My feed

to access all these features

Use our Travel forum for recommendations on everything from day trips to the best family-friendly holiday destinations.


Top Ten Centerparcs tips?

56 replies

Tartegnin · 11/03/2004 08:59

I know there's been lots on this board about Centerparcs, and trust me, I've read it all. I'd really appreciate a consolidated "do's and don'ts", though. We're booked for a week at Elveden in July ... executive three bedroom near the golf course ... we'll be four adults and one four year old (me, DH, DD and D-inlaws) ... cannot tell you how much we need to get away,

OP posts:
JeniN · 11/03/2004 10:11
  1. Have a session the first day booking up everything you can - e.g babysitting, time out clubs, spa & treatments, tournaments; classes but n.b. you can't book stuff like tennis courts and restaurants until the day before i don't think. But if you've planned what you want to do then you don't spend half of each morning trying to work out who needs to be where when and then finding out you can't book the activity anyway.

2. Be prepared to spend a bit, because although everything seems quite expensive, its still a cheapish holiday overall, and its no fun if you're too tight to actually do anything you enjoy (I speak from experience!)

3.If Elvedens got a refurbished spa like longleat(aquae sana) its really really good, with lots of different spa rooms and saunas, foot spas etc, not all really hot either.

4. Try to go in the outside hot pool after dark under the stars.

5. Some of the restaurants do takeaways to save cooking (Pizza, Indian etc) and the supermarket sells those takeaway bags too.

hmm, can't think of anything else, but have a great time!
Trifle · 11/03/2004 10:24
  1. Book a babysitter as soon as you get there (if you want one).

2. Avoid Platform 5 like the plague, absolutely awful, worst form of fast food ever.
3. Luciano's do great value meals between 5-7 when children eat for £1. They also have a little play area so they dont have to sit at the table bored.
4. Dont know what sort of bike you are getting for your 4 year old but our ds (not quite 4) went on one of those with the bike attachment at the back of the adults and absolutely loved it. Apparently you have to be 5 but he's a big guy and no one questioned it. Would have been a nightmare if he had to have his own bike as we would have spent forever waiting for him to catch up.
5. Definitely eat in the Indian Rajinda Paresh, probably the best Indian meal I've ever had.
6. On arrival, when the gate opens at 3pm the queue to get to your villa is MASSIVE. Either get there early, dump the car, go swimming etc and get to your villa once the rush as subsided or get there later.
7. Take essentials with you like tea, coffee, bread, butter etc as the local shop is quite expensive
Crunchie · 11/03/2004 20:20

You can pre book a baby sitter if you need one, although with in-laws you maybe bringing your own!!

Defineatly do the spa (pre-book) they say a session is 3 hrs but they don't chuck you out so perhaps inlaws can have DD for the day or the men can while the 'girls' go to the spa.

Arrive early if poss (we get there around 10.30ish), get you bikes/bearings and book stuff that you couldn't pre-book. Go to Hucks (or another restaurant) for an early lunch, if you go around 12 they will give you a buzzer so you can go away to wait. Don't wait until after 12 or you will have at least an hour for a table. Have lunch, go to the pool for a few hours and then go to your villa. This way there are no queues for the villa and your dd will be nice and tired after the first day and sleep well!!

Don't plan too much - unless you like to be really busy. The new toddler area at the pool is fab so you may spend hours there (we spent nearly 5 hrs in the pool with a 2 and 4 yr old).

You can take a packed lunch to the pool, but we thought the food at the lagoon bar wasn't too bad (of the chips and nugget veriety) so treated ourselves at lunchtime, and ate in at night. The ice cream sundaes are the best there too

Quackers · 11/03/2004 21:05

If you get there early as Crunchie says, you don't have to queue for bikes either, also you get almost a full day and as it;s changeover day it's quieter!

I always do a simple itinery before we go - know it sounds a bit organised but you can plan your activities/popular ones before you go and prebook, then you spend as little time as poss arranging things when you get there.

Go to 'La Sapiniere' for 'dinner a deux', it's one of the best meals and best service I've ever had (it's not at Oasis Whinfell though).

The Aqua Sana is wonderful and althought the treatments are expensive they are worth it!!

hewlettsdaughter · 11/03/2004 21:34

Agree on the pre-booking - we got a pack about two weeks before our holidays at Longleat and Sherwood Forest which detailed what you could book in advance. Obviously, you don't want to organise your whole holiday, but it would be a shame to miss out on those things you really fancy. Definitely go early to sort out your bikes. And yes, book a spa session! Even if you don't go for any specific treatments.

