To think that Cente Parcs might be a bit [hmm](62 Posts)
I've never been so have an open mind. My parents want to do something nice for the family for their birthdays next year. My DS and DB have loads of little sprogs, but I have just one DD aged 14.
Will I have a shit time? Or will it be fun?
It's a great place for kids, especially littlies and teenagers. There's no traffic, a swimming pool, lots of sporty activities, you can hire bikes, etc., etc.
There's also a spa for the adults.
It's expensive to book, but if your parents are paying ...
You have to pay for everything on-site, apart from the swimming pool, but I think the kids would love it and given your DD's age you should manage to get lots of R&R as well.
I'd love to go. Have three different friends who have been with families and all rave about it.
Great for little ones. Great for adults because the little ones are busy.
We went twice when dcs were pre-school (only time we could afford it!).
Not so sure about teens. I wouldn't take mine there because they'd rather do their own independant thing. It probably depends on the teen and how they interact with the smaller children and the adults. Is he happy to "play" with the small ones? Is he happy to hang around a lot of adults whose hobbies he might not share?
I admit I'm also a bit about it. I don't generally like things being 'packaged' up for me. But it's mainly the cost.
I'd definitley go. Loads of activities, hire bikes, lovely big warm pool, places to eat, shops, pancakes, wild animals (squirels,rabbits,deer even seen a badger last time) peace and quite, fresh air. You will come home knackered but thoroughly refreshed.
I have two boys aged 17 and 10 and will be going for the 6th time in September.
we go every year and love it. There is loads to do, if you want to, or very little if you dont. Book your DD some activities and get yourself to the spa
I have never been to any of the British sites (live down the road from Elveden though and dh refuses to go, as he says going 3/4hr's of an hour away from home is not a holiday ) but have been to the European ones twice.
Dh and I felt like you but I have to say it has been the best holidays we have ever had. There is so much to do and see, we kind of had the idea in our head that it was Butlins for the posh, but it is not like that at all.
At the Belgian site this year, dd (13) went kayaking by herself. There are lots for teenagers to do and it is safe enough for them to toddle off for a wander if they were so inclined.
We were half the price for the same week in Belgium as it was for the same week/accommodation at Elveden also if you go 'vip' which we do then you get 2 x 12.50 euro vouchers to spend in the supermarket, an English newspaper every day and bread rolls delivered to your cottage every day. We also got vouchers for 2 free adult bikes for the week and 3 activies for free which we used on crazy golf and pedalos.
We paid for the ferry (overnight crossing in a cabin) in Tescoclub card vouchers.
Oh and the swimming complex is called Aqua Mundo. Has pools, flumes, waves, outdoor pool, rapids etc etc.
I know I will be in a minority here but I don't like Center Parks. I went once with my then 5 year old DS and wouldn't bother again. Maybe it is better for older children or if you were in a big group. It might be because I lve in the countryside so didn't feel there was any peace and quiet. Also thought it was expensive - doing the same activities at home was much cheaper. The pool was good though.
Went on a one day pass last year so only used pool - changinmg rooms and loos dirty and over crowded. Pool was sort of OKish but never again for us!
We love it, we go a couple of times a year. All the children love it and its the only place I really feel relaxed.
We hire bikes and DS1 does the climbing wall but we dont do any other paid activities as they are quite expensive. But the swimming pool is good and we spend alot of our time there. I would suggest going out of season otherwise it gets really busy.
we went with my sister and her man when DD was 9 and DS was 2. the (new) accomodation was nice and we liked the swimming pools and outdoor play areas but i found most of the activities hideously expensive, the takeaway food ditto, the spa was horrendously overcrowded with a tiny pool and TBH all the folk on bikes annoyed me cause as walkers it meant we constantly had to jump out of the way...
if you have plenty of money and your DD is an outdoors-y type then go for it - my DD loved the high ropes, kayaking, etc. but for the money i prefer to send her to PGL!
We went, with incredibly low expectations, snorting to ourselves that we'd become "those" people who go to Centerparcs instead of the wild bohemians we thought we once were. And we had such a fantastic time I cried as we left and go back every year! I want to LIVE there, in a safe, car free woodland haven!
Depends on which one you go to and what you enjoy doing on holiday I think.
