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?

ThePsychicSatsuma Wed 18-Jan-12 10:46:24

it is expensive , but it is good, there is a lot of walking though
best for the age group 5-12 from what I saw

ShowOfHands Wed 18-Jan-12 10:53:45

We go off peak, pay £200 for 4 adults and 2 children for 4 nights and do only free stuff (swimming, cycling, parks, walking, nature watching etc). We take our own food too. V good value. I wouldn't do it for the extortionate holiday time prices. Basic villa, make our own entertainment. I wouldn't actually choose it as a holiday myself, but my parents take us along with them and we do really enjoy it. You take it for what it is and make it as cheap as you can if that's of concern (which it is for us- £50 for somebody to wave a hot stone at you is taking the mick).

goingtoofast Wed 18-Jan-12 10:55:56

The prices can triple during school holidays so try to go during term time - not worth the money during holiday times.

perceptionreality Wed 18-Jan-12 11:00:54

My children are 10, 8 and 2.9. The 2 year old is a good walker. I was thinking of going just for a weekend but even off peak can't see anything that would cost less than £400. I think the kids would love it though - the swimming complex is free isn't it? Thanks for replies.

schilke Wed 18-Jan-12 12:22:38

I don't think it os worth the money during school holidays. We went a couple of years ago with 4 dc (then 10, 8, 4 & 2). It was for a weekend at the end of October half term. It peed down with rain the entire time. Swimming pools were packed. Anything else was extra. Vowed never to go back. Glorified holiday camp. Kids loved the cycling etc, but honestly what a rip off.

perceptionreality Wed 18-Jan-12 13:49:59

Yes I am horrified that they can charge £900 for the same holiday that costs £300 at a different time.......but people must be addicted or they wouldn't get away with it, right?

Are all the parcs about the same price? Which one is the best iyo?

perceptionreality Wed 18-Jan-12 13:50:17

parks, haha - brainwashed already

mummymeister Wed 18-Jan-12 14:09:42

sorry we went and i really hated it. it reminded me too much of holiday camps from the 60's only updated! There are so many other fantastic holidays you can have in the UK for the same amount or less that i am staggered that so many people still keep on going. even places like Legoland for a weekend or alton towers resort are better value imo. as for school holiday prices its supply and demand. if all children between the ages of 4 and 16 (soon to be 18) can only do those 6 weeks out of 52 then it means that some of the other summer weeks places are potentially empty. flexible school summer hols with each county choosing a different 6 weeks between mid May and mid September would soon sort it out!

perceptionreality Wed 18-Jan-12 18:17:27

Thanks mummymeister - I have to say I hate the thought of holiday camps generally, but I know so many people who really rate CP that I thought it must be good.

Mrsrobertduvall Wed 18-Jan-12 18:24:39

Love the way on the adverts you only ever see one family/cycling/splashing around...as if you have the whole place to yourself.
It would be my idea of hell, but friends who have been have commented on how busy everything gets.

perceptionreality Wed 18-Jan-12 18:54:34

LOL - I would only go during a 'quiet' time. But tbh if people have said they hated it maybe I won't bother!

AnnoyingOrange Wed 18-Jan-12 18:57:41

We go off pea k, take our own food, take our own bikes and pay for a few activities. The kids love it and if they are happy, we are happy

ChuffMuffin Wed 18-Jan-12 19:06:09

I have one piece of advice if you do go: keep your mouth closed at all times whilst in the pool.

On a related note, they do have on site medical facilities grin

ByTheWay1 Wed 18-Jan-12 19:13:51

I love CP - we have been 5 times now to CP Longleat. Going second weekend of the summer hols this time..... It is busy that time, but hey ho - we are paying £570 for 3 nights in the school holidays for 4 people in a place WHERE THE KIDS GET THEIR OWN ROOM and you get a DAILY CLEANER!!