Babe · 11/03/2004 21:39

We've just come back from Elveden and I know that it was half term but all the spa treatments had been booked out before we got there - waaah! I was so looking forward to my all over massage. Plus all the best outdoor activities had gone by the time we got round to enquiring about them. I will definitely book all this stuff before I go.

The vegetarian options aren't wonderful (probably won't be a problem for you!)

We all really enjoyed our stay there and spent loads of time having fun getting lost cycling around. And the pool is fab, even when it is busy.

aloha · 11/03/2004 21:44

Book as much as you can before you get there- eg riding, bowling, spa. Do get the fire going with the odd paper logs - so nice. Do use the jacuzzi bath. Your four year old will LOVE it. Agree, go in the pool after dark.

Tartegnin · 15/03/2004 14:42

Thanks so much for the great suggestions. It makes it all sound even better than I thought. Based on the comments will definitely: book spa treatments the second my pack comes (or can I do earlier?); get a bike attachment - DD will love that - she's a bit wary of biking on her own, but would love to cycle attached to Mom or Dad; book at least one nice dinner just for me and DH at Sapaniere or the Indian (probably Indian - we live in Switzerland and get great French food, but pretty mediocre Indian)and let inlaws babysit (win-win as they live in UK and so love time alone with DGD); book at least one nice night out for four and get babysitter to thank inlaws for babysitting!; bring a small cooler bag to take healthy snacks/lunch to pool - then can indulge in great sundaes; stock up villa with yummy stuff both for convenience and to address vegetarian question (yes - it does apply to me!); and, finally, PLAN TO RELAX!

Any other suggestions welcome - this is such a great resource ...

OP posts:
Galaxy · 15/03/2004 14:59

message withdrawn

Tartegnin · 22/03/2004 14:43

Will do, Galaxy - I promise a full report when we get back.

In the meantime, does anyone know whether there's a coffee maker in the facilities or should we bring one? Availability of immediate coffee in the morning can make or break our holiday! Any other tips of what we need to bring with us would also be welcome.

OP posts:
dinny · 22/03/2004 14:49

Can any Centreparcs devotees give me some ammunition with which to tempt my dh - he thinks it seems really expensive and dd is too young to enjoy it (21 months).

katierocket · 22/03/2004 14:57

we went to the Oasis one in lake district (now owned by Centerparcs) and it was utterly horrible.

It felt like we were herded cattle the way you have to wait until the 'gates' open to get in. The accommodation was not great, had to queue for everything. We'd never go back. But I've heard postive things about the other centerparcs.

RexandBen · 25/03/2004 23:28

has anyone ever used the creche facilities? We have a 2 yr old autistic son, and an 18 month old. We are thinking of going to Elveden next month and we would love t have a break from the kids for a few hours

Also any info on prices for toddler activities such as soft play classes etc?

madgirl · 26/03/2004 08:30

dinny, my dh is v sniffy too but i have persuaded him to try it- we're going to elvedon for mid-week break first week in may and i will report back with tips! i have got some fantastic info from this thread and and others, including the one i started on elvedon, so if i can add anything at all to what has already been posted i will certainly do so.

Mum2Ela · 26/03/2004 09:05

We went to Centerparcs Lonleat last weekend and it was fab. I have been before and really enjoy it.

DD (18 mths) went into the creche for 3 hours on Sat whilst the rugby was on and she loved it - came out with a portfolio of work which was great.

My tip is to take more clothes than you think you will need. It pissed down every time we decided to go out on our bikes and I got covered in mud (no mud guards on my bike) a lot.

Oh, and use the baby change cublicles when changing for the pools. They are worth waiting for as they are about 10x bigger than the normal ones (where you can't even bend over).


smellymelly · 26/03/2004 09:10

Got back from Longleat 2 weeks ago, Bloody fantastic break.

Get one of the trailers for your bike for the 4 year old, it means they can chill out and keep a bit warmer than on a bike themselves. ( we went in march, not quite so cold in July!!)

Book DD into time out club, at least twice, expensive but well worth it, they are all Ofsted checked, and very hot on security, etc.

Then book yourselves into the Spa, and pre-book treatments like massage, reflexology etc.

