Is Center Parcs worth the money?

(100 Posts)
perceptionreality Wed 18-Jan-12 10:41:10

Everyone I know goes and says how good it is but it seems really expensive especially as you have to pay for all the activities separately.

Any experience?

Mynxie Wed 24-Apr-13 17:32:17

Just back from Centre Parcs Longleat. My top tip is to take a large frying pan and a slow cooker. We fed a family of six (including a two year old) very easily this way using the frying pan for breakfasts and the slow cooker each evening for our main meal.

Potterer Sun 17-Mar-13 19:09:46

themsthebreaks what if you go at the same time as me and I can't get my villa shock

If you go onto the Centerparcs site and go to the "interactive map" for Elveden it allows you to download or view a very detailed map.

Once you have that open, just under the leisure bowl is a number 1 that is where the zip wire is and runs behind that cluster of villas from 584 to 567. Mine is a 2 bed woodland lodge, so pale grey on the map, that narrows it down enough methinks! Just choose one with a single path then it is just you who walks down it.

Villas next to paths are far less private. I think we printed a map and took it with it us to nosey at which one would be good, and also walked along the backs of them. I think we choose the same villa out of habit now.

My children refuse a birthday party and club their "party" money together for a center parcs holiday! Obviously we top it up to afford to go. There is only 1 month between their birthdays and there is always an inset day around then at our school so we take a Friday out of school and use the inset day on the Monday.

lewi2013 Mon 11-Mar-13 19:22:03

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Still18atheart Sun 10-Mar-13 18:30:38

Yes loved it!! It was reasonable as we went for a weekend in November. So it was off peak.

It worked out to be cheaper than a weekend away at Butlins over the may half term.

The entire family thinks that center parks was 10000% better

themsthebreaks Sun 10-Mar-13 18:23:50

Potterer will you reveal the villa number?! We've been to elveden three times and stayed in same little cluster each time but am always obsessing over which look the best so would be v interested to know which you choose!!

binger Sun 10-Mar-13 18:14:31

We love it and go twice a year. Doesn't work out expensive as we go with 2 other couples. We're paying £800 during summer holidays, we'll pay half as we're using 2 rooms but still think it's reasonable.

Potterer Sun 10-Mar-13 18:03:04

Thought I would wade in on this one, we have been going to CP for 8 years, have been to Whinfell, Sherwood and Elevden and we actually drive past Sherwood to get to Elveden grin

We stay in the same villa each year, it has a single path to our door, no shared path with other villas and due to the angle it is more private than others. We took time out the first time we went to scout out a good villa. It means we don't have to hire bikes as we are a 5 minute walk from the villa into the centre.

My boys are now almost 10 and almost 7, they tend to want to do the same things, so tennis, badminton, bowling, horse riding, rock climbing and of course the swimming pool especially the rapids. The boys take their scooters.

We stay in a woodland lodge, I wouldn't ever recommend staying in comfort o or comfort plus. The comfort plus ones were refurbished and I use the term loosely in 2005. They just replaced melamine white tables with wooden ones and put in a DVD player, and put towels and toilet rolls in the villa, yes you really did have to provide all your own toilet rolls shock

So they then did a proper refurbishment with an interior designer, hence the woodland lodge etc.

We do love CP because the children get a lot out of it. It isn't that relaxing as we are go go go but I enjoy it and I get a lot from the children enjoying it. As much as I would love relaxing on a beach my boys are too active to dig in the sand day in day out. So CPs it is.

MrsBonkers Wed 06-Mar-13 00:34:07

Runaway - Any other tips?
We're going to Longleat next week with DD 2.9

Runwayqueen Sat 02-Mar-13 09:10:04

Arrived home last night from our first visit to CP (Longleat). I have to admit I wasn't looking forward to it, thought we would have shabby tired accommodation, would be stupidly expensive, and busy etc.....

