How to save money on a Center Parcs holiday – Center Parcs on a Budget
We visited Center Parcs annually between 2009-2012 and had a fantastic time each and every time we went. However, a break at Center Parcs can be a costly experience and we like to holiday smartly and save money where we can (it all goes into the holiday pot for our next trip!). So below are my main tips on how to save money on a Center Parcs holiday and help you plan your trip more cost effectively. Here’s ways you can do Center Parcs on a budget:
- If you have visited Center Parcs in the last 28 days and are looking to rebook for next year, now is the time to do so. By booking within the 28 day period you get £25 of vouchers to be used against activities and you also get free cancellation insurance. Also booking within this period gives you the protection that if you find this break cheaper in the future, Center Parcs will match it. So you have the peace of mind that your break will be the best value that you can get.
- Center Parcs is an ideal setting for travel with extended family and friends. Each of our center parks holidays has been with the extended family, not only does it help reduce cost as you can divide between families, but also helps reduce to the food and additional holiday costs whilst you are there.
- Booking in advance is often a great way of saving money as these tend to be the most competitively priced. We have three weekend stays for 8 of us in November and twice in December and they were under under £300 for the first two and £369 for the last break.
- Choosing the class of lodge can see a marked difference in the prices that you get quoted. If this is the first time you are booking, do check to see whether you need the next type of lodge or could you save money by choosing a different lodge. We have stayed in a comfort terraced and a detached, double storey and we had a fantastic time in both.
- Comfort Lodges, only has 3 bedrooms but it sleeps 8 as it has 2 sofa beds in the living room. If you put in the details for 8 people into the online system it will not give you the option of booking this lodge online. If you call the reservations number, they will be able to book you this lodge for 8 people.
- Eating out can be really expensive, we pre-cook our meals or prepare them and to finish the cooking onsite. One of the advantages of having a kitchen means that you have the facilities to cook meals in the lodge. The set up of the lodges also makes cooking an enjoyable experience as the lounge, dining area can be seen from the cooking area.
- A log fire makes the “forest” experience even mo fun. Instead of buying them through Centre Parts buy them before you go in Aldi or from one of the pound shops. It’s a great way to truly make it a memorable evenings 🙂
- Make use of the free activities. The swimming pool is Center Parcs Whinfell Forest is glorious in every weather condition. It is a true tropical paradise so whether you visit in the height of summer or in the snow of winter it is the best place to spend lots of time. They have a lovely soft play area in the bar inside as well as numerous playgrounds for the children to enjoy. We often assume the paid activities will be the most fun but sometimes these are the true memory makers.
- Enjoying the outdoors, woods and the free activities in them. Going to Center Parcs was our way of bonding with family and enjoying the great outdoors together. We loved going for walks in the evenings (especially when the Christmas lights were twinkling in the woods) and day and just letting the children explore. Whinfell forest also has a number of activities for you to do from monkey bars to balancing frames. They are great for kids (and bigger kids) to enjoy.
- Booking activities at less popular times of the day will be cheaper, for example the activities such as bowling were cheaper to book for morning on Sunday then they were during the day at weekends.
- See if there are any extra activities / events on when you visit, which you can enjoy when you are there. We visited over bonfire weekend in 2009 and that was a lovely way to spend the Sunday evening without having addtitional costs. Likewise for two of the December visits, walking around the woods, enjoying the Christmassy events was great fun.
- Spread the cost of the activities by booking over the months leading up to your break. This one is perfect for the organized families who know the things they definitely want to do. For example, hiring bikes or if you want to visit Santa etc, book a few activities every month so the expense is more spread out and you wont have to pay hundreds at the time of your holiday.
- Try some of the cheaper activities. There are some fab prices for activities such as the scavenger hunt, orienteering and these can be done as a family. Likewise, some of the sports activities and very reasonable and can help give your holiday more of a balance of paid and none paid activities.
- Be prepared, take lots of snacks and items from home that you can. Whether it be essentials like bread, breakfast items, to fair liquid. A well planned food and essentials list really helps keep the costs down. There is a shop on site for any emergency stocking up that you may need.
- Take some entertainment with you. We took our wii with us on the first occasion we went and it was great fun, as we had all the family together. Likewise board games are another great item to pack and means that your evening entertainment is all but free.
I hope this helps those who are planning a Center Parcs holiday. You will have an amazing time and I am very jealous of you all. I would love to go to Center Parcs again soon 🙂
If you decide not to visit Center Parcs and are looking for similar alternative holiday options, why not read my article on: Alternatives to Center Parcs
Great tips, I’ve always wanted to visit Center Parcs but never have because of the price! Maybe I can follow some of these and we may actually be able to visit, thanks. #TheList
You should price it up, it can be quite expensive but using some tips and planing ahead the overall holiday can be quite a good break. I hope you get to visit, and if you have children who are not at school a mid week break term time is much cheaper 🙂
We have been to Longleat every year since 2008!! We love it. We always visit in December, the week before Christmas. Great tips, I do think 8 in a 3 bedroom villa will be a squash though! We have had six and that was fine. Kaz x
Thanks for reading, the 8 of us included quite young children so it never seemed to busy 🙂 it must be fabulous the week before Christmas, all this talk of Center Parcs holidays, makes me want to go again!
We went in Feb this year and booked again for September. It wasn’t really a discount just lowest price. Eating out and drinks are very expensive my partner paid £5 for a pint and our lunch out on the last day was rubbish. We prefer to take all our own bits and bobs in the main, much better value. #TheList
Hi, thanks for reading, did you get the rebooking vouchers? we used ours on he Santa and a pony ride to see Santa so our daughter was made up. We have yet to eat at any of the restaurants as we always tend to bring food from home. Definitely bringing your own things helps keep costs down and if there are a number of you, it actually gives the whole break a very family focused event 🙂
We went in March 2015 with my sister and her family. It certainly works out to share accommodation and we had a great time. If you go off peak it is quite fairly priced, considering you have all the free swimming and play parking you could want!
The restaurants are just average restaurant prices but are so family friendly that you don’t mind taking your screaming kids and paying for that!
I would recommend hiring bikes (or bringing your own) as you can do that activity every day. There’s so much to do without paying for extras though.
Lovely post on the topic. #thelist
Hiya, thanks for reading. I think there is so many small ways that you can cut back on the trip, means that the cost of the trip isn’t as high as what you would expect. The swimming is amazing and we love the woods and as they are car free, the children really get to have fun. On our next visit, we will definitely be hiring bikes:)
I have never been to Center Parcs. These are fabulous tips, thanks for sharing. Thanks so much for linking up to #TheList x
Do Centre Parcs ever release lodges that have been cancelled at the last minute?
We don’t live too far from Sherwood Park and I thought it would be a nice surprise for the kids one weekend.