Europe Center Parcs

(31 Posts)
sm2012 Sat 29-Oct-16 13:12:02

Hi,

Hoping to book to go to one of the European Center Parcs next summer, anyone been before and got any tips? Would also be interested in discount codes!

Thanks in advance x

pinkchampagne1 Sun 30-Oct-16 16:53:25

We went to De Vossemeren in Belgium at the end of August and loved it! Only around a 3 hour drive from Calais. It was quieter than we have found the UK Center Parcs so had a more relaxed feel. The pool was almost identical to the one at Elveden but again it was quieter so nobody was bashing into you on the rapids and queues for slides were short. They also have a fantastic indoor play area (no extra charge) which you can easily spend half a day at if you have children. We found drinks and activities cheaper than the UK and you get 3 free toppings if you book early which can be exchanged for 3 activities.

Don't think they do discount codes but you get an early booking discount of 20% if you book 6 months or more in advance. Sometimes you can get a family discount on top but this is not always available for peak times. End of August was a very cheap time to go but I have noticed the prices are higher for next year, possibly because the schools out there go back a bit later. The best deals tend to be at times were the European holidays differ from the UK holidays. May/June half term is a good time to book. The French Center Parcs tend to work out best value then (nearest is called Le Lac something and is 2.5 hours from Calais) as they don't have a school holiday in May/June.

My tips would be to book the best accommodation you can as the comfort lodges are very basic. We went VIP which was nice. It included a sauna, nice rain shower and jacuzzi bath in the bathroom. You also get fresh rolls delivered daily which was nice.

You get a hob, microwave and if you go VIP you also get a big barbecue, but you don't get an actual oven in any of the European Center Parcs so go with this in mind and take things you can cook on the hob or barbecue. We made fajitas one night and had a barbecue the other night. We ate out the other two evenings.

Hope that helps a bit. We loved it so much that we have just booked the other Belgium Center Parcs (Erperheide) for Feb half term. De Kempervennen in Holland is another popular choice as it has an indoor ski dome.

pinkchampagne1 Mon 31-Oct-16 09:30:00

Forgot to mention that you also get to choose your location for free by booking early. We chose to be near the centre which was great.

Spadequeen Mon 31-Oct-16 09:33:30

Just got back from port zelande in the Netherlands. Great time. Usually go to de kempervenan which I think is better. Have also visited de vossermeren, was only there for a few hours so can't really comment.

For discounts either book early or risk it with a last minute booking but then you can't guarantee which park or accommodation.

9troubledwaters Mon 31-Oct-16 09:34:51

They are brilliant & much cheaper than UK ones. We had a fantastic week at le bois in Normandy for 500 euros for the week! It was a last minute deal.
We've been to several in Belgium too. The only one I wouldn't recommend is port Zealand in Holland. Its an old holiday park that's been turned into a centre parks with a few palm trees

LyndaNotLinda Mon 31-Oct-16 10:12:35

The microwaves in the VIP cottages have a crisp function which actually works so you can do bacon etc in it. The free rolls are enough for breakfast and lunch (I think we had 3 per person!).

I don't think I'd go back to UK centerparcs again - the European ones are much better value

pinkchampagne1 Mon 31-Oct-16 12:14:08

We preferred De Vossemeren to Elveden in the UK. The whole place had a more relaxed feel and not only was it cheaper to book but drink and activities were loads cheaper than the UK Center Parcs. There was also more for children to do for little or no extra cost. The pirate cove play area was amazing and they had another area with go-karts, bumper cars, trampolines etc which only required €2 tokens each go.

boobyooby Mon 31-Oct-16 12:16:02

We've done Lac L'Aillette (sp?) a few times now and prefer it to the UK ones. About a 2 1/2 - 3 hours from Calais. Kids still talk about it 3 years later as one of their best holidays.

pinkchampagne1 Mon 31-Oct-16 15:16:36

Good to hear you enjoyed Le Lac d'Ailette, boobyooby. We were tempted to give that one a try as it only works out around £400 for a 4 night break during May half term and it works out the shortest drive.

sm2012 Mon 31-Oct-16 20:27:20

Thanks everyone, some great tips! We're thinking of booking De Vossemeren so good to hear some positive things about it. Always end up reading the one star reviews on trip advisor which is never a good thing!

I'd read somewhere else about there being no oven, bit weird but if you know in advance it's not a disaster. I've also read about plastic covers on the mattresses, are these still a thing and if so are they unbearble?!

I've priced it up for a week and it is much cheaper than UK Center Parcs but I'm wondering how cheap it is really now that the pound isn't as strong as it has been.

Spadequeen Mon 31-Oct-16 22:52:22

It's still cheaper than the U.K.!

LyndaNotLinda Mon 31-Oct-16 23:19:39

We didn't have plastic covers on the mattresses!

My tip is that if you want a golf cart, book one in advance.

Madcats Mon 31-Oct-16 23:19:41

DD9 LOVES swimming...would happily swim until she is a prune...so build this in to reviews. If there is a pool, she is happy. If she can cycle a bit, she is happier. If there is a wave pool and water slides....life is good

We also did De Vosermeren at the end of August (526 euros for Mon-Fri 2 beds prem apt) We were there just as the locals were going back to school (so it was noticeably quieter from mid week). We booked early (because DH wanted to go to the GP...though we stayed locally for that). There were discounts/family discounts and upgrades to be had.

I seemed to be able to book durations other than 3 weekend or 4 midweek when we booked.

