Location: Elveden Forest Brandon, IP24 3TR, Suffolk, England
Swimming pool: Yes
Things to do
Value for money
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"Great family fun but can be expensive & busy…"
We have just returned for a mid-week break. We are lucky in that we get a 2nd week at half term in our area so although it was still school holidays for us, most other parts of the country were back at school. Meant it was about half the price of the previous week (about £450). Not sure it would have been value for money at £900.
Had a 3 bedroomed Woodland Lodge (Birch). Very clean, contemporary, fully kitted kitchem, dishwasher etc. Loved it. About a 5-6 minute walk from the main central area, but we had bikes so about a 1 min cycle. Would definitely recommend cycles, children loved it and makes it much easier to get around. Had DVD player so when we go again, would take DVDs to watch when the children are in bed.
Swimming pool - not too busy on Monday, went on Tuesday morning however and it was rammed - you could hardly see any water there were that many people in the water. After that, we changed our day around and went in the evening (about 6.30pm until it closed at 9pm). Much less busy, no queues for the slides etc. Pool was great, must have done the rapids 50 times in 5 days (!!), Cyclone was brilliant (in the late evening we didn't have to queue for more than about 30 seconds, in the day it was about 15 minutes). The treasure cove part for young children (my DD was just 5 and spent time there every day) was great - had the place to ourselves one evening!
Activities - we didn't spend too much on activities as we did family type activities (short tennis, badminton, petanque - all £5-£10 for an hour). DD did roller skating (about £6) which she loved, and son & H did the Dad & Lads football tournament (£8 each) which was great. We hired a katakanu (£15 for half an hour) which was good fun. The more "adrenaline" type activities are v expensive, mostly because children up to a certain age have to be accompanied - so the tree trekking for instance is about £50 for 1 adult + 1 child.
Food - we only ate out once and that was at Cafe Rouge. It was lovely - service couldn't have been better. Supermarket was OK, more expensive than home but not bad. The cakes / bakery section was great. Lots of picnic tables dotted around but we found we went back to the lodge as the children needed a rest anyway between activities!
Tips - definitely have bikes, pick your activities carefully, use the pool in the evening and you'll have a great time. Don't plan anything for the weekend you get home, you'll be shattered!Read moreLess
1 person found this review helpful.
"Children and Adults loved it!…"
We had a family and friends weekend get together here, all adults except for my two children (18 months and 5) We stayed in 2 four bedroom new style lodges with games room and sauna, they were modern, clean and very spacious. We didn't spend alot of time inside though. We hired bikes and went out on them, walked and took part in some bookable activities. The children loved the pool, especially the pirate ship with slides and mini flumes, this also had an even warmer mini pirate water play area for my youngest. There are loads of restaurants and a decent supermarket if you fancy eating in. The atmosphere was relaxed and comfy clothing is a must! Overall a fantastic break and one we'd all like to repeat.Read moreLess
2 people found this review helpful.
"Not great for toddlers…"
We've just got back from a horrible Holliday at centre parks and I would really urge parents with young children to ask the following questions before booking:
Do you like washing up greasy sticky utensils before you start cooking?
Are you happy to pay for expensive poor quality food?
Is your ideal holiday waiting round for up to 19 mins for a land train and enjoying a 45 minute walk in pouring rain to fetch your car?
If you have answered yes to these questions you'll love this place! We did hire two bikes one with toddler trailer to get around, but its very hilly and their hire bikes have seriously uncomfortable seats...piles all round...then again I'm used to that having had babies! , our toddlers fought in the bike trailer, (they normally get on well but they can normally escape each other if needed!) so in the end we gave up using it and resorted to walking with pushchairs and the land train, both take ages, so trying to keep to our routine (it's a fairly flexible routine based around mealtimes and nap time) was impossible, the sign posting is terrible so getting lost is easy which is miserable with two screaming tots in tow! The map we were given On entering the park is not to scale making it very hard to take the foot/ bike paths, It's a pain having to stripe the beds before leaving as its hard enough packing and cleaning the place by 10:00 am with demanding bored toddlers. The accommodation is not set up for toddlers with the DVD and CD players at perfect fiddling hight as was the television. And no cbeebies channel...disaster....so nothing to occupy them when frazzled parents are trying to clean, pack and put things in the car.
The kitchen was filthy with everything covered in a sticky layer of dirt, and I really resent cleaning before I can cook.
We then had a few unfortunate incidents, which to be fair is unlikely to occur again, but the land train broke down on a steep hill, every time the driver tried to re-start it the train would jump backwards, the girls in the back carriage started screaming which then terrified our 20 month old, and we then couldn't go on the land train after that incident without him screaming and kicking and biting (neither things he has done before and glad to say has not done since leaving!) but he was genuinely terrified and with a limited vocabulary only way to express is fear...well and screaming 'don't like it'
Then my DH took DD down the slide, got stuck just pass the sensors, and got slammed in the back by another user, both my DH and DD had bad bruising, and DD did not want to use the slides again.
SO all in all a terrible holiday. To be fair with both the train and the slide incident the staff were incredibly helpful and very apologetic. The staff at the crèche were also brilliant and both toddlers loved having a session there!
But TBH I'd say not a great toddler place, probably better for school age children, outward bound hen and stag dos and toddler free couples! Also because of all the walking we talked to quite a few unhappy seniors who found it hard walking up and down all the steps.Read moreLess
1 person found this review helpful.
"I am a grandmother who works long hours and difficult…"
I am a grandmother who works long hours and difficult shifts, my children all also work full time, so get to spend much less time with my children and grandchildren than I would like.
Every year my sons and daughters in law put a week of their holiday entitlement to one side to spend with us on a family holiday and over the last 17 years many of these have been spent at Center Parcs, usually in low season as that is the only time my husband and I are able to take holidays.
