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CENTER PARCS - to think I can do it on a budget? Tips/advice much needed!

(30 Posts)
GingerbreadGirl11 Wed 01-Nov-17 07:34:24

We’ve booked Center Parcs ages ago but Money is now very tight due to unforeseen circumstances. DC are 4 and 18 months and I’m hoping to do it on a very tight budget. Is this possible? As I’ve heard Center Parcs is extortionate. Please help!

healthyheart Wed 01-Nov-17 07:38:31

Yes if just do the swimming and walks in the forest, all free. And do a supermarket shop before you go, so self cater. Buy drinks again at the supermarket and drink water from the tap. Take your own bikes too if this is a possibility. Easily do-able. Enjoy.

Skittlesss Wed 01-Nov-17 07:39:47

I find it's the activities and food that costs the most. Your children are probably too young to do the activities so I wouldn't book any. The swimming pool is fantastic (and free) so just spend a lot of time in there. You could go on nice walks in the wood areas - they have bird watching areas and wildlife stuff.

Food - take your own. Much cheaper smile

Neverenoughspoons Wed 01-Nov-17 07:40:16

Yes it's doable, especially with children that age that won't be asking to do expensive activities. Swimming is free and feeding the ducks, going for walks to see if you can find squirrels etc. If you take food with you, it'll be cheaper than buying it at the on site shop. The expense comes when you're eating out lots and paying for lots of extra activities. Hiring bikes isn't cheap either.

Ellisandra Wed 01-Nov-17 07:41:08

We don't spend anything, after the (huge) booking cost.
Swimming, cycling, supermarket (offsite!) catering.

Ellisandra Wed 01-Nov-17 07:41:23

^ own bikes

KimmySchmidt1 Wed 01-Nov-17 07:42:04

Buy food for the week at supermarket before you get there - the parcs market there is crap and v expensive. Dont bother eating out as the food is expensive and old fashioned. Focus on the nature stuff (find a pond) and the wildlife that come to your villa, plus the swimming pool that is free. DO hire bikes as kid scout will love that all day long and you will feel like a fat twat at a health resort if you have to waddle around on foot (whether you are thin or not you will feel out of place if not on a bike - it's just central to the whole place). If you focus on those things and on making up games for the kids you don't need to spend money. There's a big adventure playground that's free.

WindyScales Wed 01-Nov-17 07:42:07

We did it with 2 of a very similar age. Don’t book any extra activities, they are expensive and not worth the money with such young kids. The pool is amazing so we just went there everyday morning, took sandwiches and had chips if we were starving or back home for lunch. Then some quiet time/nap and then off out in the afternoon for a bike ride/playground. Then back home for dinner and my two go to bed at 7 (and were exhausted from the swimming) so it would be a quiet night for us. We made sure we took laptops to access Netflix/amazon prime and have a drink at home.
The trick is not to eat out or budget just 1 treat etc.. and when the kids are so young you really don’t need any extra activities.

Ellisandra Wed 01-Nov-17 07:42:44

Oh and just to add - I never feel like I'm skimping or missing out. The swimming pool is awesome, we don't want to do anything else!

madeyemoodysmum Wed 01-Nov-17 07:43:36

At that age they will be happy with the pool and massive play areas that are all free/ included in price just don't book when they are teens!

JigglyTuff Wed 01-Nov-17 07:50:55

We don’t do any extra activities and do a big shop at the nearest major supermarket to the site. You will have a lovely time smile

Sallyswot1 Wed 01-Nov-17 07:58:13

I cook meals before we go and freeze them. I transport them in a cool bag and pop them in the freezer compartment when we arrive.
I also think there’s no need to book activities. The pool is fab.

BarbarianMum Wed 01-Nov-17 08:01:34

Take food. Stick to swimmming, play grounds. Take DVDs and toys and spend some time chilling put in chalet. Weve done this and had an excellent time.

BobTheGoldfish Wed 01-Nov-17 08:08:22

We spent £11 when we're last there for top up milk, ice creams and beer.

As others say, take all your own food and make good use of the free pool and playgrounds. The activities are ridiculously expensive for what they are and we find Aldi's pizzas as good as most of the restaurants' food there.

Bitlost Wed 01-Nov-17 08:15:56

The fridges are pretty small do don't bring too much fridge/freezer food.

Like others have said, bring your own bikes and spend lots of time in the pool.

healthyheart Wed 01-Nov-17 08:17:07

^^^^^ please do not feel under pressure to hire bikes, you will certainly not be in the minority if you don’t! No where is far to walk and if you’re on a budget they are just not worth it, plus on the last day you have to hand them back by 10am!! Even though your stay is until 10pm!! hmm

BiddyPop Wed 01-Nov-17 08:21:48

Agree with others.

Do a food shop to bring with you (and raid the cupboards too!).

Swimming is great to lose hours daily.

Nature walks (and the nature centre is usually free for lots of stuff, talking to the rangers etc).

Walking and cycling around the site.

Using the various playgrounds, going to the lake and feeding whatever ducks or fish are there.

Bring waterproofs - one of DDs favourite memories of our first trip was that it rained a lot that week, and we did a lot of walking and cycling in the rain, and she got to see lots of molehills that appeared where there had been flat ground!!

And bring some board games, cards, and some colouring things - to do drawings, paper games, rubbings of trees etc. There is a big blackboard on the wall as well, so there is some chalk but a spare box can allow loads of extra fun!

House4 Wed 01-Nov-17 08:36:58

Easily done on a budget. As others have said take your own food and drive to local supermarket off site if need be. Which park are you going to OP? We go to Elveden and have only just started hiring bikes now kids are older. We used to take scooters. You won't feel out of place without a bike! They have a beach there too so take buckets and spades. Also inside play areas in Foresters pub/restaurant - you could have a drink while the kids play in there if it's raining. Take duck and squirrel food, forest walks, swimming and play in the free playgrounds. Great idea to take films and wine for the evening. U'll love it!

poddige Wed 01-Nov-17 08:41:30

Mine are 2&4 and all they wanted to do was the swimming!
There's a disco every night, and they loved that. We splashed out on a ridiculously overpriced drink when we went

We did a shop at Aldi on the morning we set off (live quite close) so while one of us did final bits and entertained DC the other went and did a full shop (get the insulated bags for freezer items).

We did a treat shop, got nice wines, lovely treats for snacks, loads of fruit, puddings with custard (not normally a pudding type family) and it felt like such a treat all week.

Took toys from home, took a little bucket each ( a la Halloween bucket) for collecting conkers/acorns etc. Bikes/scooters/wellies.

DVDs. Colouring in. Bubble bath and bath toys.

Honestly you'll have a brilliant time and if you plan it you won't need to spend while you're there. We even took ice creams to eat outside the cabin in the woods. Was great. We didn't go in height of summer either.

Have a wonderful time!

thisismadness77 Wed 01-Nov-17 08:45:38

We take lots of small bottles of water to take out and about. Take lots of wine and more snacks than you think you need, that’s what I always end up buying on site. Easy not to spend there, eating out is overpriced and overrated with littlies.

BoofayTheOompaLoompaSlayer Wed 01-Nov-17 08:54:23

We’re at Longleat at the moment. If you’re coming to this CP, there’s a land train so no need to hire bikes if you’re not bringing any. We’ve paid for a Halloween craft activity for our youngest but haven’t booked any other activities. The pool area is amazing and can entertain kids for hours. We shopped before we came and brought activities with us (slime making, pumpkin carving, dh has created a wildlife searching game).
There’s outdoor play areas for kids and lots of walks to go on. There’s a free fireworks display tonight and again on Saturday. They’re currently setting up all the Christmas decorations and it looks like it’s going to be amazing.
Enjoy your trip!

SilverSpot Wed 01-Nov-17 09:27:55

Easy - you don't have to spend anything over and above what you would spend eating at home.

Take your own bikes and ride around the forest.
Go to the sub tropical swimming paradise 3 times a day.
Walks in the forest.
Play in the play grounds.
Watch DVDs.
Cook and eat normal food.

GingerbreadGirl11 Wed 01-Nov-17 10:50:19

Sounds promising! Loving the idea of bringing duck & squirrel food. Where would be best to get this?

BarbarianMum Wed 01-Nov-17 11:29:45

For squirrels, the raw peanuts they sell for bird food are good. For ducks a bit of cheap wholemeal bread .

rainbowbreeze123 Wed 01-Nov-17 16:12:38

Dont feed ducks bread !

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