If the euro/GBP prices are getting a bit too high i might be worth fiddling with dates to include budget hotels etc.

pinkchampagne1 Tue 01-Nov-16 08:46:25

De Vossemeren is a good choice - we loved it there and really didn't want to go home at the end of the week!

I didn't notice any plastic covers on the mattresses either. The beds were really comfortable in our VIP lodge. I have a feeling the plastic covers may be in the most basic (comfort) lodges.

Not sure when in the summer you are looking to go but the cheapest time is the summer half term at the end of May as the Belgium children are still at school then. We have booked Erperheide (the other Center Parcs in Belgium) for Feb half term and it has cost us £490 for 4 nights in a VIP lodge compared to over £900 for the same 4 nights at Elveden.

Erperheide is around a 30 min drive from De Vossemeren and De Kempervennen is also nearby. You can spend a day in either (or both) of these parks while staying at De Vossemeren and use all their facilities if you fancy a change. You just swap your swim pass for the day. We plan a day or two at De Vossemeren while we are staying at Erperheide.

pinkchampagne1 Tue 01-Nov-16 16:36:39

Even though the pound isn't as strong, I think you will find it lots cheaper than the UK Center Parcs, not just to book but also the cost of activities, drinks etc while you are there.

Spadequeen Tue 01-Nov-16 18:04:45

Will add the food is dire. Expensive and shit, so we cooked our own.

Yika Tue 01-Nov-16 18:09:23

I've been to De Vossemeren and De Kempervennen, enjoyed both but preferred De Kempervennen because it had an indoor ski centre. Pirate cove play area good at DV though and makes it good for a winter break.

I confirm the food is appalling. (But who goes to CP for the food?)

Spadequeen Tue 01-Nov-16 18:10:03

😄

pinkchampagne1 Tue 01-Nov-16 19:36:36

We actually enjoyed the Italian restaurant. Didn't rate the grill place though and thought it was very overpriced. The buffet restaurant didn't look that appealing either so we decided to give it a miss.

bloodypassword Thu 03-Nov-16 12:29:35

The food at de kempevennen was very good! There a great shop on site (not cheap, but hey, what do you expect) and they stock a wide range of foods, incl stuff for veggies and vegans. The restaurants we used were very good - far better than I had anticipated.

SugarMiceInTheRain Thu 03-Nov-16 12:33:57

We've been to Erperheide and Port Zelande - the latter is quite different from typical CP due to it previously being something else, and CP taking it over, so the accommodation was less uniform - we were in a quirky one bedroom 2 storey terraced cottage looking onto the lake. Enjoyed our stay there, but the facilities at Erperheide were better (we've done Erperheide twice). I wouldn't bother with a UK CP trip now as it's just as good if not better on the continent, and so much cheaper.

Minstrelsareyum Thu 03-Nov-16 12:55:10

De Vossemeren! Absolutely brilliant. First ever trip. Lovely park with lovely lakes and lots of brilliant activities. The aqua swim dome was excellent and we could easily have spent our entire week there. Go for a VIP lodge for all the extra bits such as rain shower, jacuzzi, sauna, free rolls/croissants etc. The children's welcome packs (8 euro each) are great. Take your own pillows though. They are very lumpy! The lack of oven was not a problem. Restaurants nice for a couple of evenings but the kitchen facilities so good you don't need them really. The barbeque was an added bonus. Shops not too expensive either.

One tip - if travelling by car from Dunkirk or Calais, avoid driving ANYWHERE near Antwerp at all costs. It has a reputation as one of the worst cities to drive around in Europe and we were delayed by two hours.

LyndaNotLinda Thu 03-Nov-16 13:04:16

Unfortunately Minstrels - if you want to go to de Vossemeren (or any of those Belgian/Dutch border CPS), you either have to take the ringroad around Antwerp or the ring around Brussels. Last time we went via Brussels as Antwerp had been painful on the previous trip and it was MUCH worse.

If I were going on a Friday again, I think I would cross the night before (or very early in the morning) so that you get to the Antwerp/Brussels ring by mid morning. If you get there about lunchtime or later, it's miserable.

sm2012 Thu 03-Nov-16 20:34:17

We've booked De Vossemeren for August, so pleased to have something booked and looking forward to seeing what it's like. We went for a premium lodge as the VIP ones were about €300 more. Not looking forward to traffic jams, will have to research that a bit more and see what time we can realistically get there. Good to hear some of you have really enjoyed De Vossemeren, the activities for the kids look great. I've bought the activity voucher for them so they get three to choose from a list of about eight. I haven't as yet booked the breakfast delivery, it was €70 per adult and you have to book it for at least two adults which would make it about £125 for the week which I thought sounded a bit much when you could go down the road to Lidl...is it worth it those who have been and had this?

LyndaNotLinda Thu 03-Nov-16 20:53:47

I don't think it's worth booking breakfast - it's just included in the VIP lodges but I wouldn't have bothered if I'd had to pay extra. Just stop off at Lidl on the way and get cereal etc. They do fresh rolls/croissants in the shop so if you're reasonably close, you can pop in and get some (and each cottage is supplied with a shopping trolley) if you fancy.

Also make sure you check in online and get your e-voucher confirmation so that you can drive straight into the park when you arrive.

But there's a toaster in the cottages so you can have toast, full english and cereal without leaving the house smile

Are you going Friday - Friday? I think if you can get to Antwerp by 11-12ish, you're probably fine but that does obviously mean getting a v early shuttle with the time difference. It's probably worth it though. Last time we were on a 10.30 shuttle and didn't arrive until 6.30 when we were decidedly frazzled and pissed off.

The activities are good - all the staff speak really good English so even if they're the only English kids, they can join in.

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