All I can say is, I've been converted. It was a fantastic week, well worth the money. Dd is 2.8 and she had an amazing time, plenty of activities for her (free and paid). Stayed in a 2 bed woodland lodge and it was lovely.

Enjoyed it so much that we are booking again for next year smile

Definitely... you don't have to pay for loads of extras - plenty free stuff to do. But saying that I have only been in term-time so bit more expensive school hols... but it is great fun - certainly feels like abroad/proper holiday!

NanaRamma Mon 25-Feb-13 15:12:24

I couldnt believe the prices they were charging in the little supermarket at the centre parc i went to a while back with my dh and dc. £1.15 for a single bannana - how can they justify that?

yankke

i tend to do it as means i cna give bit of much needed time to my older dc .

ah time out club should be ok language wise ds3 has very little spoken language but they manged and was a few non english speakers

Yankeecandlequeen Tue 24-Jan-12 09:16:06

I did the christmas craft thing before DS was born & it was fun. They haven't been to the timeout clubs (bit of a language barrier when they were young cos we're Welsh) but its not something I'd do anyhow, family holiday & all that. The indoor climing wall was £7.50 for 15 mins (ample time IMO) & the outside one was £15 for 2 hours but it was rather busy. Roller blading was £5.50 for the house which includes the skates & all safety grea like knee/elbow pads & the helmets.

perceptionreality Tue 24-Jan-12 09:10:25

Thanks HumanCatapult. It sounds like there are definitely some things worth booking then.

perception , have a chat with the staff ds3 has sn and they actually gave him 1-1 for the time out club though it is more for the under 8 .

Pool is good , would say the tree treking if you have one that likes heights dont bother booking zip wire as seperat activity as they can do after tree treaking to get down ( fan drop no good as they are to light to whizz down )

The abseiling is good but to get money worth be better if small group by time people climb up the inside then abseil time if busy less time

The indoor climbing wall is good fun , they get to try all 4 climbs on it

10 pin bowling ( book for early session as a lot cheaper )

crazy golf goes down well with mine , kids play i score count

Mine are not fussed by any of teh christams craft activtys but they did seem popular

mind this is all based at Elverden dont now if same elsewhere , your 8 yea rold if sshe is tall enough will have a ball

Archery was fun to ds3 went to time out club and net year she wants to do fencing and cross bow and the aqua jets ( she has activites o granparent rather than xmas presents )

ds2 loved the scuba not cheap especially as he now doing full course at home after the taster

But dd did adore the rapids especially at night , poor ds1 and ds2 took it in turns to go with her

perceptionreality Mon 23-Jan-12 18:46:04

I know what you mean YankeeCandle, I don't mind paying if the activities are fun but I get the impression some of them are a bit naff - I would like to choose things they will enjoy and not have a sense of 'oh is that it?' if that makes sense.

Yankeecandlequeen Mon 23-Jan-12 15:46:15

I came back from CP last Friday having paid only £199 for 4 nights for 2 adults & 3 kids in a 3 bed lodge. I went to Morrisons in Penrith to get a few basics like milk, bread, cheese, crisps, yogurts, ham etc....things for lunch & breakfasts & we ate out at the sports Plaza twice (offer nights) & splurged at the Italian on Wednesday & have a takeout fromt he Parc Market on Thursday & went for a pint & the quiz night at the Lakeside Inn.

Kids did the activities like rollerblading, wall climing, football but I don't go to CP to scrimp such as. i want my kids to have a fab time. There's only so much walking, swimming etc you can do.

perceptionreality Mon 23-Jan-12 14:49:34

Thanks HumanCatapult - I have 3 girls, they are 10 (severe autism), 8 and nearly 3.

perception how old are dc , ?

dd age 8 has done most the outdoor stuff and have to say the staff were great with her as she wanted to do something that recommended adult but i can not do( am in a wheelchair ) so they said there help if needed but she coped fine so she did loads more in the week

have ds1 age 17,ds2 age 14 , dd age 8 and ds3 age 6 ( but more around 3 iykwim)

kids time out club is nice so can get a break the festive little chef was enjoyed as was the fairy and wizards

Christmas wise yes to FC , they also enjoye dthe ELf hunt and bjorn the bear ( last one is a free show ) also herad that the carriage ride is fun to do .Mine also enjoyed looking at the decorations .