The best thing is waking up in the morning to find 2 or 3 deer on the patio, to be followed by ducks, then the little birds coming down to feed (always take a bag of seed with us). We had a heron on the tree by the pond/mini lake near the patio, a family of ducklings and an owl at night the last 3 times we've been.

We have our own space, an ensuite, a real fire for the cooler evenings, patio with barbecue. It is a really relaxing holiday - we eat out all the time (costly - but it is a holiday!!) except for breakfast which we get ingredients for from the supermarket.

Swimming pool complex is fantastic - swimming outdoors in a HOT pool is fab -the rapids are great - busy in the day - quiet in the evening. Once we had the ducks coming in to land on the pool because it was frosty one November visit - the kids were soooooo surprised!

Only activities we have paid for are Horse riding - a gentle plod round a forest, and bowling - great fun. Oh and I did a silk painting workshop one time which was really good. We take our own bikes, but to be honest won't bother next time - Longleat is very hilly!

The spa is good too - can highly recommend the head massage!!

perceptionreality Wed 18-Jan-12 19:53:06

Thanks for that ByTheWay. Deer?? Seriously? I am sure my daughters would love it. What sort of prices are the activities if you don't mind my asking?

ByTheWay1 Wed 18-Jan-12 20:18:23

Here is a link - if I'm allowed to post it..... shows some activities and prices....
(Swimming is free)

http://www.centerparcs.co.uk/images/pdfs/activity_prices_10.pdf

ByTheWay1 Wed 18-Jan-12 20:19:28

doh... forgot to convert links - here it is....

www.centerparcs.co.uk/images/pdfs/activity_prices_10.pdf

oreocrumbs Wed 18-Jan-12 20:26:37

Sorry to hijack, but was going to post asking about CP! We were thinking of going in spring DD will be 18/20 mo, would the general concensus be that we might be better doing something else and saving this type of holiday untill she is older and can do more?

I've looked at the activities for the little ones and theres nothing overly exciting, she would enjoy the pool and the animals being around but we would be limited as to what else she could take part in.

Has anyone been with an under 2 and found lots to entertain them/you with?

AnnoyingOrange Wed 18-Jan-12 20:28:34

Honestly Oreo , I would wait until they are older

ByTheWay1 Wed 18-Jan-12 20:35:24

I think the thing about CP is it is as relaxing or as exciting as you like - first time we went our eldest was 1 - we went swimming every day, took her for walks in the buggy, went to the soft play area, lit the fire every night, did an animal encounter thing and ate out she loved it, we loved it, it was a relaxing holiday. You can book them into the kids club too - so you can go do some activities.

Now she is 11 and the youngest 9 - we still go swimming and eat out, but now also go ten pin bowling - oh and I forgot crazy golf - loads of fun. We walk round the lake, go to the adventure playgrounds. They love to spend their money in the sweet shop - a half hour experience for them every time they go in!! This time we might play table tennis , go roller skating , take a pedalo round the lake etc....

ggirl Wed 18-Jan-12 20:40:30

in a word NO

lisaro Wed 18-Jan-12 20:40:36

NO! the chalet was a shit hole - gaffer tape holding the floor down, damp smelly bedroom, dishwasher leaked all over - cooker stopped working, if you buy a brek there, it's very cheap beans and sausage, tried to get away with toast only done on one side, it's all designed to part you from your money with no care for customer satisfaction. We got money back, after an enormous struggle, but apparently this is rarer than hens teeth.

ggirl Wed 18-Jan-12 20:42:37
hillbilly Wed 18-Jan-12 20:43:47

We have been to CP many times since having kids and always had a great time. Now we are restricted to school hols and also now we can go camping instead as the kids are old enough to go wandering on a campsite, we tend to go just 1 weekend a year. Not cheap but it has served a purpose for us and the kids love the pool.

oreocrumbs Wed 18-Jan-12 20:44:34

Thanks Annoying and ByTheWay, I could happily fill the day pottering with her and she would enjoy it, but I've just looked at the activity list and there is so much I would feel we were missing out on! I think for the money we will leave it for a few more years and look into something else - maybe a cottage in Devon, where we could travel to differnt activities every day!

