There is no getting away from it, Center Parcs can be expensive but it is possible to have a break at Center Parcs on a budget which is exactly what we did recently. Here are my top tips for a family on a budget.
Look for the best price at booking. Sounds obvious but it is really worth being flexible on dates if you can, mid week breaks in term time are the cheapest. Our break was £249, which is a bargain when you consider the same break can be over £1000 at other times. We were able to pay a deposit at the time of booking and then to pay the rest off in installments online.
Arrive early and leave late Our accommodation was ready at 3.30pm, and we had to leave it by 10am on departure day. However you can arrive on site earlier on arrival day and stay later on departure day and use the facilities. This is worth doing as it squeezes out your break that bit longer. On the first day we knew we would have good weather so we came armed with a picnic and the boys played on the outdoor playground for a couple of hours. On the last day we squeezed in a final swim and a bit of lunch before leaving.
Free activities There are lots of free things to do on your break so take advantage. Of course there is the swimming pool, we spent so much of our time here and it was definately the boys favourite part from the huge water slides to the baby pool. There are also play areas both inside and out and a children’s disco in the evening. And of course there is the nature, we were lucky enough to see red squirrels, rabbits, various birds and bugs while we were there plus we came home with a bag full of pine cones and leaves that the boys had collected.
Paid activities When you book your holiday you will be able to see all of the paid activities available when you visit. There is a huge variety available for all ages and abilities. You can book as many as you like paying online at the time of booking (or you can wait until you get there and book then). We booked one activity for our break Tots Go Wild, which was enjoyable for the boys. However I will say you don’t NEED to book these, we were busy enough with the free activities.
Food For us food is always the big expense. The lodges have kitchens with everything you need to make a family meal and we did take most of our meals with us, easy things like pasta and cereal as of course you don’t want to spend your break in the kitchen whipping up complicated meals. Eating out every day would work out really expensive for a family but we did pay a visit to The Pancake House on one day which was great fun and had some post swimming drinks and snacks at Dexter Kitchen which we found reasonable. The little supermarket on site was priced pretty reasonably for most things and the fresh produce was good, though not as cheap as Aldi or Lidl of course!
Have you visited Center Parcs on a budget? What are your top tips?