Pool we find is lovely and quiet on the Monday from about 1pm as evwryone is busy waiting to get into villas and unpacking and eating . so Monday evening is quiet to smile

WotWot Mon 23-Jan-12 11:46:26

We've been 4 times and we love it. YES, it is expensive but we'd rather do a long weekend with use of the great SubTropical Swimming Pool than a week in a cottage somewhere which is similar prices - esp this time of year. Its a personal choice. We bring our own food but eat out usually once. Kids and us like Hucks. We spend most of the day in the pool and we have never been ill. For the kids, they loved Mammal Magic, (they were 4 & 2), I've done an afternoon in the Spa which was very lovely and we're doing iceskating in the half term. Elder DD has done a bug hunt in the summer which she loved. The pool is busy but not packed. It is only 2 hours from us so we can make the most of the weekend rather than spend it travelling. We stay in a New Style Woodland Lodge. Always been immaculate, never ever dirty. Bedding lovely, underfloor heating in bathroom. In the evenings, as kids are young, we get the fire going and watch a dvd. Kids sleep well as are exhausted from all the walking and swimming. We only had a problem once where the heating was not working properly. They had an engineer out in 30 mins to fix it. Once, we arrived late due to the car breaking down and we called to let them know. They left a bottle of wine in our lodge as they thought we'd need it after the journey - we did! Try it for a weekend. Go with an open mind. People DO go back, not just us but a LOT of friends of ours. When the children are older and able to wander around a bit by themselves on campsites then we will try them but for us now, it works well.

perceptionreality Sun 22-Jan-12 16:35:06

Are any of the activities for the children worth paying for? If so which are best? I have looked at the spa prices and treatments cost more than my local (very high end) spa! But I have heard it is very good. I am a beauty therapist myself though so for that money it will have to be excellent.

Ah see downside of farm cottages is in my case at least they are not wheelchair friendly , disabled access in nice cottages can mean no steps and a bedroom downstairs

But no wet room , no shower , no kitchen use and lights etc where I can not reach them

As Sp I Newd to be able to access all these things and to be fair Centre parcs are very good and accommodating even to point if taking a bedroom door of so I can access ds3 bedroom in case he fits while were there

Plus add in age range from 6 -17 then that cite cottage lead to at least 2 of mine being bored . I don't want to be having to shove mine into a car/train/bus all the time on holiday

Pavlov go and enjoy it , only thing I don't do is eat put as expensive though sports bar often do some deals mid week and the hot pork rolls are fab.
Word of advice book the father Christmas ASAP as it sells out fast

And were going back to December this year .

yellowkiwi Sat 21-Jan-12 22:12:34

I went once and wasn't impressed but then I live in the countryside so I might just as well stay at home. I could take DC bowling or riding twice for the price of one session at CP.

PavlovtheCat Sat 21-Jan-12 22:03:23

re cottages, it depends on when you go though doesn't it? height of summer, without a doubt, but in say, nov/dec (when I am going), or in term time for much of the year, not likely.

BackforGood Sat 21-Jan-12 21:52:22

Unless you are made of money, you can get all sorts of lovely cottages, on small sites (farms for example) where there is a swimming pool for 1/3 of the price. We've stayed on lots of farms, for example, where they've converted outbuildings into holiday cottages - you are often the only family in the ppol, and very often the owners have let the children watch the milking, or feed the hens, etc.
I looked at CPs once to see what the fuss ws about and was horrified by the prices - that was when I assumed the 4 day price I was actually looking at, was a week. there's no way I'd throw money at that.

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