I'm still very excited at the prospect of going to CP one day smile

We go every year and always have a fab time. We go to Longleat. This year, we had DD who was 9 months. She loved the pool, looking at all the animals, soft play and generally wathing other kids out and about. We walked around with her in a lighterlife rucksack - she thought it was hilarious. We only do one activity every day that you have to pay for and only eat out one night so it doesn't work out too pricey!

oreocrumbs Wed 18-Jan-12 20:46:52

X posts and thanks to every one else smile

We have been twice. I don't think the accommodation is very good value for money. We are a family of six and on our last visit we pushed the boat out and did a lot of activities. I keep a running total of all my outgoings and I kid you not, one week summer holidays total spend £6kshock
The kids enjoy it but have also enjoyed much cheaper holidays!

scummymummy Wed 18-Jan-12 20:51:05

Those forest holidays are ££££££££££££££££££££££££££, gg! Over £1000 to stay in a shed for 3 nights is a no-no.

ggirl Wed 18-Jan-12 20:52:58

oh sorry I didn't even look at the prices blush
friend said it was good value -she must have got a good deal

Sandy Balls near the New Forest is better value for money. Not so much to do on site as CP but New Forest on doorstep and West Moors Valley park a good day out.

pictish Wed 18-Jan-12 20:56:54

It's all relative I think.
If you have plenty of cash to splash then of course it's worth the money - it's not like you'd miss it. It's just a 'that'll be nice' for those people.

If however, like me, it would bite a huge chunk out of your finances, then it's not worth the money. It's overpriced and a piss take.

scummymummy Wed 18-Jan-12 20:57:07

I typed in a random date but it was prob Easter or something! They do look really lovely, actually. Was being tongue in cheek re sheds!

Elverden is smallest and the flatest

We go out of school hOlidays so lot better 299 mon-fri

Only place that all mine are happy As have large age range. Pool is a big draw for us and park for younger two .

Dd does some activities but the fact you cam book pay so far on advance helps

Elverden is smallest and the flatest

We go out of school hOlidays so lot better 299 mon-fri

Only place that all mine are happy As have large age range. Pool is a big draw for us and park for younger two .

Dd does some activities but the fact you cam book pay so far on advance helps

imogengladheart Wed 18-Jan-12 21:11:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JustGettingByMum Wed 18-Jan-12 22:02:36

IME CP in the winter, preferably in the snow, in the outdoor pool is magical.

I think CP can be great if you have children that are happy either to spend hours in the pool, or enjoy the walking/cycling/play areas, and you limit the extras to perhaps 1-2 activities over the course of the weekend.

For us, our DC enjoyed the pool, but were bored after about an hour and wanted to "do" things, so we have abandoned CP for a hotel on Exmoor which offers lots of activities for free and so suits us better. The accommodation is not as good as CP - but as we are only in the rooms for sleeping, and as all meals are provided, I think it's worth the trade off for us.

perceptionreality Wed 18-Jan-12 22:03:29

Thanks so much, this is all really helpful. I must say, the Forrest Holiday ones look much cheaper. Mixed reviews for CP then - I cannot believe how bad some of the rooms sound! I really can't stand awful accomodation, it spoils it for me.

Almanzo Wed 18-Jan-12 22:22:47

We love CP. Have been 7/8 times. Mostly Longleat.
I would say it's not cheap but is well run and actually quite relaxing and easy.
My top tip though - to the extent we wouldn't consider doing it any other way, is to go with at least one other family. Other people to share activities, BBQs, games with,enter tournaments with, cheer eachother along etc. Makes you do more stuff.
We have travelled pretty widely in UK and abroad and CP fills a gap when you have small DC.
Also lots of naice people there.
People who smile at children and hold doors open.
Take your own food though and buy a bike carrier for £30 instead of stupid price bike hire.
Alwasy pretty happy with accommodation, it's big and comfortable and so lovely to just open the doors and let them run outside and explore.

