Mumsnet Logo
My feed

to access all these features

Welcome to Mumsnet's holiday forum. Discuss all international travel here, including both shorthaul and longhaul trips. Related topics: UK holidays & day trips, skiing, camping & campervans.


Center parcs... Which one is the best?

64 replies

charlize · 08/09/2004 06:53

For the past 5 yrs on the run me and my whole family have been going to center parcs oasis.
We all love it but as its the only one we have been to we have nothing to compare it to.
Next year we are going to try a different CP. We are thinking of sherwood. Any of you ladies been to more than one and have a favorite.
Also we always stay in a centrally located lodge. Is this possible in the others or are they more spread out?

OP posts:

hewlettsdaughter · 08/09/2004 08:43

Have been to Longleat and Sherwood. Longleat is possibly the more dramatic scenery-wise - it's also hilly. There are rabbits at Sherwood!
You can ask to stay in a lodge close to the shops etc in either, I think.


wellsie · 08/09/2004 09:41

Just butting in here, DH are nervous about going on hols with DS (8mths) would CP be a good place and do they accommodate well for babes?


hewlettsdaughter · 08/09/2004 09:46

It would be fab wellsie - haven't been with a baby myself (just a toddler) but you see loads of babies there (especially during school term-time, when it's cheaper). The lodges, restaurants etc are all geared up for babies. You can get bikes with seats or trailers.
I wish we could now we have our dd but our ds is school-age now and the price is extortionate during school holidays.


Metrobaby · 08/09/2004 09:49

We've stayed at Sherwood - about 18 months ago and it was fine. We stayed at a normal comfort villa which was a bit basic. TBH I expected more in terms of decor for the money. It certaintly did not look like the pictures of a comfort villa in the brochure. That said I do believe they have refurbished it since (but I'm not 100% sure so you might want to check). The rest of the facilities was very good. The kids club was excellent as was the pool areas and the restaurants. This year we're off to the Oasis one.


foxinsocks · 08/09/2004 09:51

Longleat is very hilly although they do have a land train. We have always gone there (though I have been to Sherwood Forest once a long time ago). We have just got back from Longleat and we had rabbits and deer behind our chalet this time. Longleat has 2 main distinct areas - where the pool is and where the sports centre is and you can choose to be close to either. It is a fair hike between the two (though there is the little bus which the kids love) - it's not so much the distance between them but the fact that it is very steep. Having said that, it's never stopped us from going or enjoying it.

My sister goes to Elveden and loves it. Apparently it's not as hilly and everything is closer together. Sherwood is not that spread out (not as much as Longleat) and the scenery is lovely. I haven't been there for years so someone who's been more recently would be better qualified to tell you about it!

We go to Longleat largely because it's our closest one more than anything else.


JuniperDewdrop · 08/09/2004 09:52

I've been when mine were babies and it's fab I loved Sherwood and Elveden too and we also go to Oasis because it's closer to us. No other reason really.

Which area do u live in charlize?


foxinsocks · 08/09/2004 09:56

I would also say that when you book, ask for a refurbished comfort villa (if they have any). This year, we booked late and stayed in one of the older ones and it was a bit tatty. Last year, we had a newer comfort villa and it was much nicer.

Wellsie, it's completely geared up for babes. You don't have to bring anything (other than cot linen) - they supply cots, high chairs - lots of changing facilities etc. They also do organix baby food in all the restaurants.

In fact, this time they had a revamped kids menu which was far better than the times we've been before. They had an organic menu with things like meatballs, pasta dishes etc. and a non-organic one with 'normal' kids fare all suitable from age 2 (and an older kids menu that was similar to the adults one). They've obviously made an effort to improve the food because I hadn't been that impressed with it before so it's good to think they take the comments seriously.


JuniperDewdrop · 08/09/2004 09:57

Ooo foxinsoxs I never thought to ask for a refurbished one? I will do next time we go as we keep gettin old ones. cheers x


hewlettsdaughter · 08/09/2004 10:00

foxinsocks - I'd heard they did baby organix food now but didn't know they'd revamped kids' food generally. That's good.
Of course, you don't have to eat in the restaurants - you can use the on-site supermarket, or (better still) bring what you need.


bakedpotato · 08/09/2004 10:02

wellsie, i'm not sure if i'd go with an 8-month-old. have feeling that's too young to go in a trailer behind a bike (they'll tell you if you call up) -- and i have a feeling you can't fit carseats in these.

we went to elvedon forest a month or so ago and maybe i'm missing something, but i hated it sooooo much. weather was dire, which didn't help, all the spa treatments were either booked up instantly or unsuitable for a pregnant person like myself -- but also the heating was down in the pool complex on day one, cold showers etc and goosebumps in addition to all the floating plasters. sure, the problem only lasted for one afternoon, but we were only there for 3 days (felt like eternity).

also the restaurants were vv disappointing, all serving orange food (though i think there was free organic babyfood available everywhere). central 'village' felt rather like a departure terminal. no atmosphere. weird.

i admit i cheered as our car finally left. however, must say the biking was fun, my DH had a less violent reaction and my toddler was perfectly happy. The restaurants may serve horrid food but the ensuite playrooms are cool. Still, it's way expensive.


