to stay in an Exec Apartment in the Lakeview Hotel (so no kitchen) and eat out rather than taking a load of food with us but we never get around to cooking!
I LOVE CENTRE PARCS!!! You can get some really good deals out there and there are also last minute deals available directly through the Centerparcs website. We usually go to Longleat as its the closest. I head each one has different plus and minus points. Longleat is quite hilly but has lovely forest and is next door to the safari park.

The initial cost can be a lot especially during the school holidays but as mentioned above the swimming is included in the price and if you like walking then its great. There are some reasonably priced activities but if you take your own bikes as well then its quite easy to fill days up whilst relaxing at the same time.

The last time we went we took the kids and I think in 5 days we only did 2 extra activities (archery and using the babysitting service).

I don't think its like Butlins as its a bit posher (?).
I dont think its actually THAT expensive. If you work it out per person, per day, then it works out cheaper than a nice hotel - with food and activities included and a full villa instead of just rooms.

Last time we went we were in a 2 bedroom executive, monday to friday. We did all of the activities we wanted to do (quite a lot), including a few things in the spa. We ate out most nights and, including the grocery shopping, we spent about £30 per person per night.

We usually go twice a year, once to whinfell and once to sherwood. We have been going (not as frequently) for about 13 years now and still love it. The first time we went we took loads of food (partly because we thought it would be expensive, partly because we are vegetarian and vegan so thought we wouldnt get stuff in the parc market) but we never bothered after that. Its really not that much dearer than tesco etc overall (although some items are) Only thing we take now is bird/squirrel food - because its expensive in the shop but really cheap in home bargains, and we go through a lot of it while we are there!

Apartments are plenty big enough. We always go to the executive ones, but they are not really bigger, just better quality furniture and extras like dishwasher, maid service and sauna. Nothing wrong with the basic ones though, but dad likes having a 2 storey villa

We are going at the end of march, cost under £350 for 3 bedroom executive in whinfell, right next to the village center, mon-fri

Have replied to your PM, but thought I would post here when I saw it incase other people are interested.
ive been to sherwood but now go to whinfell and its great!!! id go time and time agan if i could afford it. swimming is free and take a load of food with you, amazing holiday and childen of any age enjoy it! you'll never here the phrase "i'm bored"........

We take food with us :oops:

Same here, we take our food, don't do any of the activities, just swimming, walking and playing and have the odd hot chocolate out during the week, we usually get by on around £70 spending money for myself, hubby and 2 daughters. Basically you can make it as cheap or as expensive as you want, but when I go to center parcs I go to relax, not to spend all the time sweating and puffed out!!

Same here, we take our food, don't do any of the activities, just … Same here, we take our food, don't do any of the activities, just swimming, walking and playing and have the odd hot chocolate out during the week, we usually get by on around £70 spending money for myself, hubby and 2 daughters. Basically you can make it as cheap or as expensive as you want, but when I go to center parcs I go to relax, not to spend all the time sweating and puffed out!!

Do you find the parc market much more expensive than normal supermarkets? We expected it to be when we first went, but didnt take food after that. We spend a little more than usual but thats because we get more treats than usual. Would say it is about the same as a normal supermarket though (some more expensive but evens out because others are cheaper)
I really really wanna go now!!!! :cry:
I went to Whinfell for the first time last year and hopefully will be going this year.

It wasn't too expensive with the cost of accommodation spread across a few people and the Parc supermarket was about the same price as a corner shop, few pennies more than a big supermarket but not massively so.

Restaurants and activities are a little pricey but you could save money if need be by maybe eating in once or twice and doing free activities like riding (your own) bikes or using the pool.

more blooming old thread bumping

Didn't notice it was a bumped old thread. X)
hi, i went with my mates at sherwood and i must say very super had the best time. very busy on some water slides, but i guess thats the most busy part of centre parcs as it is free as i have onlt been there 1 time.
please comment to me and say which accomadtion, price and family fun, would be the best out of the 3 centre parcs.
I am really fussy with my holidays,and i have been 3 times this yr-love it,always stay in a new style woodland lodge
My fave is longleat-the others r fine {not been to elvedon though}
"is it good like butlins", if you like butlins you will possibly die from being in somewhere vastly better in every way.

Did you go op?
I abosoloutley love it and would definately recommend it to people with kids! Yes it's not cheap but you will have a whale of a time, book lots of activities but not too many as you'll have no time to relax I recommend the treasure hunt if they are little! The swimming paradise is great ( and free ) so overall it is pretty much the best place for a holiday!

I have been to all of them and whinfell is my favourite as it is soo pretty but lots of hills, very interesting
What the......
Lol 5 year revival!
Meanwhile 5 years on....

[image missing]

I have been 3 times now ,a little tip if you have kids i take a large sack of bird seed and feeders holy moly the forest around your lodge will explode with life
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