We have been twice, first time to Sherwood when DD was 5 and DS1 was 1 we loved it. We hired bikes, swam, stayed in a lovely lodge, DC played in parks while DH and sat chatting. Eating out was reasonable if a bit pub grub, it was ideal and only cost about £300.
Second time was last year to Whinfell, DD was 10, DS1 was 6 and I was pg with DS2.
Biking was not as much fun due to everything being so close together and lots of traffic despite no traffic policy.
The lodge was very tired and falling apart, and the cleaners came at really awkward times so we either had to rush to get up and out or not bother having the lodge cleaned.
Restaurants were really poor quality, what you would find on the high street but more expensive and worse service.
DC wanted to do more paid activities as they were older, however many of these required us paying for an adult to stay even though the adult wasn't participating. I am happy to supervise my children, but I don't see why I should pay to do so.
All the activities were really expensive for what they were, DH and I just felt we were being conned out of money all day everyday, and we had to pay £700 to do this.
The DC did enjoy swimming every day, and DS really loved seeing all the different birds on the patio and seeing Badgers, Squirrels and Hedgehogs, and the rangers were really good with him, but we could do similar for free at a local nature reserve.
I love it, we go twice a year. It's just perfect for the little ones, which makes it really easy.
Sorry, didn't read the OP properly. We started going when I was about 12. Lots of boys and snogs and holiday romances if memory serves me correctly. They have a bowling alley and a disco, I think, which the teens all flock to.
I'm not sure if that is really the answer you were looking for
We just got back on Friday and I'm already looking to book for next year. We have 3 preschool kids so the pool and free play areas satisfy them. There is so much to do for kids of all ages but the activities are expensive. It is also so safe. Even though we were mad busy with 3 little ones we had a great time. Our 4 yo said she'd had a 'super' holiday!
Book a lodge with maid, hot tub and sauna...fabbo
I have been a couple of times and wasn't keen tbh. I thought it was overpriced for what it is and I hated the feeling of being 'locked in' there. Park your car up and then not see it until you go home again. I know the parks are in hundreds of acres, but I still didn't like it. The clientèle was more middle class than I anticipated, but I guess that was largely down to the cost (suspect I'll get flamed for saying this).
Now, we took DD1 and DSS and one of his friends to Bluestone in Wales a couple of years ago and we all far preferred it. Far fewer organised activities and actively encouraged to explore the (stunning) local area. Brilliant farm park a few miles away (with the only giraffes in Wales) and for older children, a theme park next door. Oh and the accommodation is 100 times better than Centre Parcs.
It's not right to compare Bluestone to Centre Parcs as they are not really in the same ballpark. Bluestone is just far, far better imo.
Drunken - could your dd take a friend along? That's what I always did, I am an only too. My cousin comes now, she is 12, and this year was the first time she brought a friend.
We've been 5 or 6 times and always had a great time.
It is a great place for young children (and I imagine also teenagers due to the freedom they can be afforded) and is all packaged for you so no need to think to much.
The restaurants are a bit dire (and their "luxury dining" is a most amusing experience due to being anything other than) but the pool is safe, the cycling allows you to indulge in outdoor-lite and the spa is actually pretty good.
There are registered baby sitters available and plenty of kids activities to keep them occupied if you fancy an hour to yourself.
It doesn't best two weeks in sardinia with the nanny but it is a pretty good, easy to do reasonably priced family break
Your 14-yr-old will love being a big cousin, and you will have a great time.
There is something for everyone. My children would still go if we would let them, but we went a lot when they were younger and just want to do different things now.
Just leave your prejudice behind and go with the flow.
I was the same, but we went a few weekends ago. We booked the exec lodge, had a maid & jacuzzi. It was fab. DS rode off into the sunset and returned whenever he fancied. We cycled, sailed, climbed, windsurfed, did some falconry and ate lots of bbq'ed food. The one bit was the kiddies disco, DS (11) was grumpy about Rupert the Bear screaming SClub7 songs, but DD(5) was so happy and there was copious cheap plonk on offer, so we just went with it.
We avoided the swimming like the plague though. I am snobby about swimming in other peoples piss.
I saw lots more Boden and Joules than I expected, maybe that was we were at the 'right' end.
However, it was terribly overpriced and the accomodation wasn't brilliant - it tried to be, but workmanship was shoddy and materials were cheap. The maid also didn't know her trade at all.
But I would definately do it again, the price we paid was for the space and security - letting DS ride around without the threat of fast cars was brilliant.
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