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Help me decide - Centre Parcs longleat, Sandy Balls or Butlins

(17 Posts)
Groovychic Fri 17-Jul-09 11:00:08

Me, dh, dd nearly 3 and ds 4.5 would like to go away in september for maybe 4 nights. I've narrowed it down to the above but can't decided. Any comments on accomodation, activites, cost etc on the above places would be much appreciated. TIA

RorysRacingMa Fri 17-Jul-09 11:00:45

How can you resist a place called Sandy Balls?

RorysRacingMa Fri 17-Jul-09 11:01:34

Sorry I have no helpful advice about any of the venues suggested.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 17-Jul-09 11:02:42

If you can afford centre parcs then don't even think about going to Sandy Balls. We were dragged there by DH's family who love it and it was a hideous experience. Everything on site was extra, it was an expensive weekend.

Groovychic Fri 17-Jul-09 11:08:13

I think centre parc also charge for activites like sandy balls, so will be expensive there aswell. grin

poorbuthappy Fri 17-Jul-09 11:10:56

just booked butlins minhead this morning for 4 nights at the end of this month, £500 for 2 adults, 1 child and 2 infants.
Centre parcs was £1200 for same period!!!!!!!!!!!!

poorly Fri 17-Jul-09 11:13:12

Depends how "nice"you want it. IMO the main difference between Center Parcs and Butlins is that he additional cost keeps out "riff raff" You're less likely to hear parents swearing at their kids, or see polyester sportswear everywhere.

At Butlins, almost everything is included in the price, where you pay extra for everything except swimming at Center Parcs. If you book the gold accommodation, it is similar to the standard at Centre Parcs.

However, what you don't get at Butlins is the green leafyness, everything is much closer together, which means you don't walk so far in the rain, but it does feel much more crowded/noisy.

So, if you go to Butlins, who will do mostly the same things you do at Center Parcs, but it will be much cheaper, more crowded, noisier and far less "back to nature"

No experience of Sandy Balls.

Ruthiebabes Fri 17-Jul-09 11:16:18

Have been to centreparcs Longleat and Sandy Balls but not butlins.

I would defo choose centreparcs. There is loads more space and the accommodation much more private, seem to be on top of each other at Sandy Balls. Loads to do at centreparcs and you dont need to spend loads of money on extra activites. Preschool age are happy with the pool, playgrounds etc. There is a little train that takes you around the site as well.

It isnt cheap but I think it is the better option. You may get a good deal in September once schools go back.

Groovychic Fri 17-Jul-09 11:21:48

At CP is there much activites for preschool age kids? I've asked a couple of people who've been and they say it's best to wait a few years to get the most out of the place.

poorly Fri 17-Jul-09 11:29:53

Groovy - as Ruthie says, pre-schoolers are the best age to take to make the most of the free activities, the pools have lovely areas for them and there are some good indoor and outdoor play areas and they love those riding in those bike trailers or can have the freedom of the roads on thier own bikes.

It is true that they need to be older to make the most of all the adventurous activities, but they all cost extra and you will have plenty to do with little ones without them.

Groovychic Fri 17-Jul-09 11:38:44

I'm liking CP. Has anyone stayed in comfort villa? Are they clean, non smoking?

alittlebitfat Fri 17-Jul-09 11:42:33

CP is fab, lots of villas have been refurbished. we have been going for 10 yrs now and still love it. A friend of mine has done butlins twice, after her second visit she admitted she couldnt face it again, just too rough.

Groovychic Fri 17-Jul-09 11:47:15

Elveden Forest seem to be slight cheaper. Is this site any good? Was looking at longleat as the zoo is nearby.

GetOrfMoiCockroachCluster Fri 17-Jul-09 11:54:00

I wouldn't recommend Butlins.

We (me, DP and DD, plus BIL, SIL and thier 2 DD's) for Halloween last year. It was awful. SIL booked it - we were in thier premier accomodation, half board.

It was absolutely foul. We stopped at Tesco on the way into the park on the first day and it was packed with people loading up with crates of stella, which gave an indication of what the weekend would be like.

The accomodation was dirty and shabby - god knows what the basis accomodation would have been like. And the food was horrible, it was a self service with different 'option'. but most of it wss truly inedibly. I had salad and bread every night for the weekend as that was the option which looked least vile (and I am not a fussy eater).

They had entertainment but there was not enough seating for everyone, so you either sat in the entertainment areas from about 5pm, or you didn't get a seat, and either had to stand or sit on the floor. Plus there were gaming machines everywhere, and loads of crappy shops which sold overpriced crap.

To be fair the swimming pool was good, but everything else was rubbish. I would never go back.

I am not a snob - i am working class myself, but I really didn't enjot myself and the place seemed to consist of pissed people and knackered kids. I would have rather stayed at home.

alittlebitfat Fri 17-Jul-09 12:04:50

Groovey, Elveden is best imo, flatter terrain, better cycling. Longleat Hilly

CommonNortherner Fri 17-Jul-09 15:48:27

I love Butlins!

JudithCole Fri 17-Jul-09 16:19:11

I have a caravan at Butlins Minehead, they are set away from the main areas but within 10 minutes you can walk to all the activities.there is so much for kids to do , ranging with the tots to the teens.My kids love it.

I rent it out for holidays , and all prices include the passes for use of Butlins facilities. It is booked till 4th September but we have lots of available dates after that.

I find you can always get a seat at the venues ( i've never been in school holiday time) , then as people leave with younger children there are more tables available nearer the stage area. there are two main venues for evening shows plus they do stuff in the Skyline as well for the kids.

The pool is brilliant , I love the flumes and lazy river.

Can be expensive if you eat out all the time but I usually do some meals in the van and eat out other time.

Minehead is a nice town with shops, pubs, cafes and a steam railway , you can travel through the Somerset countryside on.the beach is lovely on a nice day, lots of golden sand for the kids to play on.

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