pinkteddy Wed 18-Jan-12 22:48:02

We love CP too. Have been to Elveden and Longleat. It is expensive but the pool and rapids are fantastic. We spend a good few hours doing that every day - sometimes we go in the day and the evening. We usually go with the family - its good for a wide range of age groups - my parents love it - they enjoy the bowls, the scenery and watching us in the pool from the bar above! Kids range in age from 8 to 18 in our family and they all really enjoy it. We usually just keep it to a few additional activities to keep the cost down. Also eating out is expensive there so we usually only eat out once, cook spag bol once, get couple of cooked chickens from supermarket another night! The advantage of sharing with family too is it really keeps the cost down - we stayed in an exec villa in half term and it worked out about £350.

Ah see I can not fault customer service at Elverden
. I use a power chair but transfer to my manual around the pool. Explained the fact leaving bu buggys means done little kids may accidentally turn on . So they sorted safe storage every time

Villa we booked I had explained that needed getibyk dc bedroom AA in wheelchair but they are only young . Got to villa could not get in to dc bedroom no problems between us we cane up idea removing door and was done

Bathroom door James ( was refurbished to ) they was out jn 5 mins if calling and fixed it )

Mine enjoyed the duck parades of a morning .only thing I say is eating out is a lot of money and the full English breakfast in sports bar well he must be a small English man

Shop is bit dearer as no own brands but there's always deals on .

Oh and I found that they cater the best for wheelchair users and are willing to learn from suggestions .

Bowling if you do it earlier is cheaper . Outside stuff the staff at Elverden are really really fab and friendly . Site is kept clean you also font get groups of people that have been drinking wandering around either

Opps spelling good old auto correct blush

ByTheWay1 Thu 19-Jan-12 11:39:44

Have been 5 times and never had to complain about anything, for us everything was clean and fresh and it all worked fine... - we always go for the executive accommodation - the mid range, not cheapest , not megabucks... may make a difference - I doooooo like to have the daily cleaning service.....

noexcuses Thu 19-Jan-12 11:52:51

Didn't like Centre Parc. It has the mentality of going all incl on Dominican Republic - they do not encourage escapees!
Did like Forest holidays at Cropton. Can take your own bikes. It's in a forest so plenty of wildlife (guided walks if that's your thing), beach 20 mins away. Micro brewery 5min drive away if you wish to cast off your DP to suggest quality time apart wink

Noexscuse

See I'm quite happy to stay on site i dont drive and love the fact few cars around .

But when I book cP I know that. But we do other trips days out at other times seeing doing things etc

A lot depends what your looking for what type of holidays . My ideal amd ds2 is museums / history etc other dc nope there be bored be mummmmm every 2 mins

lisaro Thu 19-Jan-12 15:43:30

pictish;
*'It's all relative I think.
If you have plenty of cash to splash then of course it's worth the money - it's not like you'd miss it.'*
Rubbish. No matter how much you have, if something isn't worth the money, it isn't worth it. Not everybody with money to spend is stupid enough to be happy wasting money or being ripped off.

pictish Thu 19-Jan-12 16:05:33

That's not really what I meant.

If you had a good wage coming in and lots of disposable income, and needed a new coat (for example) you wouldn't balk at paying £200 for a coat you really liked.

If you were on a low income with very little, or no disposable income, you would think £200 for a coat beyond you, and not worth the expenditure. You would buy one for much less.

I wouldn't pay upwards of £400 for a three night stay in a wooden chalet at Centerparcs. For my £400 budget, I would have a week or more, using our bell tent and having lots left over for spends and activities elsewhere.

The three nights at £400 is fine for those who can afford a short break 'just because'. If your entire summer holiday budget is £400, then the three nights you can get at Centerparcs isn't spending your money wisely, so it would not be worth it. Iyswim?