JuniperDewdrop · 08/09/2004 10:04

my DS1 sat in the buggy at that age. It's ok if they can sit up and you can always prop them up a bit. We didn't need a bike or buggy at oasis or sherwood though, just walked everywhere.


hewlettsdaughter · 08/09/2004 10:07

You can have a baby seat for the back of the bike if your baby is not ready for the trailer though, bakedpotato?


bakedpotato · 08/09/2004 10:09

hewletts, oh yes, of course. went blank about those. doh.


charlize · 08/09/2004 10:22

Thanks everyone for all the info!
Foxinsocks, thats a great idea to ask for a refurbished one. Is this possible for sherwood??
Also does anyone know what number lodges I should ask for to be central?
In oasis it is possible to get a cumbrian lodge which is better than a comfort lode but they don't seem to have these any where else. I did want a 4 bed lode so I will have to go comfort as the the only 4 bed exec ones are the ones with the hot tubs etc and thet are MEGA expensive.
So I think I will book a 4 bed comfort but ask for refurbished.

OP posts:

charlize · 08/09/2004 10:26

Juniper dewdrop. I live in the northwest so Oasis is our nearest too. We do love it there but feel we have done it to death and fancy a new one.
Although there is a lot of work going on in oasis and everytime we go something has changed.
I was dissapointed there was no kids disco this yr. And cafe vert has shut down, but ther is a brill kids play area above chez pierre.

OP posts:

Metrobaby · 08/09/2004 10:52

charlize - I think if you ask for one near the centre they will give you one but you have to pay a bit extra for it - I think something like £10/£15. After my tired decor villa in sherwood, I specifically asked for a refurbished one when I booked the villa in Oasis.

I thought the trailer things on the bikes were suitable for babies from 6 months. We'll be taking ds when he is 8months so I'd be interested to know how you get along.


monkeygirl · 08/09/2004 11:00

We're going to Elveden in the last week of September and have just got our info which says babies 6 months and over can go in the trailers.

For those of you who have been - would you recommend eating mostly in the restaurants or taking your own food?


sweetheart · 08/09/2004 11:15

I've been to Longleat 3 time now and enjoyed it each time for different reasons. Great for family hols or girlie weekends away.

1st time - 8 months pregnant extended family holiday
2nd time - dd was 17 month (i think) again with other family
3rd time - hen weekend - need i say more

We have decided to try Eleveden next and are booked up in February, although after what baked potatoe has said I might wish we'd stuck with Longleat - although I will be glad not to have to cycle up and down those hills


Tiggiwinkle · 08/09/2004 11:23

We went to Elvedon in August (our first visit to Centerparcs) and had a lovely time. However I would recommend self-catering for most of the time-we took a lot of stuff with us. The supermarket there is well-stocked but quite expensive, I thought.


foxinsocks · 08/09/2004 12:19

monkeygirl - on the food front, I think a lot depends on your budget. Personally, we tend to eat a lot at the villa. Certainly, breakfast every day (kids only ever really want cereal anyway). I tend to order their (center parc's) basic food pack to be in the villa for when we arrive - it's got everything we need e.g. orange squash, washing up liquid, sausages, bacon, croissants, butter, coffee, tea, sugar etc...I know it's a tiny bit more expensive but it means I don't have to bother to pack a cool bag with meat in the car. I also bought a small amount of M&S ready meals for when I didn't want to cook. Even if I did cook, I did really basic stuff (pasta with a bought sauce etc.) I don't really think of it as a holiday if I have to do loads of cooking!

Last time we went (last week), we went to Longleat for 5 days and we probably ate out 4 times (including a curry take away from Rajinda Prajesh which was very good). They had a nice new sports cafe with a soft play bit in the middle so you could eat a meal in peace while the kids ran around which was very relaxing! But the costs do add up if you eat out all the time, but I guess that's the same as any holiday.


yoyo · 08/09/2004 13:11

We went for the first time this year and decided to go to de Eemhof in The Netherlands with 3 children (8y, 6y, 18m). Took the ferry from Harwich which was excellent and the children loved the adventure (we paid a bit extra for the lounge but it made such a difference to the journey). Travelling through Holland was a doddle too.

We had a kindegarten cottage which had everything you could want with children - a play bedroom with a puppet theatre, a chalkboard, trolley of toys, highchair, cot and for babies a bath, nappy bucket, bouncy chair, bottle warmer, potty and training seat, a step, cutlery, etc. It was clean and comfortable - a change of bedding was provided as well as towels. The decor could have been freshened up but with three children you don't really worry too much about it. They were very efficient with any problems (new frying pan immediately, extra towels delivered). Obviously they spoke superb English so communication was easy.

Plenty of places to eat and "children eat free" at one of them each night. Supermarket very good and reasonable - we took nothing with us and spent less than we normally do in England!

The pool complex was very good although they seem less concerned about safety there - you have to watch out for the odd rough bits. Older children thought slides and flumes were superb and the baby loved the two toddler pools (one with a sandpit in the middle).

Cycling is amazing. They have everything you could want even a family cycle to hire by the hour. The cycle paths outside the park are great and there's a particularly good one along the dyke (literally on the edge of the park).

There are plenty of things available to do but we were more than happy with the pool, cycling and the little play parks just by the cottages. The cottages were very close to the centre too.

For a day out there are quite a few things locally - amusement park, zoo, dolphinarium but Amsterdam is only 30 mins by train so we did that. Children loved ( gay floating carnival was on)

Sorry this is so long but it really was great - we could easily have stayed longer (weather was perfect).


bundle · 08/09/2004 13:15

yoyo, how much did it cost? i've always thought the continental ones sounded much more appealing than the UK ones.


daisy1999 · 08/09/2004 13:27

anybody been in nov or Dec? Is it very christmassy or just naff?


hewlettsdaughter · 08/09/2004 13:58

daisy1999 - there are some old threads with people postively recommending going just prior to Christmas...


hewlettsdaughter · 08/09/2004 14:09

here and here

Please create an account

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

Sign up to continue reading

Mumsnet's better when you're logged in. You can customise your experience and access way more features like messaging, watch and hide threads, voting and much more.

Already signed up?