Get there before midday if you can to beat the rush, and then you can get things all sorted before you can get into your 'villa'. Wouldn't advise arriving at 3pm - mad rush!!

Quackers · 26/03/2004 16:28

Sorry you had a naff time Katierocket, first time I have EVER heard anyone with completely negative comments. I;ve been to Oasis and am going back in 4 weeks. I enjoyed it, but I think you have to know how to get the most out of it. IE arriving early and moving the car later when everyone else has already done it and pre booking stuff etc. We always get an exec villa now (not being snobby), just think if I'm on holiday I will pay an extra £50 or so to get a nicer villa as it;s not always guaranteed is it in the standard ones.
I liked Sherwood as they have the lovely Sapiniere restaurant and beach etc...
MG - you'll love it, it's another world.
Dinny, you can go quite easily with very young babies. There are babysitters who are mature, friendly, exceptionally well organised and I felt totally at ease leaving our sleeping DD with her. Loads to do for all ages, babies like the baby dolphins swimming and teddy bears picnic. You can go in the spa and leave them in the creche. These I found to be well run and frindly and DD had no problem being left. As they get a little older they have themed sessions with parties and dressing up and face painting for them.
Squirrels come to your window in the morning and share your brekky, while rabbits hop round your patio!! Toddlers love being chauffered around in their own private trailers looking out for squirrels and rabbits. here are loads of soft play areas, even indoor ones while you eat. You can go for a special meal at Sapiniere, as no kids and the food and service fab.

Anyway, think I've said enought o get me th ejob of busines development manager at C/P!

katierocket · 26/03/2004 16:59

but quackers there is just something about being let through the barrier - I felt like I was going into sort of restricted zone.

tiredemma · 26/03/2004 20:11

oooohh a centerparcs thread! i love cp, i enjoyed it more than my overseas holiday.
if you read the elvedon thread further down youll see my comments.
absolute best time of year to visit is around xmas!!!
we are all off again this winter, cant wait!!!!!!!!

Crunchie · 26/03/2004 20:34

Quackers I am sorry that's my job, and you can't have it

tabitha · 26/03/2004 20:43

I'm going to Oasis at the beginning of July. Can anyone tell me what age children can go to the creche (dd will be 5 months). Also, can I / should I book the creche in advance?

Cod · 26/03/2004 20:58

Message withdrawn

smellymelly · 26/03/2004 21:21

It is way better than Butlins!!!!!!!!

judetheobscure · 26/03/2004 21:42

There is no comparison with Butlins. We went to Butlins once and will NEVER go again. We have now tried all four CenterParcs and will probably go every couple of years or so. I agree that the "villas" at Longleat, Elveden and Sherwood are offputting from the outside (the ones at Oasis Whinfell were lovely so don't what KatieRocket didn't like about them) but it's just a very relaxing, but active if you want it to be, holiday. Oasis loses out a bit for us as it doesn't have a La Sapiniere restaurant. The babysitters at all of them are fab too. Disagree about changeover day being quiet - it's always been even more packed when we've been.

jmg · 27/03/2004 00:00

Well I agree with Katierocket and we are very very experiened CPers.

We have spent every christmas break for the last 4 years at Oasis adn have always had a lovely time. (And have also been several times to Longleat and Elvedon).

This year was a complete disaster. Our executive villa was a shambles. The sofas were worn through with foam showing and had throws covering them up - but of course the throws kept falling off exposing the worn through bits! One of the sofas back was broken! The radiators were covered in rust. The paint work was scuffed everywhere and the lights were full of dead insects. When the beds were changed the bedding was dumped at the front door and it took days for them to pick it up.

The pool heating broke down and the pool was shut for one day. When it reopened it took about 3 days to get back up to temperature. It was so cold that hte children refused to go swimming - never in the history of our family have they ever done this before!

We booked at the Chinese restaurant - the deep fat fryer was broken so no dimsum. We booked into the Aqua Sana - the indoor and outdoor pools were closed. We booked into ten pin bowling and when we turned up out booking wasnt honoured because 3 of the lanes were out of order.

In short nothing but nothing worked!

In the end it wasnt a holiday it was an endurance test.

But having complained we got the offer of a free week in peak time at any other park. I will never go back to Oasis so have booked for Elvedon. So fingers crossed!

But Oasis was a disaster - they havent spent anywhere near enough on maintenance but seem instead to have spent it on building new villas.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.