This year we spent a weeks holiday at Elveden in March in comfort + villas.
We should have been a party of 12 and three dogs,in the event there were actually ten of us.
We arrived after a long days travelling at around six in the evening.
The condition of both villas was appalling, we had to clean floors and surfaces before we felt able to eat, and wipe wardrobes thick with dust before we were able to put clothes away.Someone had cut their hair in the bathroom and it had just been left.There was ingrained dirt in kitchen areas and actual mould in the gaps between the floor tiles in one of the bathrooms.
I do have to say that the beds were clean.
Had our party been complete we would not have had sufficient pillows, as it was we managed.
The decorating was unfinished though clearly years old. Every door was filthy and had patches of missing paint.
The inventory supplied was not sufficient to even reach registration with Visit England, could that be why Center parcs is no longer a member? and there were huge shortages in the kitchen items actually specified in the literature provided.
Curtains in one villa were odd and in one room had a huge hole in them, they were so dusty that the dust could be seen with the naked eye.There were cobwebs in all the bedrooms.
Showers in both were faulty and cookers in both were faulty. The smoke alarm in one was sounding constantly every time the oven was lit.
Of course I made a proper complaint and cleaning and maintenance teams were sent out straight away, they dealt with some faults but not all by any means,and the follow up was very poor.
It is impossible for me to list everything that was wrong, in this review, right up until the last morning we were finding faulty and missing items, in forty years of self catering holidays this is far and away the worst accommodation I have come across.
I work myself in the holiday industry and I have to say I found the standards and the attitude of the staff who seemed to think that the situation was nothing out of the ordinary quite shocking.
Center Parcs is not a cheap option holiday, we have always loved going there despite the cost, but because of this experience I cannot envisage any circumstances where we would risk going again.
My complaint is ongoing and I will pursue it but that cannot give us back the time with our family,yes we stayed for the week, given the amount of money it had cost we had little choice,and salvaged what we could,but in any self catering holiday the accommodation must be a huge factor in its enjoyment or otherwise and this was definitely otherwise.
There are lots of activities in the centre and those that we took part in were of an acceptable standard, although overpriced in comparison to similar activities elsewhere.
I would say to all mums contemplating a self catering holiday, if an organisation withdraws itself from independant assessment of its standards it might be wise to ask why and perhaps choose somewhere else.Read moreLess
3 people found this review helpful.
"Just got back from a mid-week break with DH and…"
Just got back from a mid-week break with DH and our 2yo DS. This is the first time I had been back since I was 10, so my expectations were probably a little high but I was disappointed.
As DS turned 2 while we were there, we were allowed to book him as a 1yo and so 'saved' money by staying at the Lakeview Hotel. We had a standard room and while it was clean and comfortable, the decor was very tired and there were cracks in the tiles, a rusty shower etc. The pot pourri didn't help. At night it was very hot and stuffy (this was February) but as we were on the ground floor we didn't want to open the patio door and there wasn't any air conditioning. The good things about it were that we could easily fit a travel cot between the bed and the wall, which meant that we could have a light on on the TV side of the room without disturbing DS. We also had lots of ducks, squirrels and rabbits on the lawn outside the patio, which was lovely for DS and kept him entertained over breakfast. There was also a fairly large mini fridge with a tiny freezer compartment so we could keep milk, cheese and fruit chilled.
We had pre-booked a lot of activities but, as another poster already said, it is cheaper to book them while you are there e.g. when we got to our room there was aRead moreLess
4 people found this review helpful.
"great place to go out of season and during school-time…"
great place to go out of season and during school-time - bit pricey otherwise.
Have been a few times and love the fact that this Center Parcs is on the flat. Makes cycling around a lot easier! Also, everything at this location is only ever a short walk away from the centre so you can get to the pool and supermarket easily.
The children's activities are OK, but a bit pricey. We spent most of time in the pool or the playgrounds or going on rabbit hunts. The child flotation vests available at the side of the pool are a nice touch.
The lodges are a bit hit and miss as other people have said. I think they're working their way around upgrading them all, so my be worth phoning when you're booking to check you're getting a less tired one. All of the woodland lodges are lovely.
A great place to go and unwind. You can do as much or as little as you like.Read moreLess
"A Centerparcs convert here, we absolutely love the place. We've…"
A Centerparcs convert here, we absolutely love the place. We've been to all of the sites now apart from the Wiltshire one and we are looking forward to the new Bedfordshire one opening as its closer for us. One tip, do a little supermarket delivery and have it arrive just before you set off and you can bung all your groceries straight in the car. Don't buy anything from the Parcmarket, its unbelievable what you'll have to pay for all the basics.Read moreLess
1 person found this review helpful.
"We really liked it. Is great for children of school…"
We really liked it. Is great for children of school age, the water park is fun (especially the rapids), the cycling is flat and car free (except on arrival day) and the setting is lovely. we didn't do many activities as the car-free cycling was such a novelty and weather great but there is a lot on offer. The playgrounds have lots of rustic wood play activities and the whole place has a lovely woody smell. The lodges are hit or miss, if you plan to be there a lot pay for a newer lodge. The woodland ones are fine. The parc market has a good selection and the restaurants are ok, the Indian was very good. Is a total rip off price during school hols.Read moreLess
"The 'chalet' we were in was damp. Early 90s decor.…"
The 'chalet' we were in was damp. Early 90s decor. Bathroom needed upgrading. Only went to 'Hucks' - an American diner type place. Food was average. It had a childs's play area so that was good! Ummmm...swimming pool: FAB. Did bowling and roller skating which together costRead moreLess
3 people found this review helpful.