I didn't mean that well off people are happy to be ripped off.

lisaro Thu 19-Jan-12 16:25:54

I think I get you, but we are fortunate to be able to afford a break there, but (afterwards) feel that it was not worth the money. No matter how much or little it was in relation to our budget, we felt ripped off. But you are definitely right about doing the most you can for your money - we used to do that when the kids were small.

pictish Thu 19-Jan-12 16:35:57

I have never been to Centerparcs personally - I looked into it as an option once (quite recently) and was really taken aback by the tariff, considering how little (to my mind) you were getting for your muller.
If I was better off financially, then perhaps I would not have been so taken aback. That's what I mean when I say it's relative.

I used the coat analogy because a less well off friend of mine was gobsmacked that I spent £90 on a winter coat this year. I thought £90 was a fairly run of the mill amount to spend on a coat. She disagreed, and thought I was throwing money away. Again - it was relative.

Either way, sorry to hear you felt ripped off at Centerparcs. It is crap to feel like you have been taken the piss out of no matter what your financial situation.

MegBusset Thu 19-Jan-12 16:51:48

We've been once and didn't rate it at all. Horribly overcrowded (even in term time), expensive, and a PITA to get around/off the site. Would much rather stay on a smaller caravan site near to beach/countryside.

It's £2200 for a week in the summer holidays - I can't see how that could possibly be worth it confused

We paid £900 for a lovely cottage in Cornwall on the beach for a week.

I just genuinely don't get why anyone would go in school holidays - to a shed - in a wood for 2 grand confused

We can only go in school holidays though as dh is a teacher and dd can't miss school. Maybe it's worth it with little ones ???

MegBusset Thu 19-Jan-12 17:10:13

Oh yes and the chalet (not even the cheapest) was dire, damp and mildew everywhere. Have stayed in MUCH nicer caravans for a lot less.

pictish Thu 19-Jan-12 17:13:35

£2200 for one week!!! shock shock shock

Now come on! WHO is paying £2200 for a week in a chalet in Britain? Who ARE these people??!

That is an astronomical amount!

perceptionreality Thu 19-Jan-12 17:52:37

I think people must just go for the range of activities? I have looked at the children's ones and they do look good. I also have an autistic child and I think the setting would suit her. There is no way I would pay over £2000 though - for that you can go to a lovely hotel in Majorca with (good!) half board.

Not mr Pictish I go in December for £300 for a week , the site is lovely got Christmas

ByTheWay1 Thu 19-Jan-12 20:00:35

Not many go for a week - (and by the way .... the top price is MUCH more than £2200...... try a treehouse at Longleat - 4 bed, hottub, games den, set away in forest £6798 for a week....Easter NEXT year.

pictish Thu 19-Jan-12 20:33:40

I saw that 'treehouse' on the website. I thought it was shit.

It's not even a treehouse. It's a shed on stilts. With log effect wallpaper!

perceptionreality Fri 20-Jan-12 22:35:47

Ok........just a few more questions:

Can you book for more people than you are sure are going and if one decides not to come is that ok??

Is the woodland lodge accomodation any good? It's about the same price as comfort plus.

I'm kind of on the verge of booking at Winfall - I figure we'll give it a go (and take our own food!!) Thanks everyone this thread has been so helpful.

perceptionreality Sat 21-Jan-12 09:37:35

bumping

loulou4 Sat 21-Jan-12 11:30:23

We had a great time at CP. Accommodation very basic for the money and not good value for money at all - wouldn't want to stay there fore more than a couple of days, BUT activities made up for it. Went with friends so we were able to do grown up stuff and kids stuff - swaped kids with friends / left kids with dads, etc. fantastic. Good spa. Kids had a GREAT time. Will go back.

ps. The supermarket food is very expensive, and not very good selection - so take your own if you intend to eat in.

bruffin Sat 21-Jan-12 11:42:56

We always went for 10days in the European cp which are far better value for money. Even with the high euro now they are still good value.
The activities are far cheaper, kidsclub was free and under 12s ate for free .

PavlovtheCat Sat 21-Jan-12 11:49:40

i hope so! we are going for winter wonderland so expect a few additional costs like panto and father christmas, but, other than that, we plan to so as you did, swimming, winter walks, bike riding, fireside snuggles in the evening, playing board games. It is an opportunity to have a break, just get away from it all before the christmas hecticness! We did not go for basic lodge but if we did it would have been £249 for longleat for 4 day break. That is pretty good for family of 4 i think.

I like the walking aspect, woodland walks etc, that is a big appeal. I like not having the car nearby. and there is a land train apparantly for tired legs if we want to go to the complex/return. But I doubt we will use that.

I think, it is as expensive as you want it to be once you have paid for the initial outlay. It could be really costly if you want to do everything.

PavlovtheCat Sat 21-Jan-12 11:52:11

pictish I know a couple who did the treehouse thing. They have 7 children so £2200 is still cheaper than a holiday abroad for that size family.

curlytoes Sat 21-Jan-12 12:18:17

We went off peak to the Lobgleat Centre Parcs. We got passes to Longleat with our Tesco vouchers. We used the free Centre Parcs pool lots, cycled around, (took our own bikes), and did Longleat which is fab. We took fancy groceries with us- all our favourites - but didn't eat out at all. We spent approx £450 including fuel on a 5 day break for our family of 5. We had a great time. My kids are younger though so they weren't asking to do extra activities.

perceptionreality Sat 21-Jan-12 14:09:48

I have booked a weekend and will probably pre-book some activities for the children as well. I'm a little apprehensive after reading reviews on Trip Advisor which say the accomodation is filthy, but these are in the minority so I'll hope for the best!

PavlovtheCat Sat 21-Jan-12 14:36:12

Perception - i think the general thing is if you are annoyed/disappointed with something you are more likely to review than if it was good, so I would not take too much notice about the reviews. I know a few people who have been, a few times, and never had any problems with the hygiene of the a/c, they return each year.

Enjoy yourselves!

pavlov we go to elvrden every year for winter wonderland and have to say it really is fab

woodland lodge is similar to comfort plus its just newer decor

percep[tion we have never had a problem with how clean they are

PavlovtheCat Sat 21-Jan-12 15:27:45

thehumancatapult we are doing the executive lodge with the maid service grin as it was only £30 more than the woodland lodge, am in fact quite excited and only thing that bothers me is that I have to wait for almost 11 months to go grin grin. good to hear it you enjoyed it. a colleague of mine went xmas just gone and she had nothing but positive to say about it, has children almost identical ages to mine so was my inspiration for giving it a go.

perceptionreality Sat 21-Jan-12 16:02:36

Pavlov - yes you are right, that crossed my mind actually. Thanks again for you advice everyone.

LadyGahGah Sat 21-Jan-12 16:21:22

I looked at centre Parcs recently. Then did some maths. Then booked a cottage for a week, on the edge of a lovely lake with on site heated pool(free to use) lots of walks, and great free interactive museums nearby and a lovely play park. We are aslo near a big city for the odd day out. Cost of cottage? £300. I doubt we will spend more than £200 including food. Worked out much cheaper this way. But if we had extra money we would do centre Parcs.....tho kid soup swimming pools do not appeal....

serin Sat 21-Jan-12 21:28:12

Can I suggest Holgates as an alternative!
It has proper wildlife at the RSPB reserve just down the road.

suebfg Sat 21-Jan-12 21:32:50

No, it's rubbish - save your money

CharlotteBronteSaurus Sat 21-Jan-12 21:40:34

I've not been, and quite fancy it, but am always shock at the prices.
we generally manage to get a week in a really, really, good cottage (this year's one had a pool, sauna and tennis court amongst other things) for less than 4 nights at CP.

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.

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.

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.

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 .

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.

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.

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

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

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

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 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.

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 Tue 24-Jan-12 09:10:25

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

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.

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

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?

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!

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

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

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

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.

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.

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!!

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

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

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

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.

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.

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