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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?

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

Cheeseandbiscuits Wed 18-Jan-12 20:45:23

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

maddiemostmerry Wed 18-Jan-12 20:49:02

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

maddiemostmerry Wed 18-Jan-12 20:56:25

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!

TheHumancatapult Wed 18-Jan-12 21:10:01

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

TheHumancatapult Wed 18-Jan-12 21:11:04

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.

TheHumancatapult Thu 19-Jan-12 05:46:47

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

TheHumancatapult Thu 19-Jan-12 05:48:26

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

TheHumancatapult Thu 19-Jan-12 12:30:34


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

TheHumancatapult Thu 19-Jan-12 12:32:19